ORLANDO, Fla. — The Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida recently elected its first female chief judge.

The Honorable Lisa T. Munyon will soon lead the charge at courthouses in Orange and Osceola counties.

Munyon spent 18 years as a circuit judge and will now have a new title, along with the task of clearing a massive case backlog caused by COVID-19.

“It was humbling,” said Munyon. “My peers in the Ninth Circuit have elected me as the next chief judge of the circuit.”

Munyon is also making history as the first woman to serve in this position.

“I do hope that it will give young girls, young lawyers an understanding you know that you need to put yourself out there,” Munyon said. “You need to make sure you have a seat at the table if you want to make a difference.”

Munyon told Channel 9 that she is working hard to put together a plan to get through the backlog of cases brought upon by the pause in court proceedings because of the pandemic.

“The first thing we have to do is get back to as close to normal as we can. I’m hoping that will happen when more people get vaccinated,” Munyon said. “And then, you know, we’ll be able to do jury trials at a much faster pace than we’re able to do them right now.”

Those would be for criminal and civil cases, Munyon said. She said for family cases, the in-person element will help move those along. She adds that although getting through the criminal pile-up will be difficult, the civil one is going to be the bigger challenge.

“Even in normal times, lawyers and litigants were waiting 18 months to get a jury trial in our civil division. And now with a year without any jury trials, that back in, that length of time has gotten much greater,” Munyon said. “So I think, ultimately, it’s going to take more judges in the civil division to get the backlog.”

Munyon said that she doesn’t think the courtroom will be the same. She thinks it will be close, but when we get back to normal, it will be a new normal. She said people will likely still wear masks and want to social distance.

“We may not be able to pack people in like sardines like we used to do for jury selection and put 50 people within, you know, a space now that you can only, with social distancing, fit less than 10,” Munyon said.

Munyon becomes chief justice on July 1.