The backbone of HYLA is its committees. Committees are organized below according to HYLA's mission: learn, lead, network, and serve.
Please browse the complete list of committees below.
Committee selections are made in your membership profile.
The CLE Committee chooses the topic, secures speakers, and provides speaking opportunities for monthly CLEs that are geared toward young attorneys.
Committee Co-Chair: Daniel O’Neil
The Judiciary Committee organizes a series of lunches with members of the judiciary, and other programs focused on better understanding the judiciary and its role in the practice of law. One of the ways is by maximizing the opportunities for HYLA members to have direct contact with judges, such as by participating in lunches in the judges' chambers. Each lunch in the series will focus on a different aspect of the judiciary: Texas civil district courts, Texas appellate courts, federal courts, and specialty courts (family, probate, bankruptcy).
Committee Co-Chair: Melanie Guzman
Spanish Class Committee
The Spanish Class Committee organizes monthly lunch Spanish lessons for Houston young lawyers. The class is meant to be a refresher for persons with some (even if very beginner) level of fluency and to allow participants an opportunity to practice their Spanish. Legal terms and phrases can also be taught upon request.
Committee Chair: Evan Lange
Leadership Academy Committee
The Leadership Academy Committee organizes the selection process for, and programming of, the HYLA Leadership Academy, which is designed to prepare young attorneys for leadership roles in HYLA and other organizations through a service-oriented leadership training program.
During the tenure of the Academy, members will have the chance to practice and develop their leadership skills while working together to develop and execute a service project designed to leave a lasting impact on both the Academy members and the community.
The Mentorship Committee organizes events with practical information to assist law students with the transition to practicing law. It is run by young lawyers who share their law school, clerking, and work experiences to help with speed mentoring, resume review, and programs geared toward helping develop strong, confident new attorneys.
Clay Shoot Committee
The Energy Counsel Committee’s mission is to host networking and career-building events for HYLA members and to collaborate in this effort with other professional networking organizations in the energy industry in Houston. The Committee hosts several happy hours, CLE events, and mentoring events throughout the bar year, and connects HYLA members to networking and education opportunities related to the energy industry.
Committee Co-Chair: Amber Morrison
Corporate Counsel Committee
The Corporate Counsel Committee focuses on the needs of in-house lawyers, and those interested in becoming in-house lawyers, through networking events as well as opportunities to serve on roundtable panels at Houston-area law schools in which in-house practice topics are discussed.
Committee Co-Chair: Melia Hawley
First Generation Lawyers
The First Generation Committee was created to provide support, community, and resources to young attorneys, recent law school graduates, and current law students who are the first attorney or the first to attend law school in their immediate family. The purpose of this committee is to serve an underserved portion of the Houston legal community by closing the knowledge and resource gap that is often felt or experienced among first-generation attorneys and law students. While our programming is geared towards topics that affect first-generation attorneys, all attorneys and law students are welcome to participate in our events.
Signature Events Committee
The Signature Events Committee plans and executes HYLA’s signature social and networking events, including the Membership Party, Evening with the Judiciary, and a big spring event, such as the Crawfish Boil. The volunteers on this committee secure venues, sponsors, and help with event registration, welcoming guests, and are social hosts at HYLA events.
Diversity & Inclusion Committee
With the ever changing legal landscape and the demand for diverse practitioners that reflect the global marketplace and the Harris County legal community, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee engages with lawyers across the spectrum of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability status to promote and foster the spirit of inclusion in the profession.
Such engagement includes diversity mentoring and networking events that focus on issues and challenges affecting those legal practitioners mentioned above, and a women's mentoring breakfast that allows young women attorneys to network with one another and features prominent female lawyers in the community, who provide advice and share their experience.
For information on this year's Diversity Scholarship Program, organized by HYLA's Diversity & Inclusion Committee, please click here.
Government and Non-Profit Law Committee
Sports & Wellness Committee
The Sports & Wellness Committee puts together organized sports leagues for HYLA members, such as basketball and flag football, as well as physical fitness activities and wellness events, such as spin classes and wine tastings.
Basketball league: Joey Hance
Football league: Earl Spencer
Events: Nate Walton
Solos & Small Firms Committee
The Solos and Small Firm Committee supports solo and small firm attorneys in growing their businesses and navigating the challenges of a small practice, including the business side of practicing law. The committee also coordinates to offer CLEs specific to solo and small firm practitioners and to provide networking opportunities for these HYLA members.
Generation Generosity Committee
The Generation Generosity Committee organizes monthly volunteer opportunities for HYLA's members with non-profits throughout the city, serving diverse groups in the community.
Committee Co-Chairs: Mariame Aana
Know Your Rights Committee
The mission of HYLA’s Know Your Rights program is to educate high-school-aged students on their rights regarding police interactions, in an effort to reduce conflict and promote healthy relationships with police officers.
Committee Co-Chair: Richard Fink
Veteran Lawyers Committee
Veterans Lawyers Committee seeks to foster a sense of community for military veterans and their families and between veterans and the broader HYLA community by providing meet and greet opportunities and support and by providing opportunities for all HYLA members to help less fortunate veterans and their families in the Houston area through pro bono opportunities.
Swearing-In Ceremony Committee
The Swearing-In Ceremony Committee organizes swearing-in ceremonies for new Houston lawyers twice a year, during which bar passers take their oath, as administered by a distinguished judge, to follow the U.S. and Texas constitutions and abide by the ethical and professional duties of a Texas lawyer.
Committee Chair: Patrick McMillin
Women Lawyers Committee
The Women Lawyers Committee organizes HYLA's partnership with local schools to encourage a small group of female high school students to pursue law as a career, providing resources and education about the opportunities and obstacles involved in doing so. Through this committee’s partnership with the Harris County Independent School District (HISD) and respective high schools, an after-school seminar and dinner for 20-40 of its female students is hosted. The Lean In to Law program begins with several brief presentations from young female attorneys and law students who are HYLA members, on topics including why and how the presenters chose law as a career, the advantages and challenges of being a woman in the legal profession, and the practical steps to take to become a lawyer. Following the presentations, the students break up into small groups for dinner and discussion led by HYLA members. These discussions center on practical ways for young women to take ownership of their careers, including taking risks, “sitting at the table,” finding one’s voice, and conquering the imposter syndrome and insecurity, all with a focus on careers in the legal industry. Finally, following dinner, the students participate in one-on-one or two-on-one “speed mentoring,” in which HYLA members sit in a circle or row and the students rotate from one attorney or student to the next.
Committee Chair: Caroline Burbach
The award-winning Tomorrow’s Attorney Pipeline Program (“TAPP”) focuses on increasing diversity in the legal profession by providing underserved and underprivileged sophomore school students with concrete, motivating opportunities to learn about the legal profession. TAPP students participate in two programs: (1) career awareness presentations, whereby volunteer attorneys travel to the participating high schools to present to the students in the program about the practice of law and the path to becoming an attorney; and (2) a field trip whereby those same high school students travel to the Harris County Civil Courthouse to view court proceedings, speak with judges, participate in an experiential case discussion, and learn about jury service.
Committee Co-Chair: Jessica Rodriguez
Young Lawyers in School Committee
The Young Lawyers in Schools committee provides oversight and support to HYLA's programs in local schools, such as the Know Your Rights and TAPP programs. The committee also comes up with new ways for young lawyers to support local Houston students and potential future lawyers.