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.





























































May 2014

Top Story
Top Story

TYLA Welcomes New Directors and President-elect; State Bar of Texas Welcomes New President-Elect
By: Laura Pratt

TYLA’s members elected C. Barrett Thomas of Sweetwater to serve as President-elect of the Texas Young Lawyers Association for the 2014–15 bar year. Thomas is a felony prosecutor in the 32nd Judicial District and runs a family law practice in Sweetwater and Abilene. Thomas spent several years working as a police officer and still volunteers as a reserve police officer and instructor to support local law enforcement. He and his wife, Charla, an assistant city attorney in Abilene, met on the first day of law school, and they have four children. Thomas will serve as TYLA’s President for the 2015–16 bar year. Thomas and his fellow President-elect nominee, Amber James of Midland, campaigned throughout Texas in March. Fewer than 100 votes separated the two candidates.

Read More
Feature TYLA Affiliate
Feature TYLA Affiliate

SAYLA Reaches Out to Young Lawyers with Children
By:  Patricia Vargas

The San Antonio Young Lawyers Association has a diverse membership with a variety of interests and needs. During the 2013–14 bar year, SAYLA initiated a new program targeting young lawyers with children. Many of these lawyers had little time during the week to spend with their children. SAYLA’s Family Fun Days provided multiple opportunities for our members to gather with their families and participate in events alongside other SAYLA families. This fosteed a network of support and friendship among our members. This programing was made possible through a generous grant from the Texas Young Lawyers Association, and included these events:

Read More
Feature TYLA Project
Feature TYLA Project

TYLA to sponsor memorial book donation and Trial Run fun run at Annual Meeting
By: Clint Harbour

In July 2012, at the Bar Leaders Conference in Houston, the Texas Young Lawyers Association lost one of its own. Keith L. Krueger, who had recently been elected as Secretary of TYLA, died in his sleep due to complications associated with diabetes. Originally from Brenham, he brought his small-town sensibilities wherever he travelled, and he inspired many with his honesty, work ethic, and commitment to service. Losing someone so close and so full of life, energy, and promise inspired many in TYLA to focus on healthier lifestyles and drawing bar members’ attention to wellness issues that affect them.

Read More
Tips for Young Lawyers
Tips for Young Lawyers

An Introduction to Patenting in the United States, Part II
By: Stephen S. Mosher © 2014  Editor’s note: This is the second of a pair of articles giving an overview of the American patent system. Part I appeared in our March 2014 issue.

(H.R. 1249, enacted September 16, 2011)
This Act, long anticipated, makes significant and comprehensive changes to the patent law of the United States. It became fully effective March 16, 2013. This article will highlight some of the changes of most importance to inventors and their patent-attorney representatives. Specific questions should be referred to a patent attorney for consultation in light of the particular facts of a matter or question.

Read More
Article of Interest

News from the Legislative Front: Of Interim Charges and Appropriations
By:  Jerry D. Bullard

No, the Legislature is not back in session. However, the biennuial lawmaking hiatus does not necessarily mean that all is quiet on the legislative front. Between sessions, the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor typically issue interim charges in which legislative committees are asked to study various issues in preparation for the next session. The current interim period is no exception. This article provides a brief of overview of interim legislative activity that has transpired thus far:

Read More
Health Tips for Young Lawyers

Facts on Fats

Many “fat phrases” related to excess fat or restriction and referring to foods, supplements, diets, or even physique are tossed around in conversation. They typically evoke a negative response that only perpetuates further use of the phrases in a negative context. Many people forget the list of needs that fat fulfills in our diet and our bodies. It is time to refocus on the positive aspects of fat and begin the transformation of how we use “fat phrases” in our daily life.

Read More
ABA YLD Update
ABA YLD Update

By:  Travis Patterson

The ABA’s Young Lawyer Division is gearing up for the ABA’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Boston, which will take place August 7–10. Texas is sending 12 delegates to this year’s ABA-YLD Assembly, which will take place on August 9. The Assembly is the principal policy-making body of the YLD. During the meeting, young lawyers from across the country will discuss and debate issues affecting young lawyers and will vote on certain resolutions addressing those issues. This is a great way for young lawyers to have their voices heard and help shape the profession. A delegate does not have to be a member of the YLD Council or TYLA Board of Directors.

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

In Texas, nearly 5.8 million people qualify for legal aid. Legal aid provides critical legal services to our low-income neighbors that keep them in their homes or safe from domestic violence. Legal aid organizations help more than 100,000 low-income Texas families each year with their civil legal needs, but those organizations are able to meet only about 20% of those legal needs.

Read More
Important Dates To Remember

June 24-26, 2014
TYLA State Moot Court Competition - Austin

June 26-27, 2014
State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting - Austin

July 15, 2014
Texas Bar Foundation fall grant submission deadline

July 31-August 3, 2014
SBOT Local Bar Leaders and TYLA Local Affiliates Conference - Westin Galleria, Houston

August 5-11, 2014
ABA/NABE/NCBP/NCBF and ABA/YLD annual meetings; House of Delegates - Boston, MA

Read More
Take Note

Kristy Blanchard, TYLA President

Click here to view this month's President's Opinion.

TYLA Launches New Mobile Website
More and more people are accessing information on the go from smartphones and tablets. But reading from a small screen you carry in your hand is a different experience than reading from a desktop screen that can display an entire standard-sized page. This new way of accessing information demands a new way of furnishing information.

As part of our ongoing effort to serve our members, TYLA is pleased to announce the launch of its mobile website, accessible at m.tyla.org. (Your smartphone should be automatically redirected when you go to TYLA’s regular website.) The mobile site features links to TYLA’s most popular resources for young lawyers, such as the pocket guide to social media and the pocket guide to grievances and malpractice. It also features a calendar of upcoming TYLA events and the contact information that allows you to reach our TYLA staff with questions or comments.

As always, TYLA is committed to serving its members. We are already in the process of expanding our mobile site to include even greater access to our projects and resources. If there is content you’d like to see on the site, or if you have other comments or suggestions, please contact the TYLA office or Technology Committee co-chairs Aaron Burke and Baylor Wortham.


Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange Special Enrollment Period
Now that the 2014 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) has ended, members will need to experience a qualifying life event to enroll in a qualified health insurance plan through the exchange. Below are some guidelines for how the Special Enrollment Period works:

Members must experience a qualifying life event in order to open up a Special Enrollment Period. What is a qualifying life event?
• Birth or adoption*
• Marriage or divorce*
• Move to a new coverage area
• Involuntary loss of coverage*
• Loss of subsidy eligibility
• Loss of Medicaid/CHIP eligibility
• Current plan closes*
• Gaining citizenship
• Leaving incarceration

Effective Date Rules
• Enroll between the 1st and 15th of the month: Effective 1st day of following month
• Enroll between the 16th and 31st of the month: Effective 1st day of the second following month

If none of the above qualifying events have occurred, there are still options that you may want to consider, such as a Short-Term Health Plan. The next open enrollment is scheduled to begin on Nov. 15, 2014, and stays open until Feb. 15, 2015. Click here or call (800) 282-8626 for more information about qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period or Short-Term Health Plans.

*Effective date is based on the date of event.


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!


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.

The “Find a Lawyer” search function is the most visited part of TexasBar.com. Recently, the search function on the website and mobile site was improved to make finding the attorney you are looking for even faster. Make sure your profile information is up-to-date and your list of practice areas is current. Log onto your My Bar Page to update your profile and picture now.


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.


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