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.





























































October 2012

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

Fall—Possibly the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
By:  Laura Hale, Sprouse Shrader Smith P.C.

I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the state where I get to experience all four seasons throughout the year. While each season has something great to offer, fall is by far my personal favorite. The weather has finally cooled down from the dog days of summer and the fall foliage creates a beautiful tapestry for everyone to enjoy. One can spend entire weekends totally devoted to watching their favorite high-school, college, and professional teams play football. Pumpkin pastries and lattes are finally available at the coffee shop of your choice. Kids are solidly in the routine of school and extracurricular activities, and Halloween costumes and bite-sized candy can be found lurking around every corner. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Halloween occurs in October. It allows chocaholics like me the opportunity to hide those extra “fun-sized candy” pounds with an oversized sweater.

Top Story

TYLA Serves the Rio Grande Valley
By:  Rebekah Steely Brooker, Passman & Jones

The TYLA Board of Directors held its first meeting of the 2012-2013 year in McAllen. President C.E. Rhodes took advantage of the great location and scheduled multiple service projects in the Rio Grande Valley.

On Thursday, September 6, TYLA directors Alfonso Cabañas, Celina Lopez, Victor Villarreal, Rebekah Brooker, and C.E. Rhodes participated in a panel discussion at the University of Texas–Pan American entitled “What Do Lawyers Do?” Director Sam Houston moderated the panel. The panel answered the UTPA Pre-Law Society’s questions about law school and life after law school.

Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

Celebrate National Pro Bono Week by Signing up for Partnering for Pro Bono
By:  Robert Booth, Mills Shirley L.L.P.

The week of October 21–27 is this year’s National Pro Bono Celebration. Have you thought about taking a pro bono case, but do not know where to start?

Pro bono work can be very rewarding. Early in my career, despite not having family law experience, I accepted representation in a child-custody dispute. While representing himself before my involvement, my client missed deadlines and faced 180 days in jail. His visitation rights were revoked for over two years. After attending two hearings, I was able to restore visitation and suspend the jail time. Getting a call on Christmas Eve from the client thanking me for the time with his son was one of the most rewarding moments of my legal career.

Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

Austin Young Lawyers Association - Pro Bono Prom
By:  Sally Pretorius, Andrae Law, PLLC

On September 22, 2012, Austin lawyers grabbed a date and a corsage and danced the night away at a sold out Pro Bono Prom held at Austin City Hall. But this wasn’t like the prom that you remember; this prom featured specialty cocktails, food, entertainment, and the crowning of … a Pro Bono Prom Court? Yes, six local lawyers were crowned to the first ever Pro Bono Prom Court. More importantly, approximately $27,000.00 was raised for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

As a member of the inaugural class of the Austin Bar Association/Austin Young Lawyers Leadership Academy, I am honored to tell the story of how the first ever Pro Bono Prom Court came to be.

Tips For Young Lawyers
Tips For Young Lawyers

Transaction Tips for Young Lawyers
By:  Laura Hale, Sprouse Shrader Smith P.C.

As I contemplated and spoke with other lawyers about this article, I found that it was more difficult than I anticipated to come up with a list of transaction tips that young lawyers could integrate into their practice. I think this is because most of the tips that make transaction lawyers good at their job are self-evident, things we all know but we tend to gloss over in our rush to get a contract, title opinion, or deed to the client. This article is simply a reminder of how important the basic rules are for all of us.

Article of Interest
Article of Interest

What to do When Representing Franchisees
By:  H. Michael Drumm, Drumm Law, LLC

Franchise agreements are typically considered to be non-negotiable documents. While this may be true for large, established systems such as McDonald’s or Subway, most franchisors are willing to negotiate certain terms of the franchise agreement. The franchisor’s willingness to negotiate usually depends on factors such as the age of the franchise system, the degree of competition, the growth of the system, and the franchisor’s goals. Franchisors are more willing to negotiate in a down economy when new franchisees are difficult to obtain. Under the Federal Trade Commission Franchise Rule, 16 CFR Parts 436, every franchise offering, regardless of the industry, must follow the same 23-item format. This allows franchisees and their counsel to competently evaluate franchise opportunities across all industries. This article provides a general overview of what to do when representing a client that is interested in purchasing a franchise.

Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

Texas Access to Justice Commission's New Facebook Page
The Texas Access to Justice Commission launched its new Facebook page. We encourage you to “Like” the page (www.facebook.com/TexasATJ), visit it often, and share it with others. By doing so, you will help increase awareness of access to justice issues as well as the efforts the Commission is making to reduce barriers to the justice system for low-income Texans. We look forward to providing you with the latest information on Legal Aid in Texas.

Important Dates To Remember
Important Dates To Remember

November 8, 2012
The State Bar of Texas: International Law Section and TYLA presents:
The Rule of Law in a Diverse World - Vinson & Elkins LLP, Houston
For more information, please click here.

November 9-11, 2012
TYLA Board of Directors Meeting - Four Seasons Hotel, Houston

November 12, 2012
Holiday - Veterans Day (Texas Law Center closed)

November 12, 2012
New Lawyers' Induction Ceremony - Frank Erwin Center, Austin

November 22-23, 2012
Holiday - Thanksgiving (Texas Law Center closed)

Take Note


View This Month's TYLA President's Opinion
C.E. Rhodes, TYLA President


We would like to thank our Platinum Sponsor FTI Consulting

TYLA and the State Bar of Texas: International Law Section presents:

The Rule of Law in a Diverse World
What is the “Rule of Law?” Does the “Rule of Law” mean different things in different jurisdictions? How should lawyers advise clients in jurisdictions where the “Rule of Law” is weak? What role do U.S. courts play in evaluating the “Rule of Law” in foreign jurisdictions?

Panelists include:
George Gonzalez, Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP
Hon. Luz E. Nagle, Professor of Law, Stetson University
Ignacio Pinto-Leon, Assistant Director, University of Houston Center for U.S. and Mexican Law
William Russell, Attorney, Schirrmeister Diaz-Arrastia Brem, LLP

Moderated by:
C.E. Rhodes, President, Texas Young Lawyers Association

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lunch Served: 11:30 a.m. CT
Presentation: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. CT

Vinson & Elkins LLP
26th Floor, Rooms 26C & 26D, First City Tower, 1001 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77002

To RSVP, please click here

With generous support from Vinson & Elkins LLP


Call for Entries! 2012 State Bar of Texas YouTube Contest
The State Bar of Texas celebrated Constitution Day on September 17 with the launch of its 2012 YouTube Contest. This year's theme is "Compromise in a Democratic Society" and is geared toward Texas middle school and high school students. Students are asked to create a video between 1 and 2 minutes long answering the following question: "Why is compromise important to our democratic society?" Students are encouraged to think about how compromise played a significant part in the framing of the U.S. Constitution, in significant moments in U.S. history, and in their own lives. The contest has two categories, Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12, with one $1,000 scholarship available in each category. Students may enter individually or as a team/class. The deadline for entries is December 14, so there's plenty of time to enter. Please spread the word to students you know! For more information, visit www.texasbar.com/justicefortexas.


Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay!
State Bar of Texas Past President Bob Black worked with the State Bar Law-Related Education Department to create 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 Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards, which took effect August 1, 2011. The website includes links to landmark court decisions that students are required to learn, case studies, videos and multimedia tools, teaching strategies, and other online resources. For a printed toolkit contact Blair McBride or call (800) 204-2222, ext. 1726.

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 affiliate's 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 Robert E. Booth and Leif Olson.

Ten Minute Mentor
Ten Minute Mentor debuted in 2004 to share concise and practical advice that is always accessible online. Since then, 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!
TYLA 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 costs only $35.00 per year, or $70.00 for a personalized plate.

$25.00 from the purchase of each plate will go to support legal services to the poor.  To buy your plate, simply fill out an application and send your check, payable to the Texas Department of Transportation, to:

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 2011-2012
Want to know how TYLA is serving its members and the community? Then be sure to read the 2011-2012 Annual Report, which details the activities of TYLA during the 2011-2012 Bar year. Click here for a copy or call 800-204-2222, ext. 1529 and we'll send one.


TYLA is Co-Sponsoring the Following CLE Courses.  Register now to save $50! TYLA members can save $75!  New attorneys can attend for $95!  Please see below for more information:

Handling Your First Jury Trial 2012
Austin - Live Presentation - December 7, 2012, Texas Law Center
More Info or Register

Can't make it to Austin? Watch via Live Webcast in the comfort of your own home or office!
LIVE WEBCAST - December 7, 2012 - From 8:25 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
More Info or Register

Handling Your First (Or Next) Divorce Case
Austin - Live Presentation - January 18, 2013, Texas Law Center
More Info or Register

Can't make it to Austin? Watch via Live Webcast in the comfort of your own home or office!
LIVE WEBCAST - January 18, 2013 - From 8:40 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
More Info or Register

Success Strategies and Key Lessons for Young Lawyers
Houston - Live Presentation - March 1, 2013, Crowne Plaza River Oaks (713-523-8448)
More Info or Register