District Judge Debra Lehrmann has announced that she is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Texas Supreme Court, to succeed Justice Harriet O’Neill who has announced her retirement. Judge Lehrmann is the only Tarrant County candidate to announce her intention to run for this office. She currently serves as District Judge of the 360th Judicial District in Fort Worth, Texas, and has served as a judge in Tarrant County for more than 22 years.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Judge Lehrmann graduated with high honors from the University of Texas in 1979 and the University of Texas School of Law in 1982. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she practiced family law with the Fort Worth law firm of Law, Snakard & Gambill. In 1990, she was recognized as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Tarrant County. An acknowledged legal scholar and published author, she received the Texas Bar Foundation’s award for the best bar journal article of the year in 2003.
Judge Lehrmann has been a committed member of the legal profession for many years. She is a past president of the Texas Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), is a master member of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court, served on the Advisory Board of Tarrant County Dispute Resolution Services, is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation, and is a charter member of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation.
Judge Lehrmann actively participates in the national legal community, as well. In 2003, she was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to represent Texas as a Uniform Law Commissioner. Judge Lehrmann has participated in revisions of the Uniform Commercial Code, Uniform Probate Code, and Uniform Trust Code. Additionally, she served as the Chair of the ULC drafting committee on the Uniform Relocation of Children Act and on the committee which created a uniform law on the court appointed representation of children.
Judge Lehrmann maintains an active presence in the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA/FLS), and currently serves as its Chair‐Elect. She also serves as the Section’s liaison to the Judicial Division of the ABA.
As part of her dedication to the practice of law and training of lawyers, she speaks frequently at continuing legal education events throughout the state and country, and is a regular lecturer at Texas Wesleyan School of Law. She authors 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).
In 2005, Judge Lehrmann received the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Scott Moore Award as recognition for her service in the judiciary as a child advocate. Most recently, in December of 2009, she will receive the prestigious Judge Eva Barnes Award for her dedication and outstanding service to the legal profession.
The 360th District Court is a general jurisdiction court that is charged with the duty to give priority to family law cases, including those filed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Presiding over this type of court 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 many cases are tried to both the bench and the jury.
The caseload of the Texas Supreme Court involves large numbers of children and families who are the subjects of litigation. The election of Judge Lehrmann fulfills the need for a jurist experienced with the intricacies of these cases. Judge Lehrmann has been involved with the creation and implementation of the Texas Supreme Court’s Permanent Commission for Children, Youth and Families for the past several years. She currently serves on a committee dealing with the court‐appointed representation of children in abuse and neglect cases through the commission.
“Having had the opportunity to work with Harriet O’Neill on the Supreme Court Commission on Children, Youth and Families, I was saddened when I hear that she was stepping down from the court. However, I was also thrilled that I would have a chance to run for this position. We need Justices on the Supreme Court with my conservative legal philosophy of strict interpretation of the laws and Constitution, as well as strong opposition to legislating from the bench,” said Lehrmann. “I look forward to talking about these values with Texas voters.”
Judge Lehrmann, a Harris County native, has lived in Northeast Tarrant County for over 26 years. Judge Lehrmann and her husband, Greg, have two young adult sons, Gregory and Jonathan. They are active members of First United Methodist Church of Colleyville.