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March 2018
March 21, 2018

LSBA’s LIFT Incubator Program seeks two new attorneys interested in establishing solo practices in Lake Charles

The LSBA Access to Justice Department is accepting applications for the LIFT Incubator Project at the Southwest Louisiana Law Center (Law Center).

Legal Innovators for Tomorrow (LIFT) is a legal incubator program designed to address the legal needs of the underserved and underrepresented by supporting new lawyers build viable and sustainable public interest-focused solo law firms. Through a collaborative project with the Southwest Louisiana Law Center (“Law Center”), LIFT Fellows are working to help address the unmet civil legal needs of low and moderate income families in the Lake Charles area.

The LIFT Incubator Project at the Law Center is for new or transitioning attorneys starting their own solo law practice. During the 18-month program, incubator attorneys receive office space, supplies, and resources. The attorneys also receive training and mentorship as they work alongside experienced Law Center legal practitioners. In exchange for the training and incubation of their practice, attorneys agree to provide pro bono representation in cases referred by the Law Center.

This program is ideal for the entrepreneurial lawyer seeking to establish his or own practice living in the Lake Charles area. Louisiana licensed attorneys with 0-5 years practice experience who plan to develop or have begun to develop a sustainable solo law practice that provides cost-effective legal solutions to low and moderate income families are encouraged to apply. 

The program is looking for two attorneys. The application process deadline is April 16, 2018. Click here to download the application. Please send your completed applications in one pdf file to Amy Duncan at

To learn more about the program, go to

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March 20, 2018

LSU Law Center moves up 8 spots in 2019 U.S. News and World Report rankings of law schools

The LSU Law Center moved up eight spots to No. 88 in the latest law school rankings released March 20 by “U.S. News and World Report.” The Law Center remained in the top 100 law schools in the nation in the closely watched rankings, moving up from No. 96 in the previous year.

More than 200 accredited public and private law schools are reviewed by the magazine. LSU Law is one of 52 public law schools in the country to be ranked in the top 100. LSU Law entered the “U.S. News” Top 100 for the first time in 2004.

“I don’t think a ranking is a good way to select a law school, and we do not do what we do for rankings. We make our decisions based on what we think is best for our students, faculty, staff, and community. That said, we are pleased when doing the right thing reflects positively on our rankings. But, I cannot overemphasize that picking the right educational institution is a search for a match between a student—his or her learning style, interests, and dreams–and a law school. The perfect selection for each person cannot be reduced to a number,” said Dean Tom Galligan.

Factors in the rankings include: Peer assessment score; assessment score by lawyers and judges; undergraduate grade point average, LSAT scores, and acceptance rate for students admitted in 2017; student/faculty ratio, Class of 2016 graduates employed at graduation, Class of 2016 graduates employed 10 months after graduation, school’s bar passage rate in its state, and that state’s overall bar passage rate.

LSU Law has consistently been ranked in the top 20 Best Value Law Schools in the country by National Jurist/Prelaw Magazine. Those rankings are designed to identify law schools where graduates have excellent chances of passing the state bar examination and obtaining legal employment without taking on large debt.

From its founding in 1906, the LSU Law Center has offered its students a legal education recognized for its high standards of academic excellence, an outstanding teaching and research faculty, and integrated programs in Louisiana civil law and Anglo-American common law. Students at LSU Law are trained rigorously in the same common law and federal law subjects that are taught at other leading American law schools. The curriculum also reflects the Law Center’s unique role as a curator of the civil law and provides students a perspective on international and comparative law.

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March 16, 2018

LSU Law celebrates Johnson, deGravelles as Alumna/us of the Year; Four alumni honored for Distinguished Achievement

From left, Harry “Skip” Philips, Thomas Hayes, Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, Tom Galligan, Judge John deGravelles, James Brown, and Jane Brandt

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson and U.S. District Court Judge John W. deGravelles, Middle District of Louisiana, highlighted the roster of notable alumni honored at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center Distinguished Alumni Celebration. Johnson and deGravelles were named Alumna/us of the Year and four other LSU Law alumni were named Distinguished Achievement honorees at a ceremony March 2 at the Loews Hotel in New Orleans.

“Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson and Judge John Weadon deGravelles exemplify the characteristics and careers we hope for in and from our graduates. They are great lawyers, great jurists, and great people,” LSU Law dean Tom Galligan said. “Through their work, they have made peoples’ lives better and they have done so consistently and selflessly. They have dedicated their lives to the ideal and reality of justice for all.”

LSU Law’s 2018 Distinguished Achivement honorees were Jane Politz Brandt, of counsel at Thompson & Knight in Dallas; James A. Brown, partner at Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans; Thomas M. Hayes III, partner at Hayes, Harkey, Smith & Cascio, LLP, in Monroe, La.; and Harry J. “Skip” Philips, Jr., managing partner at Taylor, Porter, Brooks, & Phillips in Baton Rouge.

“Our Distinguished Achievement honorees are among our most noteworthy graduates, and we recognize them for their professional achievement, career distinction, and support and service to the Law Center and the community,” Galligan said.

LSU Law Center’s Distinguished Alumnus Award is given annually to alumni for rare distinction in professional achievement and loyalty to the LSU Law Center. The Distinguished Achievement awards recognize graduates for professional achievement and career distinction, service to and support of LSU Law, and service to the community.

Johnson was the first woman elected to serve on the Civil District Court of New Orleans in 1984. In 1994, she was elected Chief Judge, and then to the Louisiana Supreme Court later that year. She became the Court’s 25th Chief Justice, its second female Chief Justice, and its first African-American Chief Justice in 2013. Johnson is a 1969 graduate of the LSU Law Center and was one of the first African-American women to attend the law school. She was inducted into the LSU Law Center’s Hall of Fame in 1996 and was also named as an Honorary Inductee into the LSU Order of the Coif.

“I appreciate everything that LSU Law did for me,” Johnson said in her acceptance speech. “The excellent education that I received from LSU Law School, I’m just tremendously grateful for. It prepares you to stand on your own two feet and make good decisions, and it served me well.”

DeGravelles has served on the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana since his nomination by President Barack Obama in March 2014 and confirmation by the Senate in July of the same year. Prior to the appointment, DeGravelles was in private practice from 1974-2014 and was a founding partner in the Baton Rouge firm of deGravelles, Palmintier, Holthaus and Fruge’. A 1974 graduate of the LSU Law Center, he has been an adjunct professor since 1994.

“LSU produces great lawyers that can go toe to toe with lawyers from any part of the country from any school,” deGravelles said. “We are blessed to be graduates of LSU Law School.”

In her legal career, Brandt represented national and international clients in intellectual property disputes before federal trial and appellate courts, the International Trade Commission, and before arbitration panels. She graduated with honors in 1986 from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, where she was on Louisiana Law Review, Delta Theta Phi, Phi Kappa Phi scholastic honorary fraternity and Order of the Coif.

“In all my endeavors throughout the United States, from the east coast and the west coast and everywhere in between, I’ve been proud, very proud to be an LSU grad,” Brandt said.

Brown heads the Commercial Litigation Section as well as its Professional Liability Practice Group at Liskow & Lewis. He is a former member of the firm’s Board of Directors and serves as the firm’s Loss Prevention Partner. Brown serves on the New Orleans Ethics Review Board by appointment of the Mayor. The Board administers and enforces the New Orleans Code of Governmental Ethics and appoints and oversees the New Orleans Inspector General. He is a 1984 graduate of the LSU Law Center.

“I want to thank the Law School for giving me a great legal education, and my law professors like George Pugh, Frank Maraist, and Judge Alvin Rubin, whom I got to clerk for,” Brown said.

A 1977 LSU Law graduate, Hayes is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell, is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a Council Member of the Louisiana State Law Institute, where he also serves as a member of the Committee on Louisiana Civil Procedure. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Louisiana State Bar Association from 1991-93 and 2012-15, and he is past president of the Fourth Judicial District Bar Association and the Fred Fudickar Inn of Court.

“My LSU professors were prodigious writers, and I have relied upon them my entire career as a lawyer. I am deeply grateful to LSU for the career it gave me, which has been so personally fulfilling,” Hayes said. “If I am due any honor as a lawyer, it is because of them and the LSU Law School. I am so deeply grateful to it.”

Philips serves as Taylor Porter’s Managing Partner and is a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He received his Juris Doctor from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1983, where he was the editor-in-chief of the Louisiana Law Review and elected to Order of the Coif. Prior to attending law school, Philips was an investigator in the public corruption section of the Criminal Division of the Louisiana Attorney General’s office. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and a retired major general in the U.S. Army Reserve. Philips is an adjunct professor at LSU Law, where he teaches courses on Professional Responsibility, Law and Medicine, and Insurance Law.

“My education at LSU Law prepared me for a career that I could have only anticipated,” Philips said. “Not only was my legal education extraordinary and prepared me so well for this wonderful career, having been invited to stay affiliated with the law school has been truly remarkable.”

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