Feature Affiliate

Feature Affiliate

Hays and Caldwell Counties Form Young Lawyers Association
By: Charmaine Wilde

In the summer of 2013, Amanda Erwin and I began meeting and discussing the creation of a Hays County Young Lawyers Association. We had been actively involved with professional activities in law school and were eager to continue making connections as practicing attorneys. However, we knew that the two of us would not be able to run an organization on our own. We were also unsure who would be considered a “young attorney.”

Over the next few months we began creating a list of who we thought would qualify as young attorneys in our area. We found creative ways to inquire about ages or length of practice to feel out who might be interested in joining a TYLA chapter. By July 2013, we had a list of about 20 attorneys that we felt would both be interested and qualify as members. We had also reached out to a few wise and seasoned attorneys who were willing to sponsor our group, including the current Hays County Bar president, Kyle Maysel. These attorneys donated the funds for us to hold our first, unofficial Young Lawyers gathering.

We met at a local restaurant and enjoyed a few drinks and appetizers as we discussed the future of Hays County and our role as young attorneys. There was an excitement about the ability we had to contribute to our community and to work together to develop comradery between our various professional circles. To our surprise, we had a few attorneys show up from Caldwell County—the county that neighbors Hays to the southeast. This left us wanting to include Caldwell County attorneys in our association.

After this event, Francesca Scanio, a young attorney of our group who is very active in the community, was approached by a local charity to assist in hosting a charity auction and dinner. Amanda and I were very excited at the prospect of another event for young lawyers to gather together, and we quickly put our time and energy into coordinating this event.

This charity event came to fruition in the middle of January 2014. Our success from the first gathering had expanded. We had additional attorneys at this event—so many that we were unable to get a group picture. Francesca did a wonderful job of planning and coordinating, and it became clear she would be the person best suited to direct the growing organization.  At that time, we again discussed formally organizing, but wanted to be sure we had the support and interest to be successful.

In April 2014, we held a Young Lawyers Picnic on a ranch just outside of Wimberley. This time, we had a different group of attorneys show up for some field games, cold drinks, and barbeque from the former Hays County district attorney, Mike Wenk.  After this event we began working out the logistics between Hays County, Caldwell County, and the statewide TYLA. I attended the State Bar of Texas Bar Leader’s Conference and became further informed about how to officially formalize.

Finally, after years of planning and preparing, the Hays/Caldwell County Young Lawyers Association was officially established and recognized by the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association in November 2014. On Jan. 31, we hosted our Hays/Caldwell County Young Lawyers Association kickoff event at Cody’s Bistro, in San Marcos.  We hope that our new organization will prove to be a lasting beacon to our communities as well as helping strengthen the professional relationships that already exist in our local counties.

Several events are in the works that will serve as a foundation for future activity. On April 18, we have planned a Heart Walk on behalf of attorneys and legal professionals who have suffered or died of heart attacks or heart disease in our communities. The walk will be held in memory of Henry Luna, Hays County Court-at-Law bailiff, and James Pape, a defense attorney who practiced in both Hays and Caldwell counties. Additionally, on Nov. 6, we have tentative plans for a veteran’s clinic, at which our members will assist veterans with legal issues, as well as providing a free lunch and keynote speaker.

While it took many years of preparation, planning, and slowly growing an idea, it has been worth it. From the first meeting Amanda Erwin and I had in 2012, to now, the foundation has been laid for young attorneys in our counties to benefit their communities and flourish both socially and professionally.

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.

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