Renée McElhaney

San Antonio, TX
Renée McElhaney was the first woman to preside over the 73rd District Court, handling family law matters, personal injury suits, commercial litigation, and other civil matters. She is a legal scholar and researcher, with great respect for and experience in the litigation process. She focuses her practice on appellate work, commercial and aviation litigation, and alternative dispute resolution.
Ms. McElhaney earned her Bachelor of Science in Education and taught in public schools for nine years.  She then attended law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law, graduating at the top of her class while serving as a Student Bar Association Senator, a published writer, and Editor in Chief of the prestigious St. Mary’s Law Journal.
Ms. McElhaney has authored over 300 legal articles, is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and has served as one of the authors of the State Bar Pattern Jury Charges. She has been named a Super Lawyer and holds an AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell. She enjoys teaching law and is a frequent speaker at attorney continuing legal education courses. She has also been an adjunct professor of law at St. Mary’s University School of Law, teaching trial and appellate procedure.

As a teacher, Ms. McElhaney was named the “Most Influential Teacher” by several graduating classes. In law school, she was named the Phi Delta Phi Third Year Student of the Year and was named to the Harlen Society. As an attorney and jurist, she received the Belva Lockwood Award from the Bexar County Women’s Bar Association as the Woman Lawyer of the Year and has been honored with the Voice and Vision Award from the San Antonio Womens’ Chamber of Commerce. She has also received the San Antonio Bar Association President’s Award, the San Antonio Legal Secretaries’ Association Boss of the Year Award, and the San Antonio Business Journal’s Women in Leadership Mentoring Award.

  • St. Mary's University School of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 1993)
    • Law Journal: St. Mary's Law Journal, Editor-In-Chief, 1992-1993
    • Dean's List, each semester
  • American Jurisprudence Awards
    • Federal Civil Procedure
    • Contracts
    • Constitutional Law I & II
    • Evidence I & II
    • Employment Law
    • Bankruptcy
    • Will & Estates
  • Conflict Resolution, Arbitration Training (2007)
  • The Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center, Inc. (Scientific Evidence Judge School, 2011)
Admissions to Practice
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Supreme Court of Texas
  • 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 12th, and 13th Court of Appeals of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th and 10th Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern and Western Districts of Texas
Honors and Awards
  • Board Certified — Civil Appellate Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • AV Rated By Martindale Hubbell
  • Named a Texas Super Lawyer, Appellate, Texas Monthly, 2004-2009
  • Named one of San Antonio’s Best Lawyers, Appellate, Sa Scene, 2004-2009
  • San Antonio Bar Association President’s Award for Service to the Bar
  • Belva Lockwood Outstanding Woman Lawyer Award
  • San Antonio Legal Secretary’s Boss of the Year
  • San Antonio Women’s Chamber Of Commerce Vision & Voice Award
  • San Antonio Business Journal 2010 Women’s Leadership Award
Memberships & Affiliations
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section
    • Special Committee on Pattern Jury Charges
      • Malpractice, Premises & Products, 2004
      • Business, Consumer, Employment, 2005-2013
  • Fifth Circuit Bar Association
  • San Antonio Bar Association, Member
    • Law Day Chair, 2004
    • Board of Directors, 2002-06
    • Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section
      • Program Director, 1995-96, 2001-02
      • Special Events Coordinator, 1996-1997
      • Chair of Section, 1997-1998, 1998-99
  • 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
    • Secretary, 2000-2001
    • Treasurer, 2001-2002
    • Vice President, 2002-2003
    • President-Elect, 2003-2004
    • President, 2004-2005
    • Past President, 2005-2006
    • Program Leader, 2006-2009
  • Bexar County Women’s Bar Association/Foundation
    • President, 2001, raising and distributing $110,000 to local charities
    • President-Elect, 2000
    • Board Member, 1996-2002, 2011-2013
    • Bench Brunch Chair, 2000, raising and distributing $100,000 to local charities
    • Bench Brunch Committee Chair, 1995-1999, 2001-2007
  • 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
    • 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)
    • Secretary, 2004, 2005
    • Treasurer, 2006, 2007
    • Vice Chair, 2008
    • Chair, 2009
Representative Presentations and Seminars
  • 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, “Muddling Through Cause in Fact, Appellate Advocate,” State Bar of Texas, Appellate Practice & Advocacy Section, October 2011
  • Speaker and Author, “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
  • 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, 2010-2012
  • Author, “Supreme Court Update,” 2004-2009
  • Author, “Traps Eliminated:  2006 Update of Appellate Law,” Texas Lawyer, December 29, 2006
  • Speaker, “E-Discovery,” Federal Bar Association, San Antonio, November 2006
  • Author, “Creative Use of Motions in Limine,” San Antonio Bar Association, Anatomy of a Civil Trial, May 2005
  • Speaker and Author, “The New Permissive Appeal in Texas,” State Bar of Texas, 15th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course 2001
  • Speaker and Author, “Lights, Camera, Action: Oral Argument by Videoconferencing,” American Bar Association Annual Meeting, New York, July 2000
  • Speaker and Author, “Attacking and Defending Jurisdiction by Appeal and Mandamus,” State Bar of Texas, 12th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course 1998
  • Author, “Toward Permissive Appeal in Texas,” St. Mary’s Law Journal, 1998
  • Author, Comment, “Analyzing Scientific Evidence:  From Validity to Reliability with a Two-Step Approach,” St. Mary’s Law Journal, 1992
  • Rotary, 2006-2011
  • Winston School Board of Directors, 2006-2008
  • San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce, 2006-2010
  • Hidalgo Foundation, 2002-2005
  • University of the Incarnate Word Development Board, 1999-2013
    • 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
  • St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees, 2006-2007
  • United Way of San Antonio
    • Women’s Leadership Council, 2001-2002, 2004-2010
    • Program Review Leader, 1998-2000
    • Program Review Team Member, 1996-1998
  • Child Guidance Center, 2003-2007
    • Golf Tournament Co-Chair, 2005
  • Monte Vista Historical Association, Member
    • Board of Trustee, 2006-2010
    • Treasurer, 2008
    • Corresponding Secretary, 2009
  • Rape Crisis Center
    • Board Member
  • Community Volunteer
    • Mayor’s Task Force to Address Teenage Pregnancy, 2010-2011
    • Community Justice Program
    • GALS — Girls in Life Sports (project of the BCWBA, the San Antonio Sports Foundation and Harlendale I.S.D., mentoring at-risk girls)
    • 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
  • San Antonio Council of Girl Scouts
    • Volunteer
    • Gold Award Review Committee
    • Troop Leader
  • Boy Scouts
    • Troop Leader
Renée McElhaney
Voice: (210) 582-0227
Fax: (210) 582-0231
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Areas of Practice