DEAN’S COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP REPORT
Our graduates can be found throughout the state, across the nation and around the world. Accordingly, those of you who support the LSU Law Center with your unrestricted gifts are “from all over.” You're recent graduates and seasoned practitioners. You have in common an appreciation for your experience at LSU Law and an understanding that your contributions will help ensure that today’s law students get an education that is on par with your own, and that LSU remains a top contender—and not only on the football field!
With that in mind, let’s welcome new members Kristin Wall (’89), Baton Rouge; Tom McBride (’79), Alexandria; and Scott Scofield (’84), Lake Charles, to the LSU Law Dean’s Council.
Renewing memberships in November are: Judge John deGravelles (’74), Baton Rouge; Christine Lipsey (’82), Baton Rouge; Mack Gregorie (’82), Baton Rouge; Guy deLaup ('81), New Orleans; Chris McCall (’95), Lake Charles; Pat Morrow (’72), Opelousas; John Simmons (’13), Avery Island; Mike Remondet (’91), Lafayette; and Armin Moeller (’72), Jackson, Mississippi.
“Stepping up” with an increased donation are: Judge Marvin Gahagan (’55), Natchitoches; Troy Keller (’92), New Orleans; Dean Sutherland (’75), New Orleans; and Mickey Simmons (’59), Winnfield.
And while faculty members Professor Paul Baier and Chancellor Emeritus John Costonis, may have retired, they both continue their support of LSU Law by renewing their Dean’s Council memberships.
Annual tuition and fees are more than $23,000 at LSU Law. Your gifts help underwrite more than $5 million in tuition assistance our students receive each year. We are most grateful to every member of the Dean’s Council.
DEAN'S COUNCIL SPOTLIGHT Q&A
Brooksie Bonvillain Boutet | Class of 2014 | Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP
Hometown: Thibodaux/Lake Charles
High school: St. Louis High School, Lake Charles
Undergrad interests and activities: Kappa Delta Sorority, Student Government
Employer and job title: Shipley Snell Montgomery LLP, attorney
Ryan E. Boutet | Class of 2015 | Shell Oil Company
Hometown: Pass Christian, Mississippi
High school: Saint Stanislaus
Undergrad interests and activities: Sigma Chi Fraternity; LSU Student Chapter, American Society of Civil Engineers
Employer and job title: Shell Oil Company; Legal Counsel, New Energies
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU DO IN A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR PRACTICE?
Brooksie: I handle complex civil litigation, primarily for energy and utility companies. I very much enjoy learning my client’s business to best know how to serve their legal needs. I may be in court, drafting a motion for summary judgment, or interviewing a fact witnesses on any given day.
Ryan: I am the U.S. legal focal point for Shell’s corporate venture capital group. My clients manage relationships with our portfolio companies from “idea to exit,” so my typical day varies from managing diligence, negotiating stock purchase agreements, company charters, and shareholder agreements to drafting resolutions, structuring bridge financings, and advising our shareholder representatives and board members on governance matters. From time to time, I also support capital project development and M&A in the renewable energy space.
YOU ARE AMONG THE YOUNGEST MEMBERS OF THE LAW DEAN'S COUNCIL. WHY DID YOU MAKE BEING A DEAN'S COUNCIL MEMBER A PRIORITY?
Brooksie and Ryan: We both received merit-based financial assistance from the Law Center. We are fortunate to be in the position to give back and pay it forward to those following in our footsteps. When we decided to move out of state, we knew that we wanted to stay connected to our school, and participating as members of the Dean’s Council is a great way to stay informed.
WHAT IS SOMETHING FUN THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
Brooksie: I am currently raising a puppy, along with Ryan, of course. Calliope (Callie) is a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. She gets on quite well with our cat, Sazerac, but our other cat, Cognac, prefers to stay to herself. All three are adopted from the Houston SPCA.
Ryan: I’m an avid collector of whiskey, with around 150 bottles in my collection, and I make annual trips to Kentucky as part of a tasting panel to select private barrels for Houston-area establishments.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL, AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE LSU LAW?
Brooksie: I started undergrad in LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication with the intent to go into broadcast journalism, which turned into a concentration in political communication. As much as I still love to follow politics (Ryan brings me breakfast in bed while I watch weekend morning news shows), I decided I wanted a more stable lifestyle. This led me to pursue law school. Even though I knew I would attend LSU undergrad from the moment I started cheering for “L, S, shoe” (while literally waiving a tennis shoe as part of my cheerleading routine), my mom made me apply to at least one other school. However, I only applied to LSU Law because it truly was the best value.
Ryan: I made the decision to pursue a dual degree and to apply to LSU Law during the first year of my MBA curriculum. I understood at that point that I wanted to work for a global company and support cross-border transactions, and I expected that the combination of those disciplines with my undergraduate degree would provide the best opportunity to achieve that aim, particularly given the extensive opportunities to study comparative law at LSU. I wish that I could say that my path to law school was part of a meticulously-considered, long-term plan, but it would be more accurate to describe it as the culmination of a series of fortuitous events. I was particularly inclined to procrastinate during my early twenties. I actually sat for the LSAT during the MBA Final Exam Period, and I completed my LSU Law application the following semester with hours to spare before the submission deadline.
HOW DID YOU MEET?
Brooksie: As a 2L, I was responsible for matching incoming 1L mentees with upperclassmen mentors. At the end of the meticulous matching process, I realized I forgot to match one mentee. I took him as my own, and after a year of providing course outlines and study advice, I also passed on some outlines for weekend trips during the Lyon study abroad program. He shared these with his roommate Ryan...
Ryan: ...my roommate in Lyon spent the summer regaling me with tales of Brooksie’s awesomeness and took it upon himself to play matchmaker. After a brief introduction made at a Law Review mixer, she shared some of her Law Review research with me. We got to know each other over the course of the fall semester and had our first official date at The Chimes. We never looked back.
YOU WERE BOTH GREAT STUDENTS AND LEADERS AT LSU LAW—LAW REVIEW, DUAL DEGREES, STUDENT GOVERNMENT AND MORE. WHAT EXPERIENCES AT LSU LAW DO YOU FEEL BEST PREPARED YOU FOR SUCCESS IN YOUR CAREER?
Brooksie: From a general perspective, balancing extracurricular activities with a full course load gave me no option but to adhere to a strict schedule, both daily and over the course of an entire semester. This improved my time management skills, which directly translates to my career. Now, instead of day-to-day classes and end-of-semester exams, as a litigator it’s filing deadlines and scheduling orders from the court in order to prepare for trial. More specifically, Law Review best prepared me for success in my career. The grueling process of producing a comment of publishable quality directly translates to drafting lengthy motions, and the experience of serving on the Editorial Board taught me how to collaboratively develop ideas and edit legal writing with others.
Ryan: The opportunity to serve on Law Review as both a Junior Associate and part of the Editorial Board was an invaluable experience and was critical to developing my writing, editing and time-management skills. More importantly, if I had not been invited to join Law Review, Brooksie and I would likely have never started dating. Another experience that comes to mind was preparing for exams with particularly stringent word limits. After putting in all of the hours studying and being trained to issue spot relentlessly as a 1L, it was difficult leaving ancillary issues identified in a fact pattern out of my answer (particularly when some professors provide bonus points for raising and quickly vanquishing those issues). However, looking back, the experience working within those constraints and learning to make real-time judgment calls about which issues were the most material has been invaluable in my in-house practice, where I’m often expected to synthesize complex issues and provide a recommended course of action in only a couple of sentences.
BESIDES THE INTELLECTUAL GIFTS YOU BOTH BROUGHT TO THE TABLE, WAS THERE A "SECRET SAUCE" YOU ADDED TO BE SO PRODUCTIVE AND SUCCESSFUL IN LAW SCHOOL? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO CURRENT AND FUTURE STUDENTS WHO WOULD LIKE TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THEIR TIME IN LAW SCHOOL?
Brooksie: Law school taught me the importance of knowing your audience. Then, it was knowing what information your professor wanted to see on an exam and how to present it. Now, it’s knowing how to present my case to a judge and jury. By way of advice, in law school, I often caught myself working hard but not smart. I felt the need to reinvent the wheel with my own outlines. While it certainly helped me learn and yielded my best grades, as I became more involved in extracurricular activities and had less time to make outlines, I realized knowing the material is only part of the process. Learning how to persuade your audience is the ultimate goal.
Ryan: I don’t believe that my approach to law school was particularly novel, but I would probably give three tidbits of advice: First, make sure you know your own learning style and approach your studies accordingly. That said, understand that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, and your optimal style may differ based on the nature of the subject matter or what the particular professor is looking for in their rubric (or what they’ll permit you to bring into the exam room). For me, the default method of preparation involved coaxing multiple versions of outlines from friends and pouring over them—I felt that for many classes this prepared me better than taking the time to create outlines myself (and it also allowed me the opportunity to see how different students were interpreting issues described in the same lecture in different ways and to test my own understanding against theirs).
That said, and to my point above, I was outlining and creating attack plans for any course I took from Professor Thomas. Whenever the course was code-based, I created flowcharts and decision trees until my ballpoint pens exploded. My second piece of advice would be to not be discouraged if you don’t know exactly what area of practice you want to enter upon graduation as soon as some of your peers. If you are diligent, things will ultimately work out. That said, I wish that I would have taken advantage of the advocacy programs and competitions that were available to help me find my path a bit sooner. Finally, develop a routine and make sure that it includes adequate time for recreation and relaxation.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HOUSTON? WERE YOU WELL-PREPARED TO PASS THE TEXAS BAR BY YOUR LSU EXPERIENCE? WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE AFTER LAW SCHOOL? WAS IT WHAT YOU WERE EXPECTING?
Brooksie: I always had an interest in the energy sector. My term clerkship with the Honorable Timothy E. Kelley, 19th Judicial District Court, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, confirmed that I wanted to pursue a career in litigation. I considered moving to New Orleans or Houston. In the interest of complete candor, Ryan tipped the scale in favor of Houston. Before I graduated from law school, I planned to sit for the Louisiana Bar Exam, then eventually waive into Texas. This meant I only took Louisiana bar classes. Taking the Texas Bar Exam made me realize that LSU Law taught me more than course material. I was prepared to focus on the key points of law necessary to pass the exam without taking common law classes during law school. The most surprising thing about practice is how well the process of law school equipped me for practice. At the time, I didn’t appreciate the hours of reading assignments and having to manage so many different classes in a semester. Who knew how similar this would be to 10-plus hours of critical thinking a day and simultaneously handling cases for a variety of clients?
Ryan: I’m originally from a town of around 5,000 people and graduated high school in a class of 63 students. With Baton Rouge being the largest city I’d ever lived in, I wanted to have the experience of starting my career in a large metropolitan area. I was not specifically focused on Texas until the start of OCI. For the Bar Exam, I had the opportunity to study UCC Sales with Professor Holmes during a Comparative Sales course in Lyon and took Common Law Property and Decedent’s Estates my 3L year, so I felt like I was starting with a decent foundation. I also found that there were a lot of parallels to Texas when it came to Matrimonial Regimes and was glad that I’d taken that course with Professor Carter. We were also quite fortunate that the administration permitted a group of 10 of us studying for the Texas bar to use a classroom over the summer so that we could stream bar review lectures in a formal setting and have the benefit of a structured study group.
The biggest surprise about my practice since graduating has been the breadth of issues I’ve encountered. In my organization, most of the attorneys are aligned to a specific business unit or asset rather than a specific area of practice, so we see a wide variety of issues, transactions, and projects. We also move across businesses and departments as we progress in our careers, so you are always learning and developing new skills. I started my career supporting Shell’s marketing businesses in the U.S., so I supported commercial contracting; product labeling and regulatory issues; and television, print, radio and digital advertising. About a year and a half ago, I moved to support our corporate venture capital group within the New Energies line of businesses, so my practice is currently a bit more specialized and my day-to-day is quite different than it was in my first few years in practice.