Justice Beth Watkins has spent her career representing Texas families, victims of discrimination, injured workers, and consumers as they seek justice in Texas appellate courts. Her experience representing those people whose lives have been changed through no fault of their own has shaped her view of how the justice system works.
Fourth Court of Appeals
Justice Beth Watkins was elected to the Fourth Court of Appeals, Place 2 in 2018. Beth is a Democrat. This Court covers 32 counties in South and Central Texas, and more than 3,000,000 people live in its district. Seven justices sit on that Court—six Democrats and one Republicans.
Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law
Beth is board certiﬁed in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Beth is the only justice currently sitting on the Fourth Court of Appeals who is board certiﬁed in civil appellate law. She hopes that her expertise might bring an added element of stability and predictability to the opinions of the Fourth Court of Appeals.
Beth is committed to public service. She has served as President of the San Antonio Bar Association, the San Antonio Bar Foundation, and the Community Justice Foundation. She currently serves on the State Bar of Texas’s Grievance Committee, and on the Board of Editors for the State Bar’s Texas Bar Journal. Beth currently serves on the amicus committee of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and recently rolled off of the Board of Directors of the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association.
Born and raised in San Antonio
Beth was born and raised in San Antonio. She left Texas for college, graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1999, but came home and earned her J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2002. While in law school, Beth competed on St. Mary’s moot court team and won the American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition and was recognized as the best speaker in the nation. She was also inducted into the National Order of Barristers and received the Patricia L. Scott Award—an accolade reserved for St. Mary’s most outstanding advocate.
Beth lives in a historic home that routinely tests how closely she watches episodes of This Old House. She is owned by two Labs—one yellow and one black—so she has to lint roll every article of clothing she owns. Their ability to chew furniture is world renowned.
More about Beth Watkins
Texas Fourth Court of Appeals—Associate Justice, Place 2 January 2019 – present
Watkins Appeals PLLC—Attorney September 2003 – December 2018
- serving as counsel in more than 200 appeals through October of 2018
- handling civil and criminal appeals before state and federal appellate courts
- performing legal research, writing appellate briefs, and presenting oral argument
- providing trial support on dispositive motions, bench briefs, and jury charges
Interim Institutional Legal Research Manager Fall 2015 – Summer 2017
- oversaw a team of upper-level law students performing legal research and writing projects
Adjunct Professor of Law Fall 2006 – Spring 2016
- taught legal research and writing to first-year law students
Associate Director-Office of Academic Excellence Fall 2005 – Spring 2008
- worked with law students to strengthen their writing and studying skills
Fourth Court of Appeals August 2002 – August 2003
Briefing Attorney for Justice Catherine M. Stone
- Prepared memoranda and draft opinions for the Court’s consideration
When Beth's position working for Justice Catherine M. Stone at the Fourth Court of Appeals ended, she started her own law firm. Beth has owned and operated her own law firm from September of 2003 through December of 2018. She spent fifteen years representing hardworking Texans in various appellate courts. She represented clients before almost every appellate court in the State of Texas—including the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. She also represented clients before the US Court of Appeals the Fifth Circuit, and before the US Supreme Court.
Beth represented plaintiffs, so she fought for workers who were hurt on the job, consumers who were injured by a product that didn’t perform as it was supposed to, victims of discrimination, and family members of those who were killed by someone else’s negligence.
Beth sometimes represented plaintiffs before the trial courts of Texas. When trial lawyers needed a hand with some of the more complex elements of a case—elements that appellate courts scrutinize on appeal—they sometimes asked her to serve as a second set of eyes or a second set of hands on a case. She helped by responding to motions for summary judgment and other dispositive motions, and by drafting and arguing jury charges. Beth also helped craft judgments, and draft, respond to, and argue motions for new trial.
More often, though, Beth got a phone call from someone after they had won a case at trial and the defendant had appealed. She usually got involved once the trial was over, and represented her clients through every stage of the appeal. Beth would file the notice of appeal, handle all the administrative aspects of the appeal, read the appellate record, perform legal research, draft the appellate brief, review the other side’s brief, and draft a reply brief if necessary. She also performed oral argument if it was requested by the appellate court.
Beth Watkins also challenged the rulings of courts of appeals she didn't agree with, and took cases to the Texas Supreme Court and to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. She even challenged bad rulings all the way to the US Supreme Court and won.
St. Mary's University School of Law, J.D. - 2002
University of Missouri-Columbia, B.A. - 1999
Alamo Heights High School - 1995
Beth Watkins was board certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 2008, and was re-certified in 2013 and again in 2018.
Beth was admitted to the Texas Bar in November 2002.
- US Supreme Court (2007)
- US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (2003)
- US District Court for the Western District of Texas (2003)
Chapter 95 in Three Easy Checklists, TTLA Annual Meeting and CLE Seminar, December 8, 2017
Preservation of Error Strategies in Family Law Cases, San Antonio Family Law Specialists Association, December 5, 2017
Appeals 101, San Antonio Bar Association Brown Bag Lunch CLE, September 21, 2017
Trips, Traps, and the Texas Tort Claims Act, Permian Basin Trial Lawyers Association, August 4, 2017
Car Wreck Case Law Update, Texas Trial Lawyers Association Car Wrecks Seminar, October 6, 2016
Personal Injury Case Law Update, San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association Real World CLE Seminar, September 9, 2016
Trips, Traps, and the Texas Tort Claims Act, San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association, August 4, 2015
Trips, Traps, and the Texas Tort Claims Act, San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association Staff CLE, July 10, 2015
Election of Remedies Under the Texas Tort Claims Act, San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association CLE, June 18, 2015
Civil Appeals 101, St. Mary’s University School of Law Homecoming CLE and Reunion, April 20, 2015
What’s Behind the Curtain? Mandamus and Appeal in Family Law Cases, San Antonio Bar Association Family Law Section Extreme Family Law Makeover XII: Stay in Touch with Your Ex, February 27, 2015
Paid or Incurred Trial and Appellate Strategies, State Bar of Texas 28th Annual Advanced Personal Injury Law Course, July 25, 2013
Top Ten Traps to Avoid in Medical Malpractice Expert Reports, Texas Trial Lawyers Association Annual Medical Malpractice Seminar, December 3, 2008
Top Ten Traps to Avoid in Expert Reports, San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association Real World CLE, October 18, 2007