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

Interview with Judge Gregg Costa
By: Andy Soto, Mills Shirley LLP

On April 26, 2012, the United States Senate approved Gregg Jeffrey Costa to serve as U.S. Judge for the Southern District of Texas. Judge Costa is assigned to the Galveston Division, and also handles some of the docket in the Victoria Division.

Just a few weeks following his confirmation, I had the privilege to interview Judge Costa on his background and his approach as a jurist.

If you are unfamiliar with Judge Costa, a Google search will reveal his curriculum vitae. As it turns out, one of the perks of being nominated to a federal judicial seat is that you are immediately provided with your own Wikipedia page (a fact Judge Costa was not aware of until his young son excitedly stumbled upon his own). He received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. He clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and he practiced on both the civil and criminal sides of the docket, most recently serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

What you may not learn just from reading Judge Costa's résumé is how his experiences prior to becoming a lawyer influence the jurist he is today. In the mid-1990s, he joined what was then a new program, Teach for America. Costa taught for two years at East Sunflower Elementary in the Mississippi Delta. Although it was always his intention to attend law school and pursue a legal career (an ambition he held since fifth grade), Costa thought teaching for a few years was a good way to give back. Costa reflected on this experience by saying “I have tremendous respect for teachers. My hardest day as a lawyer was still easier than my easiest day as a teacher.” And the teaching job ended up being great training for trial law: “If you can communicate with a class of third or fourth graders, you can communicate with a judge or jury.”

Judge Costa described his expectations of the lawyers in his court. First, lawyers should be candid and civil with each other and the court. Second, he expects lawyers to be fully prepared. He explains that he disfavors repeated requests for extensions or continuances. While he understands continuances are sometimes appropriate, it can become a problem when a party’s purpose is merely delay. Quite simply, Judge Costa finds it important that a lawyer work hard to meet deadlines and advance his/her cases.

Many civil litigators are familiar with the vanishing jury trial. In that regard, we discussed the difficulty of getting a case to trial versus pressure to settle. Judge Costa answered that he understands the reasons most cases settle, and thinks it is well deserved in some cases, but he does not intend to pressure parties into settling. Currently, the Galveston Division has a very small criminal docket, which means that filing your case in Galveston will place you in a shorter line for trial than most other federal courts. If you want a trial, Judge Costa and his staff are happy to accommodate you.

Judge Costa has a bright future ahead. While he has never been a stranger to Galveston (as an AUSA in Houston he successfully prosecuted the owner of the Flagship Hotel, the site of Galveston’s new Pleasure Pier, for FEMA fraud in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), since his confirmation, Costa has actively engaged the local bar organizations. One of the aspects of his new position that Judge Costa enjoys most is Galveston’s small town sense of community and the opportunity to get to know everyone. Judge Costa invites members of the Galveston bar to make an appointment to stop by chambers and introduce themselves.

On August 10th at 2:00p, Judge Costa will be honored at a public investiture ceremony at the Galveston Convention Center. The event is free and open to public.