Fostering Enduring Change

I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary opportunity to serve you as the 2021-2022 Texas Young Lawyers Association president. For the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of learning more about servant leadership from past presidents Victor A. Flores and Britney Harrison and all of the TYLA board members. TYLA is a perfect example of one of my favorite quotes from retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.” The State Bar of Texas has been part of my tapestry from the beginning: It started at my birth with my adoption by my parents. I remember hearing about my adoption as a child—about the judge and lawyers involved—and I decided all those years ago that this was the profession I wanted to join one day.

Since law school, I have been welcomed into the Baylor Law family, my local affiliates, the family law bar, the State Bar, and TYLA. Through these experiences and relationships, I’ve seen how the unique perspectives, talents, and passions of Texas lawyers come together to make us stronger. During his year as TYLA president, Victor Flores reminded us that we are “Better Together.” This past year our president, Britney Harrison, encouraged us to work together to become the change we need. I have been inspired by the way Texas lawyers have adapted and supported each other and their communities throughout the pandemic and the various other challenges that 2020 and 2021 have posed. As we move forward and life returns to “normal,” I hope that this culture of camaraderie and civility remains.

I’m not entirely sure what to call this stage of the pandemic. I do know that this is the part when I can visit and hug my grandmother, Meme. This has been the phase where we have started celebrating the missed milestones and achievements all at once across a dinner table instead of a screen. I have found this relatively undefined but optimistic phase inspiring. We spent more than a year outside of our comfort zones, rethinking our priorities and habits, and now (or soon, hopefully) we can start defining a new normal. The priorities I choose to move forward with include family, friends, being kind and brave, and finding joy and pride in what I do.

For our next chapter, I hope for a better future for all in our profession. As so many people have done during this pandemic, we binge watched Star Wars. Last year I left our “May the 4th Be With You” Star Wars banner up well into the summer because, as Gen. Leia reminded us, “Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it, you’ll never make it through the night.” But hope alone is not enough. The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg taught us that “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” As we move forward, this is the part of the pandemic where we need to have hope, we can remind others around us to have hope, and we will foster enduring change and a brighter future together.

Jeanine Novosad Rispoli
2021-2022 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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