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

Tips for Young Lawyers

Knowledge = Safety:  Practical Tips to Avoid Three Unique Summer Dangers
By: Chip Brooker

At long last, summer is finally upon us.  School is out.  Temperatures continue to rise.  Armed with previously filed vacation letters, litigators across the state breathe a sigh of relief and hope for a summer ceasefire.  Likewise, transactional lawyers hope their vacation plans dovetail with those of their clients, as deals slow down before the end-of-the-year push.

Generally speaking, even in the legal industry, there is a slower pace in the summertime.  With partners away on vacation (or simply more relaxed), young lawyers may enjoy a better work-life balance.  Patio season becomes pool season.  If they are lucky, even associates may be able to take a vacation or find a beach.  Simply put, we all take it just a little easier in the summer.

However, the summer is not without its own unique set of dangers, particularly for young lawyers with children of their own at home.  Hopefully, the information provided below will keep you and your family safer this summer. 

1.  Swimming Pools

The obvious danger with swimming pools—especially for young children and inexperience swimmers—is drowning.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15.  The highest drowning rates are for children under five years old and those between the ages of 15-24.  More than 3,500 people die each year in the United States from drowning; a rate of almost ten people per day.  Obviously, that rate is higher in the summer.

According to Slate, approximately half of children who drown will do so within 25 yards of their parents or another adult.  The reason why—as Slate points out—is because drowning does not look like what we see on television.  In reality, there is very little splashing, waving, or yelling of any kind.  In fact, drowning can actually be quiet and undramatic.  When swimming this summer, be prepared to identify the less-obvious but equally-endangered swimmers around you.  Here is what you may see that may help you save a life:

- Head low in the water, mouth at water level;
- Head tilted back with mouth open;
- Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus;
- Eyes closed;
- Hair over forehead or eyes;
- Not using legs—vertical;
- Hyperventilating or gasping;
- Trying to swim in a particular direction but not going anywhere;
- Trying to roll over on their back; or
- Appearing to be climbing an invisible ladder.

2.  Dry Drowning

Unfortunately, especially if you have young children at home, you should also be aware of your children’s behavior in the hours after swimming this summer.  That is because, each year, “secondary drowning” or “dry drowning” claims many lives, accounting for approximately 1-2 percent of all drowning deaths. 

Dry drowning occurs when someone breathes in or inhales small amounts of water that then pools in the lungs, leading to pulmonary edema or swelling.  The fluid in the lungs causes muscles in the airway to spasm, making breathing difficult and causing extreme fatigue.  Also, when the lungs are filled with water, they cannot exchange oxygen to and from the blood.  This causes the heart to slow as the swimmer’s blood oxygen level drops rapidly.

Dry drowning is normally precipitated by a near drowning incident or a sudden rush of water, as might happen when jumping from a high surface or diving board or when exiting a water slide.  The swimmer often appears fine immediately after the event; however, symptoms can appear from one to 24 hours after the incident.  Be on the lookout for trouble breathing, chest pain, or cough; sudden changes in behavior and mood; and extreme fatigue.  If you suspect someone that you love may be suffering from dry drowning, you should take that person to the emergency room immediately, where oxygen or ventilation can be a life-saving treatment.

3.  Vehicular Heat Stroke

Texas summers are notoriously hot.  Temperatures routinely approach the triple digits across the state.  Unfortunately, it should come as no surprise that Texas leads the nation in the number of children that die in vehicles from heat stroke after being left unattended.  Nationwide, approximately 40 children die each year from heat-related injuries after being trapped inside motor vehicles.  The reason why children are especially prone to heat-related injuries is because a child’s body temperature can rise 3-5 times faster than an adult’s.  In the hot Texas summer—even with the windows partially down—the temperature inside a parked car can reach 125 degrees or more in a matter of minutes.

The most dangerous mistake that a parent or caregiver can make is to think that they could never “forget” their child in a vehicle.  Approximately 54 percent of the time, a parent or caregiver unknowingly left the child in a vehicle; however, more than 31 percent of the time the children got into the vehicle on their own. 

There are some simple things that you can do to prevent either outcome.  At home, keep vehicles locked at all times, even in the garage or driveway, and always set your parking brake.  Never leave car keys or remote openers within the reach of children.  Also, keep a small stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it is not occupied.  When the child is in the car, put the stuffed animal on your dashboard or in the front passenger seat as a visual reminder of your child’s presence.

Ultimately, we all have to live and enjoy our lives, especially in the Texas summers.  We cannot and should not be paralyzed by the fear of what might happen; however, as the old adage says, knowing is half the battle, which is why knowledge equals safety.

Chip Brooker is a trial lawyer with the Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, P.C. in Dallas, Texas.  He represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury claims and complex business disputes.  Mr. Brooker may be reached at cbrooker@flbranson.com.