Laura Carter Higley, a fifth generation Texan, was elected as a Justice of the First Court of Appeals in November 2002. Justice Higley was again elected in 2008 receiving the highest number of votes of any female opposed by a major party in the State of Texas.
During Laura’s two terms (12 years) on the Court, she has demonstrated a breadth of community experience, common sense and legal knowledge. These qualities have enabled Justice Higley to be a highly productive public servant.
. In the last ten years alone, Justice Higley has authored 1056 opinions and has participated in approximately 2100 panel decisions on the merits.
Prior to her election, Laura was Special Counsel in the Tax Department at Baker & Botts, Houston’s oldest law firm. Her practice focused on the areas of employment benefits and health care law.
No stranger to the political community, Laura was elected twice by the citizens of West University Place – once as a Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem, and then as Mayor. While in office Mayor Higley reduced taxes, expanded city services, and increased citizen involvement in local government.
Laura was born and raised in Port Arthur. She received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt, her masters from the University of Texas, and graduated at the top of her law class at the University of Houston – where she was selected as an associate editor of the Law Review.
Laura has served her community with distinction as Development Chair and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nehemiah Center, a faith-based community center initiated by First Presbyterian Church. Laura also served as a Director of the Children’s Assessment Center and the Museum of Natural Science. Currently she serves as an elder of First Presbyterian Church, a director of the Houston Law Review Board of Directors and the Brazos Presbytery Homes, Inc. and on the Board of Trustees for Presbyterian School. She is an active Rotarian and speaks regularly to local organizations and schools. Laura was awarded the Mayor’s Award for Volunteer Service in recognition of her devotion to the community.
Laura is the daughter of Dr. L.C. Carter and Laura Lee Phillips Carter. Laura’s mother served as the first woman County Judge in the history of the State of Texas.
Laura and her husband Bob, have two sons, Garrett and Carter, a daughter-in-law, and three granddaughters.