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: Peace of Mind

Game On: TYLA is Putting Family and Children First
By: Lacy Durham

It’s still the first quarter of the bar year and like any established team, TYLA is at the top of its game with no signs of letting up.

The Big Score
TYLA is right out the huddle and scoring big by tackling matters significant to special needs children. It’s no secret that TYLA places strong values on the family and children.  In fact TYLA believes that every child is special, but understands that there are some special children who have special needs1.   According to the National Organization on Disability, there are more than 54 million people suffer with a handicap or special need.   A special needs child is one who might need extra help because of a prognosis related to developmental or physical disability, behavioral condition, or emotional/mental disorder2.   These children have special needs because they might need medicine, therapy, additional accommodations, or extra help in school. Regardless of the need, it is extremely important to understand that the special need of a specific child is as unique as the child affected.

Special needs children often face many hurdles throughout life, and their families are with them the entire way.  It may be hard to imagine the daily challenges that arise in raising a special needs child; there may be feeling of isolation, extreme anxiety, or even a sense of being overwhelmed.  Families will have to make a wide array of decisions and it is imperative to consider all options to ensure that the choices made are right and in the best interest of the special needs child.  TYLA aims to help those families and provide them with a “peace of mind,” the presence of calmness and comfort, in knowing they have considered the most important options for their child. This is why TYLA has created Peace of Mind:  A Guide to Supporting Special Kids with Special Needs.

Peace of Mind is a comprehensive booklet designed to educate families about the need to protect and secure the future of their special needs child. The guide outlines a wide range of topics including the planning to preserve and maximize needs-based public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and state programs such as Medicaid.  There is information about legal options for financial and estate planning, powers of attorney, health care directives, guardianship responsibilities, and special needs trusts to help protect special needs children.  In addition, Peace of Mind includes resources regarding disability rights, employment and labor laws, tools to assist with obtaining accommodations for school, and other tips to help the special needs child transition to adulthood. 

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and TYLA is busy getting the word out about the Peace of Mind project. The guide will provide you will helpful information whether you are a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, a professional who works with children with special needs and their families, or an individual with special needs.  Several presentations are being planned all over Texas. The guide will be available at www.tyla.org. To find out more about the project, request a DVD hard copy, or have a TYLA-assisted presentation in your area, please contact the TYLA Office at mpalacios@texasbar.com.

TYLA Pulls Out the Playbook

What first quarter would be complete without a surprise play?  TYLA has a few in the playbook.  On October 24, 2011 TYLA is hosting Women's Night in San Antonio at the Alamo Drafthouse where directors will tackle the difficult issue of domestic abuse and help educate women about their legal rights.  TYLA will feature Healing the Wounds, a video detailing what victims of domestic violence can expect when obtaining a protective order, temporary restraining order, or a divorce when navigating the legal system. TYLA hopes to diffuse myths and eliminate fears and confusion in hopes that women who face domestic violence will seek the assistance they may need.

No good play, especially one that has a big return can go without a celebration and TYLA plans on treating the women who participate to some special treats.  The program will also feature sessions with a stylist who will demonstrate how to take basic clothes and recreate new looks and a make-up artist to show simple and easy looks for women. In addition, each woman will receive a personal pamper bag filled with items generously donated from the community including make-up, toiletries, and gift certificates to local restaurants.

Cheer on Team TYLA

Every good team has a loyal fan base and cheer section; TYLA is no exception.  TYLA has once again partnered with Prevent Child Abuse Texas in their 2011 Walk of Action.  Twenty miles…what’s twenty miles in one day if it’s to raise awareness for child abuse and neglect? TYLA’s response: nothing at all!  Directors from all over Texas will convene in San Antonio on Saturday, November 5, 2011 to make the journey and promote The Little Voice, a multi-media program educating the public on their responsibility in recognizing and reporting child abuse. TYLA invites others who are just as passionate about children as we are to join us by supporting our team by walking or making an online donation towards our teams fundraising goal of $8,000 at http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/TeamTYLA/wta or at www.walktoaction.org by searching for Team TYLA or a director.

TYLA wants you to absolutely stay tuned for more, because we are just getting started!

1 www.nod.org
2 40 TAC §700.804