U.S. District Judge Alia Moses

Alia Moses standing at a podium and speaking.

Her sisters drew her to Texas Woman’s University, a professor boosted her admission to law school, and a series of mentors helped her navigate a tight path to a federal bench. Now, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses is helping others find solid footing of their own.

Moses became the first woman appointed to a federal bench in the sprawling Western District of Texas in 2002. The Western District stretches from Waco to Midland and includes a swath of South Texas, San Antonio and Austin. In her nearly 16 years on the district bench, Moses has presided over roughly 15,000 criminal and 2,000 civil cases.

It’s amazing how God puts these mentors in your life. I wonder if they realize what kind of impact they are having on you when they are your mentors.

Prior to her presidential appointment to the bench, Moses served as a federal magistrate judge in Del Rio. And before her selection as a magistrate judge, Moses served as federal prosecutor and an assistant county attorney. Every step of the way in her legal career, there was a mentor who helped open another door for her.

“It’s amazing how God puts these mentors in your life. I wonder if they realize what kind of impact they are having on you when they are your mentors,” Moses said.

Moses, who was raised in the tiny Texas farming community of Quemado, has fond memories of her time at TWU, where she became the fifth sister in her family to graduate from the university. She remembers meeting Maureen Stapleton, Carl Rogers and Arianna Huffington at Guinn Hall when it doubled as an inn for guests; there was the time she was a contestant in the Redbud pageant; and she still remembers savoring spoonbread at Hubbard Hall.

She developed a close bond with one of her government professors, Jim Alexander, who advised her on career decisions and secured a spot for her to take the LSAT exam. He also created a barrister’s club which brought in law school recruiters to visit with prospective students. She remains in contact with him to this day.

It is still very difficult for women in the legal profession. Women don’t make it into the equity ranks the way men do, and those of us who have had a good experience with the law need to help those who are just getting started in it.

As a federal judge, Moses has mentored dozens of law school students and courthouse workers. Each year, she receives up to 800 applications from every corner of the country for only three law clerk spots. Those selected routinely go on to careers with agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice or with some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms.

She remains in touch with every single one of her former law clerks. Last year, to commemorate her 15th year on the bench, many of them arranged for and attended an Austin celebration in her honor. Moses also frequently speaks at law conferences and is eager to help young lawyers and judges – particularly women.

“It is still very difficult for women in the legal profession,” Moses explained. “Women don’t make it into the equity ranks the way men do, and those of us who have had a good experience with the law need to help those who are just getting started in it.”

Page last updated 9:00 AM, September 14, 2018