Moore, Patsy L. Smith (1924–1975)

By: Judith N. McArthur

Type: Biography

Published: April 1, 1995

Updated: May 31, 2017

Pat Moore, attorney and judge, was born on January 27, 1924, near Lorenzo, Texas, the daughter of W. L. and Gladys Smith. At the age of four she contracted polio and thereafter wore leg braces and used a crutch and cane for walking. She attended public schools in Ralls and graduated from Texas Tech University. She applied for admission to Southern Methodist University law school in 1946 and was refused admittance to the day school because she was a woman. Undaunted, she enrolled in the evening school and, on the basis of her academic record, was permitted to transfer to the day school after one semester. She received her degree in 1949 and passed the bar examination shortly afterward.

She joined a Lubbock law firm and was the city's first woman attorney. She then opened her own law office and married James F. Moore, a former law school classmate and practicing attorney in September 1950. From 1952 to 1956 she was cochairman of the Texas Bar Association State Legal Aid Commission and helped establish the Lubbock County Legal Aid Commission. In 1953 she became the first woman president of the Lubbock County Bar Association, and four years later she was elected judge of Lubbock County Court at Law, Number Two. In 1968 she was elected the first woman judge of the Seventy-Second District Court (Crosby and Lubbock counties).

Judge Moore was committed to civic work for the underprivileged and helped establish a clinic for the intellectually disabled in Lubbock. She was named Woman of the Year by the Lubbock Altrusa Club in 1965, and in 1972 she received the Southern Methodist University Woman of Achievement Award. She died on January 11, 1975, survived by her husband, son, and daughter.

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Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, January 12, 1975. Reference File, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Women

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Judith N. McArthur, “Moore, Patsy L. Smith,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995
May 31, 2017

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