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.





























































April 2014

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

By:  Laura Pratt

I’m a big fan of the month of April.  Not only do I receive a wealth of CLE reminders, emails, social media messages, and free discount codes, all broadcasting the month of my birth, but the month also boasts of a plethora of national days.  I mean, who doesn’t like National Tax Day on April 15?  If itemized deductions aren’t your thing, how about celebrating National Sibling Day which falls on April 10?  One of my personal favorites, National High Five Day, comes around on April 18, and everyone should mark their calendars for the 23rd, National Talk-Like-Shakespeare Day.

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Top Story
Top Story

Bar Service:  Is it worth your time and, if so, how should you get involved?
By:  Dylan O. Drummond; K&L Gates, LLP; Austin and Kennon L. Wooten; Scott Douglass & McConnico, LLP; Austin

Young lawyers often confront time-management challenges as they strive to balance personal obligations with an ever-growing list of professional obligations. They may ask whether they should add bar service to that growing list and, if so, how they can get involved with the bar.

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TYLA Generation Generosity
TYLA Generation Generosity

TYLA Partners With Houston Bar Association on Drive to Benefit Foster Care Youth

Do you remember moving into your first apartment? For many young people, this move included a raid of their parents’ home for unused furniture, pots and pans, blankets, and other household goods. For youth in the Harris County foster-care system, there is often no household assistance for their first independent living situation.

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Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

Austin Young Lawyers Association Trial Academy
By:  Zachary Hall

Mistakes made during trial are not an uncommon occurrence for even the most experienced of lawyers.  Most of these mistakes ultimately prove to be inconsequential.  However, some mistakes are significant and end up costing the lawyers—and their clients—the case, either at trial or on appeal.  Fortunately, a new program in Austin, the Austin Young Lawyers Association (AYLA) Trial Academy, strives to teach young lawyers how to avoid such mistakes and to become better advocates for their clients.

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Tips for Young Lawyers
Tips for Young Lawyers

Representing Policyholders in Litigation Against their Insurance Company:  How to gain control of the litigation through written discovery.
By:  Andrew Taylor

For the last five years, I have been the head of litigation discovery at the Mostyn Law Firm. We’ve represented thousands of policyholders in lawsuits against insurance companies for benefits under their insurance policy. My focus has been primarily on the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Hurricane Ike docket and the State Farm docket.  Be advised, if you decide to take on a case against an insurance company, you should know that it will be a difficult journey. Your opponent will likely be a multi-billion dollar insurance company with a fleet of top-level law firms at its disposal. I constantly go up against partners at big defense firms who have more than 30 years of experience practicing law.

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Article of Interest
Article of Interest

If Not Law Jobs, Then What? 7 Tips To Move Forward – Part 1
By:  Kate Neville

Many lawyers who are dissatisfied in their jobs have long thought about doing something other than practicing law but feel stuck where they are because they don’t know what they want to do or what other types of jobs they would be marketable for.

Some in this position are paralyzed because they feel they have to be certain of what to do next before they let anyone know they might want to leave the field, concerned that doing so conveys a sense of failure or that they aren’t good at being a lawyer. 

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Health Tips for Young Lawyers
Health Tips for Young Lawyers

Finding a Path to Recovery
By:  Jordan Baccus

Twenty-three million people in the United States are living in recovery from addiction or alcoholism. I am one of them.

People find their path to recovery from addiction in many different ways. Although this experience may manifest in different ways, a common theme one might hear in a recovery meeting is that someone has “hit bottom.” My “bottom” left me broke, losing jobs, and, at times, homeless, all in the midst of great loneliness.

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ABA YLD Update
ABA YLD Update

The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is currently gearing up for the 2014 Spring Conference, which will be held May 15 – 17, 2014 in Pittsburgh.  Young lawyers, law students, and affiliate leaders from across the country are encouraged to attend the conference.  The three-day conference will be filled with CLE sessions, discussions, and opportunities to network with and learn from lawyers in varying practice areas from cross-country and around the world.  Topics for the programs will include the business of law, diversity and inclusion, ending the bullying epidemic, ethics and professionalism, leadership training for affiliate leaders, trial skills, and dispute resolution.  Register for the Spring Conference by clicking here.  Early-bird rates through April 11: $85 for ABA members and $95 for non-members. 

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

Each year, lawyers across the state contribute to the Texas Access to Justice Campaign. Last year, 279 lawyers showed their strong support by joining the Champion of Justice Society as inaugural members and collectively gave more than $100,000.  Justice for all is one of the fundamental principles on which our country was founded.  Today, only 20 percent of poor Texans who need legal assistance get it.  You can help by contributing to the Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign as a Champion of Justicebecome a member today!

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Important Dates To Remember

April 21, 2014

TYLA deadline to receive entries for the TYLA State Award of Achievement competition

April 24, 2014
TYLA local affiliate grant reports due

April 30, 2014
Deadline for receipt of SBOT and TYLA president-elect and director ballots - 5 pm, Texas Law Center

April 30, 2014
Election results announced for SBOT and TYLA president-elect and director races

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Take Note

Kristy Blanchard, TYLA President

Click here to view this month's President's Opinion written by TYLA President-elect Rebekah Steely Brooker.

2014 National Trial Competition
The top 28 teams out of more than 300 competed in the 39th Annual National Trial Competition Championship Rounds on March 26-29, in Austin, Texas. Congratulations to the 2014 NTC Champion Team, Yale Law School! Click here for a full list of the results.


State Bar and TYLA President-elect Elections
The State Bar Board of Directors approved the nominations of Allan K. DuBois of San Antonio and Beverly B. Godbey of Dallas as president-elect candidates. The lawyer chosen will serve as State Bar of Texas president-elect from June 2014 to June 2015 and as president from June 2015 to June 2016. To learn more about the candidates, please click here

The Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors approved the nominations of Amber James of Odessa and C. Barrett Thomas of Sweetwater as president-elect candidates. To learn more about the candidates, please click here.

The elections began on April 1, 2014—ballots were distributed electronically and via mail and must be cast before April 30, 2014, at 5 p.m. CST.

Click here to vote now!


Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange
Enroll now in the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange, a multi-carrier private exchange designed for State Bar of Texas members, their staffs, and dependents. Member Benefits, Inc., staff can assist members and their staffs in estimating whether they qualify for a premium tax credit through the federal government. Individuals can also create an online account and shop for benefits for themselves and their families, choosing from a wide variety of health plans that compete for enrollment within the exchange. Members can also purchase dental, vision, life, and disability insurance at special pricing.

Employers can create an account on the exchange, set a budget, and provide employees with a fixed amount of money (a “defined contribution”). Employees use the contribution to purchase the coverage and options of their choosing. If employees choose plans or mixes of benefits that cost more than the employer-defined contribution provided, they pay the difference. Decision support tools and live customer support will be available to help Texas lawyers determine their best course of action.


Register Now: State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting
Registration is now open for the 2014 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting which will be held June 26-27 at the Hilton Austin and Austin Convention Center. Fulfill all of your CLE requirements for the year and receive a flash drive with materials for every event. This year, the Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon features Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, former director of the National Security Agency, and the General Session Luncheon features Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center. The Bench Bar Breakfast features Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Library, and Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who will help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, championed and signed by President Johnson. Click here to register now!


Mobile Site
The State Bar of Texas is excited to announce the launch of a new mobile site. Now, when you access TexasBar.com from your smart phone, you will instantly have access to the bar's most visited sites—Find a Lawyer, Contact Us, and the State Bar Calendar of Events. On the Find a Lawyer tab, you can find an attorney in the directory and call him or her from your mobile phone with just one click. The mobile-friendly site also features links to our blogs, Texas Bar Blog and Texas Bar Today.


I was the First. Vote for Me!
The State Bar of Texas has launched I was the first. Vote for Me!, a multimedia project educating elementary students on some of the historic figures featured in the new social studies TEKS standards. In addition to lessons on historic firsts, students will also learn about math, citizenship, reading, and voting. The website includes animations of historic figures; curriculum materials for teachers; and links to other resources for students, teachers, and attorneys. In addition to the web-based materials, an e-reader and hard-copy book are available and can also be accessed in PDF format from the website. The book and animations are prepared in both English and Spanish.


Professional Liability Insurance
Two professional liability insurance providers have options specifically for State Bar of Texas members. Learn more about USI Affinity and the Texas Lawyers' Insurance Exchange and how they can help Texas lawyers here.


Texas Bar Today
Texas Bar Today is an online media network designed to promote the news and commentary of Texas lawyers, law students, and legal professionals who maintain blogs or submit guest articles. The site, TexasBarToday.com, is updated weekdays with selected blog and video posts and Texas legal headlines, which are also promoted on the Texas Bar Today Twitter account.

Texas lawyers who want to include their blog or video on Texas Bar Today, or submit a guest article for posting, can send an email request to webmaster@texasbar.com. The State Bar of Texas has full editorial discretion regarding which blogs are linked, and all opinions and statements in blogs are those of their authors and not the State Bar. All attorney websites, including blogs, must comply with State Bar of Texas advertising guidelines.


Savings through the State Bar Member Discount Program
Take advantage of discounts offered through the State Bar of Texas Member Discounts Program. Save money on clothing, cellular service, computers, televisions and other office supplies!  For more information please visit texasbar.com/discounts.  Visit often – the site is updated regularly with new deals!


The Texas Bar Journal wants to hear from you! 
Have you received an honor or recognition? Have you recently accepted a new position or moved? Keep the Texas legal community informed by submitting your news at texasbar.com/tbjsubmissions. Your news could appear in an issue of the Texas Bar Journal.


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 Anita BarkdaleLeif OlsonSally Pretorius and John Shaw.

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.

TYLA Annual Report 2012-2013
Want to know how TYLA is serving its members and the community? Then be sure to read the Annual Report, which details the activities of TYLA during the 2012-2013 Bar year. Click here for a copy or call 800-204-2222, ext. 1529 and we'll send one.

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