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.





























































Feature TYLA Affiliate

The Tarrant County Bench Book
By: Jenny Gravley 

The Fort Worth Tarrant County Young Lawyer’s Association, like other affiliates, often struggles with the age-old question: How can we get new members, and how do we engage existing members?   With constantly evolving special-interest groups competing for member dues and participation we sometimes fall short of providing young lawyers with tangible benefits of membership—aside from the obvious social aspects and networking opportunities.  Sometimes we get so lost in striving for innovation, creation, and improvement that we forget about the basics. So, when the Tarrant County Bar Association membership committee requested TCYLA’s help with a Bench Book—a judge’s cheat sheet to their requirements, likes, dislikes, and preferences from the judge’s mouth type-book—we were skeptical.  It seemed so simple.  Plus, wasn’t that information out there already, from some other entity, the judge’s websites, or for purchase if our members wanted or needed it? It turns out, in our neck of the woods, it wasn’t.  After looking around, the last comprehensive updated Tarrant County-specific bench booklet was more than a decade old.  Even in a county not known for high judicial turnover, the modernization of the practice along with the inevitable turnovers made a new bench book seem all the more necessary.

Not to mention that anyone who has, or is preparing to, set foot in a courtroom knows that some background on the judge’s preferences and expectations can go a long way, for your own comfort, and your client’s case. Especially for young lawyers. So, we agreed to help and applied for a TYLA grant to help us fund the online publication for our members of the first comprehensive Tarrant County Bench Book in at least 12 years. 

We applied for and were thrilled to receive a TYLA grant to help offset the costs and after that, we were off.  We wish we could give you practical tips from a finished product perspective. But we can’t.  We’re still figuring it out ourselves.  However, the biggest challenge is well underway, and almost finished:  creating a useful questionnaire for each practice area (family, civil and criminal), that is both short enough to encourage judicial participation, but contains enough useful questions that a lawyer would need to know if practicing before a certain judge.  From courtroom decorum, to general advice for the new lawyer, we’re asking it all. Does the judge prefer you stand at the podium or will she allow you to pace around?  Does he want copies of those pertinent cases? Does he prefer those be highlighted?

After review by several young lawyers—edited for usefulness and relevance—the questionnaires are in the final stages, and a criminal, civil, and family judge has each offered to critique the final product.  We’re awaiting final word from them before sending out to all judges for responses.  We hope to have it finalized and the responses published this summer on our website, and always remembering our goal of providing service to the profession on whole, we will provide a free copy to the Tarrant County law library for pro se use as well.  We know we might not be blazing any trails with this project, but we hope it’ll make the trail to trial a little easier for our young lawyer members.