Join us for monthly section meetings the first Wednesday of each month at the Exxon Petroleum Club of Houston, located at 800 Bell Street, 43rd Floor, Houston, Texas 77002.

The next meeting will be:    May 7, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.

Topic: “E-Nuff!: Practical Tips for Keeping Emails from Derailing Your Case

Presented by:

Jerry Mitchell

Plus “Interesting Cases by Sallee Smyth”

For additional information or to make your reservation, click here.


Important Announcement Regarding the 311th Judicial District Court from Hon. David Farr

Members of the HBA Family Law Section: 

I’m sure that all of you have by now heard the news of Judge Pratt’s resignation effective this past Friday.  This is just a short note to bring everyone up to speed on the way forward as to that docket in the weeks (or months) ahead.  I have met with the staff of the 311th and have (re)sworn Judge Newey and the court reporter so that there will be no legal challenges as to those positions moving forward.  Additionally, there will be NO staff changes made at this time.  I have requested that Judge Newey identify any cases that may be in immediate need of trial or attention and I am asking for your cooperation in hearing any of those trials (if necessary) over the next several weeks.  I will also be requesting the same of some of the civil judges that have been willing to hear family cases in the past.  I will also be requesting that the clerk and coordinator identify immediately any orders that are in need of signature or renditions that may be pending final resolution and I will take care of those issues in the 312th immediately.  If any of these situations apply to a case on your personal docket then please advise Patricia Plotkin and she will coordinate with the 311th court coordinator to have those cases heard by myself or another family or civil trial judge as soon as possible. 

 Additionally, I have confirmed Judge Doug Warne’s availability to sit as a visiting judge for several weeks in the 311th beginning tomorrow.  I am moving forward under the assumption that there may not be a judicial appointment in the 311th until at least June 1, 2014 so I am planning coverage around that assumption.  Obviously, the appointment/political process is outside of my control so I am planning for long term coverage and hoping for earlier resolution.  I am hopeful that we will be able to obtain effective and productive visiting judge coverage for most if not all of that time if necessary.  To that end, I have attached to this email new policies and procedures effective immediately in the 311th pursuant to my authority as the Administrative Judge of the Harris County Family Courts and it is my hope that these interim policies will address some of the challenges that the 311th has faced in recent months.  This will obviously be a stressful situation for Judge Newey and the entire staff of the 311th court and I appreciate your help moving forward.  Any questions as to specific cases or policies and procedures in the 311th should be directed to my staff for management.  Thanks, ddf.  

David D. Farr

Presiding Judge
312th Family District Court
Administrative Judge 
Harris County Family Courts 
Phone:  (713) 755-6941

Update from Hon. David Farr

It is now anticipated that the first day of court operations for the 246th, 257th, 309th and 312th courts on the 16th floor of the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline will be May 27, 2014.  Judges York, Warne, Dean and Farr all request that you modify your future trial and hearing notices accordingly.  Thanks, ddf. 

Runoff Elections

Election day voting is May 10 for the runoff races in the Republican and Democratic primaries. Visit Harris Votes.org for additional information or click here to find your election day poll and view voter specific ballot.


 LegalLine Volunteers Needed

We need your help! The HBA Family Law Section is committed to provide 2 family law specialists for each of the HBA’s LegalLine programs – an attorney for each shift: 5pm to 7pm and 7pm to 9pm. We need volunteers to staff the next six months. Please contact Brett Bosker at babosker@pbgfamilylaw.com.


Online HBA Dues Renewal Now Available

 As a Houston Bar Association member, you can now conveniently renew your dues and manage your HBA membership account online.

To begin using this new feature, you will first need to create your online account by using the email address where you receive your HBA email announcements.  Once created, you will be able to manage your HBA account at your convenience.  To create your online account, please click here.

Current only Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.

For assistance or further information, please contact the HBA Membership Department at 713-759-1133.

Please note:

  • In creating your online account, please do not use your state bar number as your user name; only use the email address where you received this email. This email address is already in our HBA database and will be used to recognize your account.
  • Please remember to renew section membership during the online renewal process. If you do not join or renew your section membership at the time you pay your dues online, you will have to renew your section membership through submitting a paper application by mail with a check for section dues. Click here to download PDF application form.