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Justice Jane Bland, ’90, receives William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence

Justice Jane Bland, ’90, of the First Court of Appeals of Texas has been named recipient of the 2010 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

The Rehnquist Award is presented annually to a state court judge who exemplifies the highest level of judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts presented the award to Bland at a ceremony on the evening of Nov. 18 at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

“It is rare and wonderful for a judge to be so widely recognized as superb at her craft,” said Law School Dean Larry Sager. “UT Law is very lucky to be able to claim Justice Bland as our own, and the people of Texas are very lucky to have so remarkable a judge among their judiciary.”

Bland works on a Supreme Court-appointed Rules Advisory Committee for the dissemination of administrative rules for the judicial branch and procedural rules for the civil justice system. She also serves on the Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee and has served by appointment on the statewide Multi-District Litigation Panel and a Special Court of Review for an appeal from the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and is the administrator for the judicial intern program at the First Court of Appeals.

“Justice Bland has consistently been recognized for her judicial excellence,” said David J. Beck, ’65, former president of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Texas civil trial lawyer. In a letter nominating Bland for the Rehnquist Award, Beck highlighted her numerous recognitions: she was named Appellate Judge of the Year in 2007 and Trial Judge of the Year in 2003 by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists and “Best Civil Judge” by the Houston Press.

Bland was appointed to the First Court of Appeals by Governor Perry in December 2003 and was elected in 2004 and 2006. Before becoming an appellate judge, she served for six years as a civil trial judge, having been appointed by then-Governor George W. Bush in 1997, and elected in 1998 and 2002.

Before serving on the bench, she practiced with Baker Botts LLP, focusing on civil trial and appellate work. Before that, she clerked for Judge Thomas Gibbs Gee on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

She earned her law degree with high honors from the Law School, where she was Vice-Chancellor, an associate editor of the Texas Law Review, and a member of the Order of the Coif. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting and honors business, with highest honors, from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves as a member of the UT Law Alumni Association Executive Committee.

In 2003, the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists named her Trial Judge of the Year, and she received a President’s Award for her work on the Houston Bar Association’s administration of justice committee.

Contact: Julien Devereux, UT Law Communications, 512-232-2442, or jdevereux@law.utexas.edu

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