From student honors, awards and graduations to great work from our faculty and alumni, 2019 was full of big achievements at LSU Law.
As we pause during the holiday season to spend time with family and friends before the start of yet another busy year, we want to thank you for your continued support of LSU Law and share our top 10 stories from 2019:
National Champs! LSU Law students win Lefkowitz National Trademark Law Moot Court Competition
LSU Law students Briana Falcon and Joe Heaton were crowned national champions at the Lefkowitz National Trademark Law Moot Court Competition at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., on March 17.
Falcon and Heaton, both from Baton Rouge, took home the First Place Team award, along with awards for Best Oralist Team and second place Best Brief at the competition.
LSU Law celebrates Fendler, Maraist as Alumni of the Year; Three graduates honored for Distinguished Achievement
Gene Fendler, former president and managing partner of Liskow and Lewis, and LSU Law Professor Frank Maraist highlighted the roster of notable alumni honored at the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Celebration on March 22 in New Orleans. Fendler and Maraist were named Alumni of the Year and three other LSU Law graduates were named Distinguished Achievement honorees.
Distinguished Achievement honorees were Tim Daniels, member of the Irwin Fritchie Law firm in New Orleans; Christine Lipsey, member of the commercial litigation team in the McGlinchey Law Firm in Baton Rouge; and John T. Nesser III, co-founder, manager, co-chief executive officer and director of All Coast, LLC.
The LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center awarded degrees to 178 students during Commencement ceremonies on May 24, with former LSU Law and current Seton Hall Law professor Michael Coenen delivering the Commencement address.
LSU Law awarded the Juris Doctor degree to 170 students, with 139 of those students also earning the Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law and four earning the Graduate Certificate in Energy Law and Policy. Eight students received the Master of Laws degree.
Seventeen members of the LSU Law Class of 2019 were inducted into The Order of the Coif at a May 24 ceremony in the McKernan Auditorium.
The Order of the Coif is a national honorary law fraternity. The Louisiana chapter was established in 1942, and its purpose is to stimulate scholarly work of the highest order and to foster and promote a high standard of professional conduct. Each year, the local chapter elects to membership from the highest ten percent of the senior class, those students who are deemed qualified.
The Louisiana state legislature honored longtime LSU Law Professor George W. Pugh in June with a commendation passed during the regular session.
A 1950 graduate of LSU Law, George began full-time teaching at the Law Center in 1952, and he remained on the faculty until his retirement in 1994. LSU Law’s George W. and Jean H. Pugh Institute for Justice was named after him and his wife.
LSU Law welcomed two new faculty members to campus this fall: Clare Ryan, Assistant Professor of Law; and Pedro Gerson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Professional Practice.
Before joining LSU Law, Ryan clerked for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Gerson directs and teaches the LSU Immigration Clinic. Before joining the LSU Law Center faculty, Gerson served as an immigration staff attorney at The Bronx Defenders in New York City, a public defender nonprofit.
Ben Aguiñaga is just the second LSU Law graduate to land a coveted clerkship at the U.S. Supreme Court. The 2015 graduate spent the 2018-19 term clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Shortly after the term drew to close and he was preparing to join Jones Day at its Washington, D.C. office as an attorney in its Issues and Appeals group, Aguiñaga reflected on his time at the high court in an extensive Q&A.
“What you see in the U.S. Reports is the result of hours and hours and hours and hours of rigorous work,” he says of his daily work alongside Alito, whom he describes as “a lawyer’s lawyer, a judge’s judge, a servant’s servant” and “one of the most humble and kind humans I’ve ever met.”
2019 Reunion Weekend brings hundreds of LSU Law alumni, students together
The 2019 Reunion Weekend was a major success, bringing hundreds of LSU Law alumni and students together for a weekend of celebrations on Oct. 25-26.
Reunion Weekend events kicked off on Friday, Oct. 25, with a pair of CLE classes on ethics and professionalism, presented by alumni James A. Brown and Skip Philips, respectively. Later that evening, graduates from the classes of 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, and 2009 celebrated their reunions at the Capitol Park Museum in downtown Baton Rouge.
The fun continued on Saturday, with the All-Alumni Tailgate and Hats ‘n Canes toast, which preceded a thrilling 23-20 win by the LSU Tigers over Auburn. LSU Law would like to thank all those who participated in this year’s Reunion Weekend events, as well as Brown and Phillips for teaching the CLE classes, and NeunerPate and CSRS for sponsoring the All-Alumni Tailgate.
Robert Rabalais (’89), a Partner in the Houston office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and his wife, Melissa, have made one of the largest scholarship gifts ever received by the Law Center. The Melissa and Robert Rabalais Energy Law Endowment Fund is among the top five largest scholarship funds held by the Law Center for the benefit of its students.
The historic gift was announced by LSU Law Dean Tom Galligan at 30-year reunion celebration for the Class of 1989 on Oct. 25.
As fall semester classes wrapped up just before Thanksgiving, two of LSU Law’s longest-serving professors—who have 100 years of combined service to the law school—stepped into the classroom to teach for the very last time.
Professor Bill Crawford taught his final class on Nov. 20 after 53 years with LSU Law. One week later, Professor Paul Baier led his last class after 47 years at the law school. Both announced their retirements earlier this year.
To show their appreciation for the professors’ service, Dean Tom Galligan, LSU Law faculty and staff members made a surprise visit to each of their last classes.
LSU Law Dean Tom Galligan appointed LSU interim president
Tom Galligan, dean of LSU Law and former president of Colby-Sawyer College, has been appointed LSU interim president while the LSU Board of Supervisors conducts a national search to replace F. King Alexander, who has been named the next president of Oregon State University.
“I am honored to have been selected as Interim President, I am excited about the opportunity to serve LSU during this time of transition, and I want to join the LSU community in celebrating the wonderful presidency of F. King Alexander and thanking him for his dedicated service,” Galligan said. “The search for a permanent president will soon be underway, and I expect to be back at LSU Law in the near future. I will share additional details about interim leadership of LSU Law just as soon as those decisions have been made.”
Alexander’s last day as president will be Dec. 31, after which Galligan’s appointment as interim president will begin.