Judge Debra Hembree Lambert was elected to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 2014 from the 3rd Appellate District, Division 1. With her election, Judge Lambert became the first woman to serve on the Court of Appeals from the 3rd District.
Judge Lambert grew up in Bell County, Ky. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University, where she graduated with distinction. She went on to graduate in the top 25 percent of her class from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1989.
After completing a juris doctor, Judge Lambert practiced law in Mount Vernon, Ky. During that time, she also served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney and City Attorney for the City of Mount Vernon.
In 1999, then-Gov. Paul E. Patton appointed her to serve as Circuit Judge, Family Court Division in the 28th Judicial Circuit, which is comprised of Lincoln, Pulaski and Rockcastle counties. While serving as Family Court Judge, she created the first Drug Court in the area. She was recognized for her efforts in 2002 when the National Association of Drug Court Professionals inducted her into the Stanley M. Goldstein Drug Court Hall of Fame. Judge Lambert also volunteered in area middle schools, working 10 weeks each semester with at-risk children and families in an effort to help them avoid truancy charges.
In 2007, Judge Lambert resumed her private practice of law in Mount Vernon until her election to the Court of Appeals in 2014. She is the mother of two adult sons, Joseph Patrick Lambert and John Ryan Lambert.