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.





























































May 2012

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

Relax and Rest Easy (No Matter Where You Are)!
By:  Rebekah Steely Brooker

I love the lake.  My husband’s family has a great house on Lake Murray outside of Columbia, South Carolina.  When May arrives, I find myself looking forward to summer and the opportunity to spend time at the lake.

The funny thing is, eight years ago I was more indifferent about going to the lake.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with everyone at the lake house (I have fantastic in-laws), but I always had an uneasy feeling about the lake itself.  The dark waters had me constantly wondering what was swimming around me.  I never truly appreciated the lake until the last few days of July 2004.

Top Story
Top Story

Texas Young Lawyers Elect Kristy Sims Piazza as President-Elect
By:  Kenneth C. Riney

          After two months of campaigning and voting, young lawyers across Texas elected Kristy Sims Piazza as TYLA President-Elect.  Ms. Piazza, an associate attorney in the Plano office of Koons Fuller, P.C., will serve as President-Elect in 2012-2013 and will then serve as President for the 2013-2014 term.  Ms. Piazza says of her election:  “I am so honored and excited about being elected President-Elect of TYLA.  I had an amazing time meeting young lawyers across the state and I look forward to my continued service to TYLA and the State Bar of Texas.  I also want to congratulate Shivali Sharma on a great campaign and race.  She is such an inspiration to me and I am so glad to have the opportunity to continue to serve with her on the TYLA board.”

Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

Remaining Civil: An Officer's Guide to Responding to Non-Criminal Calls for Service
By:  C. Barrett Thomas

          As a rookie cop, I had been taught all the finer points of good policing.  I knew how to put handcuffs on an arrestee without accidently putting a tourniquet on him at the same time.  I knew how to tactfully pepper spray a rowdy violator while sparing my fellow officers eyes – something they evidently didn’t teach my supervisors when they went through the academy.  I even knew how to write a citation and simultaneously look at a traffic violator over the top of my sunglasses in order to cut short excuses without the need for words.  I had sat through endless recitations of the penal code, and worse, the traffic code.  I even knew exactly how many feet back from the train tracks a car had to stop.  Yes, I knew it all.  I was ready to protect and serve. That is, until I responded to my first call for service.

Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

Ector and Midland County Young Lawyer Associations’ Evening with the Judges
By:  Angela M. Shimek - President, Ector County Young Lawyers Associaton

          On Thursday, March 29th, the Ector and Midland County Young Lawyer Associations held their annual fundraiser, Evening with the Judges.  Established in 2007, this annual fundraiser brings together attorneys, judges, and elected officials from across Ector, Midland, and surrounding counties for a night of great food, fellowship, and fun. 

Tips For Young Lawyers
Tips For Young Lawyers

New Lawyers:  Welcome to Student Loan Repayment!
By: Gregory Kerr - Jones, Galligan, Key & Lozano, L.L.P.

          Attention Young Lawyers!  We made it! We finished law school, passed the bar, and have started our legal careers. The money is now rolling in. We’re buying mansions, luxury vehicles, custom-tailored suits, and rounds of 60-year-old scotch for everyone at the bar.

          Let’s step back to reality. While a law degree and admission to the bar provide us with great earning potential, most of us aren’t there quite yet. Whether you are working at a private firm, in the government sector, or were brave enough to hang out your own shingle, you are just getting started, and getting started triggers a significant milestone in a young attorney’s life: the end of deferment periods on student loans.

Article of Interest
Article of Interest

Federal Law Protects Facebooking
By: Marie McCrary, Bell Nunnally and Martin

          Facebook posts are permanent and public.  Recent studies have revealed that more than half of employers review social media activity when screening potential job applicants.  But employers should tread softly when prohibiting, monitoring, and disciplining social media activity of its current employees.  Over the last couple of years, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) has become more aggressive at policing employer’s activities in non-union workplaces for violations of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  The NLRA protects the rights of all employees to engage in protected concerted activity – even on the Internet.

ABA YLD Update
ABA YLD Update

ABA YLD Spring Conference Report
By:  Jobe Rodgers

          There’s nothing like spring in the South.  I cannot begin to describe how beautiful it was in Nashville at the ABA YLD’s Spring Conference.  Then again, I am comparing it to Lubbock, so the bar is pretty low.  But what I can tell you is how great programming and networking opportunities were at the conference. 

          The event started off with CLE offerings that are relevant to any attorney in a litigation practice.  Some of the top attorneys in the country provided a wealth of experience and knowledge on topics such as witness preparation, direct examination, attorney-client privilege, and work product.

Texas Access To Justice Commission Update
Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

Be the Change that You Want to See!
By:  Texas Access to Justice Commission

Did you know that there are now over 6 million Texans that qualify for legal aid?  That’s a lot of folks who need help, making funding for legal services more crucial now than ever. The Texas Access to Justice Commission has been working hard to obtain federal funding at the annual ABA Day event in Washington D.C. and to raise funds for low-income veterans at our Champions of Justice Gala

How can YOU help?  Become a Texas-sized Champion of Justice!  Make the ATJ Contribution on your annual State Bar dues statement or volunteer with your local pro bono program.  Heck, you can even do both!

Important Dates To Remember
Important Dates To Remember

May 14, 2012
New Lawyers' Induction Ceremony - Frank Erwin Center, Austin

May 28, 2012
Holiday - Memorial Day (Texas Law Center closed)

June 1, 2012
SBOT fiscal year begins

June 12-14, 2012
TYLA State Moot Court Competition-Houston

June 14-15, 2012
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting-Houston

June 15, 2012
ABA YLD deadline to receive entries for the ABA YLD National Award of Achievement Competition

June 16, 2012
TYLA New Director Orientation-Houston

Take Note
Take Note


View This Month's TYLA President's Opinion
Natalie Cobb Koehler, TYLA President

State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting

June 14-15 • George R. Brown Convention Center & Hilton Americas • Houston

Register Now and Save!  The State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting is almost here.  Register before May 15 and save $50.  Registration includes breakfast and lunch, a flash drive with all Annual Meeting materials, free Wi-Fi in the meeting rooms and two quality days of CLE.  You can receive all of your MCLE and ethics requirements for only $245 if you register before May 15. 

Register Online or download the full Course Brochure


Congratulations to TYLA's Local Affiliates! 
The Texas Young Lawyers Association has reviewed the 2012 Awards of Achievement applications submitted and selected the winners.  Please click here for a list of the 2011-2012 TYLA Local Affiliate Awards of Achievement winners.  Once again, congratulations and thank you all for participating in this program.

TYLA Minority Scholarship Program
Annually, a $1,000 scholarship is awarded to one minority student at each Texas law school. The scholarship promotes diversity in the legal profession by assisting members of minority populations within the bar to: (1) enter the legal profession; and (2) participate in the programs and activities of TYLA and the State Bar of Texas. The application deadline is in October. The scholarship awards are distributed prior to the Spring semester. Please click here to view the winners for 2011-2012.


2012 National Trial Competition

The top 28 teams out of over 300 competed in the 37th Annual National Trial Competition Championship Rounds on March 21-24, 2012 in Austin, Texas.  Congratulations to the 2012 National Trial Competition Champion, Baylor University School of Law! Click here for a full list of the results.

Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay!

State Bar President Bob Black has worked with the State Bar Law-Related Education Department on Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! Civics Resources for Texas Students and Teachers, an interactive web-based project to assist Texas teachers and their students in preparing for the new Texas Essential and Knowledge Skills (TEKS) standards, which took effect Aug. 1, 2011. The website includes links to landmark court case decisions that students are required to study, as well as videos and other multimedia tools, and teacher resources. Toolkits are also available that include information on the new TEKS standards, as well as a sample case summary, sample teaching strategies, a list of online resources, and other curriculum ideas from Law-Related Education.  For a toolkit, which includes a video sample on Marbury v. Madison, contact Judy Marchman or call (800) 204-2222, ext. 1520.

Back-to-School Savings through the State Bar Member Discounts Program
Take advantage of the State Bar Member Discounts Program to save money on computers and books. Visit texasbar.beneplace.com for more great savings from dozens of retailers and service providers. State Bar Member Discounts — A new way for Texas lawyers to shop!

TYLA Local Leader Directory
Please email the TYLA office if there are any changes to your local affiliates contact information.

If your affiliate has an upcoming event that you would like featured in eNews, please forward the information to Bree Trevino or contact eNews Co-Chairs Kenneth C. Riney or Brooke Ulrickson Allen.

Ten Minute Mentor
Ten Minute Mentor is a TYLA project that debuted in 2004 as a means for sharing concise and practical advice that is always accessible online. Since that time, it has proven its enduring appeal as one of TYLA's most successful projects. More than 50,000 people have visited the site, and we continue to average more than 2,000 segments viewed each month. You can visit the site at www.tenminutementor.com.

Support Pro Bono Legal Services and Let Everyone Know It!
The Texas Young Lawyers Association needs your help to support and promote free legal services for indigent Texans by purchasing a specialty license plate. The license plate proudly states that you support "Justice for All" and can be purchased for only $35.00 per year.

$25.00 from the purchase of each plate will be deposited into an account supporting legal services to the poor. If you would like that plate personalized, you can get your plate for $70.00 per year. To purchase your plate today, simply fill out an application and send your check, payable to the Texas Department of Transportation, to the following address:

Vehicle Titles and Registration Division (SPB)
Texas Department of Transportation
Austin, TX 78779-0001
To pay online click here.

Make New Connections with Texas Bar Circle
More than 15,000 of your peers have joined Texas Bar Circle - our social and professional network for Texas lawyers. Join today and reconnect with colleagues, find jobs, explore opportunities, and have fun. The power of Texas Bar Circle is in the connections you will make. Visit here.

TYLA Annual Report 2010-2011
Want to know how TYLA is serving its members and the community? Then be sure to read the 2010-2011 annual report, which details the activities of TYLA during the 2010-2011 Bar year. Click here for a copy or call 800-204-2222, ext. 1529 and we'll send you a copy.