Bonie Sudderth serves as the Chief Justice of the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, Texas.
Having grown up in a family of lawyers, Bonnie Sudderth has always viewed the practice of law as a noble profession which plays an important role in society in protecting individual rights and defending constitutional principles. For that reason, Chief Justice Sudderth passionately believes that attorneys should aspire, both personally and professionally, to live by example and to use their training and talents to seek justice and equity for all. During her career, Chief Justice Sudderth has worked tirelessly to promote the highest ethical standards among attorneys and judges alike.
Early in her judicial career, Chief Justice Sudderth served as a Commissioner for the Texas Judicial Conduct Commission, the disciplinary agency for all judges throughout Texas. As a Commissioner, Chief Justice Sudderth helped ensure that local and state judges adhered to the Canons of Ethics and were held accountable when they did not.
While Chief Justice Sudderth recognizes the necessity of policing and enforcing the ethical rules which govern the conduct of lawyers and judges, she believes that the best way to foster high standards of conduct is through education and professional development, and she has devoted her professional life to that end. For more than twenty years, Chief Justice Sudderth has been a Member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, an honorary society of lawyers who are among the best-trained attorneys in Texas. Members are admitted to the College by demonstrating a strong commitment to high ethical standards and professional education. To maintain her membership in the College, each year Chief Justice Sudderth completes twice the amount continuing legal education training that is required for lawyers.
For almost a decade, Chief Justice Sudderth has been active in the American Inns of Court, a movement which is devoted to promoting professionalism, civility, ethics and excellent legal skills among the American bench and bar. American Inns of Court are patterned after the English Inns of Court and are designed to help lawyers, especially young lawyers, to become more effective advocates by providing them with an opportunity to develop professional relationships with more experienced lawyers and judges in their community. This collegial approach to learning fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of decorum, civility and professional standards which leads to excellence in the practice of law. It also serves as a source of renewal and inspiration in the joy and zest of legal advocacy among more experienced lawyers who actively participate in the activities of the Inn.
Chief Justice Sudderth has been an active leader in her own local Inn of Court, the Eldon B. Mahon Inn in Fort Worth, Texas. Over the years, she has achieved the status of Emeritus Master of the Bench, and in 2013, Chief Justice Sudderth was inducted into the Serjeant’s Inn, an honorary position which recognizes distinguished service to the Inn and dedication to its purpose. In 2014, Chief Justice Sudderth was bestowed the highest honor given by the Eldon B. Mahon Inn of Court when she was designated as a James B. Barlow Emeritus Fellow. Chief Justice Sudderth is one of only three such designees, and the only woman to have been so honored.
As President of the Eldon B. Mahon Inn, Chief Justice Sudderth was among a small delegation of American Inn leaders invited to participate in an Amity Visit to London in 2011 as guests of the Middle Temple, one of the four English Inns of Court. As a member of the delegation, Chief Justice Sudderth received an insider’s view of London courts as she personally visited with English judges from the criminal trial courts in Old Bailey to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. During this visit, Chief Justice Sudderth was immersed in the rich history of common law, walking hallways, dining at tables and sitting at desks which men such as Sir Thomas More, William Blackstone and Benjamin Disraeli once occupied. Upon return to the United States, Chief Justice Sudderth reported to her local Inn that the visit enriched her understanding of the legal history, tradition and foundation of American common law, while reminding her of the unique position that the United States holds as a nation governed by the rule of law, not man. Chief Justice Sudderth was invited back on the American Inns of Court 2014 Visit to the Inner Temple Inn. One of the highlights of that visit included a visit to the Hours of Lords to hear an important debate on a new cyber crime law.
Throughout her career, Chief Justice Sudderth has made an extraordinary commitment to the enhancement her profession, and she continues to do so as she frequently writes and lectures to an audience of young and aspiring lawyers on the importance of ethics and professionalism in the practice of law. One of her most popular series of articles, Five Adages for Advocates, explores how old adages, such as “two wrongs don’t make a right,” can apply to the practice of law today.
Political advertisement paid for by Chief Justice Bonnie Sudderth Campaign in compliance with the voluntary limits of the Judicial Fairness Act.
Not paid for at taxpayer expense.