Supreme Court of Texas Blog: Legal Issues Before the Texas Supreme Court

Debra Lehrmann – Place 3 Candidate

Party: Republican

Links to learn more: Campaign website, Facebook campaign page, and LinkedIn page.

SCOTXblog Q&A  About these questions

Why are you running for this office?

The caseload of the Texas Supreme Court involves an increasingly large number of children and families who are the subjects of litigation; however the Court does not have the level of family law and child protective service (CPS) experience that is necessary to handle these critically important cases. Having served as a family law judge for over 22 years, my election would fulfill the need for a jurist with this amount of family law experience. No other candidate in this race has this type of expertise.

What about your background prepares you for this office?

My 22 years of service as a judge is almost double the amount of judicial experience of any other candidate in this race. The type of court that I preside over requires a broad understanding of all types of matters handled by civil courts. Contested issues involve complex property, real estate, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, trusts, oil and gas, tax, torts, constitutional law, domestic violence and child protection. A strong grasp of civil procedure and evidence is also required, as cases are tried to both the bench and the jury.

In 2003, I was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to represent Texas as a Uniform Law Commissioner, responsible for drafting the many uniform codes adopted throughout the United States. As part of the Texas delegation to the Uniform Law Commission, I participate in the study and drafting of uniform acts that harmonize and bring efficiency and predictability to vital areas of interstate interaction. This experience affords me invaluable expertise in all areas of civil law.

I author two legal treatises which are updated yearly, Texas Annotated Family Code (Lexis Nexis?Matthew Bender) and Court Appointed Representation of Children in Texas Family Law Cases—A Practical Guide (Lexis Nexis?Matthew Bender). The author of numerous published articles, in 2003 I received the Texas Bar Foundation’s award for the best bar journal article of the year.

How should a voter think about casting their vote for an individual Justice, who will be one member of a nine-member Court?

Voters should consider the unique qualifications of the individual candidates, in light of the current make-up of the Court, to determine which candidate will best enhance the Court in terms of balance and expertise. The Court currently is deficient in child protection (CPS) and family law experience. My election would fill this void. As the author of Texas Annotated Family Code (Lexis Nexis?Matthew Bender), I read every case in this area of the law from our fourteen appellate districts and the Texas Supreme Court.

A proven commitment to the legal community and a demonstrated ability to work with others are important factors to consider when determining who to vote for. I have been an active leader within the legal profession for many years. I currently serve as the Chair?Elect the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA/FLS). I also serve as the Section’s liaison to the Judicial Division of the ABA. I am a past member of the Executive Committee of the Section Officer’s Conference (SOC) of the ABA.

I am a Past President of the Texas Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), a Past President of the Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association, and a Master Member of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court. I served on the Advisory Board of Tarrant County Dispute Resolution Services, am a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation, and am a Charter Member of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation.

In 2005, I received the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Scott Moore Award as recognition for outstanding contributions to families and children. In December of 2009, I received the prestigious Judge Eva Barnes Award for outstanding service, leadership, dedication and uncommon contributions to the legal profession. In 2000, I was recognized as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Tarrant County.