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.





























































January 2014

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

By:  Sally Pretorius

Young lawyers are constantly told that we need to find a mentor because mentors are integral to our careers. For the first couple years of my practice, I was obsessed with the idea of having a mentor and even more obsessed about how to find a mentor. I was clueless about how to go about getting one. Do I email or call people up and tell them I want them to be my mentor? Do I want male or female mentors? Should they practice the same kind of law? Is being my mentor too much pressure for a busy lawyer? What if they say no? Could I face that rejection?


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Top Story
Top Story

The Call to Help: Foster Children

For the past several months and especially in December, the Texas Young Lawyers Association has put a special emphasis on foster children. The need for focus on foster children is significant. In 2012 there were 30,571 Texas children in foster care.  Studies show that less than 2% of these foster children receive a bachelor-level degree after high school.  More than 37% of Texas foster children drop out of school and never receive a diploma or GED. Sadly, some foster children experience seven or more school changes during their academic career and more than 54% of these children have one or more mental-health issues. These children often are torn from their homes, their families, and their everyday life and are without things that we take for granted every day.

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Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

Remaining Civil
By:  C. Barrett Thomas

The TYLA project “Remaining Civil: An Officers Guide to Responding to Non-Criminal Calls for Service,” was originally featured in April 2012.  Because it continues to benefit the law enforcement community statewide, it seems high time to update our readers on this project.   

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Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

Generation Generosity: Young Lawyers Doing Good
By:  Jacquelyn Wilson
This bar year, Texas Young Lawyers Association launched Generation Generosity, a Texas-wide project which was the brainchild of the Dallas Young Lawyers Association. Generation Generosity originated from the idea that lawyers need a makeover in the eyes of society, which typically views lawyers negatively. In reality, lawyers are the foundation for many benevolent organizations (profit and non-profit) and often serve as the voice for the voiceless.  As part of the state-wide launch, TYLA, in conjunction with our local affiliates, will focus on a pro bono project each month and spotlight projects where lawyers are helping to improve their local communities.

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Tips for Young Lawyers
Tips for Young Lawyers

Filing Your First Lawsuit
By:  Jordan Mullins

Filing your first lawsuit can be a little bit scary.  After all, you're initiating an adversarial process that can have a profound impact on people's lives, including your own.  As the ink dries on the signature block, you want to make sure you've done everything correctly. 

Now that I've been practicing for a few years, here are a few things I've incorporated into my practice which, if you follow, can help you feel comfortable about the Petition you're gearing up to file.  

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Article of Interest
Article of Interest

Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange
By:  The Texas Bar Journal Staff

ON NOV. 1, 2013, THE STATE BAR OF TEXAS LAUNCHED THE TEXAS BAR PRIVATE INSURANCE EXCHANGE, a  multi-carrier private exchange designed exclusively for its members and their staff and dependents.  For some time, the State Bar of Texas Insurance/Member Benefits Subcommittee had explored implementing a private exchange to provide bar members with assistance in making health insurance choices.

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Health Tips for Young Lawyers
Health Tips for Young Lawyers

Going “Gluten-Free”
By:  Sarah Brown and Laura Pratt
Gluten is the most recent nutrient to catch widespread attention.  Most grocery stores now have “gluten-free” zones, and marketing gurus are using the “gluten-free” label to propagate the hype and the diet.  So, what’s the big deal and what do you need to know about going gluten-free?

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

The Year in Access to Justice
The Texas Access to Justice Commission kicked off 2013 and the 83rd legislative session by hosting our first Legislative Breakfast with first- and second-term representatives of the Texas legislature and their staff. It was an opportunity to talk with representatives about the ATJ needs in our state. In February, we hosted ATJ Days with the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and met with almost sixty legislative offices about statewide ATJ issues and to advocate for funding. The Commission hosted its first Pro Bono Spring Break for law students in March.

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Important Dates To Remember

February 1, 2014
TYLA director nomination petitions appear in the Texas Bar Journal and are mailed to outgoing TYLA directors and local affiliate presidents

February 1, 2014
TYLA notice of Minority At-Large Director Place 2 election mailed to all TYLA Board of Directors, local affiliates, minority bar associations and Texas Bar Journal

February 1, 2014
TYLA Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas Award, Liberty Bell Award and Outstanding Mentor Award rules and criteria sent to TYLA local affiliates, minority bar associations.  Please click here for more information.

February 7, 2014
TYLA officer election results announced

February 17, 2014
Holiday - Presidents Day (Texas Law Center closed)

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Take Note

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


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.


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, TexasBar.com/adreview.


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.


Program to help attorneys handle pro bono tax cases

Attorneys can learn how to handle a tax controversy case, audit techniques and procedures, and other helpful information at a free CLE program Feb. 7 in Houston.

Houston Volunteer Lawyers, together with the Houston Bar Association Tax Law Section and the Texas Young Lawyers Association, will present “How to Handle a Pro Bono Tax Case” from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 7 at South Texas College of Law.

The program will also teach attorneys when and how to litigate a tax case, the use of administrative appeals, and innocent spouse/injured spouse relief.

Attorneys who attend the seminar and accept a pro bono tax controversy case from Houston Volunteer Lawyers between Dec. 1, 2013, and Feb. 7, 2013, will be added to a prize drawing that will be held at the seminar.

Read the agenda and register here.


Success Strategies and Key Lessons for Young Lawyers Course 2014
Cosponsored by the Texas Young Lawyers Association
MCLE Credit: Approximately 6.5 hours including 1.5 ethics hours expected.

Houston - Live Presentation (One site only!)
February 28, 2014
Crowne Plaza River Oaks Hotel
Register now and save $50! Texas Young Lawyers Association members save $75!
Attorneys licensed 5 years or less attend for half off!

More Info or Register

For questions or to register by phone during regular business hours call 800-204-2222, ext 1574.


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 Olson, Sally 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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