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

Article of Interest

Juvenile Drug Court: The Therapeutic Practice of Law
By:  Danny Razo

     When most attorneys begin the practice of law, they dream of making a difference in the lives of individuals.  However, they soon learn that most of the time, the practice of law is a business.  There is neither a right nor a wrong when dealing with a particular case, there is only finding a median or risking it all in a court of law.  Therefore, most attorneys become tired, frustrated, and even indifferent to the practice of law. 

     However, there are some practice areas that give attorneys an opportunity to truly make a significant impact in the lives of others.  For example, the juvenile drug court system is a very unique system which allows an attorney to become part of a team of individuals that includes judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers, compliance officers, bailiffs, and juvenile drug executive directors.  As a team member, the attorney must not only advise their juvenile clients of their legal rights, but they must also take into account the opinions of the other team members when making decisions for their juvenile clients.  For example, no attorney would want his or her client to give up the right to remain silent, but when an attorney steps back and realizes that their client is only a child whose parents may be unable or unwilling parents, the attorney must then find a balance of protecting their juvenile client’s rights and protecting them from harms such as drug addiction.  For example, when you are dealing with a juvenile client who is “spooking” (using illegal inhalants) and there is truly no way for a probation officer to determine whether or not the juvenile is under the influence of drugs, as the attorney, your initial inclination would be to advise your juvenile client to not give up their right to remain silent.  On the other hand, the attorney must appreciate that the juvenile client will receive necessary treatment if they were to give up their right to remain silent. 

     When a juvenile is known to be relapsing with a drug addiction, the juvenile drug court team meets and determines what is in the best interest of the child.  The team usually meets weekly before a juvenile drug court session to discuss the treatment needs of all the children in juvenile drug court.  Some of the reoccurring issues are drug test failures, low grades, non-compliance with court orders, negative attitude, refusal to take medications, and parental non-compliance.  The judge will ask the prosecutor what they would like do with the case.  Basic answers for any prosecutor would be to modify the probation or revoke the probation of the juvenile.  The judge will then consult with the other team members who would either agree with the prosecutor or argue for alternative treatments.  Interestingly, team members do not always follow their traditional role in the practice of law.  For example, the defense attorney could suggest that their juvenile client be detained for their own safety or because of other confidential issues that the defense attorney is aware of, such as an unstable home environment or other potential harm, while the prosecutor could be satisfied with a minor punishment of extended community service hours. 

     As a practitioner in juvenile drug court, the attorney is spending time getting to know their juvenile client on a more personal basis, using their counseling skills to learn what has lead the juvenile to this point of their life.  Many juveniles in this situation suffer from an unstable home environment including parental abandonment, whether purposefully or unintentional because of detainment in prison.  In addition, some parents lack the necessary parenting skills that can lead to neglect or child abuse.  One program that TYLA has implemented is the “The Little Voice,” which helps the public identify and report child neglect or abuse that can sometimes lead a child to drug abuse.  Another issue that sometimes leads juveniles to drug abuse is lack of self-esteem due to bullying, peer pressure, or dealing with a traumatic event.  Another great program offered by TYLA is R U Safe?,” which in part helps elementary, middle school and high school students deal with cyber bullying.  Therefore, as an attorney, if you cannot participate in a juvenile drug court in your area, you can still make a difference by helping to present projects like “The Little Voice” and “R U Safe” in your community.