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.





























































Tips For Young Lawyers

Tips For Young Lawyers

Ten Notable Lessons from My (Almost) Two Years of Practice
By: Lené Alley DeRudder, Alley DeRudder Law, PLLC

My two-year anniversary as a lawyer is in May 2012. Learning to practice law has been much like drinking water from a fire hydrant. I have learned many invaluable lessons and I know there will be many more to come. Below are ten of my most notable lessons learned at this juncture in my career. I hope other young lawyers will find them beneficial, or at the least, entertaining.

1. It is called practicing law because you have to practice. There is no substitute for experience. The only way to grow as a lawyer is to be like Nike and “just do it.” Have a plan, use your resources, reach out to your mentors, and be prepared, but practice, practice, practice. You can do it.

2. Just because a lawyer has been practicing law since the Eisenhower Administration does not mean he or she is a good lawyer. When I entered the practice of law I expected all seasoned lawyers would be professional, knowledgeable, and conduct themselves with the upmost integrity. A handful of experiences have proven otherwise. Sometimes passion, humility, and the drive to learn will make you a much better lawyer than years of practice.

3. Stop acting surprised that people want to pay you for your advice and guidance. You may feel like you do not know enough to be advising a client, let alone for pay. However, you just spent three or more years knee-deep in learning how to think like a lawyer. It’s not whether you have memorized or can cite the law, it’s whether you know how to find, read, interpret, and apply the law that the client needs. That is a skill well-worth its weight in gold.

4. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Yes, I just quoted Uncle Ben from Spiderman, but it is extremely applicable to our profession. The first case I ever received was an Amicus appointment for a divorce involving two elementary-age children. I will never forget the first time I met the children. I spent two-hours at a McDonald’s with them then proceeded to cry for the entire hour drive to my next appointment. It was at that moment that I not only realized, but also felt, how my decisions as a lawyer can have a long-term impact on a person’s life. That is a tremendous responsibility.

5. A paying client is not necessarily a good client. It is not easy to fire a client, so be wise in choosing your clients. Crazy people have money too. Even if they are paying, a client who calls, e-mails, or texts you multiple times a day, never follows your advice, doesn’t understand (or accept) when you say you are unavailable, fails to respond in a timely manner, or has no respect for boundaries, may not be the best client.

6. Feel your client’s pain, but from a distance. Building a trusting relationship with your client is vital. Nonetheless, always be aware of your professional boundaries and be cautious of forming a personal relationship. You do not want to end up being your client’s therapist.

7. Perfect your craft. Don’t take CLEs just to meet your yearly requirements, take them because you are perfecting your craft. Target an area of law or specific skill you would like to master and educate, educate, educate yourself. Law is always evolving, make sure you are too.

8. Always back-up your data. If your firm has an IT person (or department) then be sure to let he or she know how grateful you are for what they do. If you are like me, a solo practitioner, or if you are at a small firm that does not have IT solutions in place, then get a back-up system for your data IMMEDIATELY. Small back-up drives are relatively inexpensive and can be found at any office supply store. Backing your data up in the cloud is also a possibility. However, there are a variety of ethical and legal considerations you may want to explore before choosing that option. Whatever you do, just back-up your data! If your computer screen goes blank, all your data disappears, and you have not backed it up, you will have a panic attack on your office floor – trust me, I speak from experience.

9. Create a network. It is important you have a network of (1) mentors and (2) peers who are at similar places in their legal career. Your mentors will provide the wisdom and guidance you need to not inadvertently commit malpractice and your peers will help keep you from ending up in a padded room. The relationships you form in your network are indispensable – nurture them. Being a lawyer is not easy; the good news is you are not alone.

10. Appreciate your profession. Being a lawyer is hard work but it is also an exciting, rewarding, and honorable profession. You have a valuable skill that allows you to create the life you envision and at the same time, make a difference. That is a gift. And remember, have fun. There will be tough days but turn lemons into lemonade as much
as possible and find the humor in it all. At the end of the day it’s about the journey not the destination.

And remember, have fun. There will be tough days but turn lemons into lemonade as much as possible and find the humor in it all. At the end of the day it’s about the journey not the destination.

Lené Alley DeRudder is a civil litigator and credentialed mediator with over eight years of prior professional experience assisting politicians, corporations, and small businesses in their media and marketing strategies.  She primarily counsels and represents business clients on a variety of legal matters. Her practice, Alley DeRudder Law, PLLC is located in Plano, Texas.