From Shreveport to the Supreme Court

L to R: Harold Gilley, Patricia Gilley, Professor Paul R. Baier, George M. Armstrong, Jr., Professor of Law, and Collins Meredith, 2L student.

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! Two LSU Law alumni are set to argue before the Supreme Court of the United States in November.

“We are not ‘high building lawyers,’” said Attorney Patricia Gilley.

Mrs. Gilley describes her firm as a “Mom and Pop” shop. She and her husband of forty years, Harold Gilley, graduated from LSU Law in 1977. This husband and wife team now operates a family-run firm, Gilley & Gilley, in Shreveport, Louisiana. 

Though she may be humble about her practice, Mrs. Gilley has reached the summit of any attorney’s career. She will argue the case of Henderson v. United States before the Supreme Court on November 28, 2012.  At issue is the applicable standard to judge “plain error” under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b), also known as “the time of trial rule,” or “the time of appeal rule.”

The Gilleys recently visited the Paul M. Hebert Law Center and shared their experience with students. The Student Bar Association sponsored a luncheon where Mr. and Mrs. Gilley spoke about the excitement and chaos that followed their case from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.

During their visit, the Gilleys also took part in the Advanced Appellate Advocacy Seminar taught by Professor Paul R. Baier, George M. Armstrong, Jr. Professor of Law. Mrs. Gilley mooted her case against Collins Meredith, 2L, during the seminar. Anna Brown served as Marshal of Court. William Macke and Je’rell Rogers sat as Associate Justices beside Professor Baier, who acted as Chief Justice.  The bench peppered Mrs. Gilley with questions as preparation for her November argument.

“This was the best rehearsal I could ask for,” said Mrs. Gilley. “This is good practice for me, and it’s great for the students.”

Humbled and amazed, Mrs. Gilley told the seminar students that even humble origins can lead to the High Court.  Mr. Gilley will be sitting with Mrs. Gilley at counsel’s table the day of the argument.

“You never can tell where you will end up when you are a street lawyer,” said Mrs. Gilley.