Editor’s Note: In this blog series, we are getting to know the members of the Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors. TYLA, commonly called the “public service arm” of the State Bar of Texas, works to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. All TYLA programs are accomplished through the volunteer efforts of its board and committee members, with the cooperation of local affiliate young lawyers associations. Learn more at tyla.org.

Name: Smaranda Draghia

Firm: Justice for Our Neighbors

Area of Law You Practice: Immigration (pro/low bono)

Position Held in TYLA: Access to Justice Liaison

How did you get involved in bar service? I was part of the 2019-2020 LeadershipSBOT class.

What is your favorite TYLA project and why? The competitions for law students. I’m excited to be a part of organizing these competitions now. In law school, I participated in mock trial and moot court, and they really taught me more than almost anything else in law school. I hope that even with these competitions taking place virtually now, law students will continue to be able to be a part of them and learn from these experiences.

What tips can you give to other attorneys to manage stress? Take breaks during the day. If you can, go outside for a few minutes to get a breath of fresh air. I find that helps me concentrate better when I get back to work.

What is a piece of advice you would give new lawyers or law students? Know your worth. You deserve to be paid for your time and knowledge.

What do you do in your spare time? Hang out with my fiancé and our three dogs, gardening, fantasy football, and occasionally yoga.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? I was born in Romania.

Anything else you wish to share? I really enjoy making pizza dough from scratch and coming up with interesting pizza topping combinations.