The Hon. Brenda T. Rhoades currently serves as the Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Texas. At the time of her appointment in 2003, Chief Judge Rhoades became the only sitting Asian-American bankruptcy judge in the country and the only sitting Asian-American judge on any federal bench within the Fifth Circuit.
A native of Seoul, Korea, Chief Judge Rhoades immigrated to the United States as a child. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics from Texas A&M University and J.D. from Arizona State University College of Law (magna cum laude, the Sandra Day O’Connor Constitutional Law Award, and Outstanding Graduate Award). Prior to taking the bench, Chief Judge Rhoades was in private practice.
Chief Judge Rhoades has been active in many organizations during her professional career, including having served as Vice President, Membership, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; Chair, Asian Pacific Interest Section, State Bar of Texas; Co-Chair, Bankruptcy Section, Alaska Bar Association; Board of Directors, Dallas Bar Association; President, Dallas Asian American Bar Association. In addition, Chief Judge Rhoades served as Council Member for the Council on Legal Education Opportunity in association with the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, as a Master of the John C. Ford Inns of Court, as a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and as an Advisory Board Member of the Korean American Coalition.
Throughout her career, Chief Judge Rhoades has also earned numerous honors and awards, including the Chambers USA Award for Excellence, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Counsel on Legal Education Opportunity, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Trailblazer Award, the Greater Dallas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce Judicial Excellence Award, the Peter W. Gray Public Service Award, the Asian Pacific Interest Section State Bar of Texas David Wellington Chew Award, the Diversity Award from the DFW Asian American Citizen Counsel, the State Bar of Texas John C. Akard Community Service Award, and the Texas Women Lawyers Pathfinder Award.