Viola Taliaferro


Bicentennial Medal (2019)
Distinguished Alumni Service Award (2007)
LL.B., 1977
Maurer School of Law Academy of Law Alumni Fellows (2000)


A passionate advocate and a wise and resolute judge, Taliaferro has devoted her life to strengthening families and protecting children. After earning a degree at Virginia State College, she began her career as a social worker and teacher, furthering her education at Morgan State College and Johns Hopkins University.

She earned her law degree from the IU School of Law-Bloomington in 1977 and established a private law practice. In her role first as magistrate and then as judge of the Monroe County Circuit Court, Taliaferro established a national reputation as an advocate for children. She served as a juvenile justice consultant to former Attorney General Janet Reno and as a member of the National Research Council on Juvenile Crime.

Her commitment to the most vulnerable participants in the legal system has earned her the respect and recognition of her peers. She was elected to the American Law Institute, and named Judge of the Year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. The Indiana State Bar Association presents the Viola J. Taliaferro Award annually to an individual or group for extraordinary efforts on behalf of children, and her law school inducted her into the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows. The Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women and the Monroe County Commissioners named her Woman of the Year. Taliaferro and her husband, George, reside in Bloomington, Ind.