The Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors approved the nominations of Sally L. Pretorius of Dallas and Jenny Lee Smith of Austin as 2017-2018 president-elect candidates. This year, nominees for president-elect are from metropolitan counties. Biographies of the candidates are featured here. Interviews with the two candidates will be included in the April issue. Votes for TYLA president-elect and district directors can be cast via paper ballot or by voting online from April 3 to May 2. On April 3, attorneys eligible to vote will be mailed an election packet, including a paper ballot and campaign brochures. Attorneys may either submit their paper ballot via mail or vote online using the information provided. The deadline to cast ballots is 5 p.m. CST on May 2. Sally L. Pretorius Dallas Sally L. Pretorius is an associate of KoonsFuller. She practices family law and was certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 2015. Pretorius, the current vice president of the Texas Young Lawyers Association, has been a member of the TYLA Board of Directors since 2012, serving as secretary in 2015-2016. Pretorius has served on several different committees as both chair and co-chair and has served as an executive committee adviser. Pretorius has worked on many TYLA projects, including A Welcoming Home: Be a Foster Parent, TYLA Pocket Guide: Social Media 101, Educating Educators, and If I Knew Then… Life Lessons from Legendary Texas Lawyers. Most recently, she collaborated on Pregnancy and the Workplace; Divorce Guide for Teens; Divorce Guide for Children; the Sexual Assault Rights and Resources website; and Strength in Unity, which received the Outstanding Public Service Project Award from the American Bar Endowment. She is a member of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, the Genesis Women’s Shelter Young Leaders Steering Committee, the Junior Associates of the Dallas Museum of Art Steering Committee, and the Junior League of Dallas Leadership Council. Pretorius earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in 2006 and her J.D. from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 2009. She is married to Adam Hodge, and they have two dogs, Roxy and Molly. Jenny Lee Smith Austin Jenny Lee Smith is an associate of Cobb & Counsel, where she helps companies and professionals comply with regulations, obtain licenses and permits, and navigate government investigations. Smith is also a trial lawyer who zealously represents businesses in litigation against other businesses or in litigation against the government. In 2016, Smith received the Keith L. Kruger Leadership Award for her commitment to service with TYLA. She serves on the TYLA Board of Directors, was co-chair of TYLA’s Law Focused Education Committee, and was a project lead for And Justice for All: Preventing Wrongful Convictions Through Education. Smith also serves on the Texas Access to Justice Commission. Smith’s practice dovetails with her passion for seeking justice for all Texans. Before departing Jackson Walker to help build Cobb & Counsel, Smith worked at Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal, where she was an integral part of the team that overturned a wrongful conviction, obtained the release of an innocent man, and earned the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project’s 2013 Exceptional Service Award. Smith received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Baylor University, and her J.D., summa cum laude, from Texas Tech University School of Law. Smith and her husband, Rusty, have two rescue dogs, Maggie and Sarge. 2017-2018 TYLA Executive Committee Election At the January meeting of the Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors, the following members were unanimously approved to run for the specified offices. A ballot was sent to all TYLA directors, and the winner of each race is listed below in the left-hand column. CHAIR-ELECT Aaron J. Burke Aaron J. Burke is a senior associate of Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer in Dallas, where he has a trial and civil litigation practice in the areas of product liability, oil and gas, commercial disputes, and personal injury defense. Burke currently serves as TYLA’s District 5, Place 1 director and as co-chair for the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Judiciary and Law Student Assistance committees. In 2016, TYLA awarded him the President’s Award of Merit in part for his work on its project And Justice for All: Preventing Wrongful Convictions Through Education. Burke also serves on the State Bar of Texas Court Rules Committee. Courtney Barksdale Perez Courtney Barksdale Perez is a partner in Carter Scholer Arnett & Mockler in Dallas. Perez is a TYLA Minority at-Large director and serves as co-chair of the Competitions Committee. She has contributed to numerous TYLA initiatives, including the National Trial Competition, the forthcoming I Was the First. You Can Be a Lawyer Too! project, Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Obligations, A Guide for Employers, Pregnancy and the Workplace: Know Your Obligations, A Guide for Employees, the Employment Law Guide, Strength in Unity, and How to do a Pro Bono Clemency Petition. TYLA recognized Perez for her service with an Outstanding Director Award in 2015-2016. VICE PRESIDENT Raymond J. Baeza Raymond J. Baeza is an attorney for Farmers Insurance Exchange in El Paso, where he practices personal injury litigation. Baeza serves as TYLA’s District 14 director and is a co-chair of the Law Focused Education Committee, a member of the National Trial Competition Committee, and has in the past served on the Diversity and Public Service in the Community committees. He has contributed to and presented multiple TYLA programs, including Bigger Than Bullies, Resources for Foster Care Children, and the Vote America! project. Baeza is a graduate of the LeadershipSBOT class of 2012-2013. Tim Williams Tim Williams is an attorney with Sprouse Shrader Smith in Amarillo, where he practices civil litigation in a broad range of matters including contracts, business disputes, construction claims, employment, and oil and gas litigation. Williams is TYLA’s District 16 director and serves on the board of the Amarillo Area Young Lawyers Association. He received TYLA’s President’s Award of Merit in 2014 and the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas Award in 2015. Williams and his wife, Jackie, have three kids, Madison, Emma, and Beckett. SECRETARY Nick Guinn Nick Guinn is an associate of the intellectual property firm Gunn, Lee & Cave in San Antonio, where he assists clients with protection and enforcement of their IP rights. Guinn has served on the TYLA Board of Directors since 2014, most recently as treasurer. He has chaired multiple committees and spearheaded several projects, including Cyclists Be Careful, the Professional Etiquette Guide, and How to Get Involved in Nonprofit Boards. Guinn is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a member of the Texas Bar College. He received TYLA’s Outstanding First Year Director Award in 2015. Timothy Newman Timothy Newman is a litigator with Haynes and Boone in Dallas, defending clients in government enforcement, complex litigation, and cybersecurity matters. As a first-year director, Newman continued TYLA’s work on Strength in Unity, which aims to foster positive relationships between police officers and their communities, and took a lead role in developing TYLA’s Sexual Assault Rights and Resources website. Before joining the TYLA Board, he was a Dallas Association of Young Lawyers director for four years, serving on its Judiciary and Business & Career Development committees. Newman also serves on his church’s trustees committee and is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. TREASURER Amanda A. Abraham Amanda A. Abraham is an associate of the Roth Law Firm in Marshall, where she practices intellectual property, products liability, and personal injury litigation. Abraham is currently secretary of the TYLA Board of Directors and serves on the Diversity Committee. She is the president of the Harrison County Bar Association and was recently appointed by Hon. Ron Clark, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, to an organizational committee to create an Association of Women Lawyers for the Eastern District of Texas. Abraham has served as co-chair of the Strength in Unity and Pregnancy and the Workplace projects, a lead for the JustDrive campaign and local affiliate roadshows, and has worked on many other projects, including BSAFE, End Bullying Now, the Minority Scholarship Program, and the launch of TYLA’s mobile website. In 2015, she received the TYLA President’s Award of Merit. Matthew L. Harris Matthew L. Harris opened a solo law firm, Matthew Harris Law, immediately after graduating from law school in 2010, which has now grown to become a multi-attorney firm representing clients in family law, civil and business litigation, and estate planning and probate. Before becoming a lawyer, Harris served an eight-year enlistment in the U.S. Air Force. He currently serves as TYLA’s District 3 director and is the chair of the Marketing and Technology Committee. Harris is a former adjunct professor for Texas Tech University School of Law and serves on the city of Lubbock’s Veterans Advisory Committee. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Carrie, and is also an assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, where his son Brett is working toward the Eagle Scout rank.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.