Judicial Q&A: Ursula Hall

(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for Democratic judicial candidates on the November ballot. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. These Q&As are primarily intended for candidates who were not in contested primaries. You can see those earlier Q&As, as well as all the ones in this series and all my recorded interviews for this cycle, on my 2010 Elections page.)

1. Who are you, and what are you running for?

My name is Ursula A. Hall. I am known as a rigorous worker, an extraordinarily gifted advocate, a compassionate person and a paragon of patience as a lawyer and a sitting municipal judge. I am an excellent mind, a lover of learning, and a generous spirit. I am a graduate of local, public magnet schools, Wellesley College and South Texas College of Law. I am an optimist, a realist and a dedicated civil servant. And, I am a candidate for state judicial office. I am running for Judge of the 189th Civil District Court.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

This court hears all civil cases, except family and probate cases, ranging in content from simple to complex. (The court does not hear criminal cases). The court hears commercial, personal injury, death and other disputes, which include claims about accounts, employment, deceptive trade practices, product liability, workers compensation, defective products and more.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

This particular bench is among those most in need of change and diversity in its judicial leadership. As a sitting municipal judge, I bring a rich cultural heritage, a record of public service, a strong belief in our justice system, Spanish language skills and a deep care and concern for fairness, respectful treatment of others and intellectual integrity.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

Integrity. Legal knowledge and ability. Professional experience. Judicial temperament. Diligence. Good physical and mental health. Financial responsibility and public service. These qualities are used by The Judicial Administration Division Lawyers’ Conference of the American Bar Association to assess the qualifications of candidates for State Judicial Office:

I am qualified by my merit in each of these recommended areas. I have demonstrated integrity unassailable integrity. My legal knowledge and ability has been established by over thirteen years of practice in state and federal, trial and appellate courts. I have direct, specifically relevant professional experience as a sitting judge. My judicial temperament is outstanding (as discussed above). I am diligent beyond measure, as my law school and legal career demonstrate. I have no mental or physical impairments. I labor under no financial pressures that threaten my independence and impartiality. And I have been serving the public, in a variety of ways, since I was nine years old when I registered my first voter on behalf of a local union hall.

5. Why is this race important?

Every judicial race is extremely important. Every judge has a profound and immeasurably far-reaching impact on society — not just the lives of those who appear in court, but also those whose lives are changed by case law developments.

6. Why should people vote for you in November?

People should vote for me in the in November because I have judicial experience, intellectual integrity and demonstrated servant-leadership. I have adjudicated thousands of cases, as a judge, and presided over trials, using the exact same rules of evidence by which the 189th Civil District Court is governed and state-level rules of procedure. During my time on the bench, I have earned a good reputation among citizens who have appeared before me and court staff for my exceptional judicial demeanor, which includes common sense, compassion, decisiveness, firmness, humility, open-mindedness, patience, tact and understanding.

Intellectual integrity includes the virtues of honesty, courage, fairness, sensitivity, perceptiveness and insightfulness, intellectual humility, perseverance, adaptability and communicativeness. Over the last five years, in my work as a judge, I have learned to strike a balance between decisiveness and deliberation, as well as impartiality and openness to the views of others. Regularly, I refuse to suppress counter-arguments and consistently acknowledge help.

And I am a servant leader who never loses sight of the reality that no staff, courtroom or bench will ever be “mine”. Rather, each always has and always will belong to and work for the public. I recognize that good court administration is a collective exercise, requiring the talents of bailiffs, clerks, administrators and many others.

For additional reasons one should vote for me, and additional information, please go to www.judgeursulahall.com.

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