Judge Susan Tate, born Susan Marie Pearce, is a native of Monroe, Georgia, in Walton County. Upon earning B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Georgia in Athens, Judge Tate began her legal career as a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the Southeast Region. Promoted to deputy regional counsel in 1980, she managed an office of attorneys under the direction of the Regional Counsel, providing legal support for 150 DOE personnel.
Two young children and a desire to try something new prompted a family move back to Athens in 1982, and opening a law practice which spanned 14 years. Typical of many sole practitioners, Ms. Tate worked primarily in the areas of family law, business law, criminal law, personal injury, guardianship, mental health, and probate. Elected Probate Judge of Athens-Clarke County in 1996, Judge Tate took office in January of 1997.
Long active in various community organizations, she now limits her board membership to two organizations especially meaningful to her, the Clute Barrow Nelson Life Foundation and Citizen Advocacy of Athens-Clarke County. In her judicial capacity Judge Tate is a Past President of the Council of Probate Court Judges' and serves on the Council's Legislative, Internal Affairs, and Executive Committees, the Pro Se Litigation Committee of the Supreme Court of Georgia, and the State Bar of Georgia Pro Bono Project's Access to Justice Committee as well as its Flexible Income Trust Committee. She is a member of the Western Circuit Bar Association, the State Bar of Georgia, the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, the National Association of Women Judges, and the National College of Probate Judges.