Prior to her appointment as a Fulton County Magistrate Court Judge, Sheryl Barnes worked in Office of the City of Atlanta Solicitor for almost 15 years. As a Senior Assistant Solicitor, she prosecuted numerous City ordinance and State traffic violations and conducted preliminary hearings for misdemeanor and felony charges, including child molestation, sexual assault, rape, theft crimes, drug charges, aggravated assault, and murders. Sheryl administered the Pre-Trial Intervention for Traffic Program (PTIT) for the office, increasing participation in the program by over 300%. She also served as an advisor and trainer on legal issues and developed grants for the Solicitor’s Office. Additionally, Sheryl managed a private practice for many years, specializing in civil litigation, personal injury, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, toxic torts, estate planning, family law, bankruptcy, and criminal defense. Sheryl started her legal career as an in-house claims litigation counsel insurance defense attorney, litigating cases in courts throughout Metro Atlanta.
Sheryl received her law degree from Emory University School of Law, where Sheryl clerked for then Presiding Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Justice Robert Benham. She was active in the Moot Court Board of Directors, Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and Legal Association of Women Students (LAWS). Sheryl graduated Order of the Barristers and was a member of Lamar Inns of Court.
Prior to graduating from law school, Sheryl practiced as a Certified Public Accountant for a number of Fortune 500 companies and was Assistant Vice President for Budgets, Contracts and Special Project at Spelman College. Additionally, she has taught accounting and tax classes at local universities. Sheryl is a Cum Laude graduate of Florida A&M University, where she majored in accounting and economics.
Sheryl has been an active member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys for many years, having chaired several initiatives. Most significantly, Sheryl chaired of the GABWA TEAMWork Youth Summit. The event educated youth and the community about various legal issues and was the recipient of the 2016 National Conference of Women Bar Associations Public Service Award. Additionally, Sheryl is an active member of State Bar of Georgia, serving on the Audit Committee.
Sheryl is very active in the Atlanta community. She is a Golden Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a Life Member of the Florida A & M University Alumni Association. Sheryl also served on the Board of the Fortitude Educational and Cultural Development Center as Vice President and Financial Secretary. Sheryl is the Past President of the Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter of the National Drifters, Inc., a national civic organization focus on issues effecting women, children and local communities. She has served as the National Audit Advisory Chair and National Audit Chair and currently serves as the National Strategic Planning Committee Chair for the National Drifters, Inc. Sheryl was a member of the Board for the Georgia Center for Children (now the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy) for six years, an organization dedicated to assisting sexually and physically abused children. She also served as the Chair of the Atlanta Botanical Garden Placement of the Junior League of Atlanta. Sheryl served on the Board of the Georgia Real Estate Investors Association (“GaREIA”) for over a decade in various leadership capacities, including Chair of the Board of Directors, First Vice President, Director of Governance, Chair of the Nominating Committee, and Board Advisor. She is the past Vice President of the Atlanta Chapter of National Association of Black Accountants. Sheryl is also a Board Member of Courageous Worship Church.
Sheryl has received numerous awards and honors, including, National Drifters, Inc. 2019 Now Black Woman Award, Robert E. Lee High School Hall of Fame, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Mentor of the Year, Who’s Who of American Women, and Outstanding Young Women in America.