AWARD-WINNING SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY
The Hon. Tonya Parker is Judge of the 116th Judicial District Court, a position she has held since 2011. Elected by her judicial colleagues, she has twice served as the Presiding Judge for the Dallas County Civil District Courts. Judge Parker has also served as the president of the Texas Association of District Judges. She is a member of the American Law Institute, and serves as an Adviser to the Institute's Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Remedies project. Judge Parker is consistently recognized for her performance and temperament on the bench. In the Dallas Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Polls for 2013-2019, her overall approval ratings exceed 92 percent, and are among the highest ratings of the judges evaluated in the polls.
Judge Parker serves with distinction, and she is recognized at the local, state and national levels for her contributions. In January 2021, the Dallas Bar Association awarded Judge Parker the MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. JUSTICE AWARD in recognition of the barriers she has broken in the legal community and her commitment to the principal of equal justice under the law. For the second time in the last five years, the State Bar of Texas African-American Lawyers’ Section awarded her its DISTINGUISHED JURIST AWARD at its 2019 Annual Meeting in acknowledgment of the leadership role Judge Parker played in spearheading the Implicit Bias Project in the Dallas Civil District Courts. In 2018, the Dallas NAACP awarded her the PRESIDENT’S AWARD FOR LEGAL EXCELLENCE. In 2017 she won four prestigious awards: the STONEWALL AWARD from the American Bar Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Commission, the DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD FOR JUDICIAL SERVICE from SMU Dedman School of Law, the MAURA WOMEN HELPING WOMEN AWARD from the Dallas Women’s Foundation, and the TRAILBLAZER AWARD from IGNITE. Judge Parker has also been named TRIAL JUDGE OF THE YEAR by the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
While in private practice she earned the esteem of her peers. She was recognized as one of the top lawyers in Texas by being voted a SUPER LAWYERS RISING STAR three years in a row from 2006 to 2008, and again for a fourth time in 2010 just before she was elected to office. Also in 2010, she received OUTSTANDING MENTOR AWARDS from both the J.L. Turner Legal Association and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. A few years prior, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers also named Judge Parker OUTSTANDING YOUNG LAWYER OF DALLAS. The Dallas Bar Association recognized her with its OUTSTANDING MINORITY ATTORNEY AWARD and an AWARD OF EXCELLENCE. Judge Parker is also a former AMERICAN MARSHALL FELLOW, in which capacity she traveled throughout Europe for a period in 2005 to promote transatlantic relations and learn about the social, political and economic systems of various European countries.
Judge Parker is a dedicated public servant and thought leader in the community. Outside of her work on the bench, she devotes countless hours to crafting and delivering keynote addresses at bar and civic events across the country. In addition, over the last decade she has been a regular volunteer with IGNITE, a non-partisan organization aimed at building political ambition in and training young women to run for public office. Throughout her career as a lawyer and judge, she has served on numerous legal and civic boards and commissions, including as Chairperson of the Dallas Arts District Alliance’s Board of Directors, Commissioner on the City of Dallas Community Development Commission, At-large Director for the Dallas Bar Association Board, a two-term Board Member for the J.L. Turner Legal Association, and a three-term Advisory Board Member for the Dallas Women Lawyers Association.
Judge Parker's professional and personal mantra is “Shrink from making no sacrifice in service of God, family, and community.”