Judge Mike Schneider (Ret.) PARTNER
Judge Mike Schneider (Ret.) joined Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP as a Partner in March 2019 after a distinguished career as a State District Judge in the 315th District Court of Harris County and over seven years with the Harris County Attorney’s Office. He rose in the ranks to become the Deputy Division Chief of the Children’s Protective Division of the Harris County Attorney’s Office and was General Counsel to the Children’s Assessment Center and the Harris County Attorney’s CAC Partnership Team.
He is a trial lawyer, retired judge, mediator, and research scientist who has decades of diverse trial experience from advocating on both sides of the bench. His deep institutional knowledge of the many agencies with whom he has worked directly benefits the clients he represents in matters against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Defense (DFPS/CPS). He has successfully tried hundreds of jury trials as a lawyer and as a state district judge, ranging from child custody battles to capital murders.
Since retiring from the bench, Mike has chosen to focus on continuing to help Texas families by representing parents in disputes with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Defense (DFPS/CPS). His cases have received local, statewide, and national media coverage and have helped many families regain custody of their wrongfully removed children. His experience and focus have made him a popular speaker on topics ranging from child abuse, child custody, and CPS to human trafficking, record sealing, and drug testing, among other topics. In addition, he was asked to becomes an Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at New York’s prestigious Columbia University, where he taught neuroscience at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York.
The Houston Chronicle has 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.”
He is licensed to practice in all Texas and New York state courts and in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and obtained his law degree from South Texas College of Law Houston in 1997.
Mike’s professional affiliations are numerous and include serving as a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum and being a Life Member of the Houston Bar Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation. He also served as Commissioner of the Texas Supreme Court Children’s Commission from 2015 to 2021. He has been honored many times by the legal industry and the communities he has served, including receiving the JCAP Jurisprudence and Humanitarian Award from the University of Houston’s Juvenile and Capital Advocacy Project, being honored by the Children’s Assessment Center and Senator John Cornyn and Justice Eva Guzman for his creation of C.A.R.E. (Human Trafficking) Court, and receiving the Award for Outstanding Participation in the Royce West Forum and Lecture Series in the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at the College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology at Prairie View A&M University, among many others.
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Defense (DFPS/CPS)
- Family and Felony Criminal Law Related to Child Welfare
- Administrative Law
- Commercial Litigation
- Business Divorce
Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP
March 2019 – present
Texas House of Representatives
Honorable Gene Wu
Harris County Family Courts
Adjunct Associate Research Scientist
September 2017 – present
315th District Court of Harris County
State District Judge
April 2006 – December 2018
First Court of Appeals of Texas
Visiting Associate Justice
Harris County Attorney’s Office
General Counsel to CAC
Section Chief of Children’s Assessment Center (“CAC”)
Deputy Division Chief
Assistant County Attorney
March 1999 – April 2006
- South Texas College of Law Houston, Juris Doctorate, 1997
- University of Texas School of Law, Visiting Student, 1996
- Texas A&M University, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 1991
Bar and Court Admissions
- Texas, 1998
- New York, 2020
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- State Bar of Texas
- Child Protection Law Section Council
- Juvenile Law Section Chair, 2019-2020
- American Leadership Forum, Senior Fellow (political thinktank)
- Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Juvenile Law Section, Past Chair
- Houston Bar Foundation, Life Member
- New York Bar Association
- Texas Bar Foundation, Life Member
- Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
- Pro Bono Juvenile Record Sealing Program, Founder and Instructor
- Texas Supreme Court Children’s Commission, Commissioner, 2015 – 2021
- Center for Science and Law, Board of Directors
- Child Fatality Review Team, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Former Member
- Children’s Assessment Center Partner Council, Former Member
- Harris County Juvenile Board, Former Member and Secretary
- Annie E. Casey Foundation Harris County Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, Former Executive Committee Member
- Harris County Public Defender Advisory Board, Former Member
- Harris County Juvenile Drug Court, Founder and Former Member
- Harris County Juvenile Human Trafficking Court, Creating Advocacy Resilience and Empowerment (“CARE” formerly “GIRLS” Court), Founder and Former Member
- “JCAP Jurisprudence and Humanitarian Award” from the University of Houston’s Juvenile and Capital Advocacy Project, 2018
- Honored by Children’s Assessment Center and Senator John Cornyn and Justice Eva Guzman for creation of C.A.R.E. (Human Trafficking) Court, 2015
- Houston Bar Association’s “President’s Award” recognizing years of CLE teaching and programming, 2015
- 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 A&M University, 2014
- Outstanding Section Award for creating pro bono record sealing as Chair of the Houston Bar Association Juvenile Law Section, 2014 – 2015
- Honored by The Board of Directors of Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults, 2012
- TDFPS (CPS) Region 6 “Wall of Fame” Award, 2010
- Judge of the Year, P.O.L.I.C.E. Inc., 2007
- “Houston parents get baby back after CPS accused them of not trusting ‘western’ medicine.” A case he handled for parents in the Chinese community that involved racial bias and immigration issues.
- “Texas judge orders rare $127,000 sanction against CPS after wrongful removal of children.” As a judge, Mike ordered the largest sanction in history against CPS for wrongfully removing a couple’s children and allegedly lying to the court about it.
- Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News created a series on how bad CPS can be which featured Mike. The series later became a podcast Do No Harm that has won many awards.
- “His siblings were killed by their adoptive mother. He was left in foster care to suffer a more common fate.” Two women married adopted group of children from Houston, all but one sibling, and ultimately drove themselves and the children off of a cliff, The Washington Post covered the story about how this happened and why the one sibling that wasn’t adopted wasn’t picked because he had mental health issues. The sole surviving sibling went to prison and didn’t find out all of his siblings had died until he got out.
- Texas Monthly covered his lawsuit against Mark Mueller for having a cult law firm, Mark is a purported shaman who makes his team members engage in rituals where he blows Mexican smoke in their faces, sexually harassed them, treats women horribly, and drugged Mike’s client by spiking her drink. There was a civil lawsuit, an EEOC case, and TWC case.
- Can Federal Courts Make CPS Follow the Law, Texas Association of Family Defense Attorneys, 2022
- Panel on the legal, political, and harm reduction benefits to testing of drugs at Columbia University, 2019
- State Bar of Texas Juvenile Law Section Robert O. Dawson Juvenile Law Conference, Program Chair and Host, 2019
- Cross examination presentation, Houston Bar Association Juvenile Law Section’s “Raising the Bar” CLE, 2018
- Lecture to “Drugs and Psychology” class on psychological screening and assessment in drug courts, Columbia University, 2016
- Transfer Hearing Demonstration: Ethical Responsibilities of Representation in Transfer Hearings and Cross Examination of Witnesses Demonstration and Trial Demonstration: Ethical Representation of Clients and Daubert, Robinson, Kelly Demonstration, Fifth Annual Juvenile Law Conference, 2015
- Panel with Senator John Whitmire on the future of TJJD, Royce West Forum and Lecture Series, Prairie View A&M University, 2014
- Ethical Considerations: Judge as Gatekeeper, Robert O. Dawson Juvenile Law Conference, 2011
- Panel/Lecture on child sexual abuse, 9th Annual Protecting Texas Children Conference, Children’s Assessment Center, 2007
- Presentation on forensics of child sexual abuse, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children 13th Annual Colloquium, 2005
- Bench Book For The Texas Judiciary, Texas Center for the Judiciary, 2018
- “A Second Chance,” The Houston Lawyer, 2017
- “Improving foster care should include juvenile justice reforms,” Houston Chronicle, 2017
- “Send 17-year-olds to juvenile court,” San Antonio Express-News, 2015
- Healing Species Texas, Instructor: Teaches juvenile offender classes with pit bulls. The only criterion is that the animals have to be rescued. The incarcerated juveniles identify with pit bulls because they are all judged by the way they looked and are presumed violent.
- Founder of myvoiceincourt.org, an online resource for children in Texas foster care, which was set up so minors would know their rights and know that they are entitled to talk to the judge, as well as providing other resources.
- Criss Cole Children’s Fund, Inc., Board Member
- The Way Home Adoption, Board Member
- Photographer and Collector