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

SULC Honors Martinet Past President as 2015 Alumni of the Year
Martinet Past President and an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Louisiana, Christopher B. Hebert, will be honored as the Southern University Law Center 2015 Alumni of the Year. Hebert is a 2003 graduate of the Law Center. He is an active member and past president of the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society Greater Baton Rouge Chapter and serves as the Region V Director of the National Bar Association. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Baton Rouge Bar Association, where he currently serves on the Membership Committee.

Hebert will be honored at the SULC Alumni Breakfast on July 22, 2015, in Los Angeles, CA, which is held in conjunction with the 90th Annual National Bar Association Convention, July 19-23, 2015.

SULC Chancellor Honored by National Bar Association
National Bar Association’s Region V director Chris Hebert, '03, presented Southern University Law Center Chancellor Freddie Pitcher, Jr., '73, an award in recognition of his 12 1/2 years of dedication and service as head of the Law Center. The presentation was made Sunday, July 19. Chancellor Pitcher is a member of the LSBA Committee on Diversity.

Baton Rouge Bench Bar
The Baton Rouge Bar Association hosted their Annual Bench Bar in Point Clear, Alabama, on July 23-25, 2015.  Judges and attorneys from across the Baton Rouge area attended this year's conference, which included a fundraiser for the Baton Rouge Bar Association.  With the theme of, Privacy, Please" the conference highlighted topics that covered all aspects of privacy, from social media and cyberspace to privacy in the workplace. 

Photo ID (L to R):  C.  Frank Holthaus, LSBA HOD member; Baton Rouge Bar Association president Robert J. Burns, Jr.; and Darrel J. Papillion, Immediate past president of the Baton Rouge Bar Association.

SULC Professor Selected for Membership in National Black Lawyers Top 100
Southern University Law Center Professor and 2015 Diversity Conclave panelist, Angela Allen-Bell, has been selected for membership in the National Black Lawyers- Top 100, an invitation-only professional honorary organization composed of the Top 100 Black Lawyers or Non-Black Attorneys that promote diversity from each state who serve individuals, families and businesses needing attorneys to represent them in the American legal system.  Members of the National Black Lawyers-Top 100 exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence and performance in their area of legal practice.

Congratulations, Professor Bell!

Armistad Research Center Celebrates 1965 Voting Rights Act at August 6 Luncheon
The Board of Directors of the Amistad Research Center invites Martinet members to attend its August 6th luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This historical statute has led to millions of Americans being able to exercise their constitutional right to vote, and therefore, changed the fabric of our nation for the better.

At this luncheon, Amistad will also present New Orleans' own, St. Augustine High School, one of the premier high schools in the country, with the Amistad Heritage Award for its legacy and commitment to voting rights, social justice and the civil rights movement.
For more information, contact the Martinet Greater New Orleans Chapter by clicking here:  http://gnomartinet.com/contact-us/.

Disability Seminar "Introduction to Special Needs Planning" Launches September 24
The Diversity Committee's Pipeline Subcommittee and Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities Committee (LSPD) have come together to launch the 2015-16 three-part CLE series focusing on disabilities-related legal issues. The first in the series, titled "Introduction to Special Needs Planning," is for those who are interested in best serving clients with special needs - and their families. Carole C. Neff, estate planning specialist, will be the featured speaker.

Date: September 24, 2015
Registration Fee: $25.00, lunch is included
Registration: 11:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
CLE: 12:00 p.m.- 1:00 p.m.
CLE hrs: 1.0 Professionalism CLE credits (pending approval)

Click here for registration and details.

Congratulations to Judge Karelia Stewart - NBA's 40 under 40!
The Honorable Karelia Stewart, of the First Judicial District Court (Caddo Parish) Family Court, Section D, was awarded the National Bar Association's 40 Under 40 Best Advocate Award.  She was the only candidate nominated from the state of Louisiana. 

Nation’s Best Advocates (NBA) recognizes talented individuals (age 40 and under) within the African American legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction, professionally and philanthropically.  Selected awardees represent a cross-section of legal professionals: solo practitioners, government lawyers, judges, academicians, corporate counsels, young elected officials, and other lawyers using their degree in innovative ways. Awardees are chosen based on their achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal community involvement.  The 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon was held on Thursday, July 24, 2015 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m during the NBA's 90th Annual Convention, in Los Angeles, CA. 

Congratulations, Judge Stewart!

Photo ID (L to R):  Benjamin L. Crump, President-Elect of the National Bar Association, Judge Karelia Stewart, Aubrey "Nick" Pittman, 2015 Chair, Under 40 Awards Program Committee

Call for Volunteers: Southern Region of the Black Law Students Association Annual Moot Court Competition
The Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (“FDMCC”) for the Southern Region of the Black Law Students Association will be hosted in Baton Rouge on January 19-24, 2016.  The organization will need volunteer assistance from local lawyers willing to serve as judges in competion rounds.  The success of the program depends, in large part, on attorneys from Baton Rouge and surrounding areas being willing to donate their time. 

The FDMCC is one of the largest and most prestigious moot court competitions in the country, and typically draws between 100 and 150 teams. This region is known to send some of the best teams to the national competition. 

If you are interested in volunteering or have questions, please contact competition organizer, Maria Lungu at (706) 461-4126 or at srlsba.mootcourt@nblsa.org.

Martinet President Honored with Pro Bono Award
Rolando R. Urbina, president of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, has been selected to receive the 2014-2015 Louisiana State Bar Association Young Leaders Division Pro Bono Award. The award will be presented on June 11, 2015 at the LSBA General Assembly during the Combined Annual Meeting/Summer School in Sandestin, Florida. The LSBA Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Award is given to a young lawyer for commitment and dedication to providing pro bono services in his/her community. 

LADB and Diversity Integration Subcommittee Present Series of Diversity CLE Seminars
The fourth CLE in a five-part diversity series with the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB), took place in Lafayette  on Wednesday, July 14.  Attorneys Lynn Luker of Law Offices of Lynn Luker, LLC  and Travis J. Broussard, of the firm of Durio, McGoffin, Stagg and Ackermann, facilitated the presentation "Minimizing the Impact of Unconscious Bias in Decision Making". 

The first in the series was hosted in April at the Shreveport Convention Center in Shreveport.  Diversity speaker and attorney I.J. Clark-Sam was the facilitator for that CLE session.  In May, Administrative Law Judge Kelly McNeil Legier and Chauntis Jenkins spoke about Generational Differences to the attendees in Baton Rouge.  Last month Cherrilynne Washington Thomas and Lynn Luker discussed the impact of unconscious bias.   

In partnership with the LADB, 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.

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 and registration, see the LADB website at www.ladb.org.

Photo ID:  (L to R) Presenters Travis J. Broussard and Lynn Luker

2015 Three Part Disability-Related CLE Series Ends
The Diversity Committee's Pipeline to Diversity and Outreach Subcommittee joined forces with the Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities in order to launch a three-part CLE series focusing on disability-related legal issues.  Each CLE session dealt with a different aspect of disabilitiy law. 

The first in the series, titled "Long Term Planning for the Special Needs Client," was hosted at the LSBA Bar Center on November 21, 2014.  This session, facilitated by estate planning specialist, Joel A. Mendler, addressed financial and legal planning options for family members of and clients with special needs. 

In partnership with the Baton Rouge Bar Association and hosted at the Baton Rouge Bar Center on January 19, 2015,  the second in the CLE series, titled "Fit to Practice," focused on liability and ethics issues in the event an attorney experiences a short or long-term disability.  Facilitated by a panel of ethics and disability experts that included Bryan Jenkins of Gilsbar; Richard P. Lemmler, Jr., Ethics Counsel of the LSBA; Julie Brown White, partner with Schiff, Scheckman and White; and J.E. "Buddy" Stockwell, III, the executive director of the Lawyers Assistance Program; panelists addressed the risks, and ethics liability issues  that attorneys with disabilities face.  
Partnering with Shreveport Bar Associaiton and hosted at the Shreveport Bar Center on April 17, 2015, the final session was titled, "Social Security Disability: Opportunities for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners."  A panel of Shreveport area social security experts included Administrative Law Judge John Antonowicz; Marherita McWilliams of Legal Services of North Louisiana, Inc., and recently retired attorney, John Ratcliff.  Panelists provided an overview of social security appeals and included practical tips for ensuring high-quality representation, as well as soliciting immediate business in the field of social security appeals.  Because demand for counsel in social security appeals has increased dramatically over the years, it was the goal of this session to alleviate some of the backlog in of apeals in the northern region of the state. 

All three sessions were well-received and well attended.  Planning for the 2015 - 2016 Disability Series is underway. 

Interested in Diversity? Join the LSBA Diversity Signatories

The LSBA recognizes that achieving diversity in the legal profession is an effort that requires the Association's continued effort and commitment.  Statewide judges, attorneys, firms, and organziations have joined the LSBA by signing the Statement of Diversity Principles, a commitment to foster diversity.  If you, your firm or organization are interested in furthering diversity in the legal profession, we encourage you to become a Diversity Signatory!  Simply sign the LSBA Statement of Diversity Principles and either email it (tricia.pierre@lsba.org) or fax it (504-566-0930) back to the Diversity Department. 

In the first quater of 2015, four more members joined the LSBA in this effort, bringing the total of Diversity Signatories to 355!  The 2015 Signatories are:

  • Jules D. Edwards, III, Attorney at Law
  • Louisiana District Judges Association
  • Evans & Clesi, PLC
  • Louis J. Leo, Attorney at Law, APLC

To read the LSBA Diversity Statement, approved by the LSBA Board of Governors and House of Delegates on Januay 12, 2008, please click here

First in a Three Part Disability-Related CLE Series - "Long Term Planning for the Special Needs Client"
"Long-Term Planning for the Special Needs Client"  - First in a Three-Part Series
The Diversity Committee's Pipeline Subcommittee and Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities Committee (LSPD) have come together to launch a new three-part CLE series focusing on disabilities-related legal issues. The first in the series, titled "Long Term Planning for the Special Needs Client," is for those who are interested in best serving clients with special needs - and their families.  "Long-Term Planning for the Special Needs Client" discussion will include:
• Counseling families on financing long-term care needs, including long-term care insurance and Medicaid eligibility
• Financial and legal planning options for disabled family members - including special needs trusts designed to preserve eligibility for governmental benefits.

Joel A. Mendler, estate planning specialist, will be the featured speaker.

When:  November 21, 2014
Location: Louisiana Bar Center, 601 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA
Cost: $25/attendee
CLE: 1.50 hours

Third in the Disability-Related Series: SSI/SSDI Law - April 17, 2015
"Social Security Disability: Opportunities for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners" - 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. 

2nd in a 3-Part Disability-Related CLE Series: "Fit to Practice" - January 29
In partnership with the Baton Rouge Bar Association, the second in a disability-related three-part CLE series, titled "Fit to Practice," focuses on liability and ethics issues in the event an attorney experiences a short or long-term disability. This session is especially relevant to solo and small firm attorneys.

Substance abuse, physical and mental health disability issues affect people of all professions - and lawyers are no exception. In addition to the personal challenges of those suffering from these issues, this brings potential risk to the attorneys as they handle important matters and continue to work in the profession. This session will discuss the risks and ethics/liability issues that attorneys with disabilities face. In addition, it will offer resources available in Louisiana to help practitioners, and give practical advice on avoiding personal and vicarious liability during this process.

NAPABA to Host 2015 Annual Convention in New Orleans
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) will be hosting its annual convention in New Orleans on November 5-8, 2015 at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside.   

NAPABA is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 67 state and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities.

For more information, go to the NAPABA convention webpage at http://www.napaba.org/?page=2015_Convention,

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, various classroom activities and presenters, and the students' final oral presentations to the judges' panel. 

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