Justice Debra Lehrmann is the longest serving female Supreme Court Justice in Texas history and serves as the Senior Justice on the Court. With over 35 years of judicial experience, having served as a trial judge in Tarrant County for 23 years prior to her appellate service, she has a proven record of enforcing the rule of law across the board and never legislating from the bench.
She has been elected twice to the Court since her 2010 gubernatorial appointment; in 2022 she received more votes than any other candidate in the Texas primary. She consistently receives high approval ratings in Judicial Bar Polls, and in the 2022 Judicial Bar Poll she received more votes than any other judicial candidate. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Justice Lehrmann graduated from The University of Texas with high honors in 1979 and from The University of Texas School of Law in 1982. She received her LL.M. degree from Duke Law’s Master of Judicial Studies in 2016.
In addition to being the court of last resort in all civil and juvenile cases, the Supreme Court is the overseer of the 3rd branch of government. Justice Lehrmann is honored to spend an enormous amount of time and energy on these administrative duties. She serves as the Court’s liaison to:
- The State Bar of Texas
- The Permanent Commission on Children, Youth and Families
- The State Bar of Texas Family Law Section
These entities are charged with the duty to serve the public good, and consequently have a huge impact upon all Texans. Justice Lehrmann takes these responsibilities very seriously and is committed to ensure that all Texans are served by this important work.
She is also committed to ensuring that all persons have equal access to justice. Because denial of justice to one individual amounts to denial of justice for every Texan, the Court has made great progress in this area during her tenure on the Court. She intends to use her foundational knowledge and hands-on experience to continue this critical work.
Awards and recognitions:
The recipient of numerous awards and recognitions over the years, Justice Lehrmann received the 2021 Texas Women Lawyers Pathfinders Award, for championing the advancement of women and for exemplifying professionalism, leadership, and commitment to the public interest. In 2022, she received the Champion for Children Award, for commitment to abused children. In 2020, she received the State Bar Child Protection Law Section Founder’s Award in recognition of her significant contribution to establishment of the section. In 2011, she received the Tarrant County Parenting Center’s Hand-in Hand Award for outstanding contributions to improving the lives of children and families, and in 2009 she received the prestigious Judge Eva Barnes Award for outstanding service to the legal profession. In 2005, she received the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Scott Moore Award, in recognition of her service to children who are the subjects of abuse and neglect proceedings. In 1990, she was recognized as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Tarrant County.
In 2003, Justice Lehrmann received the Texas Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Bar Journal Article Award for “The Child’s Voice—an Analysis of the Methodology Used to Involve Children in Custody Litigation.” As part of her dedication to the practice of law and training of lawyers, she frequently speaks at continuing legal education events on a broad variety of topics throughout the state and country. She is the author of Texas Annotated Family Code (Lexis Nexis-Matthew Bender) and Court-Appointed Representation of Children—A Practical Guide for Attorneys (Lexis Nexis-Matthew Bender).
Nationally known, Justice Lehrmann is a:
- Past-Chair of the American Bar Association Family Law Section
- Commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission
- Member of the American Law Institute
- Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Justice Lehrmann has also been an active leader in the Texas legal community for many years. She has served as:
- Inaugural Chair of the State Bar of Texas Child Protection Law Section
- Emeritus member and President of the Lloyd Lochridge Inn of Court in Austin
- Emeritus member of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court in Fort Worth
- President of the Texas Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
- Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
- Charter member of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation
- President of the Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association
- Member of the Advisory Board of Tarrant County Dispute Resolution Services
Justice Lehrmann and her husband, Greg, have two adult sons, both practicing attorneys, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren, Jack (age 2) and Haley (age 1).