Fransheneka “Fran” Watson (she/her) had a non-traditional path to the law profession.

After losing her mother to substance abuse at age 14, Fran became the primary caretaker of her home. Due to this, Fran missed many days of school, and at age 16 she was expelled.

For several years, Fran worked as a drive-thru cashier. She often turned down promotions to management positions because she did not have a high school diploma.

One of the managers informed Fran that she could become a manager by obtaining a GED.

Fran spent late nights studying for the GED and made the decision to take the exam at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). When she received the results from the testing agent, she was informed that her score was high enough to earn a scholarship at UHD. The testing agent walked Fran over to registration, where she enrolled in school and began taking classes in August 2001. In December 2005, Fran graduated with Honors from UHD with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. During her time at UHD, she took a class called Psychology and the Law, which started her on the path to becoming an attorney.

Fran is a proud Honors graduate of Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University (TMSL). During her time at TMSL, Fran served on the Board of Advocates and was the Executive Editor of TMSL Law Review. After graduating in the Spring of 2009, she sat for the Bar Exam in the summer and became a licensed attorney in the State of Texas in November 2009.

Fran has been practicing law for 15 years. While in private practice, Fran represented individuals and small business owners on a variety of matters including breach of contract cases, small business development, settlement negotiation, and consumer law disputes. For the past 11 years, Fran focused on the protection of families and their legacies through estate planning, probate, and guardianship. She was often appointed by the Courts to serve as guardian ad litem, attorney ad litem, Special Commissioner, as well as a Mediator for myriad cases filed in Harris County.

In 2019, Fran was appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve as an Associate Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston.

As a Municipal Judge, Fran presided over arraignments, bench trials, property seizure hearings, inability to pay hearings, and Magistrate warnings.

In 2023, Fran moved out of private practice and became a Staff Attorney for the Honorable Judge of Harris County Probate Court Two.

Fran is committed to service. She has a passion for equity and believes that everyone deserves a life of dignity, equal access, and fair treatment. She has served in leadership positions at the local, state, and national levels for organizations and committees whose missions align with those beliefs. Additionally, Fran dedicated 30% of her practice to Pro Bono clients to ensure people have access to justice regardless of their financial situation.

Fran regularly speaks on panels and has volunteered for legal organizations including the Houston Bar Association, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, and American Gateways, an organization championing the dignity and rights of immigrants, refugees, and survivors of persecution, torture, and human trafficking.

Fran’s background and experience makes her uniquely qualified and ready to serve the people as the Presiding Judge of Harris County Probate Court 5.