Best Civil Court Judge - 2001
Joseph "Tad" Halbach
Sure, this jurist was plenty enthusiastic about assuming the bench. Tad Halbach came equipped with a solid sense of humor and a levelheaded nature that meant that the most voracious of attorneys weren't going to push him around. But other newcomers also have landed a judicial post with that kind of energy. The big difference is that Judge Halbach, six years later, shows more of that eagerness and obvious dedication than ever. He was well grounded in civil law when he arrived -- he's only increased that expertise, without losing any of that good-natured, down-to-earth approach to the people who appear in his court. His Houston Bar poll rankings reflect that. The former Eagle Scout has impressed an ample number of cynical old civil lawyers and first-time civilians with his clear opinions and judicial presence, in the toughest of cases. If only more of the once-new judiciary had his ever-fresh love for the law.