Renee Yanta

ryanta@swenergylaw.com
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Phone: 210-998-4211
Mobile: 210-289-9753
Fax: 210-998-4201

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Education

  • St. Mary’s University School of Law, J.D., summa cum laude, 1993
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.S., Education, summa cum laude, 1981

Admissions

  • State Bar of Texas , 1993

 

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Renée Yanta

Former Judge Renée Yanta served as a District Court Judge for seven years. As a judge, she handled pre-trial, trials, and post-trial proceedings for almost every kind of civil case, from oil and gas to family law. While presiding over child-protection cases, Renée saw the special challenges faced by teen girls in Foster Care. So, she deployed her judicial resources to change the lives of these amazing young women, creating a healing program—called PEARLS Court—which she administered at night and on weekends (after finishing the rest of her docket).

Before taking the Bench, Renée Yanta handled appeals all over Texas, including many in the Texas Supreme Court since becoming licensed in 1993. She became Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 2003.

Since leaving the Bench, Former Judge Yanta returned to her appellate and mediation practice. She has mediated well over 100 cases and, since 2019, has handled multiple cases at the Texas Supreme Court and many of the intermediate appellate courts in Texas. She has also been a valuable member of several trial teams, ranging from family law matters to commercial disputes.

Former Judge Yanta is a frequently published legal author and scholar and has been an adjunct Professor of Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law.

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas Special Committee on Pattern Jury Charges – Malpractice, Premises & Products, 2004
  • San Antonio Bar Association, Member
    • Law Day Chair, 2004
    • Board of Directors, 2002-2006
    • Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section Program Director, 1995-1996, 2001-2002
    • Special Events Coordinator, 1996-1997
    • Chair of Section, 1997-1998, 1998-1999
  • San Antonio Bar Community Justice Program
    • Judicial Officer, 2017-2018
    • Volunteer, 2004-2009
  • San Antonio Bar Foundation
    • Fellow
    • Board of Trustees, 2001-2009
    • Peacemaker Award/Gala Chair, 2005, raising $89,000
    • Secretary, 2005-2006
    • Treasurer, 2006
    • Chair Elect, 2006-2007
    • Chair, 2007-2008
    • Past Chair, 2008-2009
  • William Sessions American Inns of Court
    • Member
    • Program Leader, 1999-2000, 2015-2020
    • Secretary, 2000-2001
    • Treasurer, 2001-2002
    • Vice President, 2002-2003
    • President-Elect, 2003-2004
    • President, 2004-2005
  • Bexar County Women’s Bar Association/Foundation
    • President, 2001, raising and distributing $110,000 to local charities
    • President-Elect, 2000
    • Board Member, 2996-2002, 2011-present
    • Bench Brunch Chair, 2000, raising and distributing $100,000 to local charities
    • Bench Brunch Committee Chair, 1995-1999, 2001-2007
    • LEAD Women’s Leadership Development Program (Founding member, Advisor, Volunteer)
  • Mexican American Bar Association
  • St. Mary’s University School of Law Alumni Association
    • Board of Trustees, 2001-2007
    • Secretary of Board of Trustees, 2002-2003
    • Vice President of Board of Trustees, 2003-2004
    • President Elect, 2004-2005
    • President, 2005-2006
  • Texas Bar Foundation Fellow
  • Texas Women Lawyers
    • Judicial Advisor, 2010-2012
    • Board of Trustees, 2007
    • Vice President, 2008-2009
  • DRI
    • Professional Liability Subcommittee, 2007-2009
  • USLAW Network
    • Board of Directors (one of only two women serving on this national board)
    • Founder and Chair of USLAW Collection (nationwide Women Lawyer Leadership Development and Empowerment Program)
    • Secretary, 2004-2005
    • Treasurer, 2006-2007
    • Vice Chair, 2008
    • Chair, 2009
  • San Antonio Association of Professional Landmen, Member

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

  • University Health System Foundation
    • Board Member, 2016-present
  • PEARLS Foundation, 2019-present
    • President, 2019-present
  • University of the Incarnate Word Development Board, 1999-present
    • President, 2006-2008
    • President Elect, 2004-2006
    • Chair, Swing In Auction, 2004
    • Chair, Swing In, 2003
    • Co-chair, Swing In, 2002
    • Chair, Student Relations Committee, 2001
    • Speaker for various student leadership events
  • San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce, 2006-2010, 2012-present
  • Bexas County Dispute Resolution Center Advisory Board, 2015-2018
  • Rape Crisis Center, 2012-2015
    • Board Member
  • St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees, 2006-2007
    • Law School Subcommittee Member, 2018-present
  • United Way of San Antonio
    • Women’s Leadership Council, 2001, 2002, 2004-2010, 2018
    • Program Review Leader, 1998-2000
    • Program Review Team Member, 1996-1998
  • Child Guidance Center, 2003-2007
    • Golf Tournament Co-Chair, 2005
  • Winston School Board of Directors, 2006-2008
  • Rotary, 2006-2011
  • Hidalgo Foundation, 2002-2005
  • Monte Vista Historical Association
    • Member
    • Board of Trustee, 2006-2010
    • Treasurer, 2008
    • Corresponding Secretary, 2009
  • Community Volunteer
    • PEARLS Court (Founder, Judge, Consultant, Program Director)
    • SUMMIT (Founder of coalition focused on empowering Foster Car Alumni)
    • Mayor’s Task Force to Address Teenage Pregancy, 2010-2011
    • GALS — Girls in Life Sports (project of the BCWBA, the San Antonio Sports Foundation and Harlendale I.S.D., mentoring at-risk girls) (Founder, Volunteer)
    • Working Parents’ Guide to Summer Survival
    • Wills Clinic
    • Elder Law Handbook
    • SAMM Shelter
    • Call-A-Lawyer
    • John Jay High School — Established Peer Mediation Program
    • Fox Tech High School — VoTexas Project, Supreme Team
    • Churchill High School, Reagan High School
    • Roosevelt High School, Shattered Dreams Program
  • San Antonio Council of Girl Scouts
    • Volunteer
    • Gold Award Review Committee
    • Troup Leader
  • Boy Scouts
    • Troup Leader

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS

  • Speaker, Author, Evolving Permissive Appeals in Texas: Evaluating Sabre Travel and Its Impact, 35th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice, Texas Bar CLE, September 2021
  • Speaker, Becoming a Noble Lawyer, St. Mary’s Law Journal Annual Banquet, May 2021
  • Speaker, A View from the Other Side of the Bench, SAPA March 2019
  • Speaker, The Noble Lawyer, UTSA Summer Law Symposium, June 2018
  • Speaker, Bexar County Women’s Bar CLE Retreat, June 2018
  • Speaker and Author, Responsible Third Party Practice, Bench Trials & Motions Seminar of the San Antonio Bar Association, May 2018
  • Speaker, Compadre y Compadre Graduation, 2017
  • Speaker, I Am My Father’s Daughter, Leadership San Antonio 2017
  • Speaker, the State of Foster Care in Bexar County, San Antonio Legal Secretaries Association 2017
  • Speaker, Becoming a Noble Lawyer, St. Mary’s University Women’s Law Association September 2017
  • Speaker, Keynote Address, San Antonio College Backyard Brigade 2017
  • Speaker, Learning from Women Lawyer Leaders, Bexar County Women’s Bar CLE Retreat, June 2017
  • Speaker; Judicial Roundtable, Bench Trials & Motions Seminar of the San Antonio Bar Association, May 2017
  • Speaker, The Anatomy of a Noble Lawyer, St. Mary’s Law Journal Symposium, 2016
  • Panelist, A View from the Bench, Mediator Training, Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center, September 2016
  • Speaker, Things Your Judge Wants You to Know (and your Attorney may NOT have mentioned), State Conference of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas, September 2016
  • Speaker, The Feminine Side of Legal Ethics, St. Mary’s University. School of Law, Women’s Law Association, September 2016
  • Speaker, The Road to the United States Supreme Court, Texas Association of Legal Professionals’ Fall Educational Conference, September 2016
  • Speaker, Conquering Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings, National Association of Female Executives, July 2016
  • Speaker/Panelist; Things to Do and Things Not to Do at Trial/Hearing, State Bar of Texas Advanced Personal Injury Trial Law, July 2016
  • Speaker, Developing Your Practice, Bexar County Women’s Bar CLE Retreat, June 2016
  • Speaker; Judicial Roundtable, Bench Trials & Motions Seminar of the San Antonio Bar Association, May 2016
  • Speaker; The New Local Rules, San Antonio Bar Family Lawyers Association, May 2016
  • Speaker, Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings: The Transformational Role of Women in the Construction Industry, AEC/O Women’s Mini-Forum January 2016
  • Keynote Speaker, San Antonio Business Journal Women’s Leadership Award, August 2015
  • Speaker/Panelist; Motions for Summary Judgment, State Bar of Texas Advanced Personal Injury Trial Law, July 2015
  • Speaker, Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings, State Bar of Texas Convention, June 2015
  • Speaker, Introducing PEARLS Court, Girls at the Margin Action Alliance
  • Speaker, The Mechanics of Motions for New Trial, Bench Trials & Motions Seminar of the San Antonio Bar Association, May 2015
  • Speaker; Judicial Roundtable, Extreme Family Law Makeover, February 2015
  • Speaker; A Few from the Bench, San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association, February 2015
  • Speaker; The Noble Lawyer, Law Magnet School, October 2014
  • Speaker, The Top Ten Reasons Paralegals Are Super Heroes, SALSA, August 2014
  • Speaker/Panelist; Jury Charge Practice, State Bar of Texas Advanced Civil Trial, July 2014
  • Speaker, The Top Ten Reasons Paralegals Are Super Heroes, San Antonio Legal Assistant Association May 2014
  • Speaker, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Texas Judiciary, Government, Northwest Vista College, April 2014
  • Author and Speaker: Hitchhiker’s Guide to Family Law, Texas Advanced Paralegal Seminar, October 3, 2013
  • Speaker/Teacher: Appellate Law: San Antonio Legal Assistance Association, 2013
  • Author and Speaker: Family Law Update: Procedure and Evidence Review, Extreme Family Law Makeover, February 2013
  • Speaker, Family Law Appeal, San Antonio Family Law Association, January 2013 Meeting
  • Author and Speaker, Deep and Wide: There’s a Fiduciary Duty Deep and Wide, TexasBarCLE, 7th Annual Anatomy of Fiduciary Litigation, November 2012
  • Speaker, Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fiduciary Litigation, University of Texas, Paige Keeton Civil Litigation Conference, October 2012
  • Speaker, Bench Trials & Motions, New Trends in Discovery, San Antonio Bar Association, May 2012
  • Author, Supreme Court Update, Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, Spring 2012
  • Author, Muddling Through Cause in Fact, Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, October 2011
  • Bench Trials & Motions, Appellate Issues for Trial Lawyers, San Antonio Bar Association, May 2011
  • Panelist, Proximate Cause Redefined: The Controversy Over Substantial Factor, TexasBarCLE Webinar, recorded April 2011
  • Author, Supreme Court Update, Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, April 2011
  • Speaker and Author, Movin’ To Greener Pastures: Relocating After Entry of Final Orders, San Antonio Bar Association—Family Law Section, Extreme Family Law Makeover IX, March 2011
  • Author, Supreme Court Update, Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, December 2010
  • Author, Supreme Court Update, Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, October 2010
  • Speaker, Bench Trials & Motions, Summary Judgment Panel, San Antonio Bar Association, May 2010
  • Author, Supreme Court Update, Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, April 2010
  • Speaker, Ethical Witness Preparation for Legal Secretaries, San Antonio Bar Legal Secretaries Association, March 2010
  • Speaker, Ethical Witness Preparation, Bexar County Women’s Bar Foundation, March 2010
  • Speaker, Family Law from the New Kid on the Block, San Antonio Family Law Association, February 2010
  • Author, Supreme Court Update, Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, January 2010
  • Author, Supreme Court Update, 2004-2009
  • Speaker, Ethical Practice Development, San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, March 2009
  • Author and Speaker, Supreme Court Update 2008, Hidalgo Women’s Bar Association, November 2008
  • Conference Chair, USLAW Collection, May 2008
  • Author and Speaker, “Protecting The Attorney-Client Privilege,” November 2007
  • Author and Speaker, Finding Your E-Discovery Vendor, USLAW Network National Seminar, October 2007
  • Author, Out of Left Field: How Tony Gullo Motors v. Chapa, SAN ANTONIO LAWYER, May 2007
  • Presenter, E-Discovery, USLAW Women’s Retreat, May 2007
  • Author, Traps Eliminated: 2006 Update of Appellate Law, The Texas Lawyer, December 29, 2006
  • Speaker, E-Discovery, Federal Bar Association―San Antonio, November 2006
  • Presenter, Developing Your Practice, USLAW Women’s Retreat, November 2006
  • Presenter and Author, The E-Discovery Zone, Williams Sessions Inn of Court, October 2006
  • Presenter and Author, The E-Discovery Zone, USLAW Network National Seminar, September 2006
  • Author, Supreme Court Update 2005, Appellate Section of the San Antonio Bar Association, February 2006
  • Author, Creative Use of Motions in Limine, San Antonio Bar Association, Anatomy of a Civil Trial, May 2005
  • Speaker and Author, Texas Supreme Court: Evidentiary Trends, Bexar County Women’s Bar Association Luncheon, February 2005
  • Speaker and Author, Supreme Court Update, 2005 Legal Outfitter, February 2005
  • Speaker and Author, Hot Topics at the High Court – Texas Supreme Court Update, State Bar of Texas, Legal Assistant Division, San Antonio Luncheon Seminar, November 2004
  • Speaker and Author, Supreme Court Update, MABA Las Vegas Seminar, July 2004
  • Director, USLAW and the City; Employment Law Seminar; USLAW Network National Seminar, May 2004
  • Speaker and Author, Can You Keep A Secret: The Trade Secret Privilege in Products Litigation, USLAW Network National Seminar, March 2004
  • Author, A Practitioner’s Supreme Court Update, Newsletter offered to over 300 Practitioners Free of Charge, 2002-2005
  • Speaker and Author, Even Hotter Topics in Discovery, Bexar County Women’s Bar Luncheon, September 2003
  • Speaker and Author, Discovery Update, MABA Las Vegas Seminar, July 2003
  • Author, Hot Topics in Discovery, Anatomy of a Civil Trial, May 2003
  • Speaker and Author, The Devil is in the Details: Taming the Procedure and Discovery Demons, MABA Las Vegas Seminar, July 2002
  • Speaker and Author, The Ethical Aspects of the Attorney-Client Privilege, San Antonio Bar Association Ethics Seminar, April 2002
  • Speaker and Author, Procedure and Discovery Update, San Antonio Bar Association Appellate Section, Appellate Practice Spring Training, April 2002
  • Speaker, San Antonio Bar Association Appellate Section Luncheon, Legislative Update: Changes in Interlocutory Appeal, October 2001
  • Speaker and Author, 15th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course 2001, State Bar of Texas, The New Permissive Appeal in Texas, September 2001
  • Author, The Attorney-Client Privilege in the Corporate Counsel Context, SAN ANTONIO LAWYER, July-August 2001
  • Speaker, “The Attorney-Client Privilege,” San Antonio Young Lawyers Luncheon CLE, May 2001
  • Speaker and Author, Preserving Error: A Snapshot Approach, San Antonio Bar Association, Anatomy of a Civil Trial, April 2001
  • Speaker, “The Attorney-Client Privilege,” Alamo Area Association of Legal Professionals, April 2001
  • Speaker, “The Attorney-Client Privilege,” American Association of Corporate Counsel (San Antonio Chapter), March 2001
  • Author, Judicial Profile: Judge Janet Littlejohn, SAN ANTONIO LAWYER, January-February 2001
  • Speaker, “Legal Lines,” KTSA Radio, 2000
  • Speaker and Author, American Bar Association Annual Meeting (New York), Lights, Camera, Action: Oral Argument by Videoconferencing, July 2000
  • Speaker and Author, Bexar County Women’s Bar CLE Presentation, Hitchhiker’s Guide to Procedure: A Procedure and Discovery Update, May 2000
  • Author, Explaining Permissive Appeal, Appellate Advocate, Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas, 1999
  • Speaker and Author, Appellate Law in the New Millennium 1999, The New Discovery Rules
  • Speaker and Author, 12th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course 1998, State Bar of Texas, September 1998, Attacking and Defending Jurisdiction by Appeal and Mandamus
  • Speaker and Author, South Texas College of Law, Employment Law Institute, July 1998, Gender and Employment Law Update
  • Renée Forinash McElhaney, Toward Permissive Appeal in Texas, 29 ST. MARY’S LAW JOURNAL (1998)
  • Update Article, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Procedure,” 1996-1997, 1997-1998
  • San Antonio Young Lawyer’s Association Newsletter, Bi-monthly Procedural
  • Renée A. Forinash, Summary Judgment Appeals: The Bull in the China Shop, in HANDLING APPEALS IN THE FOURTH COURT OF APPEALS (1995)
  • Speaker and Author, South Texas College of Law, Employment Law Institute, Oct. 1995, Employment at Will in Texas
  • W. Wendell Hall & Renée A. Forinash, Employment and Labor Law,
    49 S.M.U. L. Rev. 939 (1996)
  • W. Wendell Hall & Renée A. Forinash, Employment and Labor Law,
    48 S.M.U. L. Rev. 1135 (1995)
  • Renée A. Forinash, Comment, Analyzing Scientific Evidence: From Validity to Reliability with a Two-Step Approach, 24 ST. MARY’S LAW JOURNAL (1992)
  • Writer, 23 ST. MARY’S LAW JOURNAL (1991-1992)
  • Editor in Chief, 24 ST. MARY’S LAW JOURNAL (1992-1993)