Bridging the Gap Between People and Possibilities



About Me

Bridgett E. Ortega

Dr. Bridgett E. Ortega is the Principal of Building Better Bridges Consulting, LLC, Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and a Sr. Consultant for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, American University Justice Programs Office and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She holds a Doctorate in Organizational Management is a lawyer and is the Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU. Dr. Ortega has spent over 30 years working for criminal and juvenile justice reform. She is a National Trainer on subjects dealing with Juvenile and Adult Drug Courts, Compassion Fatigue, Enhancing Judicial Skills in Domestic Violence, Equity and Inclusion, Cultural Competence, Family Engagement, Keeping Children Safe at Parental Arrest, Improving Outcomes for Children of the Incarcerated and all things Juvenile Justice. Dr. Ortega was formerly Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures Initiative, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening in the lives of young people with substance abuse and other issues that bring them into the justice system. Dr. Ortega was featured in the ABC Nightline “Kids in Court” series and the Frontline Juvenile Justice documentary, and in 1998 she was awarded the ABA Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for outstanding advocacy in juvenile justice. In 2013 Dr. Ortega received the NAACP Freedom Fund Civil and Human Rights Award. In December of 2018 she was recognized by the National Juvenile Defender Center as a champion for juvenile justice for her work in defending youth rights. Dr. Ortega co-founded the Santa Clara County California Juvenile Treatment Court with the Honorable Judge Thomas Edwards for which she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. Her published dissertation is entitled, Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice. She is affectionately known as Dr. Uma by her 15 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and all the children she embraces.

Current and Former Client List

  • National Association of Drug Court Professionals
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • American University Justice Program Office
  • Colorado Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts
  • San Francisco Police Department
  • San Francisco Sheriff’s Department
  • Fulton County Juvenile Court
  • Community Works West
  • San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents
  • Futures Without Violence
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women