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

Volunteer Opportunities for Attorneys -- "Suit Up for the Future"
Each year the LSBA, in partnership with the Louisiana Bar Foundation and the Just the Beginning Foundation, hosts the Suit Up for the Future program, a FREE three-week legal institute, during which students 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. The 2017 session will be held June 12 – June 30, 2017

The Suit Up for the Future program is a success because of the number of attorneys, firms, judges and organizations who volunteer their time and/or staff. We are asking you to consider one of the following ways that you could be a part of the 2017 Suit Up program:

Volunteer for one hour - During the three week session, attorneys are invited to volunteer their time from 12:00 - 1:00 to spend time talking with the Suit Up students. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Member Outreach and Diversity staff at diversity@lsba.org

Shadowing opportunities - During the second week of the Suit Up session, June 19-23, 2017, students are assigned to "shadow" attorneys at firms, courts, and organizations. This is a great opportunity for students to see for themselves what attorneys do on a daily basis; and to spend one-on-one time with attorneys in the workforce. If you or your firm would be interested in providing a shadowing opportunity for one or more Suit Up students, please contact us at diversity@lsba.org.

To learn more about the Suit Up for the Future program, please click here.

Save the Date: GNO Martinet Scholarship Brunch - September 9, 2017
The Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society is hosting its Annual Scholarship Brunch and 60th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, September 9, 2017.  It will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA. 

Lawyers Without Rights, Jewish Exhibition April 27, 2017
The Louisiana Supreme Court Museum opened its international exhibit, “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich” with a presentation and reception at the Louisiana Supreme Court on April 27, 2017. The exhibit is available for viewing until May 31, 2017.

Speakers included Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, Louisiana Supreme Court; Donna D. Fraiche, president, Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society; Mark A. Cunningham, partner, Jones Walker LLP; and Judy Perry Martinez, American Bar Association President Designee. The presentation, “Lawyers, Justice, Unpopular Causes, Unpopular Clients, and the Concept of Justice,” was made by attorney Michael H. Rubin, McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.

Photo ID:  (L to R)  Rachel Emanuel, board member, Louisiana Supreme Court Historical Society; Mark A. Cunningham, partner, Jones Walker LLP; Hon. Marcus R. Clark, Louisiana Supreme Court; Michael H. Rubin, McGlinchey Stafford PLLC; Ayan Rubin; Donna D. Fraiche, president, Louisiana Supreme Court Historical Society; Benjamin W. Janke, treasurer, Louisiana Supreme Court Historical Society.


Member Outreach & Diversity Co-hosts Annual Meeting CLE
The LSBA Member Outreach and Diversity Department co-hosted a CLE with the LSBA Civil Law & Litigation Section, titled "12 Angry Men - Should Peremptory Challenges Be Abolished?" 

Panel members included (L to R) Honorable Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal; Sharonda R. Williams, Fishman Haygood Phelps Walmsley Willis & Swanson; Professor Raymond T. Diamond, Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University; Honorable Scott J. Crichton, Louisiana Supreme Court; Tony M. Clayton, Attorney at Law; moderator Lynn Luker, Stnley, Reuter, Ross, Thornton & Alford; James M. Williams, Chehardy, Sherman, Williams, Murray, Recile, Stakelum & Hayes.

Young Lawyers Recognize Vela-Vick at Annual Meeting
On June 7, 2017, LSBA Young Lawyers recognized Diversity Committee member Monica M. Vela-Vick with the Honorable Michaelle Pitard Wynne Professionalism Award.  This award is granted to young lawyers who have made outstanding contributions to the legal profession and his/her community.

Photo ID: (L to R) Young Lawyers Chair Bradley J. Tate, Attorney at Law, L.L.C.; and Monica M. Vela-Vick, Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice, LLP.

Suit Up for the Future Program Begins - 6/12/17
Twelve high school students (11th and 12th grade, and recent high school graduates) received a warm welcome into the 2017 Louisiana State Bar Association's Suit Up for the Future program. Barry H. Grodsky, LSBA President-Elect, and Honorable Karen Wells Roby, Federal Magistrate, United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, greeted the students and engaged in a conversation with them surrounding the idea that lawyers work in all areas of our lives and communities. Members of the LSBA's Diversity Committee's Pipeline to Diversity and Outreach Subcommittee, co-chairs Scherri N. Guidry and Monique M. Edwards, also made welcoming remarks and stayed throughout the day to facilitate activities that revolved around the question: "What does it mean to be a lawyer?"

Students’ work began immediately with Professor Emily Bishop, from the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, presenting her law school abridged course, “Legal Writing.”


Photo ID: Class of 2017 Suit Up for the Future students with (front row, L to R) Scherri N. Guidry, Honorable Karen Wells Roby, and Monique M. Edwards.


Day 2 of Suit Up for the Future
Suit Up students received instruction on how to prepare resumes and personal statements for college admission. Adria N. Kimbrough, The Kullman Firm and Pre-Law Advisor at Dillard University and Martin Smith, Assistant Provost for Admissions and Enrollment at the University of New Orleans were co-presenters of the workshop.

Photo ID: (L to R) Martin Smith and Adria Kimbrough

Specialty Bars Reception, LSBA Annual Meeting - June 5, 2017
Members of Louisiana specialty bars came together for an evening of networking at the Specialty Bars Reception, sponsored by the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, the Louis A. Martinet Society Lake Charles Chapter, and the LSBA’s Diversity Committee. The June 5 event, held in conjunction with the LSBA’s Annual Meeting, was hosted at Lumpy’s Wine Bar and Bottle Shop in Destin, FL.

Photo ID (L to R): Honorable Lee V. Faulkner Jr, Division P, 24th Judicial District Court; Cloyd Benjamin Jr., Law Offices of Cloyd Benjamin Jr., LLC; Tricia Pierre, LSBA Director of Member Outreach and Diversity; Deidre D. Robert, Louisiana Department of Justice; Honorable E. Adrian Adams, Division G, 24th Judicial District Court; Honorable Rachael D. Johnson, Division B, Orleans Parish Civil District Court; Honorable Karelia R. Stewart, Section D, 1st Judicial District Court; Sharonda R. Williams, Fishman Haygood L.L.P.; Christopher B. Hebert, Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.


Day 3, Suit Up for the Future
Day Three for the Suit Up for the Future students involved courses in Constitutional Law and Criminal Law. Professor Isabel Medina, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law presented an abbreviated course on Constitutional Law. Professor Russell L. Jones,  Jesse N. Stone, Jr Endowed Professor of Law at Southern University Law Center covered Criminal Law.

Photo IDs: 
Top photo (L to R) -  Professor Russell L. Jones and Honorable Karen Wells Roby
Bottom photo - Suit Up students and Professor Medina, (L to R) Grace J. R. Morse, Aityana U. Cousin, Professor Isabel Medina, and Domenic G. Mesa

Day 4 - Suit Up for the Future
Jeffrey C. Brooks, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU, worked with students on delivering an oral argument. During lunch, Kimberly R. Silas, Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C., spent time with the students discussing her law career. Later in the day, Professor Christopher J. Tyson, Associate Professor of Law, Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU, presented an abbreviated law school course on local government law.

Photo IDs:
Top photo - (L to R) Professor Jeffrey C. Brooks and Professor Christopher J. Tyson
Bottom photo - Students with Kimberly R. Silas (L toR) Alanna B. Austin, Kimberly R. Silas, Carrington J. Carey, and Hayward J. Expose Jr.

Day 5, Suit Up for the Future
Suit Up students visited the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Leon A. Cannizzaro Jr. spoke with students regarding the role of the DA's office. Later in the day, students visited the Orleans Public Defenders Office. The students toured the office and Chief District Defender Derwyn Bunton shared information about the criminal justice system and the role of his office. Staff attorneys and other members of the staff also spoke to the students about their responsibilities in the office.

Photo IDs:
Top Photo - DA Leon A. Cannizzaro Jr (center) and Suit Up students
Bottom Photo - Chief District Defender Derwyn Bunton (center) and Suit Up students

Second Week Suit Up Begins at the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal
Suit Up students toured the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit. During their time at the Fourth Circuit, students viewed a mock oral argument presented by Dominik Cvitonovic (Carver, Darden, Koretzky, Tessier, Finn, Blossman & Areaux, LLC) and Victoria Cvitanovic(Counsel, Louisiana Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit).  The three-judge panel presiding over the oral argument was comprised of: Court of Appeal Judges Hon. Paula A. Brown, Hon. Joyce Cossich Lobrano and Hon. Max N. Tobias Jr. (retired).

Students were also provided with an overview of Louisiana courts and had lunch with the three-judge panel.

The Louisiana Supreme Court Tour was hosted by Robert Gunn, Community Relations and Project Coordinator, and included a presentation on the Supreme Court history and museum by Supreme Court librarian Miriam Childs.


Photo IDs:
Top photo (L to R) Honorable Joyce Cossich Lobrano, Dominik Cvitanovic, Victoria Cvitanovic, Honorable Max N. Tobias Jr., Honorable Paula A. Brown.

Bottom photo: Librarian Miriam Childs (far left) explains the Supreme Court library to Suit Up students.

Bottom photo:


Upcoming Local and Specialty Bar Events - 2017-18
Here is a list of upcoming local and specialty bar events for the 2016-2017 Bar year. Please check the list frequently - changes and updates will be added regularly. If you would like your bar organization's event listed, please let us know! Send an email to outreach@lsba.org with the event details (date, time, location).

View Schedule

Get Involved! Become an LSBA Professionalism Facilitator

Are you interested in:
  • Increasing your diversity knowledge and skills?
  • Boosting your confidence in delivering effective diversity and inclusion training?
  • Improving your understanding of stereotypes, prejudices and cultural differences?
  • Discovering new ways to reduce bias?
  • Helping others become more culturally competent?
  • Gaining tools to promote diversity and inclusion through training?

If so, you may want to consider becoming an LSBA Professionalism Facilitator. Facilitators are attorney volunteers that give of their time to educate others on promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. If you are interested in joining us, please contact us at diversity@lsba.org.


Join the LSBA Diversity Signatories

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

To date, the total number of Diversity Signatories is 356! Signatories includes:

2015-16

  • Honorable Jules D. Edwards, III, 15th Judicial District Court, Div. "B"
  • Louisiana District Judges Association
  • Evans & Clesi, PLC
  • Louis J. Leo, Attorney at Law, APLC
  • Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice, LLP
  • Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Lousiaiana State University

2016-17

  • Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice, LLP
  • Craig Cassagne Jr
  • The Woods Law Group, L.L.C.
  • Baton Rouge Bar Association

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

Louisiana State Bar Association
601 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
(800) 421-LSBA(5722) / (504) 566-1600