Energy and Momentum

Over the past couple of months, we’ve launched a passionate start toward breaking the stigma around attorney wellness and highlighting practical solutions to change the firm culture surrounding the same. On September 6, Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors members Jenny Smith (Lubbock), Tim Newman (Dallas), and Rebecca Patterson Linehan (Midland)—co-chairs of TYLA’s newly created Attorney Wellness Committee—shared their report at TYLA’s first quarterly meeting in San Antonio.

The committee has already made strides in cultivating this important culture change, including:

  • Creating and designing TYLA’s Attorney Wellness website: The site will host video testimonials, podcasts, written resources from clinicians and attorneys, and links to other valuable state and national resources.

  • Developing Attorney Wellness CLEs: TYLA is partnering with TexasBarCLE to host three attorney wellness-related CLEs in October, November, and December.

  • Organizing Lifestyle Law Firm Roundtable Discussions: TYLA has secured managing partners at various global and boutique firms in Texas, including Norton Rose Fulbright, Sidley Austin, and Stephens Reed & Armstrong, to discuss attorney wellness issues impacting their firms.

  • Planning an Attorney Wellness Retreat: Over this year and next (under President-elect Britney Harrison’s leadership), TYLA will be creating CLE materials that will be presented at a TYLA Attorney Wellness Retreat. In addition to providing educational materials through the CLE programing, the retreat will include mindfulness journaling, yoga, and other self-care pursuits.

At the meeting, other TYLA committees reported on their respective projects that will also be hosted on TYLA’s Attorney Wellness website:

  • Law Student Wellness Roundtables: The Diversity Committee, led by Susan Smith (Fort Worth) and Erin Clegg (Denton), secured roundtable discussions with Texas Tech University and Baylor Law School. Similar panels are being planned at the other Texas law schools.

  • Wellness and Retention Guide: Led by Hisham Masri (Dallas) and Amanda Kraynok (Lubbock), this project aims to address key wellness and retention issues impacting women and people of color and will include a recorded panel discussion, accompanied with a tangible guide.

  • Wellness Resources for the Bench: Membership Outreach co-chairs Lauren Sepulveda (Edinburg) and Jay Forester (Dallas) are creating a resource guide for judges to help identify and evaluate attorney wellness issues/concerns that arise in the administration of their courts, marshal resources, and respond appropriately.

  • Costs of Attorney Wellness on Malpractice Insurance: Directors Jefferson Fisher (Beaumont) and Johnathan Stone (Austin) are organizing a podcast that will include representatives from various attorney malpractice carriers to discuss attorney wellness issues and their impact on a firm’s general liabilities and cost of insurance.

  • R U OK?: A video project featuring interviews with Brian Cuban, Terry Bentley Hill, and other thought leaders on mental wellness to discuss suicide prevention. Additionally, the Public Service Committee will present suicide prevention discussion panels at law schools across Texas.

Also, TYLA has partnered with Chris Mazzola, president of the San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, to support their efforts in advancing attorney wellness. We are constantly looking to encourage other local and regional attorney wellness projects.

During the second day of our board meeting, Tim Newman and Ryan Cox (San Antonio), co-chairs of the Local Affiliates Committee, announced the calendar for TYLA Roadshows. This year, the committee is focused on connecting with young lawyers across the state by providing free half-day CLEs. This year, TYLA has scheduled roadshows in the following cities:

  • San Angelo—August 2019

  • Midland—October 2019

  • Longview—October 2019

  • The Woodlands—November 2019

  • Richmond—November 2019

  • Amarillo—January 2020

  • Lubbock—February 2020

  • Corpus Christi—March 2020

  • El Paso—March 2020

  • Denton—April 2020

Additionally, the Local Affiliates Committee is looking to partner with other affiliates to host four more roadshows. If your city is interested in hosting one, please send an email to tyla@texasbar.com, addressed to Tim Newman or Ryan Cox.

In addition to many other projects that were presented at the September board meeting, the Law Focused Education Committee, led by directors Laura Pratt (Lubbock) and Reggie Wilson (Houston), discussed the creation of Your Voice, Now!, an initiative funded by the Texas Bar Foundation. Your Voice, Now! will explore students’ First Amendment rights by presenting summaries of landmark cases, notable personal accounts from keynote speakers, and discussion points from various perspectives including students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Mary Beth Tinker and Neha Madhira will be keynote speakers.

More exciting projects are in the planning process, and we hope to share with everyone following our next TYLA board meeting in McAllen on November 15-16.

The board’s theme this year is “Better Together.” It’s an incredible joy to witness the energy and momentum grow as each of our directors works in harmony, enthusiastically harnessing their individual talents and offering them selflessly in support of the overall mission to serve Texas attorneys and various underserved communities across the state.

Better Together,


Texas Young Lawyers Association


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