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.





























































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. The Court’s newest member, Justice Jeff Brown, joined the Court last month to replace Justice Nathan Hecht, who did not move far. Hecht, already the longest-serving appellate justice in Texas, shifted only one seat to the left after being appointed Chief Justice to replace former Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.

The rush of new arrivals is a change from the Court’s recent history. Between Justice Don Willett’s appointment in 2005 and Justice Boyd’s appointment seven years later, only two new justices—Justice Eva Guzman and Justice Debra Lehrmann—had joined the Court. For comparison, Justice Willett’s appointment capped a seven-year stretch when twelve new justices joined the Court. The justices themselves have credited the stability of the Court’s composition for its increased productivity in recent years and the elimination of its case backlog. Chief Justice Hecht has expressed confidence that the recent turnover of the Court’s members will not affect the Court’s efficiency or output.

The changes to the Court come as it considers several high-profile cases. Just last week, the Court heard argument in a trio of cases concerning whether the Texas constitution, which was amended to prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages, permits a Texas court to grant a divorce to a same-sex couple married in another state. The Court also recently heard argument in In re John Doe, a case that concerns whether the identity of an anonymous blogger can be compelled in pre-suit discovery. The Court also has under consideration cases involving the scope of Texas’s latent-asbestosis statute and the standard of causation that applies to toxic-tort injuries, such as mesothelioma.

New judges coming to Court of Criminal Appeals

The Court of Criminal Appeals’s consistent composition is even longer than the Supreme Court’s. Judge Elsa Alacala was appointed in 2011 to replace Judge Charles Holcomb, who had reached the state’s mandatory judicial-retirement age; every other judge on the Court has been serving since at least 2001. But judicial retirements will change all of that next year.

Three of the Court’s judges—Judge Paul Womack, Judge Michael Keasler, and Judge Cathy Cochran—have announced their retirements when their terms expire at the end of 2014. When it convenes for the first time in 2015, one third of the Court’s judges will be new. Seven Republican candidates have already filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office to run for the open seats; the deadline for Democrats and other Republicans to declare their candidacies is December 9. The parties will select their candidates in the March 4, 2014, primary election.