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.





























































November 2013

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

By:  Leif Olson

I’m old enough to remember when the Internet was in its infancy as the world’s premier storage device for humorous text-overlaid cat photos. Perhaps even more fogey-fying for the many of you young lawyers who aren’t as old as I am, I’m old enough to remember the excitement that swept across countless BBSes when Prodigy, CompuServe, and America Online announced that their users would be able to take advantage of astonishing technological advances to communicate with users from completely different Internet services through the use of electronic mail. And if you remember Gopher and Mosaic—from a group that had supercomputing right there in its name!—you are welcome to join me over here so we can wash down our Geritol with these nice, tall glasses of Metamucil.

Top Story

An Overview of the New Texas Estates Code
By:  Judge Chris Wilmoth

When the Texas Estates Code becomes effective on January 1, 2014, a decades-long project to codify the laws of the State of Texas will be complete. The statutory revision project began in 1963 with the enactment of SB 367, which required the Texas Legislative Council to convert the existing statutes (commonly found in Vernon’s Revised Civil Statutes) into a system of codes organized by subject. The project involved reclassification and rearrangement of existing statutes “to clarify and simplify the statutes and to make the statutes more accessible, understandable and usable.” The revision was intended to nonsubstantive. In other words, “the law” should remain unchanged even if the statutes adopted modern diction and a more logical arrangement. 

Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

TYLA Featured Project: Grievance and Malpractice Pocket Guide
By:  Ryan Squires, Scott, Douglas, & McConnico, LLP

No lawyer wants to think about being sued by a former client or defending against a grievance. And we hope that you never have to experience such events. But chances are, most lawyers, at some point during the course of their legal career, will be involved in such disputes. Maybe it’s a lawsuit filed against you by a disgruntled former client. Maybe it’s a grievance complaint filed against you with the State Bar. Or maybe you have a friend or colleague going through something similar and you just want to be able to provide some thoughtful guidance.

Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

Lubbock County Young Lawyers Association Hosts Annual Golf Tournament
By:  Elizabeth Hill

Looking for a sporting good time for your local affiliate’s members and legal community? A golf tournament draws in great member and community involvement while raising money for a good cause.

Each year, the Lubbock County Young Lawyers Association hosts the Johnny Splawn Memorial Golf Tournament. Named after a well-respected Lubbock lawyer and community leader, the Tourney is one of the most anticipated and well-attended events of the year for the entire Lubbock legal community.

Article of Interest

Changes at Texas’s Top Courts
By: Leif Olson

After a long stretch of stability, changes are coming quickly to the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

New justices take the bench on Supreme Court

On the civil side, the Supreme Court has welcomed three new justices in the last year. Justice Jeff Boyd was appointed to the Court in December 2012 to replace Justice Dale Wainwright, who returned to private practice. Justice John Devine joined the Court in January 2013 after defeating Justice David Medina in the 2012 Republican primary and being elected without a major-party opponent that November. 

Tips for Young Lawyers
Tips for Young Lawyers

Handling Student Loans
By: Chris A. Szalay, Maverick Financial Group, LLC

There’s no denying the burden of student loans. Just ten years ago student loans stood at $240 billion, and now—over $1 trillion of student loans outstanding. As the last article I wrote discussed building a foundation for financial planning for young lawyers, it is fitting that a follow-up article is on student loans. For a majority of my young-lawyer clients, student loans are the largest item on their balance sheets and the largest expense they have. As a recent graduate from law school, consider yourself lucky if you don’t have any law-school student loans. If you do find yourself with multiple law-school loans with a staggering balance, I can provide some ideas that can be useful in your financial planning.

Health Tips for Young Lawyers
Health Tips for Young Lawyers

Workday Defenses
By:  Emmy Lu Trammell, MS, RDN, LD

It happens every year. As colder weather approaches, outdoor activities wane. As young lawyers, who spend the majority of our days at a desk, it becomes increasingly important to focus on personal mental and physical health. With the high demands of the legal profession, we often experience days where it seems we just can’t find the time to get away from our desk and engage in self-care activities. Here are some simple tips to incorporate into your work routine to help keep you focused, productive, and healthy.

ABA YLD Update

The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division held its Fall Conference on October 10–12 at the Biltmore Hotel & Resort in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference was filled with programming to help young lawyers develop business and succeed in practice. The programming included conversations and CLE addressing the ABA YLD’s initiative this year, Bullyproof. Finally, some programming took a creative look at hot topics such as the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act and its effect on immigration laws.

Texas Access To Justice Commission Update
Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

National Pro Bono Week Reception

On October 21, the Commission and the Texas Access to Justice Foundation kicked off National Pro Bono Week with a reception honoring access to justice supporters, including Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and former Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. The reception was held in the lobby of the Austin office of Vinson & Elkins, and we were excited to recognize the law firms and individuals who have given their time, donations, and energy to help low-income Texans access the legal help they need.

Important Dates To Remember

November 18, 2013
New Lawyers Induction Ceremony - Frank Erwin Center, Austin

November 28-29, 2013
Holiday - Thanksgiving (Texas Law Center closed)

December 24-26, 2013
Holiday - Christmas (Texas Law Center closed)

Take Note

Kristy Blanchard, TYLA President
Click here to view this month's TYLA President's Opinion


Insurance and Health Care Choices For You
Enrollment began November 1, 2013
The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is a multi-carrier private exchange designed for State Bar of Texas members and their staff and dependents. Available to both individuals and employer groups, the exchange offers a wide range of health insurance choices, including access to and choices from:
• The Public Exchange
• The Private Exchange
• Non-qualified Health Plans

The Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange is divided into two extranet portal components—one for individuals and another for employer groups.  For questions please call, Member Benefits, Inc. at (800) 282-8626 and sign up for updates at memberbenefits.com/texasbar.


Support a Veteran — Support a veteran in your area by volunteering at a free legal services clinic! The State Bar offers resources to help, including the Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans clinic-in-a-box, which contains supplies, promotional materials, evaluation forms, and much more. The State Bar also offers two FREE CLE webcasts for attorneys who pledge to volunteer at a veterans legal clinic or take one pro-bono case serving a veteran in the upcoming year. Register for The Basics of Veterans Benefits Law: Part I and The Basics of Veterans Benefits Law: Part II. Each course is accredited for 3 hours of CLE and covers the ins and outs of veterans benefits. For more information on VA Attorney Accreditation, click here.


I was the First. Vote for Me!
The State Bar of Texas has launched I was the first. Vote for Me!, a multimedia project educating elementary students on some of the historic figures featured in the new social studies TEKS standards. In addition to lessons on historic firsts, students will also learn about math, citizenship, reading, and voting. The website includes animations of historic figures; curriculum materials for teachers; and links to other resources for students, teachers, and attorneys. In addition to the web-based materials, an e-reader and hard-copy book are available and can also be accessed in PDF format from the website. The book and animations are prepared in both English and Spanish.


Professional Liability Insurance
Two professional liability insurance providers have options specifically for State Bar of Texas members. Learn more about USI Affinity and the Texas Lawyers' Insurance Exchange and how they can help Texas lawyers here.


Texas Bar Today
Texas Bar Today is an online media network designed to promote the news and commentary of Texas lawyers, law students, and legal professionals who maintain blogs or submit guest articles. The site, TexasBarToday.com, is updated weekdays with selected blog and video posts and Texas legal headlines, which are also promoted on the Texas Bar Today Twitter account.

Texas lawyers who want to include their blog or video on Texas Bar Today, or submit a guest article for posting, can send an email request to webmaster@texasbar.com. The State Bar of Texas has full editorial discretion regarding which blogs are linked, and all opinions and statements in blogs are those of their authors and not the State Bar. All attorney websites, including blogs, must comply with State Bar of Texas advertising guidelines, TexasBar.com/adreview.


Savings through the State Bar Member Discount Program
Take advantage of discounts offered through the State Bar of Texas Member Discounts Program. Save money on clothing, cellular service, computers, televisions and other office supplies!  For more information please visit www.texasbar.com/discounts.  Visit often – the site is updated regularly with new deals!


The Texas Bar Journal wants to hear from you!
Have you received an honor or recognition? Have you recently accepted a new position or moved? Keep the Texas legal community informed by submitting your news at texasbar.com/tbjsubmissions. Your news could appear in an issue of the Texas Bar Journal.


Handling Your First (or Next) Workers' Compensation Course 2013 
Cosponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association
MCLE Credit: Approximately 6 hrs (2 hrs ethics) expected.

Austin - Live Presentation  
November 22, 2013 
Texas Law Center
Register now to save $50! TYLA members can save $75!
More Info or Register

If you have any questions or would like to register by phone, please call 1-800-204-2222 ext. 1574. 

Can't make it to Austin? Watch via Live Webcast in the comfort of your own home or office!

Live via Webcast  
November 22, 2013

From 8:55 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
More Info or Register

Handling Your First (or Next) Arbitration 2013
Cosponsored by the State Bar of Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, Texas Young Lawyers Association, and the American Arbitration Association
MCLE Credit: 6.25 hours, including .75 hr ethics which applies to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Labor and Employment Law.

Austin - Live Presentation
December 6, 2013
Texas Law Center

Register now to save $50! TYLA and ADR Section members can save $75!
More Info or Register

If you have any questions or would like to register by phone, please call 1-800-204-2222 ext. 1574.

Can't make it to Austin? Watch via Live Webcast in the comfort of your own home or office!

Live via Webcast
December 6, 2013

8:45 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.
More Info or Register

Success Strategies and Key Lessons for Young Lawyers Course 2014
Cosponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association
MCLE Credit: Approximately 6.5 hours including 1.5 ethics hours expected.

Houston - Live Presentation (One site only!)
February 28, 2014
Crowne Plaza River Oaks Hotel
Register now and save $50! Texas Young Lawyers Association members save $75!
Attorneys licensed 5 years or less attend for half off!

More Info or Register

For questions or to register by phone during regular business hours call 800-204-2222, ext 1574.


TYLA Local Leader Directory
Please email the TYLA office if there are any changes to your local affiliate's contact information.

If your affiliate has an upcoming event that you would like featured in eNews, please forward the information to Bree Trevino or contact eNews Co-chairs Anita BarksdaleLeif Olson, Sally Pretorius and John Shaw.

Ten Minute Mentor
Ten Minute Mentor debuted in 2004 to share concise and practical advice that is always accessible online. Since then, it has proven its enduring appeal as one of TYLA's most successful projects. More than 50,000 people have visited the site, and we continue to average more than 2,000 segments viewed each month. You can visit the site at www.tenminutementor.com.

Support Pro Bono Legal Services and Let Everyone Know It!
TYLA needs your help to support and promote free legal services for indigent Texans by purchasing a specialty license plate. The license plate proudly states that you support "Justice for All" and costs only $35.00 per year, or $70.00 for a personalized plate.

$25.00 from the purchase of each plate will go to support legal services to the poor.  To buy your plate, simply fill out an application and send your check, payable to the Texas Department of Transportation, to:

Vehicle Titles and Registration Division (SPB)
Texas Department of Transportation
Austin, TX 78779-0001
To pay online click here.

TYLA Annual Report 2012-2013
Want to know how TYLA is serving its members and the community? Then be sure to read the Annual Report, which details the activities of TYLA during the 2012-2013 Bar year. Click here for a copy or call 800-204-2222, ext. 1529 and we'll send one.