On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Associate Judges’ Luncheon hosted by the Houston Bar Association’s Family Law Section (and emcee’d by my colleague and current HBA FLS chair, Liza Greene!). It was an informative meeting, with each of the AJs recognizing their court’s staff and providing helpful suggestions for the attorneys and staff in attendance. For example, Associate Judge Meca Walker of the 311th Judicial District provided a top five tips for practitioners in her court: 1) Know the filing date of significant pleadings so that the Court can quickly scroll down and find them during a hearing; 2) If you have a hearing within 24 hours after a motion is filed, verify the pleading is in the Court’s file. The filer will receive both an envelope number and an acknowledgement of receipt from the clerk; 3) Notify the Court of consolidated cases as the computer system does not inform a judge of when a case has been consolidated with or is related to another; 4) Remember that a Court cannot consolidate disposed cases. First file a motion to modify and then a motion to consolidate; 5) For the judges’ convenience, either fill in the date on a proposed order or don’t leave a blank that will require the judge to open and amend the order (For this reason, I start my proposed orders with “On this day, the Court considered…”).
Judge David Farr of the 312th, filling in for his own AJ, made two big announcements at the end of the program. The first is that the probability of having a long-rumored new district court in Harris County is looking ever more likely (as noted on the HBA FLS webpage).
Also, he announced that the Harris County family law courts are investigating promulgation of uniform procedural rules for the family law courts, so that there is less confusion for practitioners about which court requires what. “I’m not saying we’re trying to kill this program,” he said, “but we’re trying to kill this program.”
Finally, Sallee Smyth’s Interesting Cases included a summary of In re D.B.J., 14-14-00285-CV, 2015 Tex.App. LEXIS 1710 (Tex.App.–Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 24, 2015), a case I had previously blogged about.