Bridgette

  

Smith-Lawson

for

Fort Bend 

County Attorney

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ABOUT BRIDGETTE
Real Experience
Dedicated Public Servant
Proven Leadership

        Bridgette Smith-Lawson is the Managing Attorney for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services - Office of General Counsel. She has managed Regions 5 and 6 consisting of up to 23 counties in the Southeast quadrant of Texas and offices in Houston, Texas. Fort Bend County is one of her many assigned counties and is where she lives and raises her family. Mrs. Smith-Lawson began with the Department of Family Protective Services as a Regional Attorney assigned to Adult Protective Services and then to Child Protective Services. Mrs. Smith-Lawson provides direct legal advice to the Regional Directors for CPS and CPI Divisions, to the agency staff, District and County Attorneys on a wide variety of matters including but not limited to child welfare law, government liability, civil litigation, probate, policy interpretation, immigration law, etc. 

        She has been awarded the “ Extraordinary Coach Award ” from the Texas Health Human Service Commission and has completed the Executive Leadership Academy where she was cross trained on other state agencies, government and employee management, etc. in ELA Class 8. Before joining the Department Mrs. Smith-Lawson was in private practice and practiced in the areas of criminal law, bankruptcy (7, 11, and 13), civil litigation, personal injury (pharmaceutical litigation), probate, and guardianship matters. Mrs. Smith-Lawson graduated cum laude from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in May 2003 and was licensed in November 2003. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston in 2000 with a major in Political Science and a minor in English. Mrs. Smith-Lawson is also licensed in the United States District Court , Southern District of Texas since May 2004 and also has experience as a certified attorney ad litem. In October 2019, as a public servant and aggressive advocate, Mrs. Smith-Lawson won an immigration appeal against the US Department of Homeland Security which changed immigration policy for youth across the entire United States. She considers this as one of the best moments of her career because of the positive impact that this case will have on thousands if not millions of immigrant children. 

        In addition to providing legal guidance and managing a legal division, Mrs. Smith-Lawson has participated in several inter-disciplinary organizations and focus groups whose goals are to research permanency practices, policy development, education, and collaboration in protecting the aged and disabled populations and children. Mrs. Smith-Lawson has given numerous presentations to community organizations, civic groups, judges and Continued Legal Education (CLE) presentations regarding the awareness of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of the aged and disabled population and abuse and neglect of children.  In A ugust 2019, she was honored as a Top 30 Most Influential Woman of Houston and surrounding areas. 

        Mrs. Smith-Lawson has been working for years in the Fort Bend community providing community service through different church, social, civic, and sports organizations. She spent 5 years working at Friendship Community Bible Church as the Co-Director for the Children’s Ministry spending almost every Sunday of the year providing spiritual curriculum, activities, and community outreach programs .   In this role she helped to coordinate youth revivals, back to school bashes, and school supply drives for the church and community youth. Recently she coordinated the church’s first Parenting Conference which including speakers on the topics of: “Athletics, Academics – Balancing it All”; “When a Tantrum is More – Recognizing Stressors and W arning signs in Children’s Behaviors”; “NCAA Clearinghouse – What You Need to Know to get your Athlete in College”; “There’s an App for That – Social Media Class for Parents”; and other topics to equip parents with information and resources for their children.  

 

        Mrs. Smith-Lawson has also dedicated her free time investing in community children/youth by serv ing as a USA Track and Field (USATF) and AAU T rack Coach for a kids’ summer track club – Premiere Performance Athletics (PPA) which practice d at Marshall High School in Missouri City, Texas for several years . 

 

        In addition to the foregoing, Mrs. Smith-Lawson is an active member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and is currently t he Vice President of the Sugar Land Chapter . She has spent countless hours on community service projects in this organization and has received awards for the most community service hours and earned a national award from Jack and Jill of America Inc. at the 43 rd National Convention in Kansas City, MO for “Best of the Best Cultural Programming” for children. Mrs. Smith-Lawson was selected last spring by the National Executive Board for Jack and Jill, Inc . to attend the Jacqueline Moore Bowles Leadership Academy .

 

        Mrs. Smith-Lawson is running for the Fort Bend County Attorney Position to focus her experience and professional expertise more locally after years of serving and supporting several counties in this area.  Mrs. Smith-Lawson wants to work to make sure that our local government serves the community, is responsive, and accountable to the community after years of working in government and seeing what it looks like when the system does not serve the community. 

 

        In her spare time, Mrs. Smith-Lawson enjoys her family which includes her husband of 20 years R ev. Al Lawson , CFM and two daughters ages 10 and 1 3 . She also enjoys cooking, and running.  Last Mother’s Day she completed the Mama’s Fun Run 5K . Additionally, in November 2019, she placed 3rd in her division during the Fort Bend District Attorneys 5K Running Against Violence Race .  Mrs. Smith-Lawson believes in working and serving in any and all capacities to make someone’s life better than it was yesterday. Rolling up her sleeves to help others is her lifestyle both professionally and recreationally and she considers it a blessing to be able to serve. 

 

Let's Make History

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Professional Licenses

  • State Bar of Texas – Admitted November 2003

  • United States District Court, Southern District of Texas – Admitted May 2004

 

Education and Certifications

  • Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University, Juris Doctorate May 2003 – Cum Laude – 3.24 GPA

  • Dean's List:  Three Academic School Years, Fall 2000 – Spring 2003 

  • BARBRI Scholarship Recipient - May 2003

  • $4,500 Merit Scholarship Recipient – (two academic school years) Fall 2001- Spring 2002 and Fall 2002- Spring 2003

  • James Douglas Moot Court Board, Thurgood Marshall School of Law – Secretary, Fall 2002-Spring 2003

  • Praemium Excellentia Award Recipient (highest grade) – Constitutional Law, Spring 2002 - received employment opportunity from law school as Teacher's Assistant in Constitutional Law

  • Phi Alpha Delta National Law Fraternity – Thurgood Marshall School of Law

  • National College of District Attorneys – Intern, Summer 1999

  • University of Houston – Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, English Minor, Graduate - Summer 2000

  • Former Certified Attorney Ad Litem – State of Texas; 

  • Health and Human Services Executive Leadership Academy – ELA Class 8, Austin, Texas – Certificate of Completion, May 2018 – 10 month course of cross agency training – courses included: 

    • Budget/Finance, Department State Health Services, Office of Inspector General Investigations, Leadership Training/Development, Six Sigma Course, Ethics in Leadership, Continuity of Operations and Incident Command Leadership, Leading a Multi-Generational Team, etc     

  • Extraordinary Coach Award – Health and Human Services Extraordinary Contributor Program, April 2018

  • FEMA – Emergency Management Institute – Certificates of Course Completions in Incident Command Systems and National Incident Command Systems - trained readiness to lead and assist county government in times of emergencies

  • 1st Place Award Recipient for the Sugar Land Chapter of Jack and Jill of America for the most community service hours for the chapter – September 2017- May 2018 Programming Year

  • 2019 Top 30 Most Influential Women of Houston – Honoree 

  • 2018-2019 Distinguished Mother of the Year – Sugar Land Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

  • Texas District and County Attorney Association (TDCAA) - Member

CLE Presentations/Speaking Engagements/Conference Attendances

  • Nationally recognized by the US Department of Homeland Security for an immigration appeal that changed immigration policy in the United States - October 2019

  • “Be the One” – Foster/Adoptive Home recruiters, CASA, and other community Partners – May 2019  

  • American Bar Association Children’s Immigration Law Academy  Course – December 2018

  • Human Trafficking Summit, August 21-23, 2018

  • Earl Carl Institute’s 5th Annual Child Welfare Forensics Conference – April 2018 - Presenter

  • Texas District and County Attorneys Association Conference (TDCAA) Crimes Against Children Conference – April 2018

  • 2018 Hill Country Ad Litem Seminar – April 2018 

  • DFPS Statewide 2017 Regional Support Staff Conference - Presenter 

  • American Association of Health and Human Services Attorneys 50th Annual Training and Continuing Education Conference - Austin, Texas, October 2017 – Panel Member/Presenter

  • 2017 Hill Country Ad Litem Seminar – April 2017

  • Greater Houston Society for Healthcare Risk Management Conference – Attendee- March 2015

  • 5th Annual Adjusting the Bar: The Definitive Ad Litem Seminar in DFPS Cases - Panel Member - April 2015

  • Immigration/Unaccompanied Minor Children Continuing Legal Education Course - Planning Committee Member - July 2014

  • Fox 26 News - Legal Panel Discussion - "Negligent Supervision of Children" - January 2014 - Presenter

  • Texas Supreme Court Commission on Children - Trial Skills Training Pilot, October 2013 – Participant

  • The Council on Alcohol and Drugs KTIS Conference - "Breaking the Cycle" - Houston, Texas June 2013

  • Co-Presenter - Harris County Domestic Relations Office - "Duty to Report" - September 2013

  • National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) Conference - Atlanta, Georgia August 2013 

  • Abuse and Neglect Seminar - Advanced Family Law Conference- San Antonio, Texas August 2013 

  • Presenter - Houston Bar Association - Ad Litem CLE "Adult Protective Services" - February 2013

  • APS Conference - San Antonio, Texas - November 2009, October 2010, October 2011

  • APS Mini Conference - Houston, Texas - May 2008, May 2009, May 2010, May 2011, May 2012

  • Presenter - Thurgood Marshall School of Law Ad Litem CLE - February 2012 

  • Panel Member - Public Interest Law Table Talk - Thurgood Marshall School of Law - February 2012

  • Mother Friendly Worksite Committee – worked to create the first onsite Lactation Room for mothers/employees returning to work after giving birth – October 2011 - January 2012

  • Presenter - UT School of Nursing Geriatric Division – Health and Safety Code and APS  - March, 2011

  • Co-Presenter - Methodist Hospital (Medical Center) Social Work Department – Health and Safety Code and APS, July 2011

  • Co-Presenter - Gulf Coast Community Services Association - October 2008 and October 2009 and June 2010

  • Presenter - Senior Care Advisor Luncheon, The Hampton Retirement Community - Houston Galleria, January 2009

  • Panel participant with APS Management - University of Houston International Student Exchange Program - Social Work Division for students from Hong Kong - February 2009

  • Former Appointed Defense Counsel for the Texas Board of Pardon and Paroles 

Let's Make History

Community Engagement & Volunteer Work

Co-Director of Kingdom Kids Youth Ministry (2014-present)

ages: infants - 6th grade - Friendship Community Bible Church - 420 Wood Street, Sugar Land, Texas (membership - approximately 300)

    • Assists in coordinating spiritual curriculum, ministry themes, and child centered programs – 2014 – present 

    • Organized toy drives, Back to School Bashes, Children’s Revival, and other outreach programs – 2014 – present

    • Assists with maintaining inventory of class materials, food/snacks, and preparing monthly budget/expenditures requests to FCBC finance coordinator

    • Coordinated and successfully organized Friendship Community Bible Church’s first Parenting Conference – included a variety of speakers/presentations including but not limited to:

      • “NCAA Clearinghouse” – What you need to know to get into college

      • “When A Tantrum is More” – Recognizing stressors and warning signs in children

      • “There’s an App for That” – social media class for parents

      • “Ask the Doctor” – medical presentation by Dr. Kareen Smith – vaccinations and obesity

      • “Academics, Athletics – Balancing it All” – how to keep your child(ren) schedule  and priorities in balance

Jack and Jill of America, Inc. – The Sugar Land Chapter, Sugar Land, TX

  • Member since May 2009

  • Sugar Land Chapter Executive Board Member since September 2010; 

  • Vice President 2019-2021 – elected position

  • Program Director 2017-2019 Program Year – elected position

    • As Program Director – won 1st Place, “Best of the Best” in Cultural Chapter Programming in the nation for the Sugar Land Chapter of Jack and Jill, Inc.; first National Award for the Sugar Land Chapter; 43rd National Convention – Jack and Jill of America, Inc. – Kansas City, MO – July 2018

  • Selected by Jack and Jill of America, Inc. – National Executive Board to attend the Marion Stubbs Thomas Leadership Academy at the Jack and Jill, National Conference, Kansas City, MO – July 2018

  • Recording Secretary 2015-2017 Program Year – elected position 

  • Chapter Legislative Chair 2015-2017 Program Year; 

  • Chapter Parliamentarian/Bylaw Committee Chair - 2010-2011 Program Year, 2011-2013 Program Year, 2013-2015 Program Year; 

    • Community Service

      • December 2010 – planning committee for holiday community service event for the benefit of the Arc of Fort Bend and the Rainbow Room

      • 2011-2014 – assisted with ongoing support the Carter’s Kids Residential Treatment Home for boys in Richmond, Texas including painting walls, creating reading centers, leadership workshops, and Christmas parties/gifts

      • Spring 2015 - Assisted on planning committee for a Children’s event which also collected books “Oh the Places You Will Go” for the benefit of the locals Boys and Girls Club

      • South Central Regional Mothers’ Conference - The Woodlands Texas July 2015 - one of five panelist for the Honey Child Foundation Session for guest attendees.  Honey Child brings awareness and prevention of premature births in African American Women

      • December 2017 – participating in Angel Tree by purchasing gifts for children in need

      • 2017-2019 - Coordinated “Days of Service” for the chapter by bringing donations of food, clothing, and giving volunteer hours at the Second Mile Mission

      • Other community services hours – Common Threads, donations to needy families, March of Dimes walk and donations, etc

Premiere Performance Track Club – Fort Bend Based Track Club – Marshall High School, Missouri City, Texas – 2016- present

  • Works with youth and supports athletes as a coach and mentor

  • USATF registered coach

  • Also provides support as a team mom, assist with recruiting, and other support functions needed

 

New Territory Knights – Fort Bend Youth Football League

  • Assisted in connecting foster youth to the football team to obtain scholarships for participation in playing football for the New Territory Knights, member of the Fort Bend Youth Football League (FBYFL)

 

Let's Make History

 
PLATFORM

My focus as your Fort Bend County Attorney

  1. Lead the County Attorney's office with effective leadership/management that is driven towards the goal of public service by way responsiveness, accountability, innovation, and quality legal services as we move towards a population of 1 million.

  2. Inclusion of Adult Protective Services representation by the County Attorney's in addition to working with local District Attorney's Office to ensure we have a crimes against the Elders and Disabled Adults division to support and protect our growing population of aged and disabled adults.

  3. Ensuring the County Attorney's office supports the county agencies and local officials with HR legal guidance that promotes inclusion/diversity in hiring, performance measurements/evaluations congruent with our county's diverse background

  4. Ensuring that the County Attorney's office gives legal guidance to ensure that contracts are properly vetted and have open bidding practices that are fair, ethical, transparent, and inclusive of historically under-utilized businesses (HUB - minority owned businesses) and allow for equal opportunities to compete for county contracts

  5. Ensuring that the County Attorney's office is visible and responsive to the people of Fort Bend in the community at community forums, community service events, and other community engagement opportunities year round and not just visible at Commissioners' Court.  

  6. Ensuring that the County Attorney's office has the legal expertise and can work to ensure that environmental threats that pollute our air and water are also addressed through civil remedies 

  7. Ensuring that the County Attorney's office has the legal expertise and can work towards supporting our Drainage District with compliance with federal requirements and audits that affect FEMA funding and flood insurance coverage.  

  8. Ensuring that the County Attorney's office has the legal legal knowledge base and exploratory committee to provide legal support needed to move towards creating a robust Hospital District for the citizens of Fort Bend and the growing population.

  9. In all property tax matters, ensuring that the County Attorney exercises and ensures due process in litigation and works with the tax offices to provide more transparency and information about property taxes, nuisance, matters, and other civil citations issues.

  10. Work to ensure that Child Protective Services ensures and balances safety of children with their families while protecting/balancing parents rights

  11. Ensure that the County Attorney's Office as the legal adviser to the Sheriff's Office, supports with legal training regarding Crisis Intervention, Mental Health Warrants, implementing a transparent review board and that all incidents of racial profiling/discrimination are reviewed critically for the same and that swift and strong accountability is taken for discriminatory actions.  

Let's Make History

 
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