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

News from the Legislative Front: Of Interim Charges and Appropriations
By:  Jerry D. Bullard

No, the Legislature is not back in session. However, the biennial lawmaking hiatus does not necessarily mean that all is quiet on the legislative front. Between sessions, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor typically issue interim charges in which legislative committees are asked to study various issues in preparation for the next session. The current interim period is no exception. This article provides a brief of overview of interim legislative activity that has transpired thus far:

Interim Charges

Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst have issued interim charges for House and Senate committees to study. There are numerous charges covering a variety of topics. This article will not attempt to address them all (those who are interested in perusing the entire list of charges for each chamber can click on the links above); however, there are a few noteworthy charges relating to the civil justice system, which are listed and summarized below (where applicable, links to public hearings and/or the notices/minutes associated with each charge follow each bullet-point):

• House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence

o Examine the constitutional qualifications and term lengths for appellate court judges, and consider whether changes would benefit the public and the judiciary. Notice Witness List

Status of Charge: The Committee conducted a hearing on March 17 to consider this charge. The Committee heard from several speakers, including Chief Justice Nathan Hecht; former Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson; current Presiding Judge Sharon Keller; Chief Justice Steve McKeithen (9th Court of Appeals); and David Slayton, Administrative Director of the Office of Court Administration. The witnesses discussed constitutional qualifications and term lengths for appellate justices. They also discussed the process of electing judges; Chief Justice Jefferson talked about the benefits of a judicial selection process similar to Arizona’s, which uses a commission to vet and recommend candidates for appointment followed by a non-partisan retention election. Further, although the topic was outside the scope of the interim charge, Rep. Todd Hunter (R - Corpus Christi) asked the panel composed of Chief Justices Jefferson and Hecht and Presiding Judge Keller whether the Legislature should examine the possibility of redistricting the intermediate courts of appeals. Keller expressed no opinion, but Jefferson and Hecht said that it should.

Those who are interested in watching the hearing can do so here. Testimony about the charge begins at 1:02:00.

o Study whether Regional Presiding Judges should be appointed by the Chief Justice rather than the Governor. Notice Witness List

Status of Charge: On March 17, the Committee heard testimony from Chief Justice Hecht; Judge David Peeples, Presiding Judge of the Fourth Administrative Judicial Region; and David Slayton of the Office of Court Administration. None of the witnesses took an official position on the topic, but they did provide background information about the issue.

The hearing can be seen here. Testimony about the charge begins at 2:09:00.

o Review the methods used by state agencies and courts to prepare and publish electronic legal materials. Examine the processes used to ensure reliability and permanence of these materials and strategies used to harmonize those processes with national standards, including possible adoption of the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act. Notice Witness List

Status of Charge: On April 28, the Committee heard testimony from various individuals, including representatives from the Office of Court Administration, the Office of the Secretary of State, and the Tarlton Law Library (University of Texas). They testified about the need to create uniformity, accuracy, and guiding principles in posting of electronic legal materials and about the importance of ensuring public access to such materials.

The hearing on this charge can be seen here. Testimony about the charge begins at 34:30.

o Study issues that inhibit the use of wills and access to the probate process in Texas, particularly for low-income individuals. Notice Witness List

Status of Charge: On April 28, the Committee heard testimony from various practitioners about the need to increase awareness about the need for a will and the importance of facilitating access to the probate process for pro se individuals. According to one witness, pro se representation in the probate process is limited only to situations in which the pro se party is the sole beneficiary or the will is being probated as a muniment of title.

Testimony about the charge begins at 1:14:40 of this video.

• House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform

o Examine the public’s accessibility to government services and agencies through the use of mobile applications and online services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Technology).

Status of Charge: The Committee scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. Notice Witness List

Testimony about the charge begins at 39.17 of this video

• Senate Jurisprudence Committee

o Monitor the implementation of statewide electronic filing as mandated by the Texas Supreme Court to determine if any additional training or resources are needed by local jurisdictions. In addition, determine those jurisdictions that have imposed the local transaction fee, as created by House Bill 2302, to determine how it is being utilized and if its continued collection is necessary.

Status of Charge: The Committee has scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, June 3 at 10:00 a.m. Notice Video

The committee reports on the interim charges will be published prior to the start of the 2015 legislative session.

Jerry Bullard practices at Adams, Lynch & Loftin, P.C., in Grapevine. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. As a service to interested members of the bench and bar, he produces an e-newsletter that includes summarized information and links to relevant bills and interim charges in order to keep recipients up to date on what is happening at the Capitol and how proposed legislation might affect the practice of civil trial and appellate lawyers and the judiciary. To receive the newsletter, please contact him at his work or his personal email.