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.





























































February 2014

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

A Primary Responsibility of Lawyers
By: Leif Olson

It seems like only yesterday that we finished campaign season, but elections are upon us again. Both TYLA and the State Bar will soon be telling you about their candidates for President-elect, positions that are critical to maintaining our status as a self-governing profession.

More important to our communities in general, though, are our state and local elections, including the primary for which early voting is currently open.

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Top Story
Top Story

TYLA Diversity Dinner
By:  Bill Gardner

TYLA’s Minority Involvement Committee partnered with the Tarrant County Bar Association and the Fort Worth–Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association to bring this year’s TYLA Diversity Dinner to the Fort Worth Club on January 16. More than 100 lawyer-leaders and community activists from across Texas came together to promote dialogue regarding civil rights and to explore diversity in the legal community, with the added benefit of 1.5 hours of CLE credit.

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Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

Breathe Free: A Guide to Immigration
By:  Lance Currie

Most people in the United States are either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Part of what makes Texas so vibrant is its immigrant culture, and immigration law directly affects the lives of many Texans. Through its project “Breathe Free: A Guide to Immigration” TYLA presents an overview of immigration law and our the immigration system.

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Feature TYLA Affiliate

El Paso Young Lawyers Spread Easter Joy and Hope to Local Children

This spring, the El Paso Young Lawyers Association is partnering with the Center Against Family Violence (CAFV) to launch what they hope to be an annual project that will provide much needed happiness and joy to local families affiliated with CAFV. CAFV provides confidential assistance, educational programs, and, most importantly, hope to families in need. With a grant from the Texas Young Lawyers Association, EPYLA will host a spring time celebration picnic at a local park where young lawyers will offer hot dogs, hamburgers, and activities for CAFV families.

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Tips for Young Lawyers

Tips for E-filing Under the New Rules
By: Chris Daniel, Harris County District Clerk

Effective January 1 of this year, the Supreme Court of Texas mandated electronic filing in Texas’s largest counties—Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, El Paso, Denton, and Hidalgo. That order restricts the clerks in those counties from accepting paper filings from anyone other than pro se filers. Effective on July 1, that mandate will expand to all counties with a population of more than 200,000: Collin, Fort Bend, Cameron, Nueces, Montgomery, Galveston, Jefferson, Williamson, Lubbock, Brazoria, Bell, and McLennan. Other courts will follow until e-filing is mandated throughout Texas in 2016.

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Article of Interest

Beware of Presumed Damages: Prepare in case you lose the presumption
By:  John Burkhead

In some cases, proof of certain facts can allow a jury to presume certain elements of actual damages,1  including mental anguish damages and physical pain.2  But beware of relying upon such a presumption. Presumed actual damages are subject to at least a couple of major caveats. First, it appears that a “plaintiff must always prove special damages” in order to recover any presumed actual damages.3  This means that you need to have a jury award some type of economic or pecuniary damages or any presumed damages that are awarded are meaningless. Second, any “awards of presumed actual damages are subject to appellate review for evidentiary support.”4  I take this to mean that you had better go ahead and put on all your evidence of the presumed element of damages as if the damages were not presumed.

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Health Tips for Young Lawyers
Health Tips for Young Lawyers

The Trial Run

Losing weight and getting more exercise are usually the two most popular New Year’s resolutions. Most people turn to future races as progress markers or motivation. Conveniently enough, as part of its Health Awareness project, TYLA is planning and sponsoring The Trial Run, a 5k fun run that should fit right into any exercise regime or training schedule.

The Trial Run will be held as part of the State Bar’s Annual Meeting. It is scheduled for June 28, 2014, at 7:00 a.m., at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. 

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ABA YLD Update

The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division recently held its Midyear Meeting in Chicago. Delegates from across the country gathered to discuss issues affecting young lawyers and celebrate the achievements of ABA YLD members and affiliated young-lawyer organizations. The ABA YLD recognized Brittany Byrd of Dallas as a Finalist for the National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.

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

Show your support for access to justice

This month hundreds of firms across the state will be paying State Bar dues on behalf of their attorneys. If your firm participates in firm billing, don’t miss out on your chance to support access to justice initiatives in our state.

Donate to the Access to Justice Contribution Campaign to make sure that every Texan, regardless of income, has access to justice.

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Important Dates To Remember

March 1, 2014
Filing deadline for nominating petitions for SBOT and TYLA President-elect and director positions

March 1, 2014
SBOT and TYLA President-elect nominees' campaigns begin outside of their offices

March 3, 2014
TYLA notice of ABA YLD District 25 Representative election mailed to all ABA YLD District 25 affiliate presidents

March 7, 2014
TYLA Joseph M. Pritchard Inn membership appliation mailed out to all past and present officers and directors of TYLA

March 12-14, 2014
ABA Bar Leadership Institute - Chicago, IL

March 14, 2014
TYLA deadline to receive completed nomination forms for the ABA YLD District 25 Representative election

March 17, 2014
TYLA ballots for the ABA YLD District 25 Representative election mailed to all ABA YLD District 25 affiliate presidents

March 21, 2014
TYLA Presents:  Overcoming Biases and BoundariesFree CLE on Lawyers with Disabilities11:30 – 1:00 p.m., Texas Law Center in Austin.  Please click here for more information and to RSVP.

March 26-30, 2014
TYLA National Trial Competition - Austin, Texas
For more information and to sign up to help, please click here.

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Take Note

Kristy Blanchard, TYLA President
Click here to view this month's TYLA President's Opinion.


39th Annual National Trial Competition
TYLA Needs Your Help Recruiting Judges and Witnesses for the 39th Annual National Trial Competition Championship Rounds in Austin!

Next month, 28 teams comprised of some of the best future trial lawyers around the country will be in Austin and are looking for your assistance. Each year, TYLA and the American College of Trial Lawyers host the National Trial Competition. The competition is the preeminent mock trial competition in the country. Over 160 law schools with more than 300 mock trial teams competed in 14 regional mock trial competitions held across the country and only the top 28 teams advance to the championship rounds. These rounds will be held at the Capitol Extension in Austin on Thursday and Friday, March 27-28.  For more information and to sign up to help, please click here.


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.


Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest 2014
Due to popular demand, the Texas Bar Journal is bringing back the short story contest. Applicants must submit a previously unpublished short story that deals with or is related to the law or lawyers. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. CST on Monday, March 3, 2014. A panel of judges will select the winners, and the top three winning entries will be published in the June 2014 edition of the Texas Bar Journal.


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 Johnson, who will help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, championed and signed by President Lyndon B. 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 bars 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 BarksdaleLeif 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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