Michael J. Garza is a McAllen, Texas, resident and a proud product of the McAllen Independent School District. Although born in Chula Vista, California, Michael is a sixth-generation Texan whose family roots are well-established in the ranching community of San Manuel, Texas. He is a graduate of McAllen High School, where he won two State Championships in debate. He is a 1990 magna cum laude graduate of St. Mary’s University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Theology. In 1993, he received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center with honors. While attending law school, he was inducted into the Order of the Barristers. Michael was the University of Houston Law Center’s Mock Trial and Moot Court champion and competed nationwide, receiving numerous honors and awards. Upon graduation, Garza received special recognition from the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
With a strong desire to serve the community that raised him, Michael left Houston to start his private practice in the Rio Grande Valley. 1n 1995, he partnered with the current Chief Justice of the 13th Court of Appeals, Dori Contreras Garza, to start the firm of Michael J. Garza and Dori Contreras Garza, a Professional Corporation. The firm specializes in civil litigation with a concentration on personal injury, product liability, employment, and commercial litigation. During this time, Michael successfully tried many cases before juries across Texas. He earned several multi-million-dollar jury verdicts and settlements for his clients. While in private practice, he was named one of Texas Monthly’s Super Lawyers and was inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates. He frequently lectured at continuing legal education programs on Trial Advocacy and has published articles on the admissibility of evidence and trial presentation.
With a strong passion for the courtroom, Michael also represented criminal defendants in Texas courts and federal districts nationwide. He has successfully represented numerous high-profile clients, garnering local and national media attention. His cases have been chronicled by the New York Times, Washington Post, and local media outlets throughout the country. After a successful career in private practice, Michael received another calling—public service.
In 2015, Michael left private practice for public service, joining Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, Jr. as Chief Prosecutor and later as First Assistant District Attorney. As a public servant, Michael handled thousands of criminal cases and supervised over 60 lawyers and 200 support staff. He often taught law enforcement the intricacies of case investigation and received numerous local awards for his work in the community.
In 2018, he was recognized as Texas’ best prosecutor when he won the prestigious Lone Star Prosecutor of the Year award from the Texas District and County Attorneys Association for his work in the 57-year-old cold murder case-- State of Texas v. John Feit. The case garnered international media attention as it was the oldest successfully prosecuted case in United States legal history. It brought closure to a community haunted by the unsolved murder. His work on this case was featured on several primetime news shows, including A&E’s Cold Case Files and CBS’s 48 Hours. You can view his work on Netflix—Cold Case Files’-- the Devil in Disguise or on Paramount’s 48 Hours feature—The Sins of the Father. Having served the citizens of Hidalgo County as a prosecutor, Michael now focuses on serving our citizens as a proud member of our firm.
Attorney Michael J. Garza will now join The Ricky Rod Law Group, PLLC, and is ready to assist you with all your legal needs.