A Sarasota native, Judge Susan H. Rothstein-Youakim graduated from Pine View School in 1987. She graduated in 1990 from Duke University with a B.A. in Russian, cum laude, and in 1993 from the University of Florida College of Law, where she was an Executive Articles Editor on the Florida Journal of International Law.
After law school, Judge Rothstein-Youakim moved to Tampa and began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Charles R. Wilson, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, who was then a federal magistrate judge. In January 1995, Judge Rothstein-Youakim joined the Appellate Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. There, she represented the United States and its client agencies in criminal, civil, and post-conviction appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, personally drafting more than 600 briefs and presenting approximately 60 oral arguments. She also served as an instructor at the Department of Justice's National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
In May 2016, Governor Rick Scott appointed Judge Rothstein-Youakim to the Second District Court of Appeal, and she began her service on the court on July 5, 2016. She is active in the Bruce R. Jacob-Chris W. Altenbernd Criminal Appellate American Inn of Court and received its Altenbernd Award for Excellence in 2015. She also serves as a mentor to students in elementary school, college, and law school.