TYLA Officers


Rebekah Steely Brooker, President


Dustin M. Howell, Chair


Sam Houston, Vice President


Baili B. Rhodes, Secretary


John W. Shaw, Treasurer


C. Barrett Thomas, President-elect


Priscilla D. Camacho, Chair-elect


Kristy Blanchard, Immediate Past President

TYLA Directors


Amanda A. Abraham, District 1


Sharesa Y. Alexander, Minority At-Large Director


Raymond J. Baeza, District 14

    Aaron J. Burke, District 5, Place 1

Aaron T. Capps, District 5, Place 2


D. Lance Currie, District 5, Place 3


Laura W. Docker, District 10, Place 1

    Andrew Dornburg, District 21
    John W. Ellis, District 8, Place 2
    Zeke Fortenberry, District 4

Bill Gardner, District 5, Place 4


Morgan L. Gaskin, District 6, Place 5

    Nick Guinn, District 18, Place 1

Adam C. Harden, District 6, Place 6


Amber L. James, District 17


Curtis W. Lucas, District 9

    Rudolph K. Metayer, District 8, Palce 1

Laura Pratt, District 3

    Sally Pretorius, District 8, Place 2

Baili B. Rhodes, District 2


Alex B. Roberts, District 6, Place 3

    Eduardo Romero, District 19
    Michelle P. Scheffler, District 6, Place 2

John W. Shaw, District 10, Place 2

    Nicole Soussan, District 6, Place 4
    L. Brook Stuntebeck, District 11

C. Barrett Thomas, District 15

    Judge Amanda N. Torres, Minority At-Large Director

Shannon Steel White, District 12

    Brandy Wingate Voss, District 13
    Veronica S. Wolfe, District 18, Place 2

Baylor Wortham, District 7

    Alex Yarbrough, District 16


Justice Paul W. Green, Supreme Court Liaison


Jenny Smith, Access To Justice Liaison


Brandon Crisp, ABA YLD District 25 Representative


Travis Patterson, ABA/YLD District 26 Representative


Assistant Dean Jill Nikirk, Law School Liaison


Belashia Wallace, Law Student Liaison


TYLA Office

Tracy Brown, Director of Administration
Bree Trevino, Project Coordinator

Michelle Palacios, Office Manager
General Questions: tyla@texasbar.com

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 12487, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711-2487
(800) 204-2222 ext. 1529
FAX: (512) 427-4117

Street Address

1414 Colorado, 4th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 427-1529


Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.





























































Tips For Young Lawyers

No Clients, No Problem. Tips on Starting your Own Law Practice
By:  Jeremi K. Young, The Young Law Firm, Amarillo, Texas

Six years ago, I left the firm job where I had been working since law school and started my own practice. Having come from a firm that did exclusively contingency-fee work, I did not have a single paying client when I opened shop. The first couple of years were pretty lean, but each year has been better than the last. After much trial and more error, I thought I would share some tips I wish I had known (or knew but didn’t fully appreciate) when I struck out on my own, with a focus on the practical details of opening and keeping open the doors of a fledgling law practice.

1. The best time to get paid is before you do the work. You are neither a bank nor a collection agency. While pro bono work should make up a substantial portion of you practice, it should be you, not your clients, who decides when you will not charge for your work. For those clients you expect to charge, particularly those you have not previously represented, require a reasonable retainer against which you will bill as you perform the work. If the client is reticent to pay a retainer and you elect not to require one, do not be surprised when the same client is reticent to pay your invoice.

2. Invoice on the same day every month. Clients are far more willing to pay for services they remember receiving, and they hate surprises. If you perform four months' worth of work and then send an invoice showing an exhausted retainer and a balance of thousands of dollars, I can almost guarantee you'll be hearing from an unhappy client.

3. Don't set your rates too low. When I started my firm, I had never tracked my time, never had an hourly rate, and never issued an invoice. I asked around about hourly rates, set my own rate at well below market, cut my time for anything that felt too expensive, and was still embarrassed to send out my bills, always questioning whether my time was really worth what I'd charged. While I remain very sensitive about my rates and time (my book-keeper complains that I no-bill too much time), I've learned to adjust my rates upward to what is reasonable in the market and revisit them regularly to make sure they stay there.

4. Cases get worse, not better. When deciding whether to represent a client, particularly in matters for which you will be paid only if you prevail, know this: The client's case will never get any better than it sounds the moment you first hear it. Clients omit relevant facts, distort or misremember events and, yes, even lie. Expect this. Probe deeply. Every case has warts, but do everything you can to uncover them before you decide to get involved.

5. Borrow money. I am, by nature, very conservative with my finances. I don't do car payments, don't carry a balance on credit cards, and am paying down my 15-year mortgage with every spare dime. I refuse to escrow my property taxes and hate getting an income tax return. Despite this, I am a big believer in using a revolving line of credit in my law practice, at least so long as interest rates are so low. I use borrowed funds primarily to finance advanced case expenses in contingency-fee cases. These advanced expenses are, in effect, a loan to the client and, because I am not a bank, I use a bank for that purpose.