This Houston lawyer dons judge's robes for new family court show

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Buildings in downtown Houston reflect the light of a setting sun.REUTERS/Mike Blake

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  • "Relative Justice With Judge Rhonda Wills" will premiere on Sept. 13

(Reuters) - Rhonda Wills is no stranger to television screens. In 2016 she was featured on the WE tv reality show called "Sisters in Law," which followed the lives of Black women lawyers in Houston. But the show only lasted one season and Wills headed back to her small litigation practice, comprising Wills and two other lawyers.

Now Wills is starring in a new show premiering Sept. 13 - this time a courtroom series which is set to "delve into some very, very deep family issues," according to Wills.

"Relative Justice With Judge Rhonda Wills" was shot in front of a live but socially distanced gallery, and shows Wills arbitrating issues between litigants who are related by blood, marriage or children.

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According to the release, Wills, one of five children and a mother of four, has experienced family dynamics similar to the ones shown in the show. "Any issue that you would ever see come up in a family, you're going to see it on 'Relative Justice'," said Wills.

Wills has been practicing for over 25 years, representing victims in personal injury cases, or of sexual assault, racial and gender discrimination, or workplace discrimination.

Although her own casework can be emotionally demanding, the show offers some lighter moments.

"There are some episodes where I am laughing so hard I can barely get my ruling out," she said. "And there are other cases where it is so dramatic, there is so much trauma there, it's so emotional, and it's so deep that the audience is crying."

Wills took a few days off from her practice each week over the course of two and half months to film all 150 episodes and said collaborating with other law firms on her cases helped her balance her caseload.

The show, produced by Wrigley Media Group in association with Bloom 'N Apple Entertainment, will air in most U.S. markets with partners including CBS, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group.

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Chinekwu Osakwe covers legal industry news with a focus on midsize law firms. Reach her at Chinekwu.osakwe@thomsonreuters.com.