Serving as TYLA President has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my lifetime.
I am thankful to have had the opportunity to meet lawyers across the state and be involved in projects that enhance and honor our profession. Sadly, however, all good things must come to an end, and it is time for me to pass the baton.
This bar year, TYLA developed many projects that positively impacted Texas citizens and the legal community. We produced numerous resources for lawyers and law students, including a series of pocket guides entitled Social Media 101 and Grievance and Malpractice 101, which provide an overview of the State Bar rules governing lawyer advertisements on social media and the grievance and malpractice process, respectively. TYLA also created the Family Law, Criminal Law: Misdemeanor Drug Offense, and Tax Controversy tool kits, which offer materials for proving up evidence, objections, guidelines and checklists for case strategy, appellate tips, and more. TYLA hopes lawyers and legal aid organizations can use these resources to become familiar with and navigate these types of cases. Additionally, TYLA held numerous free CLEs across the state and expanded its Ten Minute Mentor project with 30 new online videos, available at tenminutementor.com.
Another TYLA objective this year was to create programs that provide a public service to the citizens of Texas. TYLA has tackled the tough issue of drugs and alcoholism through BSAFE: Battling Substance Abuse for Everyone, a project that educates youth, parents, teachers, and lawyers about the dangers and consequences of substance abuse, provides resources to those who are struggling with substance abuse, and introduces the public to the benefits of using drug courts to help deal with these matters.
Through its Generation Generosity initiative, TYLA performed service projects each month across the state in partnership with local bar associations. In addition, TYLA held free legal clinics for veterans in rural areas, provided free legal resources to parents and guardians at the Special Olympics, put on events for and provided sporting equipment and Christmas gifts to foster children, sorted and distributed food for local food banks, helped a non-profit organization ship shoes to needy children around the world, participated in Habitat for Humanity projects, and held events for residents of a retirement facility.
For its last public service event this bar year, TYLA is collecting new and unused books that will be donated to the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas during the State Bar Annual Meeting in June.
TYLA also has created a series of guides to help educate the public on important topics, including Breathe Free: A Guide to Immigration, The Office of the Texas Attorney General: What They Can Do For You, What to Expect When They Call, and The Texas Juvenile Justice System—What You Need to Know and How to Sue in Justice Court. All of TYLA’s projects are available for download or can be ordered at tyla.org.
To aid in pro bono efforts to the community, TYLA launched series of free CLE courses to train more than 255 lawyers and law students to do pro bono cases across the state and placed more than 150 pro bono cases. This CLE training can be viewed at http://www.tyla.org/tyla/index.cfm/resources/training-videos/. The year’s last free CLE offering (3.75 hours, .5 of which is ethics) will be held on May 9 at 1 p.m. in Austin. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we wrap up the year, TYLA has one final project it will implement for its health and fitness initiative started in early 2014. During Annual Meeting in Austin, TYLA will be holding its first annual fun run/walk on Saturday, June 28, at Lady Bird Lake. The event will begin at 7:00 a.m. Please look for this event in your Annual Meeting registration brochure.
As I close out my year, I want to thank our volunteers and the TYLA Board of Directors. None of these projects or events would have been possible without your hard work. I would also like to thank Tracy Brown, Bree Treviño, and Michelle Palacios in the TYLA department at the State Bar, who make TYLA and the tremendous work we do possible.
We are all extremely lucky to have these amazing leaders, and I cannot express my appreciation for them enough. Lastly, I want to say thank you to all of our members who have given me your support and friendship through this journey. I hope my work as TYLA president has made you proud to be a Texas lawyer.
President, Texas Young Lawyers Association
Partner, Blanchard & Thomas, LLP
Family Law at its Finest!
Source: Texas Bar Journal • May 2014