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June 13, 2017
Contact: Amy Starnes
Public Information Director, State Bar of Texas
(800) 204-2222, ext. 1706, or (512) 427-1706


Texas Young Lawyers Association launches project to teach and inspire potential first-generation attorneys

AUSTIN — The motivational stories of 15 living and historical figures, all the first in their families to become lawyers, make up Texas Young Lawyers Association’s newest educational project: I Was The First. You Can Be a Lawyer Too!

The web-based project——features documentary-style videos detailing the paths each of those individuals blazed, ultimately making significant contributions to the legal profession and the nation.

I Was The First. You Can Be a Lawyer Too! includes the stories of Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O’Connor, Barbara Jordan, Herbert Choy, Alexander Hamilton, and many others.

2016-2017 TYLA President Sam Houston, himself a first-generation lawyer, and other representatives worked hard to ensure the project was diverse and inclusive.

“I really wanted the project to show that irrespective of your race or your socioeconomic background, a legal education and career in law is a possibility,” Houston said. 

TYLA also worked with the State Bar of Texas Law-Related Education Department to include figures who are part of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards so that the website could be used as a teaching tool in classrooms.

I Was The First. You Can Be a Lawyer Too! was made possible by a $42,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation.

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The State Bar of Texas is an administrative agency of the Supreme Court of Texas that provides educational programs for the legal profession and the public, administers the minimum continuing legal education program for attorneys, and manages the attorney discipline system. For more information, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @statebaroftexas, like us on Facebook at, or visit

Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA), known as the “public service arm” of the State Bar of Texas, works to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. For more information, visit

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