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.





























































Access To Justice Commission Update

Access To Justice Commission Update

Doing Well While Doing Good:  Incorporating Limited Scope Representation into Your Business Model to Help Low-Income Litigants
By:  Melissa Cook

We all know that it is best to have a lawyer handle clients’ legal needs. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of poor to low-income Texans need help with their civil legal issues but can’t afford - or believe they can’t afford - to hire a lawyer.  And while we’d like to think that their needs can be met through the good deeds of pro bono lawyers, it is not an attainable goal.  Texas lawyers already do a tremendous amount of pro bono work, but they simply cannot help everyone who needs it.  The numbers of people attempting to represent themselves are growing rapidly, resulting in a dramatic impact on judicial efficiency. 

What is the solution?  There are a wide range of options to improve access to the legal system for those that must represent themselves.   Examples currently exist around the state, including offering assistance at self-help centers, free advice clinics, court-based assisted pro se programs, standardized forms, and representation in lawyers’ offices.  That’s right you read correctly:  representation in lawyers’ offices on a limited scope basis!

Limited Scope Representation offers a perfect way for lawyers to meet the legal needs of poor to low-income Texans while earning a living at the same time. Too good to be true? Nope! Under Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer may limit the scope of representation if reasonable under the circumstances and the client consents after consultation. 

Limited Scope Representation (LSR) is practiced by lawyers all across the country in a variety of practice areas including probate, collections, landlord-tenant, small claims, and family law, just to name a few.  In this model, a lawyer provides specific legal services to the client instead of handling the entire case. For example, a client contracts with a lawyer to draft all necessary documents but not to make any court appearances.

Poor to low-income clients can better afford legal services with Limited Scope Representation by paying for their lawyers in small increments as opposed to with a large retainer fee.  Someone earning minimum wage is not likely able to afford a $5,000 retainer fee. Probably not even a $1,000 retainer fee. However, one to two hours for a specific service is likely within that client’s reach.

Limited Scope Representation allows lawyers to tap into a whole new market of litigants who currently do not have an attorney, and provides a new business model for their practice. With this model, lawyers can focus their practices to the specific legal tasks and areas of law they most enjoy (which is usually what they’re best at!).  The pay-as-you-go fee structure allows lawyers to spend less time on collecting fees and more time earning them. Lawyers from across the country report their LSR clients are their happiest clients and frequently purchase additional services as their case progresses.


  • The key to a successful Limited Scope Representation is a written service agreement signed by the lawyer AND client. For clients, a written agreement takes the guess work out of what their lawyer is doing for them and when the representation is done. It’s important to amend the agreement in writing (and get signatures) when clients want to expand the scope of representation as their case progresses.
  • If the Limited Scope Representation consists of a formal court appearance, a court order may be necessary to withdraw as counsel. It’s important to know the court’s attitude toward withdrawal of counsel when determining the reasonableness of the representation. If the court is not likely to permit withdrawal, don’t accept the representation.
  • Sue Talia, a national expert on LSR, offers a variety of free resources to assist lawyers in starting a Limited Scope Representation practice.
    Expanding Your Practice Using Limited Scope Representation (free, on-line three-hour Limited Scope Training and materials)
    Family Law Limited Scope Representation Risk Management Materials
    Civil Limited Scope Presentation Risk Management Materials

While not for every case, every client, or every lawyer, Limited Scope Representation offers one creative and profitable solution to the growing number of self-represented litigants appearing in Texas courts. With LSR, poor to low-income Texans, who would otherwise represent themselves, can access legal services as paying clients.

Interested in learning more about Limited Scope Representation? The Texas Access to Justice Commission can help!  We can arrange for speakers to come to your area and present on a variety of topics to a variety of audiences, including:

  • General self-represented litigants overview to local bars
  • Managing  self-represented litigants in the courtroom to judges
  • Limited scope representation to local bars and/or judges
  • Legal advice vs. legal information to court staff

For more information, please contact Melissa Cook, staff attorney with the Texas Access to Justice Commission, at: Melissa.cook@texasbar.com or (512) 427-1859.