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.





























































August 2014

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

Censuring Comparisons
By: Laura Pratt

I recently read an article in The New Yorker about "How Facebook Makes Us Unhappy." At first glance, the statement read as a fallacy to me. Seriously, who joins social media to feel unhappy? Although it is largely dependent on what people actually do when they're on Facebook, there are numerous studies suggesting interaction on social media can result in very negative emotional states. I was particularly impacted by one of the studies suggesting envy increases with Facebook use, which got me thinking.

Read More
Top Story
Top Story

2014 Bar Leaders Conference
By: Alex Yarbrough

Every year, the State Bar of Texas and the TYLA invite local affiliates to a two-day conference that addresses common concerns for volunteer leaders.  The Bar Leaders Conference is also a great place to meet other elected leaders and learn about the resources provided by the State Bar of Texas and TYLA.  This year, the annual Bar Leaders Conference took place on Aug. 1-2, 2014, at the Westin Galleria in Houston, Texas. It was a great opportunity for local bar leaders to meet and discuss common topics of interest, learn about resources, share ideas, network, and just have fun.   Each young lawyer affiliate was invited to bring a total of four delegates (two official TYLA delegates, one TYLA minority delegate and one ATJ delegate).

Read More
Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

Lawyers Who Lunch – TYLA’s New Work-Life Balance Blog
By: Baili Rhodes

I write this article over a strong cup of coffee.  After sending a toddler off to "school" and with a newborn asleep next to me, I try to respond to a number of emails that have piled up in the first few days of my maternity leave.  In this moment, I can say that the challenges of work-life balance have never been more real to me. Thus, it brings me great excitement to introduce the TYLA Diversity Committee's feature project for this year, "Lawyers Who Lunch."

Read More
Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

Trial Runs Around the State

As part of its health awareness initiative, TYLA planned and sponsored The Trial Run, a 5K fun run, encouraging lawyers attending the State Bar of Texas’s Annual Meeting to participate. TYLA also encouraged its young-lawyer local affiliates across the state to host similar runs on the same date and time so that, on this one day, all across Texas, lawyers are running together.  Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association, Ector County Young Lawyers Association, and San Antonio Young Lawyers Association all featured a local Trial Run in their area.  Here are their stories.

Read More
Tips for Young Lawyers
Tips for Young Lawyers

Ten Minute Mentor

In an effort to help guide young lawyers through their practice, TYLA is continuing to revamp and feature the Ten Minute Mentor (TMM) website. TMM is a collection of videos that are about 10 minutes long and guide you through various aspects of your practice.  Every other month, eNews will feature a new TMM video.

Read More
Article of Interest

How Young Lawyers Can Help with the Unaccompanied Child Immigrant Crisis
By: Bill Gardner and Aaron Capps

Unaccompanied child immigrants are arriving in the United States in record numbers, creating what many have called a humanitarian crisis. For decades, we have known about the dangerous conditions and life-threatening situations immigrants experience as they struggled to reach our country. Now there is a renewed sense of urgency to take appropriate action as young children have become the new wave of immigrants detained at the border.

Read More
Law Students
Law Students

Introducing the New Vice Chair of the Law Student Division for the State Bar of Texas

Latoya Merida is the new vice chair of the Law Student Division for the State Bar of Texas. She is an Army brat primarily raised in Austin, Texas, but she traveled all across the nation before beginning her undergraduate career at Texas Tech University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in sociology and minor in legal studies and received the Dean’s highest academic recognition award. Her passion for youth led her to spend much of her undergraduate career under the direction offered by the Child Development Research Center in Lubbock.

Read More
Texas Access To Justice Commission Update
Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

Stay Tuned for Exciting Ways to Get Involved in Pro Bono!
By: Jenny Smith

It can be difficult for low-income Texans to obtain much-needed legal assistance.  Oftentimes rural, Texas residents may qualify for legal aid services, but the rural community lacks the resources to provide such services.  Recognizing this need, the Texas Access to Justice Commission is currently working on a new, exciting initiative to assist low-income individuals representing themselves in rural areas of Texas.  The Remote Access Project will connect rural, self-represented litigants with pro bono attorneys through Skype.  Attorneys will be able to offer guidance through live video feed to litigants representing themselves in divorce proceedings.

Read More
Important Dates To Remember

August 22, 2014
TYLA deadline to receive grant applications for the 2014-15 Local Affiliate Grant Program.

September 1, 2014
Holiday - Labor Day (Texas Law Center closed)

September 5-7, 2014
TYLA Board of Directors Meeting - Sheraton Hotel, Dallas

September 11-13, 2014

October 9-12, 2014
ABA/YLD Fall Conference - Portland, OR

October 17, 2014
Handling Your First (or Next) Employment Law Case CLE
Register to attend at the Law Center by Oct. 3 and save $75

October 19-25, 2014
National Pro Bono Week Celebration

Read More
Take Note

Rebekah Steely Brooker, TYLA President

Click here to view the TYLA President's Opinion.


TYLA Diversity Scholarship
The Texas Young Lawyers Association’s Diversity Committee is proud to offer a $1,000 scholarship to one or more law students at each of the ABA-accredited law schools in Texas.  The scholarship is open to any student who is able demonstrate a commitment to diversity.  In awarding the scholarships, the Diversity Committee will consider the applicant’s resume, responses to the essay questions contained in the application, demonstrated commitment to diversity, academic performance, and financial need.  Please click here to download the application.


Law Student Reception at the Texas Minority Counsel Program
Law students from all Texas law schools are invited to attend a reception during the State Bar of Texas Office of Minority Affairs’ 22nd Annual Texas Minority Counsel Program. This is an opportunity for law students to meet alumni, network with practicing attorneys, and speak with potential mentors. The 2014 Law Student Reception takes place in Austin from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 at The Westin Austin at The Domain. For more information and/or to RSVP, call (800) 204-2222, ext. 1538 or email.


Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange Special Enrollment Period
Now that the 2014 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) has ended, members will need to experience a qualifying life event to enroll in a qualified health insurance plan through the exchange. Below are some guidelines for how the Special Enrollment Period works:

Members must experience a qualifying life event in order to open up a Special Enrollment Period. What is a qualifying life event?
• Birth or adoption*
• Marriage or divorce*
• Move to a new coverage area
• Involuntary loss of coverage*
• Loss of subsidy eligibility
• Loss of Medicaid/CHIP eligibility
• Current plan closes*
• Gaining citizenship
• Leaving incarceration

Effective Date Rules
• Enroll between the 1st and 15th of the month: Effective 1st day of following month
• Enroll between the 16th and 31st of the month: Effective 1st day of the second following month

If none of the above qualifying events have occurred, there are still options that you may want to consider, such as a Short-Term Health Plan. The next open enrollment is scheduled to begin on Nov. 15, 2014, and stays open until Feb. 15, 2015. Click here or call (800) 282-8626 for more information about qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period or Short-Term Health Plans.

*Effective date is based on the date of event.


Legal Research
The State Bar of Texas is the first and only bar association to offer its members free access to both Fastcase and Casemaker, giving members unprecedented access to two nationwide legal research services. Firms of 11 lawyers or more will have free access to Fastcase’s extensive Texas Plan, while solo practitioners and firms of 10 lawyers or fewer will have access to Fastcase’s Premium plan. State Bar of Texas members have access to Fastcase’s intuitive legal research tools, training webinars and tutorials, mobile apps, and live customer support. The free member benefit has no restrictions on time or number of transactions and includes unlimited printing, unlimited reference assistance, and unlimited customer service. Casemaker’s expanded offerings include access to premium services at no cost for all members. These services were previously available only to paid subscribers. Casemaker has also added its new Subsequent History feature especially for Texas attorneys. At a glance, researchers can now determine writ and petition history. Casemaker’s new statute annotator feature is now available to Texas attorneys as well. At a click, researchers can quickly get an accurate picture of how the courts have cited, applied, interpreted, and construed each statute. Click here for more information.


The State Bar of Texas is excited to announce the launch of a new mobile site. Now, when you access TexasBar.com from your smart phone, you will instantly have access to the bar's most visited sites—Find a Lawyer, Contact Us, and the State Bar Calendar of Events. On the Find a Lawyer tab, you can find an attorney in the directory and call him or her from your mobile phone with just one click. The mobile-friendly site also features links to our blogs, Texas Bar Blog and Texas Bar Today.

The “Find a Lawyer” search function is the most visited part of TexasBar.com. Recently, the search function on the website and mobile site was improved to make finding the attorney you are looking for even faster. Make sure your profile information is up-to-date and your list of practice areas is current. Log onto your My Bar Page to update your profile and picture now.


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.


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.


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 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.


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 Chair Sally Pretorius.

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.

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 2013-2014
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 2013-2014 Bar year. Click here for a copy or call 800-204-2222, ext. 1529 and we'll send one.

Read More