LBF offices will be closed 11/24-25 and will reopen for normal operations on Monday, 11/28. 

Calogero Justice Award

The Calogero Justice Award is named in honor of Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. who was elected to the Louisiana Supreme court in 1972. Calogero was sworn in as Chief Justice in 1990 and served on the Court for 36 years. At the Annual Fellows Gala the Louisiana Bar Foundation honors an individual or organization for a significant contribution to the Louisiana justice system.

2020 Calogero Justice Award

Hon. William J. Knight

Hon. William J. Knight



Judge William J. Rusty Knight began his legal career in 1976. He graduated from LSU Law School where he was Order of the Coif and a member of the Louisiana Law Review. He was an associate with Hudson, Potts, and Bernstein in Monroe, LA from 1976-1979. 

He then served as an Assistant District Attorney for Washington and St. Tammany Parishes from 1979-1985. After that tenure, he opened a private law practice, handling both civil and criminal matters. In January 2003, he took office as district judge of the 22nd Judicial District Court, Division J. Judge Knight has presided over juvenile and child in need of care proceedings and a section of adult Drug Court, in addition to his civil and criminal dockets.

Most recently, Judge Knight worked to establish the 22nd Judicial District Courts ReEntry Court. In November 2015, the Louisiana Supreme Court requested that Judge Knight create Key Components and Best Practices to be followed by Louisiana ReEntry Courts. That work was presented to and adopted by the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2016.




2019 Calogero Justice Award

Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson

Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson (Ret.)



Chief Justice Honorable Bernette Joshua Johnson (Ret.) 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.


2018 Calogero Justice Award

Kendall Vick Public Law Foundation

Kendall Vick Public Law Foundation

Kendall Vick was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and lived in New Orleans for over 30 years. He was an assistant professor at Loyola University College of Law in the mid-1960s and provided many years of legal expertise to the American Civil Liberties Union. His principal activity was serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the Louisiana Department of Justice from 1972 to 1988.

The Vick Foundation began activities in 1999. Mr. Vick’s primary goal for the establishment of the Vick Foundation was for it to find ways to encourage law graduates to seek careers in public law. The Board of Directors concluded that providing funding for Loan Repayment Assistant Programs (LRAP) was a direct way to accomplish his vision. The Vick Foundation began providing grants to LRAP at several institutions in the State of Louisiana in 2006. One condition of the grants is that they be awarded to law graduates in public sector positions within the State of Louisiana.

The Louisiana Bar Foundation named the Vick Foundation the recipient of its Horn Blower Award in 2009 in recognition of its support encouraging careers in public interest law. From its inception through 2018, the Vick Foundation has provided LRAP funding in excess of $2 million.

Photo is the Vick Foundation President Jerome J. Reso, Jr.

2017 Calogero Justice Award

Robert S. Noel II

Robert S. Noel II

Robert S. Noel II has practiced law in North Louisiana for 32 years. A graduate of Loyola University, with a BA in 1979 and a JD in 1985, he has served as a Public Defender and Assistant District Attorney in the 4th JDC.Noel is currently the felony supervisor for the 4th JDC Public Defender, former interim Chief Public Defender in the 5th JDC. He practices criminal defense law in many North Louisiana jurisdictions.

Noel is a former president of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and currently is the Vice President and legislative chair of the Public Defense Association of Louisiana. One of the original Board members of Teen Court of Northeast Louisiana, he has served on that board for over 30 years. He has also served on the Board of Directors of National High School Mock Trial and has been active in the Louisiana High School Mock Trial since 1991. He is an adjunct professor of Political Science at the University of Louisiana at Monroe(ULM) and founded and coached the ULM Mock trial team which has advanced for the last three years to the national tournament.

An army brat and graduate of Leesville High School, he is married to Starlia Jones Noel and is a grandfather of six.

2016 Calogero Justice Award

Joseph R. Oelkers III

Joseph R. Oelkers III

Acadiana Legal Service Corporation

Joseph R. Oelkers III is a founder of Acadiana Legal Service Corporation (ALSC), the first Legal Services Corporation funded law firm in the Acadiana area. He served as Executive Director of ALSC since its inception in 1978 and retired on September 1, 2016 after 38 years of dedicated service. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1972 and from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1976.

Oelkers served as President of the Louisiana Legal Consortium from 1983 through 1994, which was established by the Louisiana legal services programs to provide support for access to justice efforts in the state. He has been a member of the LSBA Access to Justice Committee since 1981, chairing the Committee for over 10 years, and has served as a member of the LSBA House of Delegates since 1993. He is a former President of the Lafayette Bar Association (LBA) and currently is a member of the LBA Board of Directors.

He received the Best of the Best Executive Director Award from the Louisiana Legal Consortium; Friend of the Year from the Lafayette Parish Legal Secretaries Association for 1993-94; the LSBA President’s Award in 1992 and in 1998; the Legal Services Corporation Distinguished Service Award in 2008; Safeguarding Democracy Award from the League of Women Voters of Lafayette in 2011. In 2015, he was the recipient of the LSBA Career Public Interest Award.

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

To report misappropriation, fraud, waste, or abuse of public funds, travel to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s website: