Linda Thomas

Hon. Linda B. Thomas (Ret.)

JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Special Master

Case Manager
Beth Langs
T: 214-891-4520
F: 214-720-6010
8401 N. Central Expressway, Suite 610, Dallas, TX 75225


Chief Justice Linda B. Thomas (Ret.) presided over the trial of numerous cases, which involved traditional family law dilemmas as well as business enterprise issues, complex financial transactions, and interstate and international jurisdictional conflicts.

Board certified in family law since 1981, Chief Justice Thomas was the recipient of the 1990 Sam Emison Award for meritorious contributions to family law – the highest honor in family law that can be bestowed in Texas.

Chief Justice Thomas is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law, teaching family law as well as trial and appellate procedure since 2003. Throughout her judicial career, she has been active in continuing legal education, particularly in the area of family law. Additionally, for the past several years, she has authored the annual case law update on parent and child issues for the SMU Law Review.

Representative Matters

Chief Justice Thomas has been involved in the following representative family law matters:
  • Appellate review involving sufficiency of evidence, presumptions, and jury instructions in custody and property cases
  • Assessment and valuation of assets in property division, including stock options, employee stock-purchase plans, executive-benefit plans, and retirement plans
  • Child support awards involving special needs, educational, medical, and otherwise
  • International dispute involving parental kidnapping, enforcement, and modification orders
  • Interstate jurisdictional issues involving child support orders
  • Interstate jurisdictional issues involving conservatorship and modification of custody orders of other states
  • Issues affecting children when dealing with sex abuse and family violence
  • Modification actions involving children, including relocation disputes
  • Post-divorce proceedings to resolve undivided assets
  • Pre- and post-marital agreements involving property and children, including contracts executed in other jurisdictions
  • Property characterization and equitable claims in property divisions
  • Property distributions involving multi-million-dollar estates
  • Property division and conservatorship issues involving same-sex couples
  • Property partition agreements during marriage and their effects at time of divorce
  • Receiverships and creditors’ rights in divorce proceedings
  • Significant religious differences of parents and effect on ability to parent and engage in religious activities with children
  • Termination of parental-right cases
  • Third-party and grandparent access as it relates to minor children
  • Viability of attempts to set aside and/or modify contractual settlement agreements
Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS. 

  • Best Lawyer in ADR/Mediation, D Magazine reader survey, 2014
  • Credentialed Advanced Mediator, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association, 2013-2014
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Judicial Section of State Bar of Texas, 2013
  • Women in Law Distinguished Alumni Appreciation Award, SMU Dedman School of Law, 2010
  • Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service, SMU Dedman School of Law, 2008
  • Award of Excellence for outstanding service to the judiciary, 2005
  • Dallas Bar Foundation Fellows Award in honor of a distinguished legal career and civic contributions, 2005
  • Outstanding Profile Award for dedication, mentoring, and support of individuals in pursuit of public service, Texas Women’s Initiative, 2005
  • SMU Award for significant contributions to improving the lives of women and children, 2004
  • Judge-of-the-Year Award for outstanding service and dedication to preserving the right of civil trial by jury, ABOTA, 1998
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, teaching trial and appellate procedure as well as family law, SMU Dedman School of Law, 2003-present
  • Faculty, National Judicial College, 1992-present
  • Commissioner, Texas Access to Justice Commission, 2007-2010
  • Member, Texas Judicial Council, 2005-2010
  • Chair, Texas Council of Chief Justices, 2003
  • Member, Texas Commission on Judicial Efficiency, 1995-1997
  • Chair, Judicial Section of State Bar of Texas, 1991-1992
  • Chair, Board of Directors, Texas Center for the Judiciary, Inc., 1991-1992 (Secretary-Treasurer, 1993-1996)
  • Faculty member, Texas College for New Judges, 1981-1996, 2005-2006 (Dean, 1988-1993)
  • Dean, Texas Regional Judicial Conferences, 1987-1990
  • A nationally recognized leader in continuing legal and judicial education, she is a frequent speaker and author for continuing education programs, teaching attorneys, judges, court personnel, and judicial educators throughout the United States
  • Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University, 2011
  • Advanced Family Mediation Training, 20-hour course, American Bar Association, 2011
  • Family Mediation Training, 40-hour course, American Bar Association, 2009
  • Basic Mediator Training, 21-hour course, American Academy of Attorney-Mediators, Inc., 1995
  • Chief Justice, Fifth District Court of Appeals, Dallas, Texas, 1995-2009
  • Justice, Fifth District Court of Appeals, Dallas, Texas, 1987-1994
  • Judge, 256th District Court, Dallas County, Texas, 1979-1986
  • Partner, Martin, Harrison and Withers, 1977-1979
  • Sole Practitioner, 1975-1977
  • Attorney, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, 1974-1975
  • Associate Director, SMU Legal Clinic, 1973-1974
  • J.D., Southern Methodist University, 1973
  • B.A., University of Texas at Arlington, 1970

Counsel Comments

    • “We were able to have a final hearing in the middle of a snowstorm in the middle of a pandemic. This final hearing would not have happened if it had not been virtual. It was amazing that Justice Thomas was able to get the final award issued in less than two days – again, in the middle of a snowstorm! The case management was great too – responsive and quick. The JAMS portal is excellent.”
    • “I am an arbitrator myself, so I know how hard it can be to pull off a virtual hearing. JAMS did a great job on this one. Justice Thomas did a great job ensuring that everyone was treated fairly, everyone understood and knew that they had been fully heard, and she ruled quickly and decisively. This is everything you can possibly hope for in an arbitration. I will definitely recommend Justice Thomas again.”
    • “Thanks for doing an excellent job. My client and I were so thrilled with your dedication, insight and hard work—to say nothing of your intelligence and knowledge of the law.”

      - Attorney who has worked with Chief Justice Thomas
    • “Thank you for a fantastic effort in getting this matter settled. You were calm, measured, and directed. You worked both rooms and kept us all from getting really worked up. My client could not stop singing your praises. I’ll recommend you to my [colleagues].”

      - Attorney who has worked with Chief Justice Thomas



Practice Areas

Available nationwide


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