Melissa J. Schank

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Melissa J. Schank is the new Executive Director of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Stories from Melissa J. Schank

Friday, February 14th, 2020

There is always strength in numbers. The more individuals or organizations that you can rally to your cause, the better.

—Mark Shields

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Join the next generation of Texas Defenders by applying to become a mentor or mentee through the Future Indigent Defense Leaders Program (FIDL). Together the Texas Indigent Task Force, Harris County Public Defenders Office, and TCDLA are starting their second year of the program.

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Here’s to those who inspire you and don’t even know it.


November is the month of thanks. This month I would like to dedicate my article and give thanks to Craig Hattersley, TCDLA’s Communication Director. He has been with TCDLA for 12 years and has been a valuable and intricate part of TCDLA. He has supported me and made us all look good—and helped us on our quest for success!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

Heightened perception is the goal: becoming more aware of how you see, not just what you see.

Michael Kimmelman

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.

—Michel Legrand

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail!

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Summer is here, and with that comes the changing of the guard. It was a pleasure working with Mark Snodgrass and being able to spend more time with his family. As we begin the year under the reign of Kerri Anderson Donica, I look forward to working under her leadership and helping her accomplish her goals as president.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

—Robert Brault

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and, most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.


Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.


This past week I had the opportunity to spend time in Lubbock hosted by the Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. The hospitality was overwhelming—and very much appreciated.

Executive Director's Perspective March 2019-1
Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.

—Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

—Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, December 15th, 2018

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

—Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.

—Christian Lous Lange

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

—Zig Ziglar

Executive Director's Perspective - Sept18-1
Friday, August 24th, 2018

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

—Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

The months of June and July are special times for TCDLA, though extremely busy. Most people are preparing for their summer vacations, but in the home office, June is particularly demanding, preparing for and orchestrating the annual Rusty Duncan Advanced Criminal Law Course, our annual board meetings, and all events that includes. But it’s all worth it for the opportunity to work with and see so many of our wonderful members. This year we had more than 800 attendees.

Executive Director's Perspective: Where Heroes Come From - By Melissa J. Schank
Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

That’s where I’ll get the love in my heart: from, the fact that little young guys can look at the obstacles that I had to go through to become a Hall of Famer and know it’s not so bad when it comes to them trying to accomplish the same goal.

—Allen Iverson

Saturday, April 28th, 2018

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.’”

—Maya Angelou

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer
—Sir William Blackstone

Friday, March 9th, 2018

The best part of your story is when it changes.
—Bella Bloom

As I reflect on the last 13 years, I want to thank Joseph Martinez for sharing his wealth of knowledge and allowing me to gain all the experience that has prepared me for this moment. I have some very large shoes to fill, but thanks to Joseph’s guidance—as well as our leadership, members, and staff—the transition will be smooth.