6 Southern U. alumni serving Louisiana Bar Association, 2 more honored

By Bradley Williams | Jul 13, 2016

BATON ROUGE – Eight alumni of Southern University Law Center (SULC) were recently recognized by the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA).  

SULC is a public law school founded in Baton Rouge in 1947.

Two alumni, Hillar Moore, district attorney for the 19th Judicial District, and Dwazendra Smith, associate of Doran & Cawthorne, received awards for their service to the LSBA. Moore received the 2016 President’s Award for his work in building the association between the Louisiana District Attorneys Association and LSBA. Smith received the 2016 Pro Bono Award from the Young Lawyers Division for her volunteer service.

John Hoffoss, C. Kevin Hayes and Donald North were placed on the 2016-17 LSBA board of governors. Hoffoss, partner with Hoffoss and Devall, is representing the 4th District and Hayes, of Hayes Strategic Solutions, the 5th District. Donald North, an SULC professor of law, is representing SULC as an at-large member.

Deirdre Deculus Robert, deputy director of litigation with the Louisiana Department of Justice, was elected as an ex-officio member on the LSBA board of directors. She is an “ex-officio” member as her current position with the DOJ qualifies her for representation. Robert will represent the 19th District for a three-year term.

Two more alumni have taken leadership positions in the Young Lawyers Division. Adam Johnson, assistant district attorney and partner of Johnson & Vercher, was established as a 2016-17 Young Lawyers Division Council member. Scotty Chabert Jr., of Saunders and Chabert, was established as the 2016-17 chair of the Young Lawyers Division.

Cynthia Reed, director of Alumni Affairs and Continuing Legal Education at SULC, told the Louisiana Record via email that SULC promotes a strong relationship with the LSBA “because this professional organization shapes the development of the law, regulates the professional conduct of the state's lawyers, and provides greater access to legal services.”

Several of the alumni remain engaged or affiliated with SULC. Scotty Chabert has taught as an adjunct professor, Reed said. Chabert, Robert Hillar Moore, Dwazendra Smith and Kevin Hayes have served as guest panelists at career services events and continuing legal education seminars held on campus.

“Each of these ‘lawyer-leaders’ believes in giving back to SULC” Reed said.

The Law Center engages alumni by encouraging involvement through networking with current students, as well as mentoring students as they matriculate from Southern University, study for the bar exam and proceed to practice law, Reed added.  

The Law Center places an emphasis on promoting civic engagement, such as service with the LSBA. Quoting SULC Chancellor John Pierre, “We produce lawyer-leaders who are instilled with ‘seriousness of purpose’ and encouraged to always give back” Reed said. “SULC plants the public servant seed in our students the moment they enter the door”.

SULC contributes to developing civically engaged lawyers through five areas of educational engagement including service learning internships, class discussion and debate, role playing and simulation, extracurricular activities and engagement with the neighborhoods surrounding the Law Center, Reed added.

“SULC strives to protect the public by developing, supporting, and enforcing rigorous standards of competence, ethical behavior, and commitment to public service in the legal profession," she said.”

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