The Louisiana Bar Foundation will honor three LSU Law Center alums at its 23rd Annual Fellows Gala on Friday, April 17, at the W Hotel New Orleans. Alums to be honored are Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette J. Johnson, Distinguished Jurist; Baton Rouge attorney Edward J. Walters, Jr., Distinguished Attorney; and Law Center Vice Chancellor Cheney J. Joseph, Jr., Distinguished Professor.
The Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Annual Fellows Gala is held every spring. Recognition is given to those individuals who, by reason of his or her professional activities, have distinguished themselves in their chosen profession and have brought credit and honor to the legal profession.
Johnson, a 1969 graduate of the Law Center, was the first woman elected to the Civil District Court in New Orleans in 1984. She was reelected without opposition in 1990, and was elected Chief Judge by her colleagues in 1994. That same year, Johnson was elected associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, and was reelected without opposition in 2000.
Prior to her election to the bench, Johnson spent most of her legal career working in the public sector, including serving as Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. In 1996, she was inducted into the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame, and was a member of the LSU Law Center’s Alumni Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2001. She has also been honored with the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, the first Ernest N. Morial Award given by the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation, and the Medal of Honor given by the mayor of New Orleans.
Like Johnson, Walters is also a member of the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame. The 1975 graduate is a partner with the firm of Moore, Walters, Thompson, Thomas, Papillion & Cullens in Baton Rouge; and has served as lead counsel in more than 40 trials brought to verdict by civil juries in Louisiana, California, and Illinois. He has been an adjunct professor of law since 1987 at the Law Center, where he has co-developed and teaches a new skills course at the law school titled “Advanced Trial and Evidence Seminar.”
Walters is a former member of the LSU Law Alumni Board of Trustees, serving from 1998 to 2001, and a long-standing member of the Chancellor’s Council. He serves annually on the faculty of LSU’s Trial Advocacy Program, is a former president of the Baton Rouge Bar Association, and has served as the editor of its monthly publication “Around the Bar” since its inception in 1985. Walters also received the president’s award in 1995 and 1998.
Joseph is a 1970 graduate of the Law Center. He serves as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the Law Center, and holds the Erick V. Anderson Professorship of Law. He teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Justice I and II—Pre-trial and Trial Criminal Procedure—Evidence, and Post Conviction Procedure.
During his career, Joseph has served as executive counsel to the governor of Louisiana, Judge Pro-Tempore of the 16th and 40th Judicial District Courts, First Assistant District Attorney and District Attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish, and a U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana.