What It Means to Be an Uncommon Leader

If I could sum up this bar year in one word, it would be “resilience.” In this past year as president of the Texas Young Lawyers Association, I have witnessed our fellow attorneys gracefully navigate the difficulties imposed by the pandemic. Several of us lost loved ones, worked while monitoring the kiddos’ virtual schooling, survived having COVID-19, and experienced “SNOVID-19” in February yet managed to still serve the bar and the public. The board members of TYLA have truly exemplified what it means to be resilient.

I am sad that the new board members have never experienced the true camaraderie and the family that is formed while being on the TYLA board. We normally meet four times a year, sometimes five if attending the Annual Meeting in June. We work hard and spend time getting to know each other and our families. I am sad that the members who have been around for years but are ending their term of service did not get to say their goodbyes in person at our final meeting last month. Despite this, I have witnessed a board composed of members from across the state work together, support one another, and truly exemplify what it means to be an uncommon leader.

This year, the board surpassed what we set out to accomplish. There were times when we thought we might not be able to complete everything given the complications presented by the pandemic, but alas, the board came through! Due to the virtual nature of things, we were ultimately able to reach more people and spread the great work that TYLA has done. Our various TYLA Roadshows, which had record attendance numbers this year, were able to provide free CLE on topics varying from oil and gas, to how to advance from associate to partner, to a primer on the recent updates to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

We gave young lawyers across the state the opportunity to speak on our new Practice Areas 101 podcast as well as learned some valuable business development skills with the continuation of our Young Gunners series. For all the new litigators, we provided Evidence and Predicates Guides to serve as a quick reference tool. We also recently launched the Leadership Toolkit, which features a dynamic panel of leaders in our profession discussing the value of diversity in leadership.

TYLA Pres Page
From left to right: Hisham Masri (Dallas) and Kirk Cooper (El Paso).

At our final board meeting we virtually said goodbye to our fellow board members who ended their terms of service. We honored the board members who went above and beyond and exemplified the true meaning of an uncommon leader. We also awarded our fourth quarter champs, Hisham Masri, of Dallas, and Kirk Cooper, of El Paso, with the epic WWE-style wrestling belts for their outstanding contributions during one of the hardest times of the bar year.

As I conclude my last column as president, I want to thank every board member, our staff at the bar, and every person who assisted us this year. As we slowly come out of this pandemic and get back to “normal”—whatever that may look like—I am encouraged by the resilience I have seen this past year and know the best is yet to come. Farewell for now.

2020-2021 President, Texas Young Lawyers Association

For more information on TYLA, contact them at tyla@texasbar.com or go to tyla.org.


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