Justice Debra H. Lehrmann has served on the Supreme Court of Texas since June 21, 2010; prior to this appointment, she served as a family law trial judge for 23 years. She serves as the Court’s liaison to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline, the Texas Association for Court Administration, the State Bar Family Law Section, the Family Law Council and the Texas Attorney-Mediator Coalition. 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. She was recently awarded her LLM in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law.
During her 27 years of judicial service—first as a trial judge and then on the Supreme Court—she has consistently and deliberately ruled in a manner that is in step with her conservative judicial philosophy. She strongly believes that judges should never legislate from the bench and should always rely on the Legislature’s plain language when interpreting the law. Her appellate record on the Supreme Court is reflective this. As a trial judge, she presided over the 360th District Court, a general jurisdiction court that is charged with the duty to give priority to family lawcases, 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.
Prior to her judicial service, Justice Lehrmann practiced law with Law, Snakard & Gambill in Fort Worth, Texas. She handled complex family law matters, including cases involving intellectual property, real estate, corporations and other business entities, mergers and acquisitions, securities, oil and gas, tax, torts, and other highly technical matters. She also handled a broad scope of child and other family related matters including child protection and domestic violence; prior to that, she worked as the Lead Prosecutor and Director of the Enforcement Division of the Tarrant County Domestic Relations Office.
As an active member of the legal profession for many years, Justice Lehrmann’s service to the Bar extends beyond the boundaries of Texas. She is a past chair the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA/FLS), a commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), and a member of the American Law Institute (ALI). In additional to her national work, she is a past president of the Lloyd Lochridge Inn of Court, is an emeritus member of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court, is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation, is a charter member of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation, is a past president of the Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association, is a past president of the Texas Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), and served on the Advisory Board of Tarrant County Dispute Resolution Services.
As part of her dedication to the practice of law and training of lawyers, she speaks frequently at continuing legal education events on a broad variety of topics throughout the state and country, and is the author of Texas Annotated Family Code (Lexis Nexis-Matthew Bender) and Court-Appointed Representation of Children (Lexis Nexis-Matthew Bender). In 2003, she received the Texas Bar Foundation’s award for the best bar journal article of the year: The Child’s Voice—an Analysis of the Methodology Used To Involve Children in Custody Litigation.
In 2005, Justice Lehrmann received the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Scott Moore Award as recognition for her service to children who are the subjects of abuse and neglect proceedings. In 2009, she received the prestigious Judge Eva Barnes Award for dedication and outstanding service to the legal profession, and in 2011 she received the Tarrant County Parenting Center’s Hand-in-Hand Award for outstanding contribution in improving the lives of children and families. In 2010, she was recognized by the Fort Worth Business Press as a Texas Woman of Influence, and in 2014 she was recognized as a Legendary Local of Fort Worth by Arcadia Publishing Company. In 1990, she was recognized as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Tarrant County.
She has been married to Greg Lehrmann, J.D. for thirty-two years. They have two adult sons, Gregory Alan, a graduate of UCLA and a student at Pepperdine University School of Law, and Jonathan William, a graduate of The University of Texas and a student at The University of Texas School of Law.
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