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.





























































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.  

1. Verify facts with your client.  We all know there are two sides to every story.  You want to make sure you understand all the facts before filing your lawsuit.  Go over the facts you've alleged in your Petition with your client prior to filing suit.  You don't want to change the story when you're standing in front of the judge. 

2. Read the Rules.  Even if you think you know all of them, always double-check the rules.  For example, you are now required to affirmatively plead the range of damages you seek under an amendment to TEX. R. CIV. P. 47.  It is particularly important to check local rules when filing in jurisdictions where you don't normally practice.  Hidalgo County, for example, requires a certificate of conference with any motion to compel.  Taking a few minutes to check the rules will make you feel more confident about the lawsuit you're filing and can save you from a little bit of embarrassment at your first hearing.

3. Verify the names of all Parties.  Obtaining service on the opposing party isn't always as easy as you think.  Typically, lawyers get involved after a dispute is ongoing, so your opposing party may anticipate being sued and become elusive.  There are resources you can use to generate reports on individuals which will tell you all addresses registered to the individual and any aliases they may go by.  These can prove helpful for effecting service on those who may be in hiding.  Also, if your opposing party is an entity, be sure to verify the proper entity to be sued and its registered agent for service of process with the Secretary of State.      

4. Use the PJC's and O'Connors Causes of Action.  You want to make sure the elements of the claims you have asserted are properly plead.  Sit down with the Pattern Jury Charge or O'Connors for a few minutes and make sure you have done that.  These resources are also good for pointing out relevant case law for each element.  Use them. 

5. Consider the Pros/Cons of different Discovery Level Designations.  You should familiarize yourself with Rule 190 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.  If you're dealing with a relatively simple case where not much discovery is needed, you are seeking minimal damages, and you want to get to trial quickly, Level 1 may be the right discovery control plan for your case.  On the other hand, if your case is more complex and will require a large amount of discovery, you may want to consider asking the court to tailor discovery to meet the specific needs of your lawsuit under a Level III control plan. 

6. When in doubt, just do it.  The best piece of advice I received as a young litigator came from my good friend and mentor, Larry York.  As a new Associate, I wanted my petitions and motions to be perfect.  On one particular day, I had consumed most of my afternoon trying to figure out if I was required to include a certificate of conference on this certain pre-trial motion.  Larry advised me to go ahead and include one and, if it turned out it wasn't necessary, well, who cares?  He was right.  As young lawyers, we tend to focus too much on perfection and are driven by the fear of being wrong.  Don't take yourself too seriously.  If you're not sure, just go ahead and do it anyway.  If it turns out it wasn't necessary, you're still okay.  It's better than the alternative of leaving something out of your petition that was required.  When in doubt, just do it!

Jordan Mullins is an oil and gas litigator at McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore LLP in Austin.  He can be reached by email at jmullins@mcginnislaw.com.