April 10, 2019

Candidates Announced for AYLA Board of Directors

Candidates Announced for AYLA Board of Directors

Elections to be Held April 12 – May 3, 2019

The Austin Young Lawyers Association announces its candidates for the 2019-20 Board of Directors. A link to the electronic ballot will be sent in an email from BallotBox Online on Friday, April 12, 2019. Please add noreply@ballotboxonline to your account so it gets past your spam filter. The last chance to vote will be at the annual member meeting conducted at the Bench Bar Conference on Friday, May 3, 2019 at the Austin Country Club.

The following candidates are running for the AYLA officers and board of directors. The new board will take office on July 1, 2019, along with Sandy Bayne, who will serve as AYLA’s president. Bayne is a founding partner of BayneLaw, where she focuses on general healthcare and health insurance. She is a 2013 graduate of the Austin Bar/AYLA Leadership Academy and has served on the AYLA board as director, secretary, and treasurer and has co-chaired AYLA’s Judicial Reception and Runway for Justice events for several years. She is also a member of the Barbara Jordan Inn of Court.


The only contested officer’s race is for the office of treasurer. Candidates for treasurer are Rachael Jones and Francesca Di Troia.

Jones has been actively involved in AYLA and the Austin Bar since becoming licensed in 2014. She has been a member of the AYLA board of directors since 2016, served as the board’s secretary for the 2018-2019 bar year, and is also an Austin Bar/AYLA Leadership Academy graduate.


Di Troia is an Assistant Attorney General in the Tort Litigation Division. She has served as an AYLA director for the past two years and has been heavily involved in the Membership, Docket Call, YMCA, Reindeer Games, Runway for Justice, Community Service Days, and Race Judicata Committees.


David King is running unopposed for president-elect. King has been an AYLA Director since 2015. He is currently treasurer of AYLA and previously served as secretary. David is also co-chair of AYLA’s Bench Bar Conference and Holiday Programs committees. Outside of AYLA, David is a shareholder at Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, and he serves on the board of directors of Mainspring Schools.


Blair Leake is running unopposed for secretary.  As an AYLA director, Leake has worked to rebuild the Community Service Days Committee, which now hosts monthly volunteer events with local charities. He has served as the chair of that committee for the last two years, has been on the Runway for Justice Committee for the last three.  He has also served on other AYLA committees, including the Women’s Resource Fair and MLK Day of Service. 


Eight candidates are vying for four 2-year terms on the board of directors. The four elected board members will join directors Michael Choate, Sarah Harp, Eric Nelson and Kayvon Rashidi, whose terms expire in 2020; along with Erin Smith Bennet, director at large.

Ben Dower has been an ex-officio member of the AYLA board of directors since 2016. He is involved in the Barbara Jordan Inn of Court, the Austin Bar/AYLA Leadership Academy, and the Texas Law Mentoring Program. His AYLA committee involvement includes YMCA Youth and Government Program, Runway for Justice, Community Service Days, and MLK Day of Service.

Catherine “Cathy” Garza practices regulatory and commercial litigation at Eversheds Sutherland. She has served as an ex-officio member of the AYLA board since 2017.  Her AYLA involvement includes serving as chair of the Bar & Grill Committee, a member of the Runway for Justice Committee, and a volunteer for MLK Days of Service and Community First! Village Legal Clinics.

Alan Lin is an Associate at Cornell Smith Mierl Brutocao Burton, where he practices labor and employment law. He previously practiced with a national product liability defense firm in Austin and has spent his entire legal career in the city.  He is a member of the Austin Asian American Bar Association.

Jenna Reblin Malsbary currently serves on the AYLA Community Service Days Committee and has volunteered at the AYLA Reindeer Games, Women’s Resource Fair, and Community First! Village Legal Clinics.



Emily Morris is the managing attorney of The Morris Law Firm.  Morris is dedicated to the Austin legal community, demonstrated by substantial service as co-chair of the Austin Bar/AYLA Leadership Academy Leadership Committee, and to the Travis County Women Lawyers Association.

Matt Rappaport advises attorneys and their clients as their personal wealth manager. He began his legal career with McKool Smith, litigating patent infringement cases. He and currently works at UBS Financial Services, Inc. Rappaport volunteers as a mediator with the Austin Dispute Resolution Center.

Justin Rosas practices school law with an emphasis on labor and employment litigation. Last year, he started an organization to mentor young Hispanic boys in the Austin area. He is a member of the 2019 Austin Bar/AYLA Leadership Academy class.



Katharine Weaver A graduate of Texas law, Katharine practices health insurance law at a boutique subrogation firm. Katharine enjoys serving as a weekly volunteer at the Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas clinic and helping fight food insecurity at Del Valle ISD through her involvement in the Junior League of Austin.