Louisiana State Bar Association Diversity Statement

Louisiana State Bar Association Diversity Statement

The Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) recognizes that achieving diversity in the legal profession is an evolutionary process that requires the Association's continued effort and commitment.

The LSBA is committed to diversity in its membership, Board of Governors, staff, House of Delegates, committees and all leadership positions. Diversity is an inclusive concept that encompasses race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability.

The LSBA is a richer and more effective Association because of diversity, as it increases our strengths, capabilities and adaptability. In addition, a diverse group of talented legal professionals is important to the success of law firms, law departments, public service organizations and other organizations that include attorneys.

Through increased diversity, the LSBA and its members can bring more varied perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, talents and interests to the practice of law and the administration of justice.

Diversity — Inclusion — Professionalism

Latest Diversity News and Events

2015 Diversity Conclave Highlights Include Freedom Riders Exhibit
The 2015 Eighth Annual Conclave on Diversity in the Legal Profession is scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2015.  It will be held at the New Orleans Marriott, located at 555 Canal Street, New Orleans.  This year's theme is "Celebrating 50 Years of Civil Rights: Moving the Pendulum Forward." This very affordable event is just $90 for 7.0 CLE Credit Hours.  Click here for registration.

Highlights of the 2015 Conclave will include:

Kim M. Keenan, President and CEO of MMTC (Multicultural Media,Telecom and Internet Council)

Freedom Riders,
a traveling exhibition developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, in partnership with American Experience; funded through the National Endowment for Humanities.

CLE Sessions on the following topics:

  • Criminal Law discussion, moderated by the Honorable Kern A. Reese, the Chief Judge of the Orleans Parish Civil Court, "Moving the Pendulum to Justice, Fairness and Accountability"
  • LGBT Breakout Session, "The Changing Landscape and Effects of Marriage Equality"
  • Immigration Breakout Session, "Navigating the Troubled Waters of Immigration"
  • Civil Rights Panel Discussion, moderated by the Honorable Roland L. Belsome, Jr., of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit,  "Just How Far Has the Pendulum Moved? Striving for Justice" 

Click here for more event information and on-line registration.

Suit Up for the Future - Online Registration is Open!
The Louisiana State Bar Association in partnership with the Just the Beginning Foundation and the Louisiana Bar Foundation hosts an annual internship program. This program is available to incoming high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates who are interested in the legal profession. Students participate in a three-week legal institute, during which they attend an abridged law school session, field trips to law schools and courts, and an internship consisting of shadowing at area law offices and courts. Students provide their own transportation and housing.  

The 2015 session will be held June 15-26 and July 6-10. Eligible students (students entering the 11th or 12th Grade in the Fall of 2015---or entering their first year of college) interested in attending the 2015 session should fill out the online application by clicking hereThe deadline is April 13, 2015. Students will receive notification of class acceptance by May 15, 2015.

If your school would like to have an LSBA speaker come in-person to make a presentation about the Suit Up for the Future internship program to the students, please contact the Director of Member Outreach and Diversity, Louisiana State Bar Association (tricia.pierre@lsba.org)

If you have additional questions regarding the program, please send an email to diversity@lsba.org.

More Suit Up information...

GNO Martinet 2015 Legislative Breakfast - March 5, 2015
The Louis A. Martinet, Greater New Orleans Chaprter announces its 2015 Legislative Breakfast

Date:  Thursday, March 5th
Time:  8:00 am to 10:00 am
Location:  The Munch Factory, 6325 Elysian Fields Ave., New Orleans, LA 70122

Local legislators will present their agendas for the upcoming legislative session, as well as discuss issues that may benefit, concern, or interest Martinet members.

Please RSVP to April Davenport at april.d.davenport@gmail.com. The breakfast is free for paid Martinet members and $25 for non-members.

National Bar Announces 2015 Gertrude Rush and Herman Sweatt Awardees
The National Bar Association announced this year's distinguished Gertrude E. Rush and Heman M. Sweatt Awardees. These legal and social activist pioneers will be honored at the National Bar's Midyear Conference and 35th Annual Gertrude E. Rush Awards Dinner, scheduled to be held in St. Louis, MO from March 26-29, 2015. 

The Rush Award stands as an award of merit expressive of Gertrude E. Rush. Recipients must demonstrate leadership in the community, their profession, concern for human and civil rights; and be a model for excellence in legal education and perseverance in the law, public policy and social activism.  The five Rush awardees include:

  • U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, is now serving his sixth term representing Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, the home district of President Harry Truman. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.
  • The Honorable Ronnie White, a United States District Judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and a former Missouri Supreme Court judge.
  • Barbara Washington, CSEP, a renowned St. Louis public relations professional recognized for compelling corporate partnership building programs and high-profile public relations campaigns and special events that drive mission, raise funds and heighten community awareness.
  • Deborah A. Turner, M.D., considered one of Iowa's finest gynecologic oncologists, Turner is in private practice, in Des Moines.
  • Attorney Bryan A. Stevenson, a 1985 graduate of Harvard, with both a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from the School of Law, Bryan Stevenson joined the clinical faculty at New York University School of Law in 1998.
The Sweatt Award celebrates the legacy of Heman M. Sweatt. Award recipients must demonstrate the courageous spirit embodied by Sweatt, leadership in the community/profession, a commitment to human and civil rights; a model of excellence in legal education and perseverance in the law, public policy, and social activism. The two Sweatt awardees are:

  • Representative, Rev. Tommie Pierson, Sr. a Democrat, represents part of St. Louis County (District 66) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2010. In addition to his legislative duties, Rep. Pierson is the Pastor at the Greater St. Mark Family Church. He also worked for General Motors as an assembly worker for 32 years.
  • Attorney James M. Williams, a partner in the law firm founded by legendary trial lawyer Wendell Gauthier; Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams. Mr. Williams practices in the area of civil litigation with a concentration in the areas of catastrophic personal injury and business litigation.
For more information about the awardees or the National Bar Midyear Conference, go to the National Bar Association website at www. nationalbar.org.

Suit Up 2014 - See Oral Presentations of the Class of 2014!
The Suit Up for the Future Class of 2014 made oral and memorandum presentations on the last two days of their session.  Students were divided into two teams: FOR and AGAINST on an issue, but individually presented a memorandum and an oral arguement to a panel of judges.  The esteemed panel included:
  • Judge Karen Wells Roby, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
  • Judge Stanwood Duval, Jr., U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District.
  • Judge Susie Morgan, U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District.
  • Judge Jane Margaret Triche-Milazzo , U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District.
  • Judge Roland L. Belsome, Jr., Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • Civil Judge Tiffany Gautier Chase, judge for the Orleans Parish Civil District Court (Division A).

See the students as they present their oral arguments.

Click here to view Bria I. Hays and Saul Garcia Amezuca make their presentations.

Click here to view Miles E. Ballard and Morgan-Me'Lyn Grant present their arguments.  Miles was chosen as the Best Oralist and Morgan-Me'Lyn was selected as the Best Writer.  Miles was also chosen as a runner-up for Best Writer.

Click here to view David Louis Lawson, Jr. and Sarah Chiasson make their cases. 

Click here to view Sara DeRouen and Carine Mary Lama as they present their arguments. Sara was a runner-up as Best Writer and Carine was a runner-up as Best Oralist.

Click here to view Skyler Katie Ockman and Cassidy Marie Wells make their presentations.  Cassidy was also a runner-up for Best Oralist.   

Click here to view Hannah Marie Lampo and John Patrick Larson present their arguments.  Hannah was selected as a runner-up for Best Writer.

Click here to view Alexis Nicole Calderon and Synise Jonquil Pierre as they make their cases.

Click here to view Evan Vedros and Amanda Angela Addison make the final presentations. Evan was also a runner-up for Best Oralist. 

PHOTO ID: Miles E. Ballard 

Suit Up for the Future 2014 - Photos From Field Trips and Class Activities

Click here
to see the photos from the three week 2014 Suit Up for the Future Legal Institute.  Photos include trips to courthouses, varous classroom activities and presenters, and the students' final oral presentations to the judges' panel. 

LADB and Diversity Integration Subcommittee Present Series of Diversity CLE Seminars
In partnership with the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, the Diversity Committee’s Diversity Integration Subcommittee is presenting a series of one-hour diversity CLE seminars. Lynn Luker, a frequent presenter of LSBA diversity seminars, has pulled together a team of LSBA facilitators who will bring the seminar to over 1,400 attorneys in five locations across Louisiana.

To date, the seminar schedule is as follows:
• April 9 – Shreveport Convention Center, Shreveport
• May 27 – Crowne Plaza Hotel, Baton Rouge
• June 17 – Pontchartrain Center, Kenner
• July 22 – Hilton Hotel, Lafayette
• September 30 – SAI Convention Center, Alexandria

For more details, see the LADB website at http://www.ladb.org

Firms, Individuals, and Organizations to be Nominated for LSBA Diversity Awards
The deadline for nominations for the 2015 Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) Human Rights Award and Trailblazer Award is March 10, 2015.

The Human Rights Award recognizes outstanding efforts made by a bar association, a law firm or law department, an individual attorney or judge, a court or a community organization or individual in promoting diversity in the legal profession, in particular, to recognize efforts ensuring the full and equal opportunity of all persons for entry and advancement in Louisiana’s legal profession. One individual and one organization will be presented the Human Rights Award.

The Trailblazer Award will recognize a person from a group underrepresented within the Louisiana legal profession who has demonstrated excellence or accomplished greatness in the face of great adversity.

For more information, contact LSBA Member Outreach and Diversity Director Tricia R. Pierre at tricia.pierre@lsba.org.  Click on the following links to access the Diversity Award Guidelines and/or nomination forms:

Diversity Award Guidelines

Nomination Form - 2015 Human Rights Award

Nomination Form - 2015 Trailblazer Award

Third in the Disability-Related Series: SSI/SSDI Law
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI or SSDI) is vital to the well-being of disabled individuals who are unable to work. Lawyers play a vital role in this process by advocating for clients’ rights to awards, and ensuring that cases are adjudicated properly. Further, the demand for counsel in this area has risen in recent years, particularly in North Louisiana, as the median age of our state continues to rise.

This session, located at the Shreveport Bar Association,  will provide an overview of social security appeals, and include practical tips for ensuring high-quality representation and soliciting immediate business. The information and resources provided are particularly pertinent to relatively new practitioners and/or those looking to expand their practice into this area which, perhaps surprisingly, can be quite rewarding financially. 

To register online for this seminar, please click here.

Get Involved! The LSBA Committee on Diversity in the Profession Needs You...
The mission of this committee is to assess the level of racial, ethnic, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and disability diversity within all components of the legal profession in Louisiana; to identify barriers to the attainment of full and meaningful representation and participation in the legal profession by persons of diverse backgrounds; and to propose programs and methods by which the LSBA can most effectively work to remove those barriers and achieve greater diversity.

If you are interested in joining us in our efforts to ensure that all voices in our profession are heard, please consider working with us on LSBA’s Diversity LSBA Committee on Diversity in the Profession in the upcoming bar year. Click here to download the LSBA Committee Preference Form.

Greater BR Martinet Announces Scholarship Gala Date - Volunteers Needed!
The Greater Baton Rouge Chapter of the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society will host its annual scholarship gala Friday, April 17, 2015, from 7:00-10:00 pm at Boudreaux's Banquet Hall, 2647 Government Street.  This is sure to be an evening of dancing and excitement as they present scholarships and awards to deserving students and legal pioneers of the Greater Baton Rouge area. The attire for this event is formal: Ladies - evening gowns; Men - tuxedos.

In addition, Scholarship Committee Volunteers Are Needed
The Scholarship Committee is seeking at least 3 volunteers to assist with grading scholarship applications. Volunteers must have graduated law school prior to 2011. If interested in volunteering, please contact Donna M. Lee at donnamlee@hotmail.com.

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