Born and Raised in South Texas

Ysmael was born and raised in South Texas. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. degree, cum laude, in Political Science and Spanish Literature in 2003 and a J.D. degree, cum laude, in 2009. Prior to attending law school, Ysmael served as a Paralegal Specialist for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. assisting in the prosecution of civil rights cases, with a particular focus on the prosecution of human trafficking offenses. He continued in public service while in law school through his work with the United States Attorney’s Office in McAllen, Texas after his first year and with Senator John Cornyn in the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate after his second year.

Fonseca Family

During his law school years, Ysmael served in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy as note editor, and had the privilege of having his student note, The Catholic Church’s Obligation to Serve the Stranger in Defiance of State Immigration Laws, published by the Journal in the Spring of 2009. Ysmael was also a student-lawyer for the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic, representing indigent clients in small estate, guardianship, and other probate matters. While at Notre Dame Law School, he was also selected by his peers to serve as vice-president of the Hispanic Law Students Association and as assistant chaplain of the St. Thomas More Society. Before joining the firm, Ysmael was a judicial law clerk for Judge Randy Crane of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. While at the U.S. District Court, he provided the Court with research, assisted in the drafting of memorandums and opinions, monitored jury trials, and helped in the management of the Court’s docket. Ysmael is a member of the Federalist Society and has been named a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star every year since 2014.

August 28, 2019

Governor Greg Abbott appointed Ysmael as judge of the 464th District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas.