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TFRW January Woman of Distinction


Renee Yanta is a judge for the 150th District Court in Bexar CountyTexas. She was elected in November 2014, effective January 1, 2015, for a term that expires on December 31, 2018.[1][2]

Yanta received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas. She earned her J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1993.[5]

Yanta previously served as a judge for the 73rd District Court from 2009 to 2012, having been appointed by Governor Rick Perry. She was a public school teacher for nine years before she went to law school. After finishing law school, Yanta worked in private practice as a litigator at Fulbright & Jaworski and then as head of the Appellate Practice Group at Cox Smith. She has been an adjunct law professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law and also speaks at continuing legal education courses.[5]

A large portion of Judge Yanta’s docket is family law cases — divorce, custody, child support, and child protection. For these often-difficult matters, Judge Yanta relies not only on her mastery of law, but also her tender heart for protecting children and rebuilding family. Her foundational principal in family law cases is to create stability, healing and collaboration.(1)

Following her heart for protecting children, in 2015, Judge Yanta created a court especially for teen girls in foster care. To address these girls’s  ever-present challenges, Judge Yanta innovated a therapeutic court that provides trauma-informed care, life – skill training, and profound mentoring and unconditional but tough love. Over 30 girls have been served by this special, community / court partnership, with amazing outcomes! PEARLS Court Girls have met every goal for the program, and in June 2017 celebrated the high school graduation of its first two Seniors.

Besides a full docket and thriving PEARLS Court, Judge Yanta stays focused on community service. She has been president / chair of numerous organizations, including the University of Incarnate Word Development Board, the St. Mary’s Law Alumni Association, the San Antonio Bar Foundation and the Bexar County Women’s Bar. She currently serves on the Bexar County Juvenile Board and the University Health Foundation Board. She is also a hands-on volunteer, helping at SA THREADS (a boutique for foster children), serving meals at SAMM Ministries, and having started a teenage pregnancy prevention program in the Harlandale ISD.(2)