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.





























































Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

Increasing Access to Justice with Interpreters in Texas Courts
By: Melissa Cook, Texas Access to Justice Commission, Staff Attorney

Imagine how difficult it would be to go to court to obtain a desperately needed protective order or probate a will if the proceedings occurred in a language you didn't understand and no interpreters were available. What would you do? Most of us would hire an interpreter. But for many poor and low-income Texans who aren’t fluent in English, this obstacle to justice is simply insurmountable.   

Similar to protections afforded to litigants by the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding American Sign Language interpreters, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires courts to ensure that litigants with limited English proficiency have access to interpreters when navigating the judicial system. In August 2010, the Department of Justice sent a letter to each state’s Chief Justice and State Court Administrator, as recipients of federal funds, reminding them of this federal regulation. Like many other states, Texas courts are determining how best to ensure compliance with federal regulations so that all citizens have access to the judicial system, regardless of income or language barriers.
Texas Civil Rights Project recently settled a federal lawsuit that highlights this issue. An indigent victim of domestic violence with limited English proficiency had to pay over $1,000 to hire an interpreter to obtain a protective order and custody and child support orders when she fled an abusive relationship in Harris County because the court wouldn’t provide one. Although Harris County provided free language interpreters in criminal and juvenile courts, they didn’t in family and domestic violence courts. As a result of this suit, Harris County courts have agreed to expand its services to provide licensed interpreters in civil courts. “Now the cost of an interpreter will no longer bar people from access these essential services,” says TCRP attorney Abby Frank. “There are still many courts in Texas that are breaking the law by refusing to provide interpreters. We hope that Harris County’s willingness to assist litigants with limited English proficiency will encourage other counties to do the same.”