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.





























































Top Story

Top Story

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
By:  Natalie Cobb Koehler

It’s that time of year again…time for candidates for TYLA President-Elect to travel the state in an effort to meet as many young lawyers as they can before Election Day. This year we are fortunate to have two outstanding candidates from large cities, C.E. Rhodes from Houston and David Courreges from Austin. On April 1st, election packets with a paper ballot will be mailed to all eligible attorneys. You may either submit your paper ballot via mail or vote online. The deadline to cast ballots is 5 p.m. CST on April 30th.

Get to know C.E. and David through topics ranging from why they want to be TYLA President to a few of their favorite things. We think you will agree that these gentlemen are two of TYLA’s finest.

1. Why do you want to be TYLA President?

CE: Given my years of leadership in TYLA and my diverse legal experience, I believe I am uniquely qualified to lead this outstanding group because I can relate to all Texas young lawyers and help tackle the issues facing us today. I have been on the TYLA Board since 2004 and have served as a Director and Chair. During my tenure on the Board, I have had the opportunity to lead committees that have created projects, such as Justice 101, Office In A Flash, and They Had A Dream Too. I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that these projects have had on our members and the public. As for my practice, I have handled civil, criminal, transactional and litigation matters. I have also worked both as outside and in-house counsel. If elected, I plan to engage lawyers with diverse practice areas in the creation and implementation of future TYLA projects.

DC: I am proud to be a Texas young lawyer. I truly believe that I am a member of the finest association of professionals in the country. The mission of TYLA embodies the spirit of what it means to be a member of our community: leadership, respect and service. Whether assisting veterans in securing much-needed legal services, ensuring the access to justice for countless citizens or the education of our children, I am consistently amazed at the exceptional and vital contributions that our fellow young lawyers make to our community. It was my pleasure to serve as TYLA Vice-President during the past year. I look forward to serving as your TYLA President, where I will continue the TYLA tradition by working with you to develop new programs that will serve all segments of the young lawyer population, support community involvement, and create new opportunities for education and mentorship.

2. What do you see as the single greatest challenge facing young lawyers today?

CE: Although it appears the worst is behind us, the economy continues to be a challenge. The economy has placed tremendous stress on young lawyers who are both unemployed and employed. I hope to provide young lawyers with the tools needed to identify the factors causing stress, better understand the resulting physiological and mental effects, and explore healthy ways to manage it.

DC: The economy is always a prevailing challenge, especially in light of our state’s current budget challenges. Every young lawyer is affected, particularly those facing budgetary reductions, hiring freezes, or worse. We need to continue to address these issues by providing additional resources for all young lawyers, help raise awareness and heighten community support. Every young lawyer should be our top priority.

3. What is your favorite TYLA project?

CE: I have been fortunate to have been a part of the creation, design, and implementation of many great projects over the years so it is extremely tough to narrow it down to one. As Chair, I was an advisor to the committee that created R U Safe: Protecting Yourself in Cyber Space. R U Safe is an award-winning DVD designed to educate children and their parents about online dangers and gives them the tools needed to be safe online. It is one of my favorite projects because we all have family members and friends, both old and young, who can benefit from the DVD.

DC: During the time I have served on the TYLA Board of Directors, I developed a passion for bringing law-focused education projects to our schools. My very first TYLA project was to organize the first official Austin presentation of They Had a Dream Too! at Bowie High School. Since then, I have organized and presented TYLA law-focused education projects to over 10,000 Texas school children, teachers and parents. This is due in large part to my favorite TYLA project: Vote America! Honor the Fight, Exercise Your Right, which chronicles the history of voting rights in the United States from birth to present-day. Though I have had the opportunity to assist in the creation and implementation of other TYLA projects, Vote America! is special because it helped encourage so many individuals to get involved in the election process, and even vote for the first time. The month it was released, Vote America! was shown in every high school in Atlanta, GA, and to each high school senior and junior in Austin within the span of a single week.

4. What is your primary area of legal practice and how does it differ from other legal practices?

CE: I am an in-house counsel for Baker Hughes, Inc., an oilfield services company with more than 50,000 employees in 90 countries. My current title is U.S. Operations and Compliance Counsel. I advise management and employees on a variety of legal issues relating to our operations. I am also a member of the U.S. Region Leadership Team. In that capacity, I work very closely with management daily to help develop both short and long-term strategic business goals for the region, which is different from private practice.

DC: My primary area of legal practice is administrative law with a focus on representation of clients before the legislative and executive branches of government. The basic premise of my practice is no different from that of a litigator, family attorney or criminal attorney. My job is to ensure that the rights and liberties of my clients are protected and that they have an active and competent voice advocating on their behalf. My days are fast-paced and ever-changing. On any given day I can be found presenting a case before an administrative law judge at the State Office of Administrative Hearings, then presenting policy changes before a legislative committee in the afternoon. I have the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of issues and interact with an array of interesting and engaging individuals. I truly love my job.

Now for the hard hitting questions…

5. Both of you are married to wonderful and supportive ladies. How long have you been married? Do you and your spouse have kids, pets or both?

CE: My wife and I have been happily married for almost two years. At this time, we do not have any children or pets.

DC: 2010 was an exceptional year. My wonderful wife, Erin, and I celebrated our fifth anniversary and welcomed into the world our beautiful and happy daughter McKenna. Needless to say, having McKenna was a life-changing experience for our entire family, most notably the family dog, Roxy.

6. In your spare time, what do you like to do for fun?

CE: As a former college athlete, I enjoy watching college sports and eating great food. I try to combine the two activities as often as possible.

DC: My definition of “spare time” has dramatically changed in the past year. I have found that I love to re-experience “firsts” with my daughter. For instance, we recently visited the zoo for the first time, which is something I have done dozens of times in numerous cities. However, going with McKenna was an entirely new experience that I will always remember. It is entirely too easy to forget that a lion roaring, an otter swimming, or even a cow eating hay are sights and sounds never before enjoyed by an 11-month old.

7. What is your favorite book?

CE: The Nine, Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, by Jeffrey Toobin.

DC: The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry.

8. What is your favorite movie?

CE: Three-way tie between Life is Beautiful, The Water Boy, and The Hangover.

DC: Animal House – guaranteed to make me laugh.

9. What is your favorite city to vacation or visit?

CE: New York

DC: My favorite city to visit is one that I have never been to before, especially if it is a state capital. I love history and have been known to walk around a city for hours without a map or purpose just to see what I can find.

10. What is your favorite restaurant and what should I order if I go there?

CE: Del Frisco’s Steakhouse. I suggest the crab cake, calamari, ribeye, and lemon cake.

DC: Rudy’s Country Store (or any Texas BBQ restaurant for that matter). My standard order is ¼ pound point cut brisket, ½ link jalapeno sausage, creamed corn, beans, potato salad, pickles on the side, and a bottle of Big Red.

11. Would you prefer to attend a concert or a sporting event and who would you like to see playing?

CE: I prefer a college football game. I would want to see my alma mater, the Virginia Cavaliers, play and more importantly, win.

DC: There is nothing better than a good high school or college sporting event, and it doesn’t even matter who is playing (though if it is the University of Texas, that is a huge plus). However, my favorite event to attend is the UIL Boys Basketball Tournament in Austin. The excitement and dedication shown by each of the student athletes is truly inspiring.

12. What was the last song you sang when no one else was around?

CE: Sexyback by Justin Timberlake

DC: Long Way Home by Cross Canadian Ragweed

13. You are stranded on a desert island. What five albums would you absolutely have to have on your iPod? (don't worry about not having power to keep it charged)

CE: Stevie Wonder – The Definitive Collection, Stevie Wonder
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Dangerously in Love - Beyonce
FutureSex / Love Sounds - Justin Timberlake
Now 80: That’s What I Call Music - Various Artists

DC: George’s Bar – Pat Green -- Every song reminds me of home.
#2 Live Dinner – Robert Earl Keen – I just makes me feel good.
Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin – An American masterpiece that moved from conception to first performance in under a month.
American Idiot – Green Day – “Holiday” is a government geek’s anthem.
The Legend of Johnny Cash – Johnny Cash – It’s Johnny Cash.

14. If you won $10 million what is the first thing you would buy?

CE: I would buy my parents whatever they wanted irrespective of the cost.

DC: 100 acres on the Brazos River (I would also settle for 100 acres on the Colorado River).

15. If you could have a dinner party and only invite three people, who would you invite and why?

CE: Warren Buffet - he would have beneficial stock tips.
Adam Sandler - he would keep everyone laughing throughout the evening.
Oprah Winfrey - she would pose great questions to the group.

DC: The three most important people in my life: my daughter, my wife and my mother. As the only child of a single mother, I understand that there is nothing more rewarding or valuable than quality time with the family.