Judge Renée Yanta (formerly McElhaney) has served as a District Court Judge for over five years. Prior to taking the bench, she was an attorney for over 20 years. As a partner of her law firm, she built a nation-wide appellate and business litigation practice and served as the first woman chair of USLAW, a national legal organization. Before starting her legal career, Judge Yanta was a public school teacher for 9 years.
Presiding over the 150th District Court, Judge Yanta handles civil litigation, including complex business and construction disputes. She also has deployed her judicial resources to impact at-risk youth.
With the assistance of the Children’s Court, Judge Yanta has innovated PEARLS Court. This therapeutic court partners with several other essential social service organizations, including the Department of Family and Protective Services, to help teen girls in Foster Care, providing “Judge Renée’s” strong oversight, mentorship and additional educational support. With a “village” of other women volunteers, PEARLS Girls explore expanded career opportunities, receive trauma informed care, and build strong relationships with positive role models.
Judge Yanta’s foundational principle is derived from Micah 6:8: What is asked of us but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.