Local Folks: Laura Lothman Lambert

Local Folks: Laura Lothman Lambert
Lambert on a run in Washington, D.C., where she served in the Department of Justice.

“I love, love, love being back in Jacksonville!” said Laura Lothman Lambert. And this time, she’s here to stay.

“Jacksonville is a very special place to me, having grown up here,” she said.

Lambert first arrived in Florida at seven years old when her family moved to the San Jose area of Jacksonville from Atlanta, Georgia. She and her younger sister, Kristin, grew up in a family where public service and giving back to the community were values instilled from an early age. Their dad, Dr. Louis Lothman, is a Presbyterian minister who served as a life and family therapist, and their mom, Judy Lothman, is a hospice nurse.

A graduate of Stanton College Preparatory School’s IB program, Lambert went on to major in English literature at Davidson College in North Carolina. After her 2001 graduation, she lived in Japan for a couple of years, teaching English to Japanese high school students. In Tokyo, Lambert passed the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) before returning home to Jacksonville.

While applying to law school, Lambert taught eleventh-grade English for two years at Paxon School for Advanced Studies. In 2007, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.

Lambert’s first job out of law school was working as a clerk in Jacksonville for the Honorable Harvey E. Schlesinger, U.S. District Judge. She moved back to Georgia to fill the same role in Atlanta for the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge. Then, Lambert moved even farther north to Washington, D.C., where she served as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice. She was grateful to come back home again to Jacksonville in 2014 to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney and then as an assistant state attorney for Melissa Nelson.

“She brought me on to look at the juvenile program,” Lambert said.

Lambert on a run in Washington, D.C., where she served in the Department of Justice.
Lambert on a run in Washington, D.C., where she served in the Department of Justice.
With her son and daughter on a family trip in Antelope Canyon, Arizona.
With her son and daughter on a family trip in Antelope Canyon, Arizona.
Laura Lothman Lambert in Zion National Park, Utah.
Laura Lothman Lambert in Zion National Park, Utah.

Today, Lambert is a United States Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Florida, appointed on November 4, 2021. She said she’d always had an “eye” toward public service, though she never dreamed that someday she would become a federal judge. She was sworn in by Judge Schlesinger, for whom she had worked as a clerk more than a decade prior. Now, they work together in the same downtown federal building, the Bryan Simpson United States Courthouse on North Hogan Street.

“This courthouse has always felt like home to me,” Lambert said.

It is where she had held her previous positions as clerk and assistant attorney before advancing to the judge’s seat. One positive difference between then and now is that she no longer has as long of a commute.

Watching the other judges practice, working for them and now with them, has been a learning experience for which Lambert is super grateful.

“I am their colleague now, so it’s really special,” she said, somehow reminiscent of the classic television series Welcome Back, Kotter.

“One of the coolest things about my job is we get to swear in new citizens,” Lambert said.

This year, when she performed the naturalization ceremony at the annual World of Nations Celebration, her daughter’s Girl Scout troop led The Pledge of Allegiance.

“It was awesome,” Lambert said.

When she is not sitting on the bench, Lambert is playing on the court – tennis, that is, one of the sports she partakes in regularly, in addition to watching her son’s baseball games. She also likes taking runs on trails. Lambert and her two children delight in a number of outdoor activities.

“Every summer, we’re trying to hit national parks,” she said.

But even when they are not traveling to parks out of state, they find lots to do close to home.

“I do believe that Jacksonville is a very special place. We love to be outside and enjoy all the beautiful trails and beaches that we have here in the Jacksonville community,” Lambert said. “I consider myself a Jacksonville girl!”

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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