Mike is a trial lawyer, retired judge, and mediator who brings to the firm decades of diverse trial experience from both sides of the bench and a deep institutional knowledge of the many agencies with whom he has worked.
Mike has created and taught CLE programs that have trained thousands of lawyers on topics including CPS and child abuse, complex custody cases, ethics, expert witnesses, human trafficking, record sealing, and many more. In recognition of this work, he received the 2015 President’s Award from the Houston Bar Association.
Mike has successfully tried hundreds of jury trials as a lawyer and state district judge ranging from thorny child custody battles to capital murder. Even early in his judicial career, the Houston Chronicle praised his “demonstrated competency” in handling high-profile cases and consistently endorsed him his entire judicial career, noting, “Schneider has devoted his career to protecting children‚ both as an assistant Harris County attorney and as general counsel of Houston’s renowned Children’s Assessment Center.”
Mike joined the Harris County Attorney’s Office in 1999. He served as Chief of the 313th District Court and handled thousands of child custody cases involving the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (CPS). In 2001, he became Deputy Division Chief of the office’s Children’s Protective Division, and from 2004 until he took the bench in 2006, served as General Counsel to the world-renowned Children’s Assessment Center.
Mike has been an Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University in the city of New York since 2017.
- Assistant County Attorney, Court Chief, Deputy Division Chief,Section Chief of Children’s Center (“CAC”), General Counsel to CAC, Harris County Attorney’s Office, Houston, Texas
- State District Judge, 315th District Court, Houston, Texas
- Visiting Associate Justice, First Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston, Texas
- Adjunct Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University, New York City
- Policy Analyst, Hon. Gene Wu, Texas House of Representatives
- South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1997
- University of Texas School of Law, Visiting Student, 1996
- Texas A&M University, B.A., Political Science, 1991
Past Professional Activities
- Member, Child Fatality Review Team, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, Texas
- Member, Children’s Assessment Center Partner Council, Houston, Texas
- Member and Secretary, Harris County Juvenile Board
- Member, Executive Committee, Annie E. Casey Foundation Harris County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
- Member, Harris County Public Defender Advisory Board
- Founder, Harris County Juvenile Drug Court
- Founder, Harris County Juvenile Human Trafficking Court, Creating Advocacy Resilience and Empowerment (“CARE” formerly “GIRLS” Court)
Current Professional Activities
- Instructor, Healing Species Texas, Harris County, Texas
- Instructor, Advocacy University, Child Advocates, Houston, Texas
- Founder, instructor, pro bono juvenile record sealing program, with the Houston Bar Association and University of Houston Law Center Juvenile and Capital Advocacy Program.
- Founder, webmaster, myvoiceincourt.org, online resource for children in Texas foster care
- Immediate Past Chair, Juvenile Law Section, Houston Bar Association
- Co-Chair, Youth Justice Council (My Brother’s Keeper), Houston, Texas
- Council, Child Protection Law Section, State Bar of Texas, Austin, Texas
- Commissioner, Texas Supreme Court Children’s Commission, Austin, Texas
- Chair, Juvenile Law Section, State Bar of Texas, Austin, Texas
- Board Member, The Way Home Adoption, Houston, Texas
- Member, Board of Directors, Center for Science and Law, Houston, Texas/Palo Alto, California
- American Bar Association
- American Leadership Forum (Senior Fellow)
- Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Houston Bar Foundation (Life Member)
- New York Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas (Chair, Juvenile Law Section, 2019-2020)
- State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department
- Texas Bar Foundation (Life Member)
- Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
- United States Southern District of Texas
Honors & Awards
- 2007 “Judge of the Year” P.O.L.I.C.E. Inc.
- 2010 TDFPS (CPS) Region 6 “Wall of Fame” award
- Honored by The Board of Directors of Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults in 2012.
- “Outstanding Section Award” for creating pro bono record sealing as Chair of the Houston Bar Association Juvenile Law Section in 2014-15.
- April 2014 Award for Outstanding Participation in the Royce West Forum and Lecture series., Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center, College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology, Prairie View University.
- Houston Bar Association’s 2015 “President’s Award” recognizing years of CLE teaching and programming.
- Honored with reception in 2015 by Children’s Assessment Center and Senator John Cornyn for creation of C.A.R.E. (Human Trafficking) Court
- “JCAP Jurisprudence and Humanitarian Award” from the University of Houston’s Juvenile and Capital Advocacy Project, 2018
- June 2005 presentation on forensics of child sexual abuse at APSAC’s 13th Annual Colloquium (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children) in New Orleans, LA
- October 2007 panel/lecture on child sexual abuse at 9th Annual Protecting Texas Children Conference at Children’s Assessment Center, Houston, TX.
- February 2011 lecture on ethics and expert witness testimony, Robert O. Dawson Juvenile Law Conference, Corpus Christi, TX.
- April 2014 panel, with Senator John Whitmire, on the future of TJJD, Royce West Forum and Lecture Series, Prairie View A&M.
- December 2016 lecture to “Drugs and Psychology” class on psychological screening and assessment in drug courts, Columbia University, New York, NY
- 2018 cross examination presentation, with Chris Tritico, at Houston Bar Association Juvenile Law Section’s “Raising the Bar” CLE
- February 2019 Program Chair and host, State Bar of Texas Juvenile Law Section Robert O. Dawson Juvenile Law Conference, Austin, TX
- April 12, 2019 panel on the legal, political, and harm reduction benefits to testing of drugs at Columbia University, New York, NY.
- “Send 17-year-olds to juvenile court,” San Antonio Express-News, March 15, 2015, with Hon. Laura Parker
- “Improving foster care should include juvenile justice reforms,” Houston Chronicle, March 17, 2017
- “A Second Chance,” The Houston Lawyer, March/April 2017, with Katya Dow and Brian Fischer
- Co-Editor and co-author, Bench Book For The Texas Judiciary, Texas Center for the Judiciary, 2018