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Justice Dori Contreras was raised in Pharr, Texas and is a graduate of PSJA High School. In 1980, she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, she worked as an accountant for several years before going to law school. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in May of 1990 along with a Distinguished Service Award from the University of Houston Law Center. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in November of 1990.
Justice Contreras worked as an associate for Thurlow and Associates in Houston. She was next employed with the Law Offices of Frank Herrera in San Antonio and McAllen. In 1997, she co-founded a civil trial firm that litigated state and federal court cases. Justice Contreras also formed a mediation practice in 1997. She was elected to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals in 2002 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2014. In 2010, Justice Contreras was recommended by the Texas congressional delegation for nomination by the White House to a United States District Court seat in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Justice Contreras has served on boards of numerous legal and community organizations. Throughout her legal career, Justice Contreras has lectured at continuing legal education programs around the state and country. She enjoys speaking to students at local schools and serving as a role model to the young women in her community.
In 2016, Justice Contreras received the Judge of the Year Award from the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas. In 2014, Justice Contreras was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and received the Good Samaritan Award from Good Samaritan Community Services-RGV, a non-profit organization that provides an after-school and summer program for at-risk youth in the Pharr community.
Justice Contreras is the proud mother of three children and four grandchildren.