Elizabeth S. "Betsy" Chestney is a magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. She was appointed in January 2017.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Chestney was managing partner of the Austin-based Cornell Smith Mierl & Brutocao, LLP, a boutique firm that represents employers. At Cornell Smith, Judge Chestney represented employers in state and federal court, administrative hearings, and arbitrations, and advised employers on employment-related issues. She also trained management and HR professionals on employment law compliance; assisted employers in drafting handbooks, policies, and employment agreements; and conducted workplace investigations.
Prior to entering private practice, Judge Chestney clerked for two years for the Honorable Sam Sparks, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. Judge Chestney has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law, most recently in 2012, where she taught a class that she developed to prepare students to serve as law clerks for federal district judges. Prior to joining Cornell Smith in 2008 and after clerking, Judge Chestney was a full-time faculty member at UT Law, teaching introductory and advanced courses in written and oral advocacy in addition to the clerkship class.
Judge Chestney graduated with honors from UT Law in 2002. During law school, she was an associate editor of the Texas Law Review, and assisted in teaching legal research and writing to first-year students. In 1999, Judge Chestney received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University, where she captained the Division I Women’s Soccer Team. Judge Chestney is currently working towards her LLM in Judicial Studies at Duke Law School and expects to earn that degree in 2020.
Judge Chestney has served on the boards of the Austin and San Antonio Chapters of the Federal Bar Association (FBA), as well as the board of the Labor & Employment Section for the national FBA, which awarded her its 2016 “Outstanding Speaker” award. She is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, a former Barrister in the Lloyd C. Lochridge Inn of Court in Austin, and a current member of the William Sessions Inn of Court in San Antonio. While practicing, Judge Chestney was named a “Super Lawyer” in Labor and Employment Law for 2014-2017, after having been named a “Rising Star” from 2012-2014.
Judge Chestney is board-certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.