The Lowdown: Esther Panitch
The LowdownCommunity

The Lowdown: Esther Panitch

I Bet You Didn't Know...Esther and Justice Ketanjii Brown Jackson were nationally ranked high school debaters and spent summers at debate camp together.

After 37 years with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now with the AJT, , Jaffe’s focus is lifestyle, art, dining, fashion, and community events with emphasis on Jewish movers and shakers.

State Rep. Esther Panitch
State Rep. Esther Panitch

Atlanta is chock full of interesting “movers and shakers” – some bent on creativity, empire building, activism, the sciences, and/or just plain having fun and living the good life. Lean in to hear some of the “off the cuff” remarks as to what makes our spotlight, Esther Panitch, tick.

Esther Panitch was born, raised, and educated in Miami, Fla. She attended the University of Miami, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Communications (1992) and her Juris Doctor (1995).

Esther started her legal career as a Domestic Violence Court Coordinator in Miami-Dade County. In 1997, she was hired as an Assistant Public Defender in Miami-Dade County, handling cases from misdemeanors to murders.

In 2004, Esther moved with her husband and three children to Georgia. In 2006, she joined the Fulton County Conflict Defender’s Office and opened a private firm in Atlanta representing criminal defendants, victims, and family law in all state and federal courts. She was also appointed to the Criminal Justice Act panel in the Northern District of Georgia.

Due to some of her higher profile cases which attracted national attention, it didn’t take long for Esther to become a trusted source on legal matters for media outlets, local and national. She has made over 100 appearances on FOX News, FOX Business, MSNBC, CNN, and WSB and has been frequently quoted as an expert in the AJC and the New York Times. In the spring of 2023, Esther served her first term as a State Representative in the Georgia Legislature, where she co-sponsored House Bill 30, known as the Antisemitism Definition Bill.

Esther and her husband Roger, who owns a College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchise, along with their three kids (one is a UGA grad and two are Florida “Gators”) belong to Congregation B’nai Torah, where Roger is the immediate past president.

Esther is an active volunteer with Hadassah.

Read on to see how she’s pals with a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

One fun thing people don’t know about me is…
I was a nationally ranked high school debater in Miami and competed with and am friends with now-Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

My kids would say I am too…
Distracted by my phone. When I don’t respond immediately, they say I am in “the phone zone.”

You will not find me…
Running a marathon or running at all.

Atlanta vs. Miami?
Atlanta would be perfect with an ocean. But still Atlanta.

I’m streaming and reading…
Old 1980s comedies, since my husband can quote most every word of them.

I would describe Georgia politics as:
The practice of law, but without rules.

I would look back and tell a 21-year-old Esther…
Have more fun and don’t be in a rush to grow up.

My idea of a fun night out is…
Out to dinner with friends and back home to the couch.

Best advice you received…
Discretion is the better part of valor.

Most exotic vacation:
I’m pretty boring. Give me good food and good shopping and I am happy.

The most important thing about being a trial attorney is…
Helping people who are at their very worst time in their lives.

read more: