Justice Ken Molberg serves on the Fifth District Court of Appeals, Place 12. He is the Court’s senior associate justice. Prior to his election to the appellate court in 2018, he served as Judge of the 95th Judicial District Court for a decade. He also served as the Local Administrative District Judge of Dallas County, with responsibilities for the county’s 39 district courts and other matters. And he previously served as the Presiding Judge of all Civil District Courts of the county for three terms. The latter are positions to which he was elected by his colleagues.
Before taking the bench, Justice Molberg, a graduate of SMU School of Law, was a trial lawyer for more than 33 years. In 2022, Justice Molberg received the Dallas Bar Association’s prestigious Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn Jurist of the Year Award. He was named Jurist of the Year for 2017 by TX-ABOTA, the statewide organization for all Texas chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2011, he received the “Trial Judge of the Year” award from the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and he was named to the Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors for 2012, by appointment of the Association’s president. He is also the 2016 recipient of the Charles J. Murray Outstanding Jurist Award, presented annually by the Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association. He is consistently ranked among the top jurists in the Dallas Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Poll for overall performance, legal knowledge, preparedness, temperament and demeanor, and hard work.
Justice Molberg is a former member of the State Bar’s Pattern Jury Charge Committee, where he co-chaired the subcommittee on Labor and Employment Law; a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates; a former longtime member of the U.S. Fifth Circuit District Judges Association Advisory Committee on Pattern Jury Charges for Labor and Employment Law; a founder and past-president of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association; a former longtime member of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association; a past director and director emeritus of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association; a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation; a Life Senior Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation; a former member of the Dallas County Juvenile Board; a Member of the William “Mac” Taylor American Inn of Court (Judge Taylor swore Justice Molberg into federal practice); and a previous member of the Dallas County IT Executive Governance Committee. He is an annual substantial contributor to the Dallas Bar Association’s Equal Access to Justice/Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, which he actively promotes. He is an original member of the Founders Board of the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, where a student scholarship was named after him in September 2018.
While in practice, Justice Molberg handled and tried hundreds of civil matters in state and federal court (e.g., personal injury, products liability, civil rights, contract claims, election law, voting rights), with a special concentration in the area of Labor and Employment Law (e.g., Title VII, ADEA, ADA, FLSA, FMLA, TCHRA). He also has substantial state and federal appellate experience. He has argued on various occasions before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Texas, and several Texas appellate courts.
During his time on the bench, Justice Molberg has been a frequent speaker at numerous continuing legal education programs sponsored by the State Bar of Texas and other entities, including the University of Texas School of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law, and the National Civil Justice Institute. His participation has related primarily to the area of trial practice and various substantive legal areas. He is an active sponsor, participant and promoter of various mock trial programs at the high school, college, law school and young lawyer levels.
Justice Molberg began the active practice of law in 1975–the year before his graduation from law school. He obtained his law license in May 1976 and spent the first five years of his legal career with the Law Offices of James C. Barber. In 1981, he became a founder of and shareholder in the law firm of Wilson, Williams & Molberg, P.C. The principals of the firm, other than Justice Molberg, included noted trial lawyers John B. Wilson and Roger G. Williams, both now deceased. The firm dissolved some 28 years later following Justice Molberg’s initial election to the bench in 2008.
Justice Molberg served as Chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party from 1990-95. He also was elected many times to the State Democratic Executive Committee from three different state senate districts. In 2012, the Texas Democratic Party bestowed on him the Ann Richards Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2014, the Dallas County Democratic Party presented him its prominent LBJ Award. One political writer once described him as “that raging moderate from Dallas.”
Born in 1952 in Houston, Texas, Justice Molberg was raised in the Texas Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (journalism, political science), with high honors, from the University of North Texas in 1973, where he served as an editor-in-chief of the North Texas Daily. Justice Molberg received his J.D. degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1976. While attending SMU, Justice Molberg served a term as Managing Editor of what is now the SMU Law Review and was a member of the Barristers.
Justice Molberg has worked as a peach picker, tractor driver, road and bridge construction worker, mud man on a masonry crew, dry-waller, livestock worker, and musician, in addition to jobs disclosed above. He and his wife Linda, a registered nurse, grew up together in Fredericksburg. They are the parents of four grown children and have four grandchildren.
Justice Ken Molberg has more than 48 years of legal and judicial experience.
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Pol. adv. paid by Justice Ken Molberg Campaign.