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

New Employment Law Program at Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas Attempts to Address the Employment Related Legal Problems of Poor Texans
By:  John W. Shaw, Supervising Attorney, Project HIRED

While the Texas unemployment rate is lower than the national average, some Texans are unable to find work no matter how hard they try. For them, it’s not matter of trying or even job availability. Instead, incomplete or inaccurate information on their criminal records keeps them from being gainfully employed.

Founded on the principal that being employed is the primary vehicle through which individuals and families can escape or avoid poverty, Project HIRED is an innovative program started by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (LANWT) in 2010. The mission of Project HIRED, an acronym for Helping Individuals Remove Employment Disadvantages, is to help job seekers remove legal obstacles to their employment. Interestingly, Project HIRED has discovered that poverty results in additional impediments to employability that most job seekers may be unaware of, including, but not limited to, the inability to obtain a valid driver’s license to get to and from work and difficulty navigating the complex arena of unemployment compensation benefits that oftentimes serves as the lifeline between loss of a job and homelessness.

Removing or navigating these obstacles is often an impossible task for someone without a working knowledge of the law or the means to hire an attorney to assist in the process. This is why LANWT, a non-profit law firm that represents individuals who are at or below the 125th percentile of the federal poverty level, began the pilot program that became Project HIRED.

According to the 2011 Federal Poverty Guidelines, a family of four is poor if its total annual household income is at or below $22,350 per year1.  The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Current Population Survey showed that the poverty rate in Texas of 17.3% in 2009 grew to 18.4% in 20102.  This equates to roughly 4.6 million Texans living at or below the federal poverty guidelines3.  Not surprisingly, the unemployment rate in Texas has also risen with the poverty level. The unemployment rate as of July 2011 in Texas was 8.4 percent4.

Oftentimes, the use of the legal system is the only way that some impediments to employability can be removed or at least lessened.  Although we live in difficult economic times, the added burden of impediments to employability based solely upon being a poor Texan is unacceptable, and if left unaddressed will further burden present economic conditions.

1Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 13, January 20, 2011, pp. 3637-3638, at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11poverty.shtml
2Francis Deviney, Ph.D. and Leslie Helmcamp, THE TEXAS ECONOMIC MODEL: More Low-Paying Jobs + Higher Unemployment = Increased Poverty, Center for Public Policy Priorities (September 13, 2011) at http://www.cppp.org/files/091311_PovertyDay_PolicyPage.pdf

3Id. at 2.