ACBA Honors Pitt Law Alumna Judge Doris A. Smith-Ribner With Trailblazer Award

Judge Doris A. Smith-Ribner has demonstrated many firsts in her lifetime. She was the first black female in Pennsylvania history to win election to any state office when she was elected to the Commonwealth Court in 1987, serving until her retirement in 2009. Prior to that, she was the first black woman to sit on the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court and she was the first black lawyer in general to serve as a solicitor to the Allegheny County controller.

For her many firsts and the tremendous influence of her career, the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Women in Law Division honored Judge Smith-Ribner at its 2017 Trailblazer Award Ceremony Oct. 16.

Speaking to Lawyers Journal, Judge Smith-Ribner noted, “I am elated and very excited about receiving an award from the community where I attended undergrad and law school, practiced law with Attorney Byrd Brown, House Speaker K. Leroy Irvis and other great lawyers; and met and served with some of the finest and most brilliant lawyers anywhere in this nation.”

In 2014 President Obama appointed Judge Smith-Ribner to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Judge Smith-Ribner currently sits on the University of Pittsburgh Board of Visitors of the Law School and has served in this capacity for over 17 years.