Alia Moses (BBA ’83)—U.S. District Judge

Alia Moses speaks at TWU's Denton commencement ceremony in Kitty Magee Arena.

Since she was appointed as the first female federal judge in the Western District of Texas nearly 18 years ago, U.S. District Judge Alia Moses has presided over roughly 1,000 criminal and civil cases a year.

In that time, she has overseen 200 jury trials, closed more than 13,000 criminal cases and sentenced nearly 16,000 defendants.

And despite an impressive legal career that includes serving as a U.S. magistrate, a federal prosecutor and an assistant county attorney, the Texas Woman’s University alumna says her most satisfying work these days is helping young scholars find footing of their own in the legal world.

“I have reached a point that I enjoy the mentoring aspects of my position more than the legal work,” Moses said during a May 2019 commencement address to graduates of her alma mater.

Moses, who was raised in a tiny South Texas farming community near Eagle Pass, has fond memories of her time at TWU, where she became the fifth sister in her family to graduate from the university.

She remembers meeting Maureen Stapleton, Carl Rogers and Arianna Huffington at Guinn Hall when it doubled as an inn for guests; there was the time she was a contestant in the Redbud pageant; and she vividly recalls savoring a dining hall favorite, spoonbread, at Hubbard Hall.

It isn’t surprising that Moses has taken a keen interest in the young careers of the 30 or so law clerks that have worked with her since she began presiding over the federal bench in Del Rio in November 2002.

Moses recalls a mentor of her own at TWU, whose guidance and advice helped her chart her  legal career.

That mentor was one of her government professors, Jim Alexander, who not only advised her on career decisions but actually helped secure a spot for her to take the law school entrance exam. He also created a barrister’s club at TWU, which brought in law school recruiters to visit with prospective students. She remains in contact with Alexander to this day.

“It’s amazing how God puts these mentors in your life. I wonder if they realize what kind of impact they are having on you when they are your mentors,” Moses said.

Each year, she receives up to 800 applications from every corner of the country for only three law clerk spots. Those selected routinely go on to careers with agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice or with some of the nation’s most prestigious law firms.

She remains in touch with every single one of her former law clerks. In 2017, to commemorate her 15th year on the bench, many of them arranged for and attended a celebration in Austin.

“We communicate in some form or fashion all the time,” Moses said of the law clerks. “My ambition now is to leave a legacy of helping others, who will then turn around and help the next generation, and so on.”

Aside from mentoring law clerks, Moses also frequently speaks at law conferences and is eager to help young lawyers and judges – particularly women.

“It is still very difficult for women in the legal profession,” Moses explained. “Women don’t make it into the equity ranks the way men do, and those of us who have had a good experience with the law need to help those who are just getting started in it.”

Page last updated 4:54 PM, September 28, 2020