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LBF Celebrates Calogero Justice Award Recipient, Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson

The Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF) will honor the Calogero Justice Award recipient, Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson at the annual Fellows Gala in Spring of 2021.

Honorable Bernette Joshua Johnson is the Louisiana Supreme Court’s 25th Chief Justice, its second female Chief Justice, and its first African American Chief Justice.

She is also one of the first two African American women to graduate from Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Early in her career, while working as managing attorney at the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation (NOLAC), currently Southeastern Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), she became a change agent, social justice advocate, and civil rights promoter. She represented the socio-economically deprived; advanced the rights of children; and gave voice to the poor, elderly, and disenfranchised citizens of New Orleans.

Prior to that while in law school, Chief Justice Johnson worked with the United States Department of Justice assisting with cases pertaining to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1984 Chief Justice Johnson became the first woman elected to serve as a judge on the Civil District Court of Orleans Parish; in 1994, she was elected Chief Judge. Later that year she was elected to serve as an Associate Justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court, and was re-elected without opposition in 2000 and 2010. In 2013, with seniority in years of service, she became the Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

She served on the National Campaign on Best Practices in the area of Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. She has championed many successful initiatives including the training and certification of the Limited English Proficiency Interpreters in the courts and the implementation of the electronic filing system for the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Johnson is most proud of her family, which includes her son David Johnson, an accountant; her daughter, Judge Rachael Johnson, Civil District Court of Orleans Parish; her son-in-law, Telley Madina; and grandchildren, Neyah, Noah, Lacey, Byron, and Telley Jr.




The Louisiana Bar Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity organized under the state of Louisiana.