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TYLA’s Diversity Dinner Spotlights Women in the Judiciary
By: Laura Docker

Some nights it seems you have captured lightning in a bottle. That was exactly the feeling on April 8, 2015, as our esteemed panel of jurists began sharing their experiences with the crowd at this year’s TYLA Diversity Dinner. The Diversity Dinner is an annual event hosted by the TYLA Diversity Committee to enhance the discussion of diversity in the legal practice. The Diversity Committee has focused its attention this year on addressing issues and challenges specific to female attorneys, and the 2015 Diversity Dinner assembled four of the highest-ranking female jurists in the state for a panel discussion on women in the judiciary.

The panelists included Justice Eva M. Guzman and Justice Debra H. Lehrmann of the Texas Supreme Court and Judge Elsa Alcala and Judge Cheryl Johnson of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Supreme Court Justice Paul Green acted as moderator and led the discussion on a variety of topics related the panelists’ experiences on and off the bench.

The panel discussed the importance of a diverse judiciary—one that reflects the citizens of the state—but also made it clear that while a diverse judiciary allows for more trust by citizens in the judicial system as a whole, the gender or race of a particular judge has been shown to have little to no influence on the decisions handed down from the bench.  The panel also discussed the uphill battle often faced by female candidates for elected judicial positions, but they provided a message of hope to young attorneys that these obstacles could be overcome if you were willing to work harder (and sometimes smarter) than your opponent. 

The members of the TYLA Diversity Committee would like to express their heartfelt appreciation to the justices for sharing the evening with us and making this year’s Diversity Dinner one to remember.

LAURA DOCKER is a shareholder with Brackett & Ellis, P.C. in Fort Worth, Texas. Laura has significant experience representing individuals, medical professionals, schools, and other entities in a broad range of litigation matters in both state and federal courts throughout Texas. She practices in the areas of employment law, professional liability defense, school law, and personal injury defense.

Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.

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