Eckels Ready to Move to Law Firm

Robert Eckels
It's been one of the worst kept secrets in Houston, but Harris County Judge Robert Eckels has confirmed that he'll be joining one of the largest law firms in town after he officially resigns form office. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, Eckels is already answering questions about his next move, possibly another run at public office.

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Eckels says as soon as a month from now he'll become a partner at Fulbright and Jaworski here in Houston and says he chose the firm because he wasn't asked to be a lobbyist and nothing else.

"That may wind up being part of the things that I do but the primary interest is in working together with the team that is Fulbright. They're a firm that is very collegial. It is a firm that looks to cross the practices to develop clients and serve the folks that they work for. They are a firm with a conscience and firm that is very progressive for their employees and I really am excited about the prospects of joining and being a part of the organization."

Eckels earned his law degree from South Texas College of Law in 1993 but has rarely used it in the years since. Michael Conlon is the partner is charge of Fulbright's Houston office says his track record of leading Harris County for the past 12 years is experience enough.

"He obviously brings intelligence, talent, skill, but his team-building across all political levels has been very successful in accomplishing many things for the county and it's those skills and attributes that we really look to in Robert that causes us to be greatly excited about him joining us."

Even before he's moved into his new office, there have been questions about Eckel's aspirations for future public office, with possibilities ranging from U-S Senator to Texas governor. He says he'll worry about that later.

"I find in most things that in this job, and I'm flattered that people talk about that and have expressed an interest in that, again I don't rule anything out, but the people that start focusing on the next job forget the job they're doing and wind up having problems and today I'm going to be working closely with the law firm and trying to build and focus on my family. I'll continue to work on those issues that this firm supports but we'll worry about two years from now or four years from now down the line."

Although he hasn't officially resigned yet, Eckels says he expects to within a month. At that point, commissioner's court, including the judge, will appoint someone to finish his term. Commissioner Steve Radack says not much will change.

"They'll change a name on the parking space and they'll change a name up here and we're going to kick it off and take off and I don't think anybody will see anything that is different as far as county government. I believe it will be the same government that they're use to seeing and that's one that's pretty open government and very transparent in my opinion and one that really tries hard to work with the citizens of Harris County."

Before he became County Judge, Eckels served six terms as a state representative.

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Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...