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.





























































Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

The 83rd session of the Texas Legislature – A report on funding for Legal Aid
By:  Georgia Trapp Nolan, Texas Access to Justice Commission

This session, the Texas Legislature appropriated $17.6 million in state general revenue for civil legal aid. In addition, Gov. Rick Perry signed HB 1445, the “Chief Justice Jack Pope Act,” into law, increasing the funds dedicated to legal aid for indigent Texans from civil penalties and civil restitution recovered by the Texas Attorney General.

It was a great session for civil legal aid funding. In February, Judicial representatives of the Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation met with 56 members of the Legislature during ATJ Days at the Capitol to discuss the ongoing funding crisis for civil legal aid in Texas. Volunteers who came to Austin for ATJ Days and passionately made their case included: Patricia Chamblin, Melissa Cook, Debra Danburg, former Justice Craig T. Enoch, Judge David Evans, Heather Fischer, Rob Johnson, Roland Johnson, Andy Kerr, Tom Keyser, Judge Lora Livingston, Harriet Miers, Former Judge Jay Patterson, Former Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, Harry Reasoner, Eduardo Rodriguez, Jim Sales, Former Justice Rebecca Simmons, Jan Soifer, Andrew Strong, Dick Tate, Terry Tottenham, Marty Truss, and Dan Vana.

Representatives conferred with legislators about a few options to help address the funding shortfall. Specifically, HB 1 and SB 1, as introduced, included $13 million in funding for civil legal aid in the Texas Supreme Court budget, a decrease of $4.6 million from current appropriations for the 2012-2013 biennium. After the Commission, the Foundation and the Texas Supreme Court requested that these funds be restored, the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee voted to bring legal aid funding up to current levels.

Additionally, HB 1445 by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and SB 635 by Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), provide that the current $10 million cap on funds for civil legal aid from civil penalties and restitution recovered by the Attorney General be increased to $50 million. Typically, these funds generate less than $1 million per year for civil legal aid. However, occasionally the Attorney General files a case in an area in which legal aid assists low-income clients that generates larger civil penalties, such as was seen in the national mortgage foreclosure settlement. These bills simply allow the Attorney General to designate up to $50 million of those penalties to legal aid as needed.

We were delighted to receive the news that HB 1445 could begin to provide increased funds for legal aid as early as last month. At the recommendations of Sen. Robert Duncan and Reps. Dan Branch and Senfronia Thompson, the legal aid funding bill was named the “Chief Justice Jack Pope Act.” Chief Justice Pope, who turned 100 years old in April, signed the Supreme Court order creating the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program nearly 30 years ago.

Many thanks to the diligent efforts led by Sen. Duncan and Rep. Thompson. In addition, we are indebted to all of the authors, including Sens. John Carona and Bob Deuell and Reps. John Davis, Sarah Davis, Elliott Naishtat, and Sylvester Turner and co-authors Joe Farias and Eddie Lucio III, to secure supplemental funding through the Pope Act. Further, on behalf of the millions of Texans in need of civil legal aid and the three largest providers of those services - Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Lone Star Legal Aid, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid – a heartfelt thank you to Betty Torres and Randy Chapman for their unwavering dedication this session.