State Bar of Texas Seal

September 21, 2020
Contact: Amy Starnes
Public Information Director, State Bar of Texas
800-204-2222, ext. 1706, or 512-427-1706


Media advisory:
State Bar of Texas to honor four Fort Bend County
lawyers and judges for service to the legal profession

When: 9 a.m. Friday, September 25

Where: The meeting will be streamed live on the State Bar’s YouTube channel The video will be preserved there if you are unable to view it live. (The meeting was scheduled to take place in Sugar Land before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of in-person meetings.)

What: The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors and President Larry McDougal will present resolutions to Richmond’s Ralph L. Gonzalez, Richard L. Tate, the Hon. Rodney O’Neil Williams, and posthumously to the Hon. Rolland Howell “Sandy” Bielstein.

Background: At its quarterly meetings, the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors often adopts resolutions honoring individuals for exceptional service to the legal profession and community.

Ralph L. Gonzalez, the son of Mexican immigrants, was the first in his family to graduate law school. Gonzalez served in the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office for 10 years before starting his own practice as a criminal defense lawyer. He is a past president of the Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorneys Association.

Richard L. Tate served as the Texas Access to Justice Foundation’s board chair from 1999 to 2020 and for more than 20 years worked to improve access to justice for nearly 6 million impoverished Texans. Tate provided countless volunteer hours over nearly 10 years of litigation to cement the constitutional validity of Texas’ Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, which has provided millions of dollars in funding for basic civil legal services to the poor.

Judge Rodney O’Neil Williams is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and worked as a police officer in Fort Worth before graduating from law school in 1999. He spent 16 years as a private attorney and two years as a senior trial attorney in the Office of the Public Defender of Fort Bend County before being elected to the 268th District Court in 2018.

Judge Rolland Howell “Sandy” Bielstein, a Vietnam veteran, worked for 20 years with the Houston Police Department before graduating from South Texas College of Law Houston. Judge Bielstein worked in private practice for 10 years before being elected to the bench in 2001. He served as the judge of Fort Bend County Court at Law No. 4 until his death 2017.

— — —

The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. For more information, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @statebaroftexas, like us on Facebook at, or visit

We use cookies to analyze our traffic and enhance functionality. More Information agree