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

Increasing Number of Pro Se Litigants Calls for Creative Solutions
By: Hannah Silk Kapasi

Newly elected YLA leaders from around the state who are interested in giving back to their communities attended workshops last month focused on increasing access to the courthouse for pro se litigants. These workshops were a part of the larger Local Bar Leaders Conference held in Houston in July. The attendees received a broad overview on how to improve access to the courts for self-represented litigants. The panelists also proposed some solutions for leaders to bring back to their own local organizations for implementation.

In desperation, more and more people are attempting self-representation. Improving the adequacy of self-representation by the poor is one of the few avenues we have to increase access to justice. The delegates learned that as late as 2008, there were 5.7 million people who qualified for legal aid (a single person can earn no more than $1,134 per month). With the poverty rate in Texas now hovering around 17%, the number of poor people in this state is now much larger. Legal aid and pro bono programs have historically only been able to help a mere 20 percent of those who seek it. The majority of these requests are for family law matters. 

After the overview, delegates were able to select a specific pro se project and begin brainstorming implementation in their own communities. They were able to choose from one of the following:

a. Self Help Center at a Domestic Violence shelter
Create a center within a domestic violence shelter which would contain legal materials.  Set up regular sessions for pro bono attorneys to give advice to shelter residents.

b. Limited scope representation panel
Set up a panel of attorneys willing to accept clients for limited scope representation for a fee. Create a referral mechanism (or use systems already in place) to refer potential clients to attorneys who would be willing to represent them in a limited aspect of the case.

c. Law Help Terminal
Set up a computer terminal in a courthouse, available to the public, and providing direct access to TexasLawHelp.org

d. Court-based assisted pro se project
Establish a project located in a courthouse and staffed by attorneys which would provide legal assistance to pro se litigants.

If you are interested in getting involved in a pro se project in your community, the Texas Access to Justice Commission can help. We can also arrange speakers to come to your area and speak on access to justice in Texas and/or self-represented litigants topics which include:

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

Please contact Hannah Silk Kapasi, staff attorney at the Texas Access to Justice Commission to learn more about getting involved in a pro se project. Ms. Kapasi may be reached by email or (512) 427-1895.