More than 20 of Texas’ intermediate appellate justices lost their seats in November’s election, which saw historic numbers of Democrats elected, draining the bench of decades of experience and setting off a flurry of hiring activity as law firms clamored to add the ousted judges to their ranks.
Texas has 14 intermediate appellate courts with 80 justices. More than a quarter lost their seats, and much of the turnover came on the appellate courts in the state's largest cities — Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.
That meant a sudden surplus of ousted judges looking for new ways to deploy their appellate expertise.
The opportunities the former justices had when deciding what step to take next were numerous and diverse, according to Bob Croyle, the Houston partner practice group director for legal recruiting firm Major Lindsey & Africa.
“Certainly with any opportunity for firms to add somebody with this experience, at this level of the appellate practice, the competition is going to be fierce,” he said. “There are firms out there looking for people with this type of experience, and I think ... the former justices' personal and professional goals are driving what direction they go.”