Jurists in Residence
The Jurist in Residence (JIR) position was created to foster judicial leadership and promote greater expertise among child welfare judges. The JIR develops relationships with retired and sitting judges, acts as a consultant, trainer, and speaker to provide information and advice on matters affecting courts and legal system handling of child welfare matters. Additionally, the JIR assists with the development of curriculum for the annual Children’s Commission Child Welfare Judges Conference, and moderates and presents at this conference and many others. The JIR also reviews updates to the Child Protection Law Bench Book and attends and participates in events on behalf of the Commission, including Round Tables, other conferences and trainings.
The Children's Commission has two Jurists in Residence, the Honorable Rob Hofmann, Judge of the 452nd District Court and the Honorable Piper McCraw, Judge of the 469th District Court. The Commission is also guided by Special Advisors, Justice Michael Massengale, Senior Judicial Advisor, and Sheila Sturgis Craig, Equity Advisor.
Hon. Rob Hofmann, Judge of the 452nd District Court; Senior Jurist in Residence
Rob Hofmann began his career of public service for the State of Texas in 1996, now serving a third term as judge of the 452nd Judicial District in five Hill Country counties. In 2018, Judge Hofmann was appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to serve as Jurist in Residence for the Children’s Commission and later as Senior Jurist in 2021 when he was also elected to his second term on the board of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He has served Texas as judicial representative at several national summits as well as current membership on the National Center for State Courts’ Rural Justice Collaborative Advisory Council. He received the 2018 Texas CASA Judicial Innovation and Leadership Award and well as the 2020 Education Reach for Texans John Emerson Award for his leadership in improving educational outcomes foster care alumni. Judge Hofmann speaks often and works on numerous projects related to improving the child welfare system, including as one of four committee chairs for the Texas Supreme Court’s Remote Proceedings Task Force in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. He is a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, a Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Lifetime Jurist for the Texas Center for the Judiciary. Judge Hofmann was the 2011 Big Voices for Little Texans Texas CASA Judge of the Year. He graduated from Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University School of Law where he received the Herschell L. Barnes Ambassador Award in 2020. He and his wife are former foster parents and have two children.
Hon. Piper McCraw, Judge, 469th District Court; Jurist in Residence
Prior to her appointment by Governor Abbott in 2015 to the 469th District Court in Collin County, Piper McCraw was an assistant district attorney for Collin County where she was a misdemeanor court chief then later a member of a felony trial team. After leaving the Collin County DA's office, she joined McCraw Gantt, PLLC. She is a charter member and board member of both the Collin County Women Lawyer’s Association and the Curt B. Henderson American Inn of Court.. Prior to taking the bench, she was a member of the Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Association Board of Directors and the State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee and she handled a wide variety of cases and tried over 150 jury trials.
Judge McCraw is proud to serve as the Chair of the Children’s Commission Training Committee. Judge McCraw received a BBA from Southern Methodist University, a JD from Texas A&M School of Law, and she is board certified in Family Law and Child Welfare Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She lives in McKinney, TX with her husband, Mark, and three children.