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Year in Review
By: Jennifer Morris, Partner, Carrington Coleman

This year’s Texas Young Lawyers Association Annual Meeting will celebrate a year focusing on those we serve – young lawyers, the public, students, and children. TYLA worked hard this year to provide practical resources to help with a challenging economy. Together, we created Office in a Flash – everything you need to know to open your own law practice, all on a flash drive. We initiated Partnering for Pro Bono, a sustainable web-based program matching in-house counsel with law firm lawyers to support equal access to justice by increasing the provision of pro bono services. Finally, we produced The Little Voice – Recognizing Child Abuse and Your Duty to Report It, which serves as a reminder and educational tool about our obligation to report child abuse. Of course, we also continued to support our existing projects and resources.

The year kicked off with TYLA learning that Immediate Past-President Cori Harbour’s R U Safe had won every major national award available – the 2010 NABE LexisNexis Community and Education Outreach Award, the 2010 ABA YLD Best Public Service Project of the Year, and the 2010 American Endowment Outstanding Public Service Project Award! Although the 2011 ABA awards won’t be announced until the August meeting in Toronto, the year is ending with equally good news with Partnering for Pro Bono winning the Texas Access to Justice Pro Bono Service Award. That award comes with $1000 to be spent on continuing and improving that project. The Little Voice won the 2011 NABE LexisNexis Community and Education Outreach Award, making it an unprecedented two years in a row TYLA has won this prestigious award! Stay tuned for more good news out of Toronto.

With eager help from its directors and members, TYLA created the following new pamphlets, brochures and guides: Loan Modification Scam Pamphlet (English and Spanish), Occupational Licenses in Texas, and Oil & Gas Basics for Homeowners. In addition, the TYLA updated and/or translated into Spanish: Legal Guide for Cancer Patients, TYLA At-A-Glance, and the Employment Law Basics for New Employers. TYLA also helped its local affiliates and members by creating Tools for Winning Clients and finalizing a website generator tool that provides free local affiliate website hosting through the TYLA website. This was something requested by local affiliates at Bar Leaders Conferences in the past, and TYLA is proud to have provided it.

TYLA continued its outstanding community and educational programming, providing presentations of Healing the Wounds, R U Safe?, They Had A Dream Too, and Vote America! TYLA’s service to the profession was noted through programs such as Leadership SBOT, new tapings of Ten Minute Mentor, and participation in several CLE programs. TYLA expanded law student outreach through its outstanding program at six law schools - How to Get a Job: The Unclassified Story. TYLA also conducted several pre-law diversity summits for high school students interested in the legal profession, including Waco and El Paso. And, we ended the year with an outstanding Diversity Dinner program in Houston featuring Former Alabama Assistant United States Attorney Doug Jones who discussed his role in convicting those responsible for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

In addition to recognizing the myriad of amazing projects TYLA members carried out this past year, the Annual Meeting will also serve as the backdrop for the presentation of TYLA’s annual awards to the following:

Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas Award: Omar J. Alaniz, Dallas
Liberty Bell Award: Dr. Walter H. Nguyen, Dallas
Outstanding Mentor Award: Christina Melton Crain, Dallas
Joseph M. Pritchard Inn Outstanding Director Award: Shivali Sharma, Texarkana
Texas Young Lawyers Association President's Award: Rebecca Vela, McAllen
Texas Young Lawyers Association Outstanding First Year Director Award:  Kendall Hayden, Dallas 
Texas Young Lawyers Association President's Awards of Merit: Brooke Ulrickson Allen, Anita Barksdale, Chris Beasley, Robert E. Booth, Natasha L. Brooks, Tracy Brown, Lacy L. Durham, Zeke Fortenberry, Geoff A. Gannaway, Zachary Hall, Wendy Humphrey, Tami Knoll, Clint Harbour, Kenneth C. Riney, Chris Rogers, Sarah Rogers, and Thea D, Whalen

2010 TYLA State Moot Court Competition Champion: South Texas College of Law

2011 National Trial Competition Champion: Northwestern University School of Law, Karim Basaria, Andrew Crowder, and Clare Diegel coached by Richard Levin and Adam Riback.

2010-2011 Local Affiliates Awards of Achievement Winners - Please click here to view the entire list.

I will be turning over the reins to Natalie Cobb Koehler, but will continue to serve TYLA in the role of Immediate Past President. TYLA looks forward to serving the legal profession and the public under the leadership of Natalie, who will be sworn in at the Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting will be adjourned by Alfonso Cabanas, the 2011-2011 TYLA Chair, who will receive the gavel from David Anderson, the 2010-2011 TYLA Chair. As TYLA basks in the light of recent accomplishments, it looks to an even brighter future. What achievements will 2011-2012 bring?