Cletus grew up in Cuero, Texas. He is a graduate of Woodberry Forest School (1986), Trinity University (1990) and Thurgood Marshall School of Law (1995). He also attended the University of Houston as a graduate student, focusing on American History. He began his law career in Houston working for the law firm Taylor & Cire, a personal injury litigation firm that handled a variety of injury and death related cases on behalf of plaintiffs. Mr. Ernster’s law practice experience has included personal injury, civil rights, employment discrimination and racial profiling litigation. In addition, he worked on the Texas Supreme Court case Haussecker v. Childs, 974 S.W.2d 31 (Tex.1998), a legal malpractice lawsuit. As an attorney, he has been recognized for achievement by the Texas NAACP, receiving a 2005 Special President’s Award. In that same year, the NAACP Houston presented him with an Alex Award for Legal Excellence. In addition, Mr. Ernster has received Congressional Recognition for outstanding efforts to fight for racial justice and equality for all and was a guest speaker at a University of Texas Symposium on Consumer Racial Profiling. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, College of the State Bar of Texas, the Bar Association of the Federal Fifth Circuit, Houston Bar Association, Texas Center for Legal Ethics, Lawyers of Distinction, the National Police Accountability Project, the National Employment Lawyers Association and is a past board member of the Houston Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association.