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.





























































March 2014

Editor's Column
Editor's Column

By:  John W. Shaw, Whitaker Chalk Swindle & Schwartz PLLC

Election season is upon us, my friends.  Primaries have just been concluded in the great State of Texas, runoffs will be commencing in May, all culminating in the general elections to be held on “Super Tuesday,” November 4. While this is not a political commentary, it is a commentary on getting out and voting. In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” Don’t deprive yourself of your rights.

Read More
Top Story
Top Story

A few words from the TYLA President-elect candidates

Editor’s Note: During April, you will be able to cast your vote for the next President-Elect of the Texas Young Lawyers Association. We asked the two candidates a few questions so that you can get to know them better. Here’s what they told us. 

Read More
Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

Attorney General Guide
By:  Baili Rhodes

The Attorney General is an attorney who serves as the main legal advisor for the State of Texas.  He or she is charged by the Texas Constitution to “defend the laws of the Constitution of the State of Texas, represent the State in litigation, and approve public bond issues.”  

The Attorney General is not permitted to represent or offer legal advice to private individuals.  However, the OAG protects the rights of the citizens of Texas through a variety of agencies and divisions.  

Read More
Feature TYLA Affiliate

The Tarrant County Bench Book
By: Jenny Gravley 

The Fort Worth Tarrant County Young Lawyer’s Association, like other affiliates, often struggles with the age-old question: how can we get new members, and then, how do we engage existing members?   With constantly evolving special interest groups competing for member dues and participation, although we try, we sometimes fall short of providing young lawyers with tangible benefits of membership—aside from the obvious social aspects and networking opportunities.  

Read More
Tips for Young Lawyers
Tips for Young Lawyers

An Introduction to Patenting in the United States
By: Stephen S. Mosher   © 2014
Part I

A patent is a grant for a limited time by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) of the right to exclude anyone besides the inventor or the owner of the patent from practicing the invention defined in the patent document. The grant is provided to an inventor who discloses the invention to the Patent Office in a detailed, written Application for Patent that survives an examination when compared against the prior art.

Read More
Article of Interest
Article of Interest

Self-Inflicted Veil Piercing:  Corporate Forfeiture and the Dangers of Personal Liability
By: Vincent Circelli

Most lawyers and clients are familiar with the “bedrock principle of corporate law” that an “individual can incorporate a business and thereby normally shield himself from personal liability” for the debts of the corporation.  Willis v. Donnelly, 199 S.W.2d 262, 271 (Tex. 2006).  The ability to avoid personal liability “is an essential reason that entrepreneurs” shoulder the risks of starting and running their businesses in Texas.  Id.

Read More
Health Tips for Young Lawyers
Health Tips for Young Lawyers

Keep It Simple: Promoting Healthy Eating Habits for Children

One of the challenges of being a young professional is balancing both your health and wellness along with your child’s. Making food decisions for your child that promote healthy development are not always easy to make. The best piece of advice is to keep it simple. We unintentionally complicate wellness when it isn’t necessary.

Read More
Texas Access To Justice Commission Update
Texas Access To Justice Commission Update

Justice for all is one of the fundamental principles on which our country was founded.  Today, only 20% of poor Texans who need legal assistance actually receive it. You can help by contributing to the Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign.

Your tax-deductible $150 ATJ contribution helps legal aid provide critical support to the elderly, veterans, victims of domestic abuse, at-risk families facing issues like home foreclosure, and victims of natural disasters.

Read More
Important Dates To Remember

March 21, 2014
TYLA Presents:  Overcoming Biases and Boundaries - Free 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.

March 27, 2014
SBOT International Law Section Annual Institute, co-sponsored by TYLA
“New Opportunities and Enduring Risks: Navigating International Transactions in a Turbulent World”
8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Asia Society of Houston
For more information or to register, visit the Section’s website.

Read More
Take Note

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


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 will begin on April 1, 2014—ballots will be distributed electronically and via mail and must be cast before April 30, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. CST.


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 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.


The International Law Section and TYLA present the 26th Anniversary International Law Institute

New Opportunities and Enduring Risks:  Navigating International Transactions in a Turbulent World
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Asia Society Texas Center - 1370 Southmore Blvd. - Houston
Don't miss out on the hot topics and highlighted events:
• Mexican Energy Reform
• Maritime Boundary Issues
• Corporate Social Responsibility: Host Country/Investor Perspectives
• Keynote Presentation by Neil M. Bush - The Xi Regime and the Bush Family Legacy in China
• Panel of General Counsel from Key International Companies
Excellent Networking Opportunities at Breakfast, Lunch and a Wrap up Cocktail Reception
All registered attendees receive complimentary access to the Nuts & Bolts of International Law on Wednesday, March 26th

For more information, visit the Section’s website.


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.

Read More