Linda Yanez

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Linda Reyna Yañez
Texas Thirteenth District Court of Appeals Judge
Assumed office
Former lawyer

Linda Reyna Yañez was a judge on the Texas Thirteenth District Court of Appeals. She was appointed to this position by Governor Ann Richards in 1993.[1] Her term expired on December 31, 2010.[2]


Judge Yañez received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1970 and taught in an elementary classroom before attending Texas Southern University School of Law, where she obtained her J.D. in 1976. Yañez also holds a Master of Law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, 1998.[3]


During law school, Yañez served as a legal intern for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago (LAF), beginning work on LAF's Migrant Project, which focused on assisting farm workers with wage, hour, and working conditions claims. After completing her law degree, Yañez returned to LAF to begin her legal career, representing clients on a pro bono basis.

Yañez next worked for Texas Rural Legal Aid (TRLA), a federally-funded organization, assisting economically disadvantaged clients. During this time Yañez was part of a legal team that successfully argued for the right of all children to a public school education before the United States Supreme Court.

In private practice Yañez represented clients in immigration, family and federal criminal cases, eventually becoming the first female partner in the law firm of Weich and Black in Brownsville (now Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher, LLP). Yañez would later move to Chicago, where she served as Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Among other issues, Yañez focused on voting rights issues, becoming part of an award-winning legal team she partially credits for the election of the first Latino elected to Congress from the Midwest.[4]

Yañez was next appointed as a Clinical Instructor at the Harvard School of Law, where she taught an Immigration Clinic composed of international students. She would leave Harvard for Washington, D.C., being appointed to newly-elected President Bill Clinton's Immigration Transition Team.

In 1993, Governor Ann Richards appointed Yañez to the 13th Court of Appeals. She was the first woman to serve on this court and the first Latina to be appointed to the Texas appellate court system.[5]



Yañez was defeated in her bid for re-election by Greg Perkes in the general election.[6]

See also: Texas judicial elections, 2010


Justice Yañez was a Democratic candidate for the Texas Supreme Court, running for Place 8 against Republican incumbent Phil Johnson on November 4, 2008.[7] [8]

For a summary of the campaign contributions for Judge Phil Johnson, visit Follow the Money, Phil Johnson.

Candidate IncumbentSeatPartyElection %
Phil Johnson ApprovedA YesPlace 8Republican52.3%
Linda Yanez NoPlace 8Democratic44.6%
Drew Shirley NoPlace 8Libertarian3%


In a question and answer session with Charles Kuffner, a blogger who links to the Houston Chronicle, Yañez expounded on her reasons for running for Texas Supreme Court Justice:

I believe the Texas Supreme Court, as an institution, was created as a multi-member court because it is charged with the duty of having a true debate on the serious issues that come before it. A true debate takes place when different perspectives are brought to the table. Given the current make-up of the Supreme Court, this debate is not taking place. All nine members of the Supreme Court are from the same political party, which has unfortunately translated into a "groupthink" mentality in their deliberative process. While they may appear to have differing backgrounds, they are actually of one mindset in their approach to legal analysis and seemingly result oriented decision making.[5][9]

Learn more about Judge Yañez in an audio interview with The Houston Chronicle:Candidate Q&A with the Houston Chronicle.



Yañez ran for and lost a Texas Supreme Court race in 2002 against Michael Schneider (U.S. District Court), who was later appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Phil Johnson was appointed to replace Schneider in 2005.

Associations and Awards


  • American Law Institute
  • Harvard School of Law's Trial Advocacy Workshop
  • State Bar of Texas Court Administration Task Force
  • State Bar of Texas Committee on Pattern Jury Charge - Intentional Torts & General Negligence.
  • Faculty, National Judicial College, 2006.
  • Board of directors, National Legal Aid & Defenders Association


  • Service Award, Mexican American Bar Association Foundation, 2007
  • Judicial Pioneer Award - Hispanic Issues Section, State Bar of Texas, 2006
  • Extraordinary Woman Award, Women Together Foundation, 2006
  • Reynaldo G. Garza Lifetime Achievement Award - Hispanic Issues Section, State Bar of Texas, 2001
  • Distinguished Judicial Career, Hispanic Women's Network of Texas, 2001
  • Lawyer of the Year, Mexican American Bar Association of Texas, 1990

See also

External links