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INTERVIEW

Q&A

WITH HARRIS COUNTY PROBATE JUDGE

CHRISTINE RIDDLE BUTTS AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What was life like for you as a child growing up? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: I grew up in Northwest Houston and went to Westfield High School. My first job was at a skating rink working in the snack bar when I was in the eighth grade. During high school, I enjoyed serving as a waitress at our local steak house, Del Friscos. My father was an attorney and I spent high school and college summers working in his office and accompanying him to court. As a high school junior, Rotary International sponsored me as an exchange student to Germany, where I stayed with a wonderful family in Vreden, a small farming town outside Cologne. My parents were very supportive of me and instilled in me the values of faith, diligence, education, and service. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What did you dream of becoming as you were a child growing up? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: When I was very young, my mother required an expensive surgery and, fresh out of law school, my father was desperate to raise the money for her surgery. I gave him the two quarters I had earned from weeding and sweeping a neighbor's driveway and asked what else I could do to help. He said I could grow up and become a lawyer to help him in his probate practice and to serve other families facing crisis. In that moment, my father gave me my mission, and from that point on I knew that I would become a probate lawyer. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Did you achieve your childhood dream, or did it evolve into something different? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: When I accompanied my father to court, I enjoyed sitting in on Judge Scanlan's guardianship docket. His demeanor on the bench demonstrated empathy for family members, compassion and respect toward the disabled, and a mastery of probate law. My desire to follow in his footsteps developed at a young age in the crowded spaces within the Family Law Building. Now, I look out the window from my 7th floor office in the Civil Courts building and see where my dreams took root as I fondly remember the colorful mural in Judge Austin's courtroom, the shaded benches where I often ate lunch, and the

painted signs of demonstrators who seemed ever present in the late 1980's. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your mission in life? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: In addition to raising a noble family of my own, my mission is to help families in crisis when the crisis involves the loss or incapacity of a loved one. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: Do you have a recent accomplishment you would like to share? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: The probate courts have developed a handbook for guardians and such handbook has been translated into Spanish and Hindi by talented lawyers dedicated to serving guardians in their community. We also offer a quarterly CLE program to attorneys and have updated our website to include online docket setting and useful practice information for attorneys, all designed to make the practice of law more efficient and cost effective for attorneys and those they serve. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What is your outlook for 2015? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS: 2015 will see a renewed focus on enhancing services for the mentally ill. The assisted outpatient treatment program, which is designed to assist the mentally ill with treatment compliance outside of a hospital setting, is set to expand in the next several years. AUBREY R. TAYLOR: What advice would you give to someone out there striving to achieve their dream? JUDGE RIDDLE BUTTS OFFERED THIS QUOTE: "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." Harriet Tubman.

ON THE COVER JUDGE CHRISTINE RIDDLE BUTTS – currently serves as the Probate Judge for District Court #4 in Harris County.

HOUSTON BUSINESS CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

15

2014 Year-End Review Edition of Houston Business Connections Magazine  

The distinguished Houston, Texas (Harris County) and Missouri City, Texas (Fort Bend) leaders in Business, Politics, and education highlight...

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