Laura Tuggle kicks off plans to make SLLS’ 50th anniversary truly golden.


CONTACT LAURA TUGGLE (504) 529-1000 ext. 270

WEDNESDAY, 5/31/2017

New Orleans, Louisiana – Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) announced today that it is has established a 50th Anniversary Advisory Committee to assist its Board in commemorating this milestone in its history. This fall, “Justice is Golden” as the agency turns 50.  “SLLS is honored to join forces with so many other community leaders with a demonstrated commitment to equal justice to amplify our impact and help drive future innovation and partnership in the interest of justice”said SLLS Board President Vivian Guillory.

The Committee, composed of distinguished judges, prominent attorneys, business leaders, foundation heads, and law school deans, held its first meeting on May 10, 2017 at the New Orleans office of Phelps, Dunbar LLC to begin its work. The Honorable Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, a former civil legal aid attorney early in her career, is the 50th Anniversary Advisory Committee Honorary Chair. Darrel Papillion, President of the Louisiana State Bar Association and a partner in Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens LLC serves as Co-Chair along with R. Patrick Vance, senior partner at Jones Walker and a former SLLS Board President.

Remarking on the importance of SLLS, Honorary Chair Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said, “The help legal aid programs provide keeps faith with one of America’s core values – equal access to justice–and changes the lives of low-income people every day.” Pat Vance, Co-Chair of the 50th Anniversary Advisory Committee noted “For decades, SLLS has been at the forefront of increasing access to justice for vulnerable Louisiana citizens. I am thrilled to help lead this Committee as it lays a strong foundation to fight for fairness for the next fifty years.”

The committee will plan a year of activities, beginning with a Kick-Off event on November 8, 2017 at the Louisiana Supreme Court featuring a panel discussion on the “Future of Civil Legal Aid” from 4-5:30 p.m. followed by a reception. During the 50th Anniversary year from Nov. 2017 to Oct. 2018, an event will be held at each of Louisiana’s four law schools. The Committee will also work to increase awareness of the importance of civil legal aid to improving lives and in strengthening communities. A recent Economic Impact Study released by the Louisiana Bar Foundation found that for every $1 invested in civil legal aid, there is $8.73 of social return on investment through immediate and long-term benefits and taxpayer savings.

Co-Chair Darrel Papillion stressed SLLS’ critical role in our justice system, “If all Americans do not have reliable access to our courts to resolve disputes and redress wrongs, the promises of our founding fathers are rendered meaningless, and we fail to live up to our national promise of equal justice under law.”


SLLS’ 50th Anniversary Advisory Committee members are:

1. Honorary Co-Chair: Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson, Louisiana Supreme Court
2. Co-Chair: Darrel J. Papillion, Louisiana State Bar Association President and Partner in Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens LLC
3. Co-Chair: R. Patrick Vance, Senior Partner at Jones Walker and Past SLLS President
4. Valerie Bargas, Kinchen, Walker, Bienvenu, Bargas, Reed, & Helm LLC
5. David Bienvenu, Simon, Peragine, Smith, & Redfearn LLP
6. Dennis Blunt, Phelps Dunbar LLP
7. The Honorable Bernadette D’Souza, Civil District Court, Division K
8. Kurt Duncan, Capital One Bank
9. Thomas Galligan Jr., Dean of LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center
10. Charmel Gaulden, Baptist Community Ministries
11. Rita Gue, Arlene & Joseph Mereaux Foundation
12. Ashley Aubrey Harrison, Whitney/Hancock Bank
13. Jan Hayden, Baker Donelson
14. Steve Herman, Herman, Herman, & Katz LLC
15. The Honorable Madeleine Landrieu, Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal and incoming Dean at Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law
16. David Meyer, Dean Tulane University Law School
17. Monte Mollere, Louisiana State Bar Association Access to Justice Director
18. John Y. Pearce, Gordon, Arata, Montgomery, Barnett, McCollam, Duplantis, & Eagan, LLC
19. Judy Perry Martinez, Of Counsel Simon, Peragine, Smith, & Redfearn LLP
20. John Pierre, Chancellor Southern University Law Center
21. Darryl Phillips, Entergy Services, Inc.
22. Bill Quigley, Director of Loyola Law Clinic & Gillis Long Poverty Law Center
23. The Honorable Kern Reese, Civil District Court, Division L
24. Lauren Rogers, St. Charles Parish Bar Association
25. The Honorable Raymond “Ray” Steib Jr., 24th Judicial District Court, Division A
26. Marta-Ann Schnabel, O’Bryon & Schnabel PLC
27. Michael Williamson, President/CEO United Way of Southeast Louisiana
28. Rachel Wisdom, Stone, Pigman, Walther, & Wittmann LLC
29. The Honorable Lisa Woodruff-White, The Family Court of East Baton Rouge Parish, Division B
30. The Honorable Jay Zainey, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Section A

About Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS)
SLLS is Louisiana’s largest non-profit provider of free civil legal aid with 100 employees in six offices covering 22 parishes in Southeast Louisiana. Offices are located in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Harvey, Hammond, Covington, and Houma. Its mission is to achieve justice for low-income people through direct case work, advocacy, and community legal education. It offers free legal representation in disaster law, family law, domestic violence, landlord-tenant, foreclosure, public benefits, consumer law, and more. SLLS receives significant funding from the Legal Services Corporation, the Louisiana Bar Foundation, and the United Way. In 2016, SLLS helped 27,000 vulnerable Louisiana citizens obtain or preserve over $22.3 million in economic benefits. It served 13,050 people in community legal clinics and education events. SLLS provided self-help resources, referral, and legal information to another 143,000 people through its public website