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Ask Not What You Can Do for TYLA
By:  Nick Guinn & Curtis Lucas

Good news! If you received and are reading this article (or even if you are just skimming through it to get to the good parts), you ARE almost certainly a member of TYLA. As you have already noticed, Texas has a mandatory—otherwise known as a unified or integrated—State Bar. To gain or maintain membership to the State Bar of Texas, a person is required to complete continuing legal education hours and pay his or her annual dues to remain in good standing. To practice law in Texas, one must be both licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas and a member of the State Bar. Thus, all attorneys who practice law in Texas are members of the State Bar.

Along with the benefits of practicing law and being a member of the State Bar, all Texas attorneys satisfying certain additional age or seniority requirements are automatically members of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA). Membership in TYLA is automatic for lawyers who are 36 and younger, or persons within their first five years of practice, regardless of age. In other words, you are a member of TYLA if you meet either of those criteria. That is all well and good, but what exactly is TYLA?

TYLA is an energetic and service-oriented part of the State Bar, and is, for good reason, often referred to as the bar’s “public service arm.” Drawing from the State Bar’s objective that the responsibilities of the legal profession be more effectively discharged, TYLA’s primary purposes are to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public.

As a result, TYLA offers benefits to society, the profession, and all young lawyers. With some of these benefits, you can improve your reputation and establish yourself as a leader in one or more fields through writing, teaching, leading, and other learning opportunities. For instance, TYLA offers a variety of educational materials, making TYLA (and the website) a go-to resource. Starting your own firm? TYLA’s “Office In a Flash” guide is there to help you out. Other educational materials include articles, publications, and presentations prepared by highly regarded speakers and thought leaders.

By taking advantage of these materials you can save money­­—free online legal research through Fastcase and Casemaker—and access an endless supply of CLE, allowing you to satisfy your annual requirements at little to no expense. If you are looking for inspiration from the movers and shakers of the Texas legal profession, the Ten Minute Mentor video bank is a great place to visit: a favorite for many Texas young lawyers. eNews, a digital publication containing social pieces, as well as legal content, is another excellent product of TYLA. With each of these resources in mind, TYLA works tirelessly to identify emerging trends in the law and society and provide resources that respond accordingly.

As for fulfilling its service to the bar mandate, TYLA offers countless opportunities for leadership and service. In fact, an entire committee within TYLA is dedicated to member benefits. We want to make sure you get the most out of your membership! To give back to society, TYLA provides opportunities in your local community, throughout Texas, and the nation. Some of TYLA’s recent projects include: “Bigger than Bullies,” “In Case of an Emergency,” “Slavery Out of the Shadows,” and “The Unconscious Truth.”

Finally, TYLA places tremendous effort on defending human rights by helping the vulnerable and legally underserved segments of our society: homeless veterans, foster children, and victims of domestic abuse. TYLA has designed and disseminated numerous presentations, pamphlets, and push cards aimed exclusively at addressing these topics, among others.

If there is a project that furthers the administration of justice, fosters respect for the law, or serves the public, TYLA is always up to the task. By reading this eNews article, you are one step closer to getting involved with this dynamic group of young lawyers.

As Harvard law professor and civil rights activist Alan Dershowitz said, “It's every lawyer's dream to help shape the law, not just react to it.1” TYLA provides the best opportunity for service-minded young lawyers to help shape the law by and through its countless programs focused on meeting one or more of its three primary objectives. If you have questions about how you can get involved with any project listed above, or how to take advantage of these tremendous resources, please visit, or contact either of the authors of this article or your elected TYLA district representative.

Nick Guinn, a TYLA director for District 18, Place 1, is an intellectual property attorney at Gunn, Lee, and Cave, P.C.

Curtis Lucas, a TYLA director for District 9, is a civil litigator at his own firm, The Law Office of Curtis W. Lucas. 



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.

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