Few would dispute that young lawyers lead busy lives. Between juggling the demands of their law practices, growing families and other professional commitments, there is usually precious little time left for recreation or personal endeavors. Notwithstanding these pressures, there are thousands of young lawyers throughout the state who have made a decision to devote substantial amounts of time to projects that benefit others -- whether such projects are focused on the less fortunate, community groups, professional organizations, or the general public.
The Louisiana State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division has chosen to publicly recognize some of the young lawyers who are enriching their communities in special ways. In the coming months, a series of "Young Lawyer Spotlight" articles will be featured in LSBA publications and here, on the YLD website.
The young lawyers to be featured have not requested the recognition but have been nominated by one or more of their fellow young lawyers. Although there is no way to recognize all of the young lawyers who have made a commitment to volunteerism, we believe that recognizing even a few serves to commend such efforts on behalf of all so involved.
Each of the young lawyers featured spotlights that Louisiana young lawyers are making a difference for the benefit of their communities.
Jacob H. Hargett - Lafayette
Lafayette attorney Jacob H. Hargett, with the firm of Davidson, Meaux, Sonnier, McElligott, Fontenot, Gideon & Edwards, L.L.P., received his undergraduate degree from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where we was a member and four-year All-American on ULL's Sports Shooting Team. He received his JD degree from Loyola University College of Law. While at Loyola, he served as president of the Trial Advocacy Program and organized the school's first ever National Trial Advocacy Competition, garnering the support of more than 100 judges and 200 attorneys for assistance with the program.
Hargett is very active in the Lafayette legal community and is a board member of the Lafayette Young Lawyers Association (LYLA). In this role, he organizes various social functions and charity events benefiting the legal community and the less fortunate in the Lafayette area. Notably, he is the current chair of LYLA's "Shoot for Justice" Program, lending his experience as an expert marksman to the Lafayette Volunteer Lawyer program.
In addition to his heavy workload and charitable work, Hargett maintains a consistent docket of pro bono cases. His practice includes insurance defense, general casualty, family law, medical malpractice, and mergers and acquisitions.
He has received several awards as a clay shooter. In 1999, he was recognized as Rookie of the Year. In 2000, he received the gold medal at the Collegiate World Championship. In 2003, he tied world records for shooting 400 out of 400 clay targets and 800 out of 800 in the doubles event. That same year, he and his partner broke the world record at a national event by shooting 999 out of 1,000 targets. In 2010, he entered the world championship, winning third in the doubles competition.
Gregory W. Rome - Chalmette
Attorney Gregory W. Rome is a lawyer and founder of the firm of Williams & Rome, L.L.C., in Chalmette. After graduating summa cum laude and first in his class from Loyola University in New Orleans, he went on to graduate from Tulane Law School with a JD degree and Certificate in Civil Law. While at Tulane, he helped found the Civil Law Commentaries, the first legal journal dedicated to Louisiana law and its historical roots, and served as the founding senior online editor. He was the recipient of the Robert Rees Memorial Scholarship.
In 2007, prior to graduating from Tulane, he began a part-time clerkship with the Hon. Kirk A. Vaughn of the 34th Judicial District Court, a position which he continues today. After graduation, he returned home to Chalmette and founded his law firm, focusing his practice on civil litigation, small business law, personal injury, successions and family law.
In 2011, he authored the Louisiana Civil Law Dictionary in conjunction with Stephan Kinsella. His work in this field has been praised by attorneys and law professors, including legendary civil law professor A.N. Yiannopoulos. Additionally in 2011, he founded Straylight Publishing, L.L.C., a legal publishing house focusing on providing complete, up-to-date materials for Louisiana law students, attorneys and scholars, as well as preserving historical Louisiana legal works.
Rome is a member of the St. Bernard Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Los Isleños Heritage Society.
In his community, he is an adult leader with the Boy Scouts of America Troop 84, where he spends several weekends a year training and mentoring scouts and serving on Eagle Scout review boards. He also volunteers his time with the Catholic Committee on Scouting.
P. Brian Derouen - Lafayette
principal member of the Derouen Firm, L.L.C., a litigation firm that focuses on corporate and insurance defense. He earned his BS degree, with a major in economics, from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in 1998 and his JD degree from Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 2001, where he was a member of its Law Review.
After graduation from law school, he quickly became involved with the Lafayette Young Lawyers Association (LYLA), serving on its Awards and Membership Committees. As LYLA's current membership chair, he has made it his personal goal to extend invitations and help when possible to the scholars at our state's four law schools in an effort to keep the future lawyers who are interested in practicing in Lafayette and its surrounding parishes informed of LYLA's various services, socials and civic functions.
Derouen's professional associations include the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Lafayette Bar Association and the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, Inc. He also has been involved in several community organizations, including the Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers, the March of Dimes (serving as a board member) and Civitan (helping with the various Special Olympics events). He was recognized for his service to the community by being selected as a member of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Lafayette Class XVIII.
He has the support of his many peers, including Susan Holliday, executive director of the Lafayette Bar Association. "Brian is an extremely active member of the Lafayette Bar Association and our Young Lawyers Section," Holliday said. "He has served on numerous committees and is always willing to step forward and volunteer for any projects sponsored by the association. Brian exemplifies professionalism and leadership, and the Lafayette Bar Association is fortunate to have him as an active member."
John C. Nickelson - Shreveport
Shreveport attorney John C. Nickelson graduated, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Texas Christian University with a BA degree in history. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia in 2004. He began his practice with Baker Botts in Dallas, Texas. He clerked for Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod, United States Circuit judge for the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. He returned home to Shreveport in 2009 to practice with the firm of Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway, A.P.L.C. He is a commercial litigator and represents clients in a wide range of matters, including legal malpractice defense, oil and gas litigation, and products and premises liability disputes.
In addition to maintaining an active practice, Nickelson is involved in both the state and local bar associations. He is a member-at-large of the Shreveport Bar Association's Executive Council, treasurer of the Shreveport Bar Foundation and a member of its board of directors, and a member of the Harry V. Booth and Judge Henry A. Politz American Inn of Court. He also was selected and served as a member of the 2010-11 Leadership LSBA Class.
When asked why he pursued a law degree and a career as a lawyer, Nickelson answered that he went to law school because he thought he would enjoy the profession and wanted to contribute to the lives of others. His involvement in the bar and his commitment to pro bono work make it apparent he is achieving his aspirations. Since graduating from law school, he has handled pro bono cases ranging from adoptions and protective orders for abused women and children to custody disputes and consumer rights cases.
As the treasurer and a member of the Shreveport Bar Foundation's board of directors, he is closely involved with the organization's coordination of pro bono activities in the Shreveport-Bossier area. He represents indigent criminal defendants as a member of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana's Criminal Justice Act Panel. He also was an active participant in the 2010-11 Leadership LSBA Class CLE presentations encouraging the pro bono efforts of firms and individual attorneys throughout Louisiana. He credits his commitment to pro bono work to the mentoring and support he has received from others, including Herschel E. Richard, Jr., Cook Yancey's president and the immediate past president of the Louisiana Bar Foundation.
Nickelson and his wife, Emily, are the proud parents of three children.
Michael A. Harowski - New Orleans
New Orleans attorney Michael A. Harowski is affiliated with the firm of Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli. According to his nominator, Eve Sarco Reardon, he is “very active in community service” and juggles his professional and personal life (which includes new twin boys) extremely well.
A native of Ormond Beach, Fla., Harowski now lives in New Orleans and practices primarily admiralty and maritime law. He earned his BA degree in economics from Emory University in 2003 and his JD degree from Tulane Law School in 2006.
Harowski has devoted much of his “free” time to many community service activities and charities in the New Orleans area. Recently selected to take part in the 2011 class of Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO), he will be charged with engaging young leaders to take part in philanthropic endeavors. He will participate in a six-month program, during which he will focus on helping to provide funding for arts-based nonprofits in the New Orleans area dedicated to offering underserved populations with access to the arts.
He also is active as a leader in the Young Leadership Council’s Where Ya’ Rack? bike rack program in New Orleans. That organization’s objective is to provide secure bike parking in and around the New Orleans area. He is responsible for encouraging private and corporate sponsors to provide these unique fleur de lis bike racks around town, which hopefully encourages cycling throughout the city.
Finally, Harowski is on the board of the New Orleans Video Access Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “cultivate a sustainable film community” by providing access to resources and education. He provides pro bono legal services and helps with long-term planning for the board.
His professional associations include the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Mariner’s Club of New Orleans, the Propeller Club of New Orleans, the Maritime Law Association and the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute.
Amanda S. Stout - Baton Rouge
Amanda S. Stout, a native of Baton Rouge, practices in the Baton Rouge office of McGlinchey Stafford, P.L.L.C. She practices in the commercial litigation and labor/employment law sections. She earned her BS degree, with a major in psychology, in 2000 from Louisiana State University and her JD degree in 2003 from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. After graduation from law school, she began her practice with Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P.
In her practice, she has represented employers in responding to allegations brought in front of the EEOC, the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights and the United States Department of Labor. She is admitted to practice in the U.S. Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Stout embodies the value of volunteerism in the community, as she is very active in the First United Methodist Church. She has been the Education Council chair and served on the Church Council and Executive Committee from 2008-10. She also was pivotal in the church's Capital Campaign Committee in 2008-09. She has volunteered with HOPE Ministries (in its Client Choice Food Pantry), Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army's Red Kettle donation drive.
Her professional associations include the Baton Rouge Bar Association (BRBA), where she is currently chair of the Young Lawyers Division. She was the 2009 Judge Joseph Keogh Award recipient and served on the BRBA's Belly Up with the Bar Committee from 2005-09. She is a member of the Federal Bar Association's Baton Rouge Chapter and served as 2007-08 secretary of the Dean Henry George McMahon American Inn of Court.
Stout has presented educational programs for various organizations, including "Updates on Recent Legislation Affecting Employers" for Wright & Percy Benefits Symposium (2009); "Managing Intermittent FMLA Leave" (2010); "Top Ten Employment Law Myths" for the Postal Customer Council of Greater Baton Rouge (2003); and "Weeding Out Fraudulent Claims and Avoiding Intermittent Leave Abuse: Effectively Using Recertification, Second and Third Opinions, and Fitness-for-Duty Examinations" for the Council on Education in Management (2007). She was published in HR Magazine in 2007, authoring "Family Responsibility Discrimination: Forcing Employers to Reconsider the Traditional Notion of the 'Ideal' Employee."
In her personal life, she has been married to Tadd Stout for seven years and they are the parents of a son.
Lindsay L. Meador - Lafayette
Lindsay L. Meador, of Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith, A.P.L.C., in Lafayette, earned her BA degree, with a major in political science, from Loyola University New Orleans in December 2003 and her JD degree from Loyola University College of Law in 2007. While in law school (2006-07), she participated as a Rule 20 attorney, where she tried jury trials, participated in motion hearings and drafted writs for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal and the Louisiana Supreme Court. After graduation from law school, she began her practice with Davidson, Meaux, Sonnier & McElligott, L.L.P., where she handled all aspects of civil litigation.
A native of Abbeville, La., Meador's primary area of practice now includes general litigation, including insurance defense, insurance coverage, premises liability and family law. In her professional life, she is a member of the Federal Public Defender Panel for the Western District of Louisiana, the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel and the Federal Bar Association. She is actively involved in the Lafayette Bar Association and is the 2011-12 vice president of the Lafayette Young Lawyers Association. She also serves on the Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers' Committee for the Lafayette Bar Foundation.
She is admitted to practice in all Louisiana state courts, in the U.S. Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana, and in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Meador received the Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers' Outstanding Attorney Award for pro bono services in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2010, she received the Lafayette Bar Foundation's Top Protective Order Award for the Lafayette area. She received the 2010 LSBA YLD Pro Bono Award for her extensive pro bono work in the Lafayette community. Recently, she was chosen as a recipient of the 2011 LSBA Pro Bono Publico Award and the 2011 LSBA Pro Bono Century Award.
Kathlyn G. Perez - New Orleans
Kathlyn G. Perez of New Orleans is a lawyer at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C., in New Orleans. She graduated, cum laude, from Washington and Lee University in 2002 and received her JD degree from Tulane Law School in 2006 (member of the Order of the Coif and articles editor for the Tulane Law Review). While in law school, she was the research assistant to A.N. Yiannopoulos, Eason Weinmann Professor of Comparative Law, whom she assisted in the 2006-07 revision of the Louisiana Civil Code property law articles. Upon graduation, she received the John Minor Wisdom Award, an annual award given for "excellence in academic work and in writing ability" and "contributing selflessly to the law school community."
After a clerkship at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, she joined Baker Donelson. She focuses her practice on employment law, commercial litigation and Louisiana property law.
Perez is a role model for all ages of attorneys. She spends a significant amount of time directly improving the lives of those less fortunate.
She is very active in pro bono matters, including volunteering for the H.E.L.P. program aimed at assisting the homeless population in New Orleans and administered by the Hon. Jay C. Zainey, with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Perez and her colleague at Baker Donelson, Erin E. Pelleteri, have worked together on various Pro Bono Project and private referral pro bono matters to help their clients resolve their legal issues using creative, non-litigation solutions, such as informal mediations. These creative approaches became the subject of a recent professionalism CLE presented by Perez and Pelleteri on behalf of the Pro Bono Project.
Perez is the recipient of the 2009 Louisiana Appleseed Good Apple Award and the 2009 Louisiana State Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award. Louisiana Appleseed uses its pro bono network to identify, research and analyze social injustices and advocate for effective solutions to deep-seated structural problems.
In community service, Perez is particularly dedicated to the Salvation Army. She has served on the Salvation Army's board for the past four years and is the board's incoming chair. She is working with the Salvation Army to develop a grant program to assist 125 teachers, police officers and first responders in five Greater New Orleans neighborhoods in purchasing green/sustainable homes. She also serves as house counsel for the Junior League of New Orleans.
Jackie M. McCreary - New Orleans
Jackie M. McCreary of New Orleans is originally from Paulina in St. James Parish. After graduating cum laude from Louisiana State University in 2000, she obtained her JD degree and her bachelor of civil law degree from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 2003. While at LSU Law Center, she served as articles editor for the Louisiana Law Review. From August 2003 to July 2004, she served as a law clerk to Hon. Frank J. Polozola, United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. In 2004, she joined the New Orleans office of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann, L.L.C., and was elected partner in 2011.
McCreary is an active member of the LSBA and was a member of the 2005-06 Leadership LSBA Class. She has volunteered to participate in the annual LSBA Law School Professionalism Orientation Program for first-year law students. She also has judged the LSBA High School Essay Contest and High School Mock Trial Competition and served on the LSBA Young Lawyers Division's Awards Committee. Currently, she is a member of the LSBA's Access to Justice Committee and the Louisiana Bar Foundation's Development Committee. She also volunteers for the New Orleans Pro Bono Project, the Lawyers Helping Homeless Project and Louisiana Appleseed.
McCreary's practice focuses on complex litigation and the defense of energy companies in legacy oilfield litigation and other claims related to oil and gas exploration and production.
She somehow manages all of her professional and civic commitments while raising twin girls with her husband, Johnathan Copponex. Her positive outlook and encouragement increase the participation in events that she chairs, and she is always the first person to lend a hand to projects she does not chair.
One of her colleagues describes her as "an attorney who is respected by all who encounter her in the practice of law; a person who treats all people, regardless of their station in life, their occupation, their mental capabilities, or their personal resources, with respect and dignity; a person who takes the responsibility of using her skills to better the communities in which she works and lives; and a person who encourages others to use their skills and resources for the betterment of those communities."
Nancy A. Brechtel - New Orleans
Nancy A. Brechtel, a New Orleans native, received her JD degree from Loyola University Law School in 2002 (Law Review, Moot Court and graduating as a William Crowe scholar) and her BS degree, with honors, from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1998.
In 2003-05, Brechtel served as an attorney volunteer for the Child in Need of Care Program in New Orleans. After relocating to Mandeville in 2005, she quickly became involved with the Greater Covington Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division (formerly the St. Tammany Young Lawyers Association). As a board member and officer, she developed the organization's bylaws, designed its website and established a bimonthly Docket Call, a networking event for members. She currently serves as chair of the Young Lawyers Division.
The Greater Covington Bar's Young Lawyers Division is committed to using its resources to serve the youth of St. Tammany Parish. In May 2010, the organization hosted its first Court Chase, a 5K and one-mile fun run on the Mandeville lakefront, benefitting the Youth Service Bureau (YSB). The YSB provides advocacy, counseling and support service to at-risk youth and their families, including the Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA). In its first year, the Court Chase, chaired by Vice Chair Elizabeth S. Sconzert, raised $5,000 for the YSB. Court Chase 2011 is slated for May 7.
With the help of funds Brechtel obtained from the LSBA Young Lawyers Division, the group introduced another new program in 2010 benefitting local high school students: A Day with the Court. The program introduces students to the judicial system while at the same time educating them about the various career opportunities available in the legal arena. On Oct. 20, 2010, members hosted local students at the 22nd Judicial District Courthouse in Covington. The students met local judges and courthouse employees, toured the courthouse, and observed drug court proceedings and hearings of civil matters. The day ended with the students' participation in a panel discussion on the criminal judicial process with Michael Montalbano of the St. Tammany Parish District Attorney's Office, Peter Ierardi of the St. Tammany Parish Public Defender's Office and criminal defense attorney Ernest Bauer.
As an associate at the firm of Cotten Schmidt & Abbott, L.L.P., Brechtel's areas of practice range from commercial litigation and insurance law to the defense of toxic tort, employment discrimination and medical malpractice claims.
Catherine Saba Giering - Baton Rouge
Catherine (Cathy) Saba Giering was born in Portland, Ore., but she calls Winnsboro, La., home. After graduating from Louisiana State University in 1996 with a major in English and a double minor in Russian studies and business administration, she attended LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. She received her JD degree in 1999 and began practicing with Laborde & Neuner. In 2004, she joined the Baton Rouge firm of Crawford & Lewis and was named partner in 2008.
She is the 2010 chair of the Baton Rouge Bar Association's (BRBA) Young Lawyers Division Council. The BRBA is extremely active, and Giering and the council have strived to increase young lawyer participation in several BRBA activities, including the Bench/Bar Conference, luncheon meetings, Cocktails with the Court, Opening of Court in the fall and Belly Up to the Bar.
Giering serves on the Junior League of Baton Rouge and is the current Policy Governance chair. She is also a supporter of the downtown YMCA and is a past chair of the Charles Lamar YMCA board of directors. Her LSBA YLD activities include serving on a law school professionalism orientation panel in 2005, serving as a high school essay contest competition judge in 2006, and serving as a member of the YLD Awards Committee in 2007.
Her husband, Edmund Giering, also practices law in Baton Rouge. They are the parents of a son and a daughter.
Giering said that the greatest influence her mentors have had on her is teaching her the value of a strong work ethic and a job well done. She also cites her father's positive attitude as inspiration. She has inherited her father's positive attitude. That positive attitude and strong work ethic are evident in everything she does, and the BRBA and the LSBA are grateful to her for all of her hard work on behalf of young lawyers.
Brandon W. Letulier - Lafayette
Brandon W. Letulier, born and raised in Lafayette, joined Laborde & Neuner as an associate in 2003, after receiving his JD and bachelor of civil law degrees from Louisiana State University and its Paul M. Hebert Law Center (graduating Order of the Coif and serving on the Law Review). Prior to law school, he graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He became a partner at Laborde & Neuner in January 2010 and focuses on maritime and corporate law.
His professional associations include the Lafayette Bar Association, the Lafayette Young Lawyers Association (LYLA), the Louisiana Bar Foundation's Community Partnership Panel and the Duhe American Inn of Court.
Through his work with the Lafayette Bar Association and the LYLA, Letulier has taken an active interest in helping educate the youth of Lafayette about the legal profession. He began this mission as a volunteer coach at Northside High School to help teach and prepare the students for the regional high school mock trial competition sponsored by the Louisiana State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division. His work as a coach eventually led to his becoming chair of the regional high school mock trial event. As a result of his hard work and success with the regional mock trial program, he was selected to spearhead a project to build an actual courtroom at Northside High School.
Several years ago, the LYLA adopted a policy to reach out and support Northside High School as its Law Signature School, creating a comprehensive program that concentrates on all aspects of the law and legal processes for high school students. Beginning in 2008, Letulier volunteered to chair LYLA's committee for the Law Signature School. During his tenure as chair, he worked with the Louisiana Bar Foundation to create and construct the courtroom at Northside High School. The courtroom is fully functioning and has ample space for judge, jury and advocates for both sides. The courtroom is used for mock trial competitions, speaker functions and other courtroom role-playing activities.
Letulier was responsible for every aspect of the construction, including designing the courtroom layout, converting the existing speech and debate classroom into a fully functional courtroom with a high-tech sound system, formulating and maintaining a budget, and procuring all materials and labor. The construction of the courtroom took nine months to complete and the ribbon-cutting ceremony was in May 2009. The completion of the project was due in large part to the dedication and countless hours of work by Letulier.
Kellie J. Curry - Shreveport
A resident of Shreveport and a native of Monroe, Curry is currently an associate at The Law Office of Katherine Clark Dorroh, L.L.C. Although her practice focuses mostly on family law, she handles cases in the areas of estate planning, successions and personal injury as well. In 2008, she was recognized as one of the "Best Attorneys" by Shreveport-Bossier Magazine.
In 2002, Curry received a BA degree from Louisiana State University. In 2005, she received her JD degree and bachelor of civil law degree from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Following graduation from law school, she served as a law clerk to the judges in Bossier and Webster parishes. During her clerkship, she volunteered as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for Caddo Parish, and she participated in the Volunteers for Youth Justice Jump Start Program as a motivational speaker to troubled youth. She also began her role as an instructor at Bossier Parish Community College during that time period, teaching legal ethics and business law, a role which she has continued to date in addition to maintaining her legal practice.
Curry has become actively involved in the Shreveport-Bossier community since moving to the area in 2005. She devotes time and energy to Community Renewal International, an international organization started in the Shreveport-Bossier area that restores neighborhoods through its philosophy of caring. In addition to her personal involvement with the organization, she has encouraged and organized the participation of many other volunteers in her area. She is involved with the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission and is a leader in her local church. In 2009, she served as a Louisiana Association of Non-Profit Organizations community leader.
As a member of the Shreveport, Bossier and Louisiana State bar associations, Curry is active with the Women's Section and the Young Lawyers Division. In addition, she serves on the board of directors and as a volunteer with the Northwest Louisiana Pro Bono Project, accepting pro bono cases on a monthly basis and rarely turning down an opportunity to share her services with those in need.
Curry is committed to serving her clients with compassion, commitment and integrity, and she is passionate about bringing positive changes to her community, both personally and professionally.
Karli Glascock - Baton Rouge
The Louisiana State Bar Association's (LSBA) Young Lawyers Division is spotlighting young lawyer Karli Glascock Wilson from Baton Rouge. Wilson is a partner in the Baton Rouge office of Kean, Miller, Hawthorne, D'Armond, McCowan & Jarman, L.L.P. She received her BA degree from Louisiana State University in 1995 and her JD degree from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1999. Her areas of practice range from toxic tort to commercial and warranty redhibition cases. She also co-authored "Expert Depositions in the Era of Daubert and Its Progeny" with Leonard L. Kilgore, ABA Environmental Litigation Section, 2001.
She is extremely involved in the Baton Rouge Bar Association (BRBA). She served as the 2008 chair of the BRBA Young Lawyers Division Council. During her term as chair, the BRBA YLD implemented a new project and created the "New (and not so new) Lawyers Survival Guide," which won the 2009 LSBA YLD Service to the Bar Award. Although her time as chair is over, she remains an active participant in many of the BRBA YLD projects, such as Belly Up with the Bar, Holiday Star and Cocktails with the Court.
Wilson is currently serving her second term as a director at-large of the BRBA board. She is also currently a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Foundation Pro Bono Panel, which assists indigent clients with legal representation. She is a past member and chair of the LSBA State High School Mock Trial Competition Committee, as well as serving as a volunteer coach. The LSBA mock trial competition gives high school students exposure to the legal system and encourages entry into the legal profession.
She is a past member of the BRBA Volunteer Panel, which promotes collaborative public service by members of the legal community and enhances the public image of the profession.
Wilson is a past member of the BRBA Youth Education Committee. The Youth Education Committee serves as a classroom resource, lecturing on law and government and conducting tours of court facilities. She is also a presenter with Lawyers in the Classroom, a program that introduces grade school children to the legal system.
Aside from her hectic practice schedule and active involvement in the bar association, she gives her time to non-legal organizations. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Capital Area YMCA-Lamar Branch. She is an active member of the St. Aloysius Church, where she volunteers in activities such as the book fair, math night, parish fair, and new member welcome committee.
When she is not practicing law or giving her time to her bar and her community, Wilson spends her free time with her family, especially her 7-year-old son.
Dana M. Douglas - New Orleans
The Louisiana State Bar Association's (LSBA) Young Lawyers Division Council is spotlighting young lawyer Dana M. Douglas from New Orleans. Douglas is a shareholder in the law firm of Liskow & Lewis, P.L.C. She received a BA degree from Miami University in 1997 and her law degree from Loyola University College of Law in 2000. While at Loyola, she was editor-in-chief of Loyola's Public Interest Law Journal. Upon graduation, she served as a judicial clerk to Hon. Ivan L.R. Lemelle, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, 2000-01. Her areas of practice are business litigation, energy litigation and intellectual property.
Aside from her practice, Douglas has been very busy within the Bar. She currently serves on the LSBA's Board of Governors and previously served as chair of the LSBA's Minority Involvement Section. She has been a member of the LSBA's Diversity Committee, Access to Justice Committee and Intellectual Property Law Section. A member of the 2006-07 Leadership LSBA Class, Douglas subsequently co-chaired the 2008-09 Leadership Class. Under her leadership, the 2008-09 class implemented, for the first time, a collaborative project where young leaders of the Bar from across the state worked on two projects: a statewide art project for high school students and a reception for first-time attendees at the LSBA's Annual Meeting.
Douglas currently serves on the board of directors of the New Orleans Bar Association (NOBA) and is a past chair of the NOBA Young Lawyers Division. She also has been involved with the NOBA Minorities in the Profession Committee and Intellectual Property Committee.
She received the American Bar Association's Minorities in the Profession Scholarship and previously served on the ABA Public Service Committee. She is the inaugural president of the Women's Energy Network for southeast Louisiana. The Women's Energy Network is a group of more than 800 women working in a variety of energy-related professions, from banking to traditional oil and gas disciplines.
Douglas serves as a commissioner on the New Orleans Civil Service Commission, a quasi-judicial and policy-making body that exercises oversight of activities of the city's Civil Service Department, decides employee appeals of disciplinary action, and adopts rules and establishes policies that regulate the conduct of labor and management in the merit system.
She was a member of the Louisiana State Law Institute, a volunteer judge for the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Teen Court Program and a board member for the New Orleans Children's Bureau. She was selected as one of the top 50 "Leaders in Law" in New Orleans.
Nicholas J. Zeringue
Nicholas J. Zeringue, a native and resident of Thibodaux, La., is the owner/managing partner of the law firm of Nicholas J. Zeringue Attorney at Law, L.L.C. His practice focuses on personal injury/maritime defense, commercial litigation, mortgage-backed securities (MBS) litigation, maritime contracts, real estate transactions and workers' compensation.
Zeringue earned a BS degree in international trade and finance from Louisiana State University in 1993. He earned his master's degree in business administration from the Tulane A.B. Freeman School of Business and JD degree from Tulane Law School, both in May 1997. He was admitted to practice in Louisiana in 1998.
He is currently a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association's House of Delegates, Legislation Committee, Nominating Committee and Community Action Committee (past chair). He is a member of the Lafourche Parish Bar Association (past president) and Terrebonne Parish Bar Association. He is a Louisiana Bar Foundation Fellow. He is trained as an attorney-mediator and is listed in A.M. Best's Review of Insurance Attorneys.
Upon completion of his post-graduate degrees, Zeringue worked as a financial analyst with Mavesa, S.A. in Caracas, Venezuela. When he returned to the United States, he practiced as an associate trial attorney in Lafayette at the law firm of Davidson, Meaux, Sonnier & McElligott, L.L.P., then as in-house counsel and senior management representative for the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. Prior to opening his own law firm in June 2006, he worked with the Law Offices of Christopher H. Riviere, A.P.L.C., in Thibodaux.
In addition to his many professional associations, Zeringue is heavily involved in "Hooks for Hearts," a philanthropic organization dedicated to raising money for the American Heart Association to aid in medical research pertaining to cardiovascular disease. He currently serves on the board of directors for that organization.
Kevin P. Fontenot
Kevin P. Fontenot, a native of Basile, La., is an associate at the law firm of Scofield, Gerard, Singletary & Pohorelsky in Lake Charles. His practice focuses on general defense and commercial litigation, including personal injury defense, products liability, toxic tort and employment law. He earned a BA degree in political science from Northwestern State University in 2003, graduating magna cum laude. He earned his JD degree and bachelor of civil law degree from Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 2006. He was admitted to practice in Louisiana in 2006. While in law school, Fontenot was awarded CALI awards in contracts and legal research and writing.
He is a member of the Southwest Louisiana Bar Association and serves on its Young Lawyers Division board. He also is a member of the Southwest Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel.
Fontenot is active in his community. He serves as an executive board member of the Lake Charles Kiwanis Club, a member of the Lake Charles Toastmasters, a parishioner of Our Lady Queen of Heaven and a volunteer Teen Court judge. As a Teen Court judge, he provides guidance for a jury composed of teens who decide the community service sentencing for other teens charged with minor crimes. He also is a visiting lecturer at McNeese State University where he teaches business law.
He and his wife, Lynsay Fontenot, also a practicing attorney, are expecting their first child in October.