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.





























































ABA YLD Update

ABA YLD Update

2012 ABA YLD Mid-Year Meeting Report
Thursday, Feb. 2 – Sunday, Feb. 5
By: G. Jobe Rodgers, District 26, North & West Texas

We are fresh off one of the best conferences the ABA has ever delivered. I know what you are all thinking; “It’s hard to mess up a weekend in New Orleans,” and you are right, but the ABA YLD knows how to make sure you come away from one of their events as a more educated and better connected lawyer. Let me show what happened in New Orleans and what you can expect in the coming months from the ABA YLD.

Conference Overview:

The ABA YLD Mid-Year Meeting offered a number of educational and networking opportunities throughout the weekend. Highlights included:

Opening session with U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey.

Diversity and Ethics: How to Move From Well-Meaning to Well-Doing. This was a great luncheon about Diversity and Ethics. The program discussed the Model Rules in relation to diversity and learning skills to put our good intentions into actions.

Committee Showcase and Reception: This was a chance for the YLD to show off all the great work that our committees are doing and to encourage attendees to get involved in a committee.

Diversity Dialogue: Full Participation within the Legal Profession: Are Women Finally Reaching a Crystal Stair or Still Hitting a Glass Ceiling?

Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans: Young lawyer volunteers provided free legal assistance to over 60 New Orleans-area veterans at a Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans clinic during the ABA Midyear Meeting. This year-long public service initiative informs former service members about available federal veterans’ benefits and helps them complete the required paperwork. A special thanks goes out to VFW Post 8973 and its members, Marshall Hevron, Wesley Garten, and the team from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, for their help with the clinic.

ABA Annual Summit on Indigent Defense Improvement featured a keynote address from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder’s remarks underscored presentations throughout the summit describing the myriad of ineffective, overburdened systems that involve varying combinations of full-time public defenders and appointed private counsel of
varying levels of competence and compensation.

A Conversation with Justice Scalia. Justice Scalia addressed concerns regarding an overburdened judicial system that detracts from its quality. He discussed the process by which the Court decides its cases and his outlook for the profession and its impact on society. Justice Scalia also answered many questions from the full audience.

YLD Assembly: The Mid-Year Assembly saw addresses from ABA President Bill Robinson, ABA President Elect Laurel Bellows, Chair of the House of Delegates Linda Klein, and ABA Executive Director and COO Gen. Jack Rives. The Assembly also debated several resolutions. The text of the resolutions can be found here.

The ABA YLD recognized one of our own as the Young Lawyer of the Year. Congratulations to Omar Alaniz of Dallas.

Omar is a Senior Associate in the Bankruptcy and Workout Group of Baker Botts L.L.P. Omar represents debtors and creditors in all aspects of complex chapter 11 reorganizations and liquidations. Omar served as a law clerk to the Honorable D. Michael Lynn of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas. He is an adjunct faculty member at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, where he teaches Creditors’ Rights and the advanced bankruptcy class.

The 2003 graduate of The University of Texas, School of Law and a 2000 graduate of Austin College in Sherman, Texas was recently named the “Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas” by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, “Outstanding Young Lawyer of Dallas” by the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and “Outstanding Young Bankruptcy Lawyer of Texas” by the Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Omar has also received the John C. Akard “Community Service Award,” presented by the Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. He was listed as one of the “Best Lawyers in Dallas,” by D Magazine in 2011 and recognized by Law & Politics as a “Texas Rising Star” in 2010–12. In 2005, he was named the John C. Ford American Inn of Court’s “Rookie of the Year.”

Omar currently serves as the Vice-President/Membership of the Bankruptcy Section Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and is Chair of the Diversity Sub-Committee of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Committee of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association. Omar is also the former president of the DFW Association of Young Bankruptcy Lawyers and he was the Former Vice Chair of Professional and Public Education for the Young Lawyers Committee of the Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. He is currently the Secretary for the Bankruptcy Section of the Dallas Bar Association and a member of the Honorable John C. Ford American Inn of Court. He is a frequent speaker on bankruptcy topics at continuing legal education programs, volunteers at Julius Dorsey Elementary, serves as a faculty advisor for SMU Law School’s OUTLaw group, coaches the SMU Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Team, and is highly committed to pro bono service.

Project and Initiative Updates

The Division’s year-long initiative, Project Salute: Young Lawyers Serving Veterans, was launched in Seattle at the Fall Conference and continued at Mid-Year in New Orleans. During the events, young lawyers educated former service members on available federal veterans’ benefits and helped them complete the required forms. During the bar year, the ABA YLD is mobilizing its state and local bar affiliates throughout the country to offer veterans’ benefit clinics in their communities. In addition to state and local bar events, future Division clinics are scheduled for Nashville in May, and Chicago in August. To learn more about the program and to volunteer, visit the project website.

Entries are being accepted for the 2nd Annual Law Day Video Contest. The Contest provides U.S. students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to get creative and win an educational trip to Washington, DC. Please help us promote the contest by notifying local schools; by reaching out to teachers, parents, and students you know; by “liking” the contest Facebook page; and by sharing information with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections. For more information, visit us on Facebook @ ABA YLD Law Day Video Contest or the contest webpage .

The Subgrant application process is still open. The Subgrant Program provides young lawyer organizations with funding for activities that benefit local communities, leaders, or members. The application deadline is March 1, 2012. To learn more, click here

Registration is also open for the 2nd Annual New Partner and In-House Counsel Conference. The Conference will be held in Philadelphia, March 2-3, 2012. This is an exclusive event designed for lawyers that have recently made partner or gone in-house. Participants will have the opportunity to: Engage with our nationally acclaimed faculty; Exchange knowledge with your colleagues on a diverse set of topics key to the success of new partners and new in-house counsel; Make connections that will help build or expand your referral network; and Get inspired by the interactive format and the energy of the conference. Topics include: Leadership; Management; Business Development; Diversity; Employment Issues; Ethics and Risks; Hiring Outside Counsel; and Client Services.

ABA Day at the Capitol is April 17-19 in Washington D.C. Join 2011-2012 ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III and your fellow ABA, state, local and specialty bar leaders for this annual "lobby day" in Washington, DC. The Obama Administration and the 112th Congress will be considering legislation that directly impacts you, your bar entity, your clients, the legal profession and the administration of justice. Your active participation is vital to our ability to cut through the noise of other special interests on Capitol Hill and successfully educate the Congress on issues of importance to lawyers. For more information, review the links below. There is no registration fee to attend ABA Day. We are grateful for your support and want to encourage constituent participation. However, this year we are instituting a $100 late registration fee beginning March 19. Late registration is time consuming and expensive for us. See why bar leaders should attend ABA Day by visiting our ABA Day Highlights page.

2012 YLD Spring Conference at the Hilton Nashville Downtown will include 20 outstanding educational sessions ranging from attorney-client privilege to rainmaking. It will also feature in-depth diversity programming covering issues such as anti-bullying and including sessions with the ABA Center on Racial and Ethnic Diversity. Friday’s Diversity Luncheon featuring former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former US Secretary of Energy and Fisk University President Hazel O'Leary, and Nashville Attorney George Barrett. And as always, the conference will include the best in international networking and marketing. It will even feature the International Oratory Competition with guests from various countries. Registration is now open here.

As you can see, the YLD is never short on fun. If you have any questions about any of the events or opportunities outlined above, please do not hesitate to contact me.