Board Certified in Administrative Law
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Specializes in Media Law, Telecom and Utility Law
Don R. Richards was a former award-winning community journalist. He now practices law primarily in the areas of Public Utility Law, Media Law, and Administrative Law. He is Board Certified in Administrative Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of Texas, and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Texas Tech School of Law where he teaches the “Texas Administrative Practice” course and the “Telecommunication Law & Policy” course. He was named to Texas Monthly’s 2005 list of “Super Lawyers” for Texas.
News Media Background
Don R. Richards was raised in a newspaper family, was editor of the campus newspaper at Texas Tech University and has operated newspapers. From this background came an interest in media law, open records and open meetings law, and an understanding of how to deal with the media. He was a congressional aide and one time nominee for U.S. Congress. From this background came an inside understanding of the legislative and political process and an understanding of community and member relations. He serves as legal counsel to a number of Texas media clients. He also serves as a Texas statewide Advisory Director and as a hotline attorney for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas (“FOIFT”) on questions of the Open Meetings Act and Public Information Act; and in 1991 was awarded the FOIFT’s “James Madison Award” along with other hotline attorneys for his contributions to Texas’ statewide open government. He is a frequent speaker on news media law and public utility issues.
Representation of Rural Telecom and Electric Utilities
In telecommunication and utility matters, Richards regularly represents more than 40 local exchange telephone companies and electric utility cooperatives before the Texas Legislature and the Public Utility Commission of Texas. He serves as general counsel to the Texas Statewide Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (“TSTCI”), has served as general counsel to the National Telecommunications Association (“NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association”), and the Texas Exchange Carrier Association, and has been Chairman of the Legal Committee of NTCA. He is a member of national Electric Cooperative Bar Association and the Texas Telephone Association and past-Chairman of the Public Utility Section of the State Bar of Texas.
Media Law: Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame
A sixth-generation Texan and fourth-generation journalist, Richards was born in Stonewall County, Texas, and is a native of Jayton, Texas, where his father owned the weekly newspaper. In 2021 he was honored with induction into the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame by the Texas Press Association, and in 2017 was inducted into the Panhandle Newspaper Hall of Fame by the Texas Panhandle Press Association.
He received his undergraduate degree in journalism from Texas Tech University where he served as editor of the student newspaper, The University Daily, and as sports editor of the university’s yearbook “La Ventana”. He then spent several years in the newspaper business, first as editor of several West Texas community newspapers, and then as publisher of The Azle News. In 1999 he was named as an “Outstanding Alumni” of the Texas Tech University College of Mass Communications; and is a former instructor of Media Law in Texas Tech’s College of Mass Communications. He currently serves as publisher of The Banner of Love, one of Texas’ and the nation’s oldest continuing religious newspapers. He has served on the board of directors of the Texas Panhandle Press Association, the West Texas Press Association, and the Texas Press Association.
He previously was on the Washington D.C. staff of Congressman Kent Hance as Administrative Aide, serving as Press Secretary and handling legislative matters dealing in communication, military and foreign affairs. He held a Top Secret Security Clearance and toured a number of the nation’s top military installations.
Texas Tech School of Law
Richards graduated cum laude from Texas Tech School of Law in the Spring of 1984 and was named to the Order of the Coif for finishing in the top ten percent of the class. He was an Associate Editor of Law Review, Chairman of the Board of Barristers, and was selected to the school’s National Moot Court Team.
Active in Community
Active in local politics, Richards represents numerous clients before the Texas Legislature and has in the past entered the electoral arena. He received the Primary nomination for the 1984 General Election for U.S. Congress from the West Texas 19th Congressional District, and in 1996 received the Primary nomination for District 84 of the Texas House of Representatives. He has served in numerous local civic activities including the Rotary Club, as a Scoutmaster, and director of the South Plains Children’s Shelter; and remains an active member and participant in his local church.