Murphy Resident to Serve as Judge of Newly Created District Court
Murphy resident, Andrea Bouressa, was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to be the judge of the newly formed 471st Judicial District Court in Collin County. This appointment will be effective Sept. 1, 2019.
Bouressa explained the need for the 471st Judicial District Court, “Our county currently has 11 district courts. Come Sept. 1, that number will increase to 13. The increase is in direct response to the significant population growth, not just in terms of residents, but in terms of businesses. Businesses bring civil matters to the county. What was determined was that the greatest areas of growth in Collin County in the judicial system were in the family courts and the civil cases. These two courts were created to address that growing caseload to alleviate some of the burdens on the existing courts which are operating at an efficiency level that is difficult to imagine. Our courts have 2,000 cases a piece that they are handling. This will increase efficiency, speed up trial dates and will help get a case from point A to point B much faster.”
This is the first district court in Collin County that is statutorily directed to prioritize civil cases. It will have a purely civil docket. Bouressa said, “That is something we have not had in Collin County. This will benefit the business community in being able to get their cases disposed of efficiently without competing for court time with family and criminal cases.” A few examples of civil cases are car accidents, breach of contract, property disputes and fraud claims. Basically, anything that is not a family or criminal case.
Bouressa decided she wanted to be a lawyer in 2004 when she was in graduate school. She worked in constituent services in a government office and became enthralled with the idea of being an advocate. She said, “…To advocate for people who had a problem and couldn’t communicate the problem or didn’t have the information to be effective in solving their issue on their own, that is what propelled me to law school.”
When describing success stories, she said, “Sometimes it’s the small cases that have the bigger impact. I had one client who was sued in relation to an alleged debt. There were a multitude of miscommunications. The person did not have the resources to sift through them all…to this person it could have been financially devastating. Being able to help this person…to work out a resolution was very meaningful because I knew it had a significant impact on the client’s life.” The cases that really stand out to her are the cases where she didn’t just resolve a case but helped better a person’s life.
Lessons she has learned while being a lawyer, “Kindness goes a long way. All too often, when parties are at odds, especially in business, people can forget how effective and productive general courtesy can be.” She adds, “A few things our profession really values are professionalism, common courtesy and generally upholding high ethical standards for the bar. Civility is extremely important. I’ve seen the benefits and detriments of either showing or withholding civility in litigation, and that is something I will carry with me.”
Bouressa provides advice to those interested in pursuing a career such as this, “Take it seriously. It is a significant commitment, not just professionally for your time and talent, but once you take on a client, you have an obligation that you are required to put the client foremost in your decision making. It’s not a decision to take lightly. At the same time, don’t take yourself too seriously. Everyone who is practicing law is a human being, we’re all learning as we encounter new situations. We’re dealing with new legal issues or unsettled questions, we’re continually learning. Take the job seriously, but give yourself grace and be willing to learn and grow.”
Regarding Bouressa’s appointment, Representative Candy Noble said that Bouressa has “…immense respect for the Constitution and rule of law…” Bouressa explained what that means to her, “My general philosophy is that every person who walks into the courtroom should be on equal footing. Every person who walks into the courtroom should expect the same level of courtesy, same respect, same application of the law. It should be an equalizer, walking into that courtroom. I think that Rep. Noble understands that I value that tremendously as part of my judicial philosophy. I want every person to feel that even if they disagree with the outcome, they are pleased to have had their day in court. To feel that they were heard and that their position was presented and fully considered.” She has been an associate judge on several cases. She is currently in the process of closing her private practice.
When she received the phone call notifying her that she had received this position she said, “It was a thrill. I feel very honored and privileged to be entrusted with the very first civil docket in Collin County at the district level. It’s a tremendous honor.” Regarding her family’s reaction to the news, Bouressa said, “My husband was very excited for me. He knows this is something that I wanted and had been hoping for the opportunity to do. He appreciates how important it is to me to set an example to our daughters that there are no limits to what they can accomplish.”
The 471st Judicial District Court will be located at the Collin County Courthouse in McKinney. Civil trials can be a bench or jury trial.
This position will become subject to the same election cycle as other district courts. It has a four-year term. The next election cycle will be in 2020. Bouressa is preparing to run to keep this seat for the next four-year term.
Bouressa received a Bachelor of Science in sociology and a minor in psychology from Texas A&M University (2002), a Master of Science in sociology from the University of North Texas (2005), and a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law (2008).
In Bouressa’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her children and volunteering at their school.