President's Opinion

 

BAILI RHODES
President, Texas Young Lawyers Association

 

April 1, 2018
Our Time. Our Community. Our Impact.

"Our” is such an impactful word. It can take something that could be mine or yours or theirs and make it part of something bigger—something that belongs to us. I recently sat down with a Texas Young Lawyers Association past president who gave me some simple advice: refer to the board as “our board,” and TYLA as “our organization,” and the upcoming 2018-2019 bar year as “our year.” Her advice resonated with me.

March 1, 2018
Women: Our History and Our Future

My 3-year-old is full of sass and spunk and generally runs our household. What she believes, she declares as irrefutable fact, and I do not know a person stubborn enough to win an argument with her. Recently, she has determined that she, like her mother, is a lawyer. She proudly shares this with day care workers, friends, and strangers in the grocery store checkout line. What’s more, she believes that all women are lawyers.

February 1, 2018
A Guide to What You Can and Cannot Say

During my first year of law school, I lived in this old, tiny apartment near Lake Waco. The air conditioning barely worked. An entire wall in the living room was covered in mirrors, ostensibly to make the space look “bigger.”

January 1, 2018
Empowering Survivors

It’s a new year and our country is facing tough issues. It seems that every time I turn on the news, I hear another tragic story of domestic violence. Allegations of sexual harassment permeate the media. I am not sure if the increased reports are indicative of increased acts of abuse and harassment, or if the survivors simply feel more empowered to speak. I hope it is the second. There is only one word with which we can characterize those individuals who have spoken out about these difficult experiences: brave. But for every person who has come forward to talk, there are many who cannot or will not share their experiences.

December 1, 2017
Serving Law Students

As law students, we all heard that our practices were unlikely to resemble a John Grisham novel or an episode of Law & Order. But these days, law schools also have to prepare would-be litigators with the statistics regarding the relatively small number of cases that actually make it to trial before a jury.

November 1, 2017
Grateful to Serve

I love the month of November. With it comes the smell of pumpkin pie, excitement for the holiday season, and time spent contemplating the things for which we are thankful. With two small children, my husband and I find ourselves spending more time explaining what it means to be “thankful” and “fortunate.” Those conversations have given me the opportunity to be a bit introspective and to recognize the number of things I have to be thankful for this fall. I am beyond grateful for my support system: friends, firm, and family, especially my husband who provides constant support even while we both balance busy professional lives.

October 1, 2017
Responding to Harvey

Twenty-seven trillion. That’s one estimate of how many gallons of water were dumped on Texas during Hurricane Harvey’s nearly weeklong attack on the Gulf Coast. At least 58 counties experienced devastation as a result of the storm. In the aftermath, the resounding words I heard were “we can get through this,” “we can rebuild,” and “what can we do to help?”

September 1, 2017
Never Stop Learning

New pencils. Crayons. Notebooks. He has a new backpack with a matching lunchbox and is so full of excitement over meeting his new teacher that he can hardly contain himself. My momma-of-a-kindergartner heart is about to explode. Perhaps it is my own fond memories of the first day of school, but I think I am as excited as he is. I cannot wait to hear about the friends he has made, and the things that he has learned. I have always loved learning, and I hope that I have engendered that same passion for scholarship in my children.

July 1, 2017
Employer Education

Close to half of my practice consists of employment law matters. As a small firm attorney, I represent employees and employers, at companies of different sizes. Many small business owners find themselves in a position where they have enough employees to face personnel issues but not enough to warrant hiring in-house counsel. I answer many questions for them about the daily operation of their businesses, as well as specific inquiries about the laws that are applicable to the business and its employees, such as:

• Are my employees entitled to the Family and Medical Leave Act?

• Can I terminate an employee if he or she doesn’t show up to work today?

• What is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and does it apply to me at all?

• What do I do if I find out an employee has filed a charge of discrimination with the Texas Workforce Commission’s Civil Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?

The list goes on. I field phone calls and emails, and when requested, provide written summaries of law applicable to the problem du jour.

June 1, 2017
It's a Pleasure to Serve

For some of you, this will be the first issue of the Texas Bar Journal you receive as a newly licensed lawyer. It has been nine (gasp) years since I graduated from law school. In that time, life seems to have gotten busier. My husband and I went from being full-time students to full-time employees. We got our second dog. We had one baby—then two. We moved, then moved again. I learned to practice law; be comfortable in a courtroom; and to advise, manage, and obtain clients. We joined a church. I joined Junior League. I ran 12 marathons. I was elected to the TYLA Board of Directors and then as secretary, vice president, and president-elect. It is a busy, busy season, and my experience is far from unique.

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