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.





























































September 2010

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

A Mandate for More Pro Bono Service
By:  Chip Brooker

This past November marked the twentieth anniversary of the Texas Lawyer’s Creed and its mandate for professionalism, and this month marks “Pro Bono Month,” as celebrated by the State Bar of Texas. With that in mind, I decided that I should refresh my recollection concerning what exactly the Texas Lawyer’s Creed says about pro bono service.

Top Story
Top Story

TYLA Wins Top Honor at the ABA YLD Annual Meeting
By:  Natalie Cobb Koehler

On August 7, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division presented annual Awards of Achievement at the Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The awards highlight state and local young lawyer organizations and their best projects from the past year of bar and community service.

This year, the ABA YLD awarded TYLA its highest honor for service to the public, recognizing TYLA's “RU Safe: Protecting Yourself in Cyberspace” the award for Most Outstanding Public Service Project.

Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

Texarkana Young Lawyers Association Hosts Judicial Dinner
By:  Cyndia Hammond

The Texarkana Young Lawyers Association held its annual Judicial Dinner on August 31, 2010. Local lawyers and judges look forward to the event each year. The 2010 Judicial Dinner was the first to be held in the fall instead of the spring so that the annual Attorney of the Year Award could be presented at the Judicial Dinner. Over ten local judges attended the dinner held in their honor as Texarkana YLA expressed their appreciation to the judges for their service. Special recognition was given to Judge John Miller, judge for the 102nd Judicial District in Bowie and Red River Counties, Texas, who will be retiring at the end of the year.

Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

Texas Lawyers Partnering for Pro Bono

Next month, as we recognize Pro Bono (National Pro Bono Week is Oct. 24-30) across the state, TYLA is introducing Partnering for Pro Bono—a web-based sustainable program that partners in-house counsel with law firm lawyers in an effort to increase the provision of pro bono legal services in Texas. Through a series of questions, our program matches a law firm lawyer with an in-house lawyer and then presents available pro bono cases through TexasLawyersHelp.org. Available cases will include family law, probate, consumer, landlord-tenant, immigration, labor and employment, veterans, public benefits, and civil rights. Partnering for Pro Bono will also coordinate with clinics around the state, starting with the State Bar’s Texas Lawyers for Texas Veteran’s clinics. And, because the cases will be provided through recognized legal services providers, malpractice coverage is provided by the State Bar.

Tips For Young Lawyers
Tips For Young Lawyers

Five Basic Facts Every Young Lawyer Should Know About Estate Planning
By Rebekah Brooker

My husband—who is also an attorney—gets that deer-in-the-headlights look anytime a non-lawyer asks him about wills, trusts, or other estate planning matters. As a business trial lawyer, estate planning is admittedly not his specialty. However, as most young lawyers have experienced, it is not uncommon for friends, family members, or pro bono clients to ask newly-minted lawyers to prepare wills or answer other estate planning questions. This article provides a very basic overview that will enable you to answer five frequent questions young lawyers hear from friends at dinner parties, family at Thanksgiving, and potential clients at pro bono clinics.

Article of Interest
Article of Interest

Texas Supreme Court Issues Multiple Insurance Opinions That Literally Interpret Policy Language And That Decline Equitable Theories That Alter Express Rights or Duties
By:  David F. Johnson

Insurance is a very important part of the business and personal lives of the citizens of Texas. Understanding this importance, the Texas Supreme Court actively selects insurance cases to decide. The Court has recently delivered five opinions that deal with insurance issues, and those opinions follow two recent trends. First, the Court will interpret an insurance policy strictly pursuant to its terms, will not read into it any additional language, and will take the policy at its literal language. Second, the Court disfavors any extra-contractual or equitable claims or defenses that would alter the express rights and duties of an insurer under a policy.

Access To Justice Commission Update
Access To Justice Commission Update

Private Attorneys Play a Vital Role in Helping Poor Texans
By:  Brian McGivern

Over 5.3 million Texans live in poverty; that is greater than the number of people living in the cities of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio combined. Among the numerous hurdles they face is inadequate access to the most basic legal services. Much is being done by the state and federal governments to rectify this, but the public resources available to address the problem are already stretched to capacity. Any future improvement in access to legal services in Texas will rely on the pro bono efforts of its attorneys.

ABA YLD Update
ABA YLD Update

ABA YLD Ends Year in San Francisco
By:  Chip Brooker

In August, the ABA Young Lawyers Division celebrated the end of its 2009-10 bar year at the ABA’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California. It was bitter sweet for Texas lawyers because the meeting marked the end of Kelly-Ann Clarke’s term as the Division’s Chair. Ms. Clarke—a Galveston young lawyer and former member of TYLA’s Board of Directors—put an exclamation point on an exciting year for the Division, centered around her theme of “Making Lasting Connections, Both Personally and Professionally.”

Important Dates to Remember
Important Dates to Remember

September 17-18
TYLA Board of Directors meeting - T Bar M, New Braunfels

October 4
TYLA grant checks mailed to TYLA Local Affiliate grant recipients

October 14-17
ABA/YLD Fall Conference - Santa Fe, NM

October 15
TYLA deadline to receive TYLA Minority Scholarship applications

October 25
TYLA deadline to receive second committee report

Take Note
Take Note

View This Month's TYLA President's Opinion

Jennifer Evans Morris
TYLA President 2010-2011

“Justice for All” License Plate Contest
Austin Young Lawyers Association and Collin County Young Lawyers Association have joined the license plate contest! TYLA is sponsoring a “Justice for All” license plate contest to support pro bono legal services. $25 of the $30 cost of each license plate is deposited into a special account supporting civil legal services to the poor. Help your local Young Lawyer Association take the challenge by emailing Brooke Ulrickson at bau@browndean.com. Then copy Brooke on at least two emails to your members promoting the contest and asking for participation. Post the challenge on your website through December 31, 2010. Good luck!

Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans
Get involved with Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans and do your part to help our military veterans. Local bar associations are establishing veterans legal advice clinics across the state and attorney volunteers are needed. State Bar President Terry Tottenham and TYLA President Jennifer Evans Morris have challenged local bars to conduct at least one veterans legal clinic a year. One of the goals of the program is for each local bar to host a veterans legal clinic on or around Veterans Day, November 11, 2010. For a list of current veterans clinics, visit www.texasbar.com/veterans. If you don’t see your local bar or TYLA affiliate listed, contact your local bar and encourage its participation in this important endeavor.

TYLA’s veterans resources brochure, TLTV: Resources for Veterans Seeking Help(link: http://www.texasbar.com/tylaveteransresourcespamphlet), has proven so popular that it’s already gone to a second printing. Copies of this pamphlet and its companion for lawyers, TLTV: Resources for Lawyers Assisting Veterans (link: http://www.texasbar.com/tylaattorneysassistingveteranspamphlet) can be ordered through the TYLA office or the State Bar’s Public Information Department at (800) 204-2222, ext. 1800.

Get Involved and Sign Up Today!
If you want to be involved as an active volunteer in TYLA visit our website to find out more about TYLA committees and their focus ... then sign up online! Please note: if you signed up for a committee prior to June 2010, you will need to sign up for your committees again. Committee memberships are reset each year on June 1st.

TYLA Annual Report 2009-2010
Want to know how TYLA is serving its members and the community? Then be sure to read the 2009-2010 annual report, which details the activities of TYLA during the 2009-2010 Bar year. Click here for a copy or call 800-204-2222, ext. 1529 and we'll send you a copy.

TYLA Local Leader Directory
Please email the TYLA office if there are any changes to your local affiliates 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 Co-Chairs Ken Riney or Brooke Ulrickson

Ten Minute Mentor

Ten Minute Mentor is a TYLA project that debuted in 2004 as a means for sharing concise and practical advice that is always accessible online. Since that time, 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. You can visit the site at www.tenminutementor.com.

Support Pro Bono Legal Services and Let Everyone Know It!

The Texas Young Lawyers Association 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 can be purchased for only $30.00 per year.
$22.00 from the purchase of each plate will be deposited into an account
supporting legal services to the poor. If you would like that plate personalized, you can get your plate for $70.00 per year. To purchase your plate today, simply fill out an
application and send your check, payable to the Texas Department of Transportation, to the following address:
Vehicle Titles and Registration Division (SPB)
Texas Department of Transportation
Austin, TX 78779-0001
To pay online click

Rule 78a Requires Civil Case Information Sheet

New Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 78A requires that a case information sheet accompany the filing of an original petition in a civil case and certain post-judgment motions under the Texas Family Code. [5/10]
For details and instructions, including the form for the sheet, visit this page and see the heading, "Civil Case Information Sheet."

Make New Connections with Texas Bar Circle
More than 12,000 of your peers have joined Texas Bar Circle - our social and professional network for Texas lawyers. Join today and reconnect with colleagues, find jobs, explore opportunities, and have fun. The power of Texas Bar Circle is in the connections you will make. Visit https://texasbar.affinitycircles.com/sbot/auth/login.

Member Benefits Program
Are you looking for ways to save this summer? Take advantage of exclusive money-saving offers from the State Bar of Texas Member Benefits Program. Bar members are eligible for discounts on products and services including car rental, clothing, computer hardware and software, office supplies, and more. For details on the State Bar Member Benefits Program, please click here.