David Richards has been a Texas lawyer since 1957. His law practice has largely concentrated on labor law, civil rights, voting rights, and civil liberties. He served as general counsel for the Texas AFL-CIO for many years and was a long time cooperating attorney with the Texas American Civil Liberties Union. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law and was the executive assistant attorney general of Texas from 1983 to 1985, in charge of the state’s litigation.
Richards has argued six times before the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving voting rights, labor law, and free speech. His cases have included establishing single member electoral districts for the Texas House of Representatives; advocating for the East Texas Voting Project, which paved the way for the first African-Americans to be elected to local governing bodies in East Texas; securing the right of college students to vote in their college communities; and successfully challenging the Texas system of public school finance.
During his career Richards has represented a wide range of malcontents and scofflaws. In 2002, the University of Texas Press published his memoir Once Upon a Time in Texas, a Liberal in the Lone Star State. Most recently, he was a part of a plaintiff lawyer team that successfully sued Congressman Tom DeLay’s creation, Texans for a Republican Majority, for election law violations.