Judge Michèle Patrão Forsythe is a first-generation American, and the only child of Joseph Lopes Patrão and Maria Lilia Almeida Lopes Patrão. She was born in the Ironbound District of Newark, New Jersey and moved to Washington D.C. at the age of 4. Judge Forsythe speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese, and is proficient in French.
Judge Forsythe graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a B.A. in Political Science, and a Minor in International Affairs in 1996. During her college years, she was a student at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in Mexico City. Judge Forsythe served as an intern to The White House in 1995; and as an intern to The United States Senate in 1995 and 1996. Upon graduation, she commenced working as an assistant to United States Senator, Paul Sarbanes of Maryland; and was subsequently recruited as an Analyst with the Department of Defense, and assigned to Fort Meade, Maryland.
In 1998, Judge Forsythe married Charles Robert (“Rob”) Forsythe (The Citadel, Class of 1996), and moved to South Carolina. She attended the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she was the Publication Editor for the South Carolina Environmental Law Journal, and commenced practicing law in 2003. In 2006, Judge Forsythe became an associate attorney with Query Sautter Gliserman & Price, LLC. In 2008 she was certified as a South Carolina Family Court Mediator. Judge Forsythe tried numerous cases in the Family Court, the Court of Common Pleas, and the Court of General Sessions. She also practiced in the United States District Court, and has appeared before the Fourth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals. In 2012, she was named partner, and the firm became known as Query Sautter Forsythe, LLC.
Judge Forsythe is a member of the James L. Petigru Inn of Court, serving as its Secretary from 2009 to 2015. She was honored to serve as member of the Executive Committee of the Charleston County Bar Association from 2013 to 2016 and was the CLE Co-Chair of the Charleston County Bar Association, coordinating the Annual “What Works for Me” CLE. Judge Forsythe served on the South Carolina Bar House of Delegates, the Practice and Procedure Committee, and the Wellness Committee for the South Carolina Bar. She also participated in the Ask-A-Lawyer Program. Currently, Judge Forsythe is the Chair of the Language Access Task Force for the South Carolina Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission.
Judge Forsythe has volunteered in a variety of community outreach programs, including teaching English at Our Lady of Mercy Outreach Center on Johns Island. Judge Forsythe frequently served as pro bono counsel to the local law enforcement community and to several local charter schools.
In February of 2016, she was elected by the South Carolina General Assembly to serve as a South Carolina Family Court Judge. Judge Forsythe lives in Charleston with her husband and son. She attends The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Charleston. Judge Forsythe is a fitness enthusiast, avid reader of history, and enjoys traveling with her family.