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.





























































Editor's Column

Editor's Column

Be Ready for Disaster
By: Robert E. Booth, Attorney, Mills Shirley LLP

Living and practicing law on a sandbar one mile off the coast of Texas comes with the constant threat of a disaster. Local lawyers on Galveston Island learned many lessons during Hurricane Ike. The current wildfires raging across the state are a good reminder to the unaffected to take time to prepare for a disaster.

Virtually every county in the state faces the threat of a disaster, including floods, hurricanes, fires, tornados, and terrorism. Small firms are especially prone to failure during disaster. While each potential disaster carries differing challenges, your first priority should be making a written plan that can be distributed and easily followed.

Office Preparation. Depending on the threat, there are steps you should consider in preparing your office. This might include removing pictures from walls, bagging water sensitive equipment, unplugging devices to avoid power surges, moving assets to higher floors to avoid floods, or moving client files.

Essential Documents. Keep a copy of essential business related documents and information in a file that can be quickly removed and taken during an evacuation. This file should include client contact information, insurance coverage, and an inventory of the firm’s physical assets.

Insurance. Make sure your business has the proper insurance. Work with an agent to identify the proper coverage for your business’s physical assets. You should consider whether you want business interruption insurance or whether you need special coverage for important/valuable documents.

Employee Communication. During a disaster, a business’s employees will scatter making contact difficult. Relying on your firm’s email system may not be practical because the system could be compromised, or your staff cannot access it. Relying on calling mobile telephones maybe okay for firms with less than five people, but if your business has more people, making phone calls is cumbersome. Also consider that during a disaster, connecting phone calls may be difficult. However, one surefire technology in disasters is Short Message Service (SMS) because it’s easier to deliver a few text characters than connect a call. Consider investigating the use of Twitter, or a free text messaging service like FastSociety or GroupMe. These services are essentially group chats over text message.

Data Backups. The lifeblood of any law firm is typically its electronically stored information. Make sure you backup billing, email, and digital documents. You will need both an onsite backup and an offsite backup. For offsite storage, depending on how much data you have, you can investigate services such as DropBox or Mozy. If you run your business on a local installation of quickbooks, consider switching to QuickBooksOnline, which will store your accounting/billing information in the cloud. If you host your own email server, consider outsourcing to Microsoft or Google, which will guarantee uptimes for your law firm’s email system.

While this article is not an exhaustive list for disaster preparation, we hope it will be a starting point for you to consider your firm’s specific needs in developing a written disaster preparation plan.

Robert Booth is an attorney at Mills Shirley LLP who lives and practices law on Galveston Island, Texas.