Hon. Steven Kirkland

Nacogdoches, TX

Judge Steven Kirkland arrived in Houston from west Texas to attend Rice University. After graduating from Rice in 1982, sobered up, came out and landed a job as a paralegal at Texaco in order to put himself through the University of Houston Law School. In 1990 Judge Kirkland began his career as an attorney litigating environmental, bankruptcy and other complex cases for that company, which he continued for eight years until he left to represent citizens committed to cleaning up air quality in Houston. Judge Kirkland served as Assistant City Attorney in Houston working with Economic Development project and City Attorney in Nacogdoches, Texas handling all legal matters for the City.

Judge Kirkland served as a trial judge for 16 years. Eight years in the Harris County Civil District Courts and eight years in Houston Municipal Courts. During his Municipal Court tenure, he created the Houston Homeless Recovery Court, which works in conjunction with the Houston Coalition for the Homeless. In recognition of this achievement, Judge Kirkland was awarded the 2006 Government Friend of the Homeless by Coalition for the Homeless of Houston and Harris County. Judge Kirkland is active in affordable housing, historic preservation, Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender rights issues. He is a founding board member of Avenue Community Development Corporation which is a community based affordable housing provider in the Near Northside and Washington Avenue corridor of Houston. His real estate projects have been recognized with awards by the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and others.

He now enjoys hiking and biking in East Texas and anywhere he happens to find himself, gardening and traveling with his partner of 35 plus years. His cat does not enjoy any of that and thinks the Judge’s highest and best use is being a cat bed.

Education  + -

  • Rice University; Houston, TX
    Bachelor of Arts, History   1982
  • University of Houston Law Center
    Doctorate of Jurisprudence, Cum Laude   1990
  • Harvard, Kennedy School; Cambridge, MA
    Senior Executives in State & Local Government   2012
  • AA White Dispute Resolution Center
    40 Hour Mediation Training   2012
  • State Bar of Texas
    Licensed to Practice

Experience  + -

  • City of Nacogdoches
    City Attorney   2021 - 2023
  • 215th & 334th Judicial District of the State of Texas
    Judge   2009 - 2012; 2017 - 2020
  • City of Houston
    Legal Department   2013 - 2017
  • University of Houston
    Lecturer   2012 - Present
  • City of Houston Municipal Courts
    Judge of Municipal Courts; Associate Judge of the Municipal Courts; Hearing Officer in the Municipal Court's Parking Admin.   2002; 2001; 2000
  • Avenue Community Development Corporation
    Director of Rental Housing   2001 - 2002
  • Solo Practice; Houston, TX
    1998 - 2002
  • TEXACO Inc.
    Attorney; Senior Attorney   1990 - 1997; 1998

Memberships & Affiliations  + -

  • International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges Foundation
    Boardmember   2023 - Present
  • Houston Bar Association LGBTQ+ Committee
    Co-Chair   2019 - 2020
  • Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality; Rice University
    Chair, Advisory Board   2010 - 2022
  • International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges
    Boardmember   2010 - 2023
  • Houston Recovery Center
    Technical Advisory Group   2015 - Present
  • Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Houston, TX
    Community Advisory Board   2013 - 2022
  • The Women's Home
    Community Advisory Board   2014 - 2016
  • Houston Walk for Mental Health Awareness
    Founders Circle   2010 - Present
  • Expert Nutrition (FKA Houston Buyers Club)
    Boardmember & Secretary   2005 - 2012
  • State Bar of Texas LGBT Law Section (FKA Sexual Orientation Gender Identitiy Issues Section)
    Vice Chair   2003 - 2004
  • Old Sixth Ward Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board
    Vice Chair   2000 - 2013
  • Annise Parker Campaign
    Treasurer   1991 - 2001
  • Texas Bar Foundation
    Fellow   1999
  • Abandoned & Contaminated Sites Subcommittee, Houston Foresight II Committee
    Chair   1998 - 2000
  • Houston's Committee for Sustainable Community Redevelopment
    Member   1998
  • Pro Bono College of Texas
    Member   1996 - 2001
  • Avenue Community Development Corporation
    Board Member & Past President   1992 - 2001
  • Stonewall Lawyers of Greater Houston (FKA Bar Association for Human Rights)
    Board Member   1992 - 1993
  • Old Sixth Ward Neighborhood Association
    Board member   1991 - 1998
  • Order of the Barons
    Member   1990
  • Joint Ventures for Business and Humanities
  • Baker College
    Shakespearean Theater Producer   1982
  • Texas Public Interests Group
    Chairman   1979 - 1980

Honors & Awards  + -

  • John Paul Barnish Justice Award, Houston GLBT Political Caucus
  • Houston Bar Association President’s Award

  • Mayor Annise Parker Leadership Award, Victory Fund
  • Phyllis Randolph Frye Award, Stonewall Lawyers of Greater Houston
  • Trailblazer Award, Harris County Democratic Party
  • Houston GLBT Political Caucus Leadership Award
  • Judge Norman Black Award, State Bar of Texas, LGBT Law Section

  • Harvey Milk Award, Houston Stonewall Young Democrats
  • Government Friend of the Homeless Award, Coalition for the Homeless of Houston & Harris Co.
  • Greater Houston Preservation Alliance’s Good Brick Award for Neighborhood Revitalization
  • AmJur Award, Antitrust
  • Baker College Fellow
  • Philpott Award for Exceptional Service to Baker College

Speaking / Authoring / Seminars  + -

Adjunct professor, University of Houston,
Communications Law and Ethics, (UH Comm 4303)
Fall Semester 2012 to present

“Protecting Every Citizen’s Right to Participate in Jury Service”
The Houston Lawyer, Vol. 58, No. 2
September/October 2020

“Do Americans Have a Right to Lie?”
University of Texas, Communication Law and Ethics
September 22, 2020

“2020 Supreme Court Update: Bostock v Clayton County”
University of Houston Law Center
August 6, 2020

“Advocating for LGBTQ+ Dignity and Humanity: What You Need to Know Now”
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting
June 2020

“Communicating with Judges”
NBI, Civil Judicial Forum, April 17, 2020

“Wedding Cakes, Historical Perspective on current issues in the LGBT Community”
Rice University, Sexual Debates Class, April 20, 2020

“Policy implementation, impacts and consequences”
UH Graduate School of Social Work, Advanced Social Welfare Policy Analysis class, October 16, 2019

“Evening with the Judiciary”
Houston Bar Association, Construction Law Section, October 16, 2019

“Gender Fairness”
Judges Panel Discussion, Houston Bar Association, April 12, 2017

“Let’s Talk about It: Attorney Wellbeing”
Mexican American Bar Association of Houston, October 9, 2017
Houston Bar Association, Litigation Section, February 20, 2018

“Healthy Lawyers” Panel Discussion
Lavender Law, National LGBT Bar Association, August, 3, 2017

“Sexual Orientation and Juror Bias”
American Association for Justice, July 24, 2017

“It’s Worse than We Thought; The Prevalence of Substance Abuse and Other Mental Health Concerns”
Stonewall Lawyers Association of Houston, October, 2016
City of Houston Legal Department, December 1,2016

“Civil Court Judicial Forum: What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know”
National Business Institute, October 25, 2012

“Emerging issues in Energy Law,”
Panel discussion for National LGBT Bar Association, 2012 Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference

“Impaired lawyers. Judges and Texas Lawyers Assistance Program”
Harris County Criminal Judges CJE, August 7, 2012

“Sixty Days out from Trial”
Mexican American Bar Association of Houston, October 10, 2011,
Houston Young Lawyers, January 27, 2012

“Outing: the Unique Privacy Issues Affecting the LGBT Community,”
Moderated the panel discussion for National LGBT Bar Association, 2011 Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference

“Foreclosures” Panel Discussion
Houston Bar Association, March 3, 2011

“Civil Court Judicial Forum: Advanced Discovery and Trial Practice”
National Business Institute, November 19, 2010

“Judges, Jury Service, and Judicial Elections”
Eastwood Civic Club, Montie Beach Civic Club, November, 1 & 4, 2010
International Longshoremans Union, Retirees Club, October 19, 2011
Tomball Rotary, October 26, 2011

“Practice Tips for the District Courts”
Panel Discussion, Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association, October 7, 2010

“Running as an open LGBT Candidate”
007 Democrats, September 27, 2010

“Citizens United: Corporate Money, Federal Elections and LGBT Equality”
Moderated the panel discussion for National LGBT Bar Association, 2010 Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference

“Marketing yourself as an LGBT job applicant”
OutLaw, University of Houston Law Center, April 21,2010

“Gay Elected Officials Panel Discussion”
Lone Star College CY Fair GLBTA present Gay Pride Week, March 25, 2010

“Practice Tips for the 215’^’ District Court”
Houston Bar Association - Litigation Section, December 15, 2009
Houston Lawyers Association, February 9, 2010

“New Judicial Perspectives: Mediation and ADR”
Houston Bar Association - ADR Section, September, 15, 2009

“Yes, Lawyers in Mainstream Practices Can Still Serve the LGBT Community”
National LGBT Bar Association's Annual Career Fair and Conference, Brooklyn, NY-
September 11,2009

“The Importance of Diversity in the Legal Profession”
Black Law Students Association, South Texas College of Law - August 27, 2009

“Litigating Consumer Cases: The View From the Bench.”
State Bar of Texas, Consumer and Commercial Law Course - August 13, 2009

“Seizure and Forfeiture Practice and other changes at the Civil Courthouse”
North Harris County Bar Association

“Things That Surprise Us in the Law”
Meyerland Democrats - July 20, 2009

“Communities in Schools Legal Internship Judges' Roundtable”
HBA, Community in Schools Program, June 22, 2009

“Out in the Workplace”
OUTLaw, University of Houston Law Center - March 11,2009

“Gay Marriage Panel Discussion”
Lone Star College CY Fair GLBTA present Gay Pride Week, March 23, 2009
March 11, 2010

“The Judicial Role and Responsibilities”
Houston Municipal Court
New Associate Judge Training - 2006

“Anatomy of a Speeding Case”
Stonewall Lawyers CLE Luncheon -2006

“Anti-Gay Bias in the Courtroom”
Stonewall Lawyers CLE Luncheon -2004

“Municipal Court Practice”
Stonewall Lawyers CLE Luncheon -2003
Community Law Day - 2003

“Jefferson Davis Artist Lofts - New Life for an Old Hospital”
City of Houston, Brownfields Conference - 2003

“The Washington Courtyards Story”
City of Houston, Brownfields Conference - 1999

“The Petrochemical Industry Lawyer’s Role in a Sustainable America”
National Association of Environmental Law Students -1998

“Missed Opportunities; Avoiding Litigation and Claims by Appropriate Timely Response”
Texaco International Marketing and Manufacturing
Operations and Environmental Conference - 1998

“Won Lost and Why?”
Texaco Environmental Remediation Management Workshop -1997

“Legal Issues for the OPA Qualified Individual/On Scene Commander”
Oil Pollution Act Training Workshops for Texaco Trading and Transportation and Texaco Caribbean -1997

“A Legal Perspective of Fugitive Hydrocarbon Data”
Texaco R&D Hydrocarbon Characterization and Source Identification Workshop - 1995

"Environmental Law, An Overview"
Texaco Legal Department, Paralegal Development - 1994