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UHLC alumnus Mike Engelhart ‘95 wins 2024 Trial Judge of the Year Award

UHLC alumnus Mike Engelhart ‘95

UHLC alumnus Mike Engelhart ‘95

May 14, 2024 — University of Houston Law Center alumnus and longstanding judge of the Harris County Civil District, Mike Engelhart (J.D. '95), has been recognized as the 2024 Trial Judge of the Year Award by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists (TACTAS).

This marks the second time Engelhart has received the TACTAS judge of the year.

"I am so gratified to win the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists' (TACTAS) Trial Judge of the Year Award for the second time, in 2016 and again this year. So many wonderful judges have also won this award. TACTAS is a group of judges and board-certified attorneys who know me and my court well, so their recognition means a great deal to me," said Engelhart.

In addition to Judge Engelhart's honor, Justice Richard Hightower of the First Court of Appeals received the 2024 Appellate Judge of the Year award.

TACTAS will host a ceremony to commemorate Engelhart and Hightower for their contributions and influence on the legal landscape of Texas on Thursday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Houstonian Hotel. For more event information, visit

The Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists was founded in 1986 to improve the accessibility, availability, and caliber of civil trial and appellate legal services offered to the public. Its membership is exclusive to attorneys and judges who have achieved board certification in Civil Appellate Law, Civil Trial Law, or Personal Injury Trial Law.

Judge Engelhart also took a moment to reflect on his time at UHLC.

Why did you choose UHLC for law school?

I met the UHLC Dean of Admissions in Ann Arbor while I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. He made an excellent presentation, and I traveled to Houston to visit the school. The staff, programs, and city of Houston made it an easy decision for me, and I chose to enroll. I am very glad I did, as my degree from UH has served me very well.

Any favorite UH moments?

I believe serving as a first-year Section C representative stands out. Serving as an Associate Editor on the Houston Law Review was a great honor and taught me so much!

Advice for students aspiring to be trial judges?

It's an amazing job. It is fun, interesting, and challenging. I highly recommend running for office to serve your community and attempt to make people's lives better.

For more news on UH Law Center alumni, click here.