Distinguished Jurist

2023 Distinguished Jurist

Hon. Elizabeth Erny Foote

Hon. Elizabeth E. Foote serves as a United States District Court judge for the Western District of Louisiana with her duty seat in Shreveport. Appointed by Justice John Roberts, Beth serves on the Judicial Security Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Until her appointment to the bench in June 2010, Beth was a partner in The Smith Foote Law Firm, LLP, in Alexandria, where she had been engaged in active practice since 1979. Beth received her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University with college honors, her Masters of Arts degree from Duke University, and her law degree from the LSU Law Center. 

She is a frequent CLE speaker. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at the LSU Law Center in the area of Appellate Advocacy and as an instructor on motion practice in the law school’s “intersession” program.  Beth was the first woman to serve as an officer in the Louisiana State Bar Association when she served as Treasurer. She has also served on the LSBA Board of Governors and the House of Delegates. She has chaired numerous committees for the LSBA and was presented with the 1994 President’s Award for outstanding service in the area of Continuing Legal Education. Beth’s service to the bar culminated in the office of LSBA President from 2008-2009. In her new home of Shreveport, she has served as the 2011 chair and 2013 co-chair for the Shreveport Bar Association CLE Committee and as an officer in the Booth-Politz Inn of Court. Beth is married to W. Ross Foote, a partner in a mediation and arbitration firm, whom she met on their first day in law school. 

2022 Distinguished Jurist

Hon. Richard T. Haik, Sr. (Ret.)

U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana

Richard T. Haik, Sr. served as a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Lafayette from his appointment in 1991 until his retirement in 2016.  He served as Chief Judge of the district from 2002 until 2009.

Judge Haik received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he was a four-year football letterman for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He received his Juris Doctorate in 1975 from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.  He was elected to serve as a state court judge in the 16th Judicial District Court in 1984, at the age of 34, after practicing law in his hometown of New Iberia.   From 1971 to 1978, he was a Louisiana Army National Guard member, serving as a reserve captain in the United States Army from 1980 to 1984.

While on the federal bench, he was offered $2 million bribe in exchange for a favorable ruling in an environmental case.  He went undercover to participate with federal agents in “Operation Black Robe,” as it was later called, a successful six-month operation that led to two participants serving time in federal prison. 

As a trial judge for 30 years, he conducted countless settlement conferences, with the ability to broker amicable settlements in the most complex matters, including In Re Combustion, Inc., a mass tort/multi-district environmental litigation regarding a hazardous waste dumping site, involving approximately 12,000 plaintiffs and 900 defendants. After six years of litigation, it was transferred to him and settled before trial.  He now enjoys a thriving mediation practice, through his Of Counsel position at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik and as a mediator with Perry Dampf Dispute Solutions. 

Judge Haik was the 2019 John A. “T-Jean” Hernandez III Memorial Award recipient, presented for achievements in Francophone leadership, the 2016 Loyola University Alumni Glass Award, and the 1994 ULL Outstanding Alumni Award recipient.  He has been married to his wife, Kathleen, for 47 years, and they have three children, Elizabeth, Richie, and Mary Carolyn, and nine grandchildren. 

2021 Distinguished Jurist

Carl J. Barbier


Carl J. Barbier currently serves as a judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans. Judge Barbier took the oath of office on October 12, 1998. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Barbier was a practicing attorney in New Orleans since 1971, primarily representing plaintiffs, consumers, and small businesses in civil litigation. He earned his law degree cum laude in 1970 from Loyola School of Law, where he was associate editor of the Loyola Law Review. He served as law clerk to Judge William Redmann, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, and to Judge Fred Cassibry, U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Barbier is a past president of the New Orleans Bar Association and formerly served as president of the Thomas More Inn of Court. He is currently on the Board of the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter. He is a past president of Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association (now the Louisiana Association for Justice), a past member of the House of Delegates of the Louisiana State Bar Association, and a fellow of the Louisiana Bar Foundation. Judge Barbier has served on the board of the Loyola Law Alumni Association for the past twenty years. He has served as an adjunct faculty member for Loyola’s law school, teaching for several years a course in Trial Advocacy in his courtroom.

2020 Distinguished Jurist

Guy P. Holdridge

Judge Guy P. Holdridge serves on the First Circuit Court of Appeal. Judge Holdridge previously served as a District Judge of the 23rd Judicial District Court. He served as a district court judge since 1991 and chief judge numerous times. Judge Holdridge earned a B.A. Degree from Louisiana State University in 1974 and a J.D. in 1978 from the LSU Law Center where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Louisiana Law Review. While in law school, he had two of his articles published in the Law Review. He is a member of the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame.

Judge Holdridge serves on the adjunct faculty of LSU Law Center where he teaches LA Civil Procedure. He is on the committee for the LSU Trial Advocacy Program. Judge Holdridge is the 2021 editor of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure published by Thomson Reuters. He is a long-time member of the council of the Louisiana Law Institute and is now serving as the Director of the Institute. He is also a member of the Childrens Code, Child Custody, Expropriation, Prescription, Bail Bonds, Summary Judgment, Civil Procedure, Recusal, and Adult Guardianship Committees of the Law Institute. He is the past reporter of the Expedited Jury Trial Committee, Summary Judgment, and Bail Bonds Committees. He is also currently serving as the acting reporter for the Criminal Law and Procedure. He is a past president of the Louisiana District Judges Association, a member of the Executive Committee and a past Chairman of the District Judges Best Practices Committee and led the effort to have Judges Bench Books developed for trial judges of the state.

He was also part of the mentoring program of the District Judges Association. He is the past President of the First Circuit Judges Association. He is a member and past president of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Judicial College. Along with Professor Corbett, he is the co-chair of the Judicial College/LADC Torts conference. He is a frequent speaker at Judicial College programs at the Summer school, Evidence and Procedure and the spring and fall conferences. He is a member of the Louisiana Supreme Courts Strategic Planning committee and Jury Instructions Committee. He is a frequent speaker at the Attorney Generals Program for Justice of the Peace and Constables. Judge Holdridge has spoken at various LSBA programs. He is also a yearly speaker for the Young Lawyers of the Baton Rouge summer CLE program. In June of 2018, Judge Holdridge was awarded the Catherine D. Kimball Award for the Advancement of the Administration of Justice presented by the Louisiana Bar Association. He was also awarded the Presidents Award by the Baton Rouge Bar Association. In 2020, Judge Holdridge was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the LSU Law Center.

2019 Distinguished Jurist

Robert H. “Bob” Morrison III

Raised in Kingsport, Tennessee, Judge Robert H. Morrison III attended Rhodes College and graduated from the LSU Law Center in 1970. He spent 17 years in a general practice of law, was past president of the local bar associations, and served on the House of Delegates of the Louisiana Bar Association.

He was first elected to the bench in the 21st Judicial District and has served 32 years as a district judge, 29 of which as chief judge of the court. He began the first drug court program in the district and continues to preside over that program. He played a key role in working toward the construction of the new courthouse in Livingston Parish.

He was the recipient of the Bar Foundation’s 2013 Calogero Justice Award and is a fellow of the LBF. He is a past president of the Louisiana District Judges Association and has served for more than 20 years as its legislative chair and liaison. He has also served as chair of the Louisiana Law Institute’s Criminal Justice and Procedure Committee. He presently sits as a member on the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative Oversight Council.

He was a member and past chair of the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, past chair of the Judicial Council’s Committee to Evaluate Judgeship requests, serves on the Supreme Court’s budgetary control board and has served on the board of the Louisiana Judicial College and the Judge’s Supplemental Compensation Committee.

Judge Morrison has been married to the former Linda Eisworth for over 43 years, has two sons, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He is a member of the Live Oak United Methodist Church, where he sings in the choir and teaches Sunday School classes

2018 Distinguished Jurist

D. Milton Moore III

A lifelong resident of Monroe, Judge D. Milton Moore III received a B.A. in History from LSU and his J.D. from LSU Law School in 1976. Prior to election to the bench in 1988, Judge Moore had maintained a general civil and criminal practice of law in Monroe. At the age of 28, he was elected to serve on the first Monroe City Council, and served two terms, chairing the Council from 1984-1986.

He served for over 14 years on the Fourth Judicial District Court for Ouachita and Morehouse Parishes, serving as Chief Judge from 1997 – 1998. Judge Moore was instrumental in the establishment of the first Drug Court for the area and served as its first presiding judge.

He served on the Board of Directors of the Wellspring Alliance for Families for six years and served as chair from 2011 – 2012. He now serves on the Wellspring Foundation Board of Trustees. He is incoming chair of the Board of the St. Francis Medical Center Foundation and served on the first Governing Board of University Health-Conway.

Judge Moore has been married to the former Janet Little of New Orleans for 41 years and they have two grown sons, William and Douglas, and two grandsons, Griffin and Fisher. Judge and Mrs. Moore are members of Jesus the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, where he is a lector and has served as President of the Parish Council.

2017 Distinguished Jurist

Hon. James J. Brady (Posthumously)

Judge James J. “Jim” Brady received an undergraduate degree in history from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana in 1966 and a Juris Doctorate degree from the Louisiana State University Law School in 1969. Judge Brady served as a United States District Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana, May, 2000 to December, 2017. He took senior status on December 31, 2013.

He was active in the Federal Judges Association and has served as a member of the Association’s Board of Directors, and Fifth Circuit District Judges Association of which he is a Past President. Judge Brady was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct. In 1995, he was named Alumnus of the Year by Southeastern Louisiana University and received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities Degree from that institution. In 2014 he was named a Distinguished Achievement Honoree from the L.S.U. Law Center. Prior to his judicial appointment, he was associated or in partnership with Camille F. Gravel in the practice of law for twenty-three years, in the firm of Gravel, Brady & Berrigan. In August of 1997, Jim joined the firm of Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis and Eagan where he was the senior partner of the firm’s Baton Rouge office. Judge Brady and his wife, Karen, were married for 50 years.

2017 Distinguished Jurist

Hon. W. Eugene Davis

Judge Davis is a graduate of Tulane Law School, receiving an L.L.B. Degree in 1960. He received his undergraduate degree from Samford University. Judge Davis served as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana, 1976-1983. He was appointed United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit in November 1983.

Judge Davis is married to the former Celia Chalaron. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Maritime Law Association of the United States and the Louisiana Bar Association.

Judge Davis was appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules on October 1, 1995. He became Chairman of this Committee on October 1, 1997 and served as Chairman until October 2001 when his term of service ended.

Judge Davis received the prestigious 2014 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Fifth Circuit at the American Inns of Court Celebration of Excellence held at the Supreme Court of the United States in October of 2014. Judge Davis was inducted into the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame in March of 2015. In September 2017, Judge Davis was also honored by the Lafayette Bar Association (LBA) as he was inducted into the LBA Hall of Fame.

2016 Distinguished Jurist

Jeannette Theriot Knoll

Justice Jeannette Theriot Knoll served as a member of the Louisiana judiciary for 34 years. In 1983, she became the first woman to be elected to a reviewing court in state history when she won a seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. In 1996, she was elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court after defeating an incumbent. Since January 1, 1997, Justice Knoll has devoted herself to serving the Court, the judiciary, and the people of Louisiana. Over her impressive 20 year career as a Louisiana Supreme Court Justice, Justice Knoll has read and voted on over 58,000 writ applications and authored 185 full Supreme Court opinions.

In 1969, Justice Knoll graduated from Loyola College of Law. From 1969 to 1972, she served as an indigent defender in Avoyelles Parish. From 1972 to 1982, she served as the first Assistant District Attorney for the 12th Judicial District. In 1996, she earned a Master of Laws degree in the judicial process from the University of Virginia School of Law. In 2000, she was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame. In 2007, she was inducted, along with her whole family, into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. In 2017, she received the St. Ives Award from the Loyola College of Law.

Although Justice Knoll’s accomplishments are many, she ranks her family as her greatest blessing and her roles as wife, as mother, and as grandmother to be her most important vocations. She anxiously looks forward to a retirement-focused solely on her loving and large family with whom she joyfully resides in Marksville, Louisiana.

2015 Distinguished Jurist

Sarah S. Vance

On September 30, 2015, Sarah Vance completed her seven-year term as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She joined the Court in 1994. Judge Vance is a graduate of Tulane University Law School, was managing editor of the Law Review, and a member of the Order of the Coif. Judge Vance earned her Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University. Following law school, she joined the New Orleans firm of Stone, Pigman, Walther, Wittmann & Hutchinson, where she became a partner and practiced mainly in the areas of antitrust and commercial litigation. Judge Vance has authored over 3,200 written decisions. She has become a leader in the federal judiciary serving on the Judicial Conference of the United States, and was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts to serve on the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference. The Chief Justice also appointed her to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in 2013, and appointed her Chair of the Panel in 2014, the first woman to hold that position. Also by appointment of the Chief Justice, Judge Vance served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center for a three-year term from 2003 to 2007. She chaired the Center’s Committee on Judicial Education, and was actively involved in judicial education programs and mentoring newly minted federal judges. Judge Vance was also appointed by the Chief Justice to serve on the Bankruptcy Administration Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. 

2014 Distinguished Jurist

John W. Greene

Retired, 22nd Judicial District Court

Hon. John W. Greene (Ret.) graduated from LSU with a B.A. in Finance and received his J.D. from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. He served as a law clerk for the First Circuit Court of Appeal for two years, and operated a private law practice before being elected Judge, Division D, 22nd Judicial District Court in St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. He was re-elected three times, serving from 1976 to 1997. He was appointed Judge ad hoc on the 1st and 5th Circuit Courts of appeal and served as ad hoc Judge by appointments from the Louisiana Supreme Court. He mediated for 10 years and is still arbitrating. He is serving on the Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee by appointment from the Louisiana Supreme Court. He also serves as Independent Counsel for the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. In 1981 Greene founded the Youth Service Bureau serving St. Tammany and Washington parishes, an organization that serves troubled and at-risk youth in the North Shore area. He served on numerous boards and committees in St. Tammany Parish. 

2013 Distinguished Jurist

Carl E. Stewart

United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart received his B.A. degree from Dillard University in 1971 and his J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in 1974. Immediately following admission to the Louisiana Bar Association in October 1974, he entered the United States Army and served as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps until October 1977. Following his service as a military lawyer, he served as a Staff Attorney with the Louisiana Attorney General?s Office, Assistant United States Attorney, Special Assistant City and District Attorney, and private practitioner. In 1985, he was elected as a District Judge for the First Judicial District Court of Caddo Parish and was reelected without opposition six years later. In 1991, again without opposition, he was elected to the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal. In 1994, he was appointed to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. On October 1, 2012, Chief Judge Stewart became the first African-American Chief Judge on the Fifth Circuit.

2012 Distinguished Jurist

Eldon E. Fallon

United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana

Judge Eldon E. Fallon was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the Senate in 1995, to the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana. He received his B.A. from Tulane University, his J.D from Tulane University Law School and a LL.M. from Yale.

His legal career started as an Associate at Kierr and Gainsburgh, where he became partner and the firm became known as Kierr, Gainsburgh, Benjamin, Fallon and David. He was Adjunct Professor at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. He has been a United States District Judge since 1995.

He has authored, Trial Handbook for Louisiana Lawyers, Lawyers Co-Operative Publishing Co., First Edition, 1981, Second Edition, 1992; Third Edition, 2007. Offshore Oil Field Litigation-Cases and Materials, Tulane University School of Law; and voluminous law review and law journal articles, and numerous presentations at continuing legal education seminars.

Judge Fallon has received numerous awards: President’s Award, 1980 and 1988, and Lifetime Achievement Award, 1987, all from LA State Bar Association; LA Medaille de la Ville de Paris, 1983; Nat’l Pro Bono Publico Award, American Bar Association, 1987; Distinguished Attorney, LA Bar Foundation, 1989; American Judicature Society, Herbert Harley Award, 2005; American Bar Association, Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Pursuit of Justice Award, 2005; American Board of Trial Advocates, The Thomas Jefferson Award, 2008.

Judge Fallon has served many organizations: LA State Bar Association, president, 1985-86; American College of Trial Lawyers, state chair, 1991-92 and 1992-93; LA Supreme court Historical Society, chair of board, 1992 – 2002; LA Bar Foundation, president, 1995; LA Trial Lawyers Association, governor, 1969-70 and 1980-81; Association of Trial Lawyers of America; American Bar Association; American Board of Trial Advocates; Maritime Law Association of the U. S.; Society of American Law Teacher

2011 Distinguished Jurist

Benjamin Jones

The Honorable Benjamin Jones has served as state district court judge for the 4th Judicial District for 19 years. He was Chief Judge from 1999 through the end of 2002. He is a former Army Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of Captain. Judge Jones earned his B.A. degree from Southern University and his J.D. from Boston College Law School, from which he graduated in 1969. After graduating from law school, Judge Jones practiced law as a legal services attorney and managing attorney, served a tour of duty as an Army officer, served as an assistant U.S. attorney, Deputy legal counsel to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, and as a Chief Administrative Law judge. He returned to Louisiana in 1979 and practiced law for 13 years before being elected to the bench. During this period, he served a term as President of the Fourth Judicial District Bar Association. He is a graduate of the National Judicial College and has presented at many conferences for the Louisiana Judicial College. He is a past President of the Louisiana District Judges Association and has served as a Member and Chairman of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana. While serving as a member and President of the Louisiana District Judges Association, he secured approval to organize the Judges in the Classroom Program, which he chaired for ten years. In 2010, Judge Jones secured approval to organize the Judges’ Assistance Program, the mission of which is to address the problem of judges sitting while impaired. Judge Jones served as judge pro tempore on the Second Circuit Court of Appeal in 1994. From June 1, 2009 to November 19, 2009, Judge Jones served as an Associate Justice pro tempore on the Louisiana Supreme Court.

2010 Distinguished Jurist

Fredericka H. Wicker

Judge Fredericka H. Wicker is a 1977 alum of Tulane Law School. After practicing law for 20 years as a state and federal prosecutor and a civil litigator she joined the 24th Judicial District Court in 1997. There Wicker was a member of the court’s management team and the Drug Court administrator. She was also the president of the Louisiana District Judges Association.


In 2006 she joined the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. Currently Wicker is co-chair of the LSBA Diversity Committee, the LJC/LSBA Summer School and the Criminal Justice Summit. She is also the La. Supreme Court’s designee to the Louisiana Sentencing Commission, a member of the Louisiana Judicial College Board of Governors, coaches the Louise S. McGehee School mock trial team, and is on the Family Services of Greater New Orleans Board of Directors.

Wicker is married to T. Carey Wicker and they are the parents of Ben, a freshman at the University of Richmond, T.C. a junior at Georgetown University, and Freddi , a 2010 alum of the University of Virginia, currently teaching in Biarritz, France.

2009 Distinguished Jurist

Frank J. Polozola

The Honorable Frank J. Polozola is a United States District Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana. He was sworn in as a United States District Judge on May 29, 1980, after having been nominated by President Jimmy Carter. He served as Chief Judge of the Middle District of Louisiana from September 1, 1998, to August 31, 2005, and became a Senior Judge on January 15, 2007. Prior to his Presidential appointment, Judge Polozola served as part time Magistrate Judge from April of 1972 until he was appointed the first full time Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana in October of 1973. Judge Polozola served as a Magistrate Judge until his appointment as District Judge. He began his legal career serving as a law clerk to United States District Judge E. Gordon West of Baton Rouge. Following his work with Judge West, he entered private practice and subsequently became a partner in the law firm of Seale, Smith and Phelps in Baton Rouge.

As an undergraduate, Judge Polozola attended Louisiana State University on an athletic scholarship where he was a two year letterman and was a member of the 1961 Southeastern Conference Champion baseball team. From 1962-65, Judge Polozola attended LSU Law School, where he received his J.D. in 1965, and received the BNA Award for the senior who increased his GPA the highest as a senior law student. He was selected for Law Review but was not able to serve because of work responsibilities. He was named an honorary member of Omicron Delta Kappa honorary leadership society in 1979. In 1987, he was inducted into the LSU Law School Hall of Fame. More recently, he was inducted into the Order of Coif.

Over the years, Judge Polozola has held leadership positions in several organizations that work to improve the administration of justice of the federal courts. While a magistrate judge, Judge Polozola served as the Treasurer, Second Vice-President, First Vice-President, and President of the National Council of United States Magistrate Judges. He has also served as President, President-Elect, and Secretary of the District Judges Association of the Fifth Circuit, as a member of the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council, on the Committee of the United States Magistrate Judge System for the Judicial Conference of the United States, on the Space and Staffing Committee of the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council, was appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to serve as chairman of the Federal Judicial Center’s Committee on District Judges Education, which plans and implements CLE programs for District Judges, as a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association Federal-State Court Liaison Committee, as a member of the National Alumni Board of the LSU Law Center, and as a member of the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association Civil Jury Charge Committee.

He is a current member of the LSU Alumni Baseball Committee and served for 22 years as a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic High School. He is a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association, the Wex Malone American Inns of Court, where he served as president, the Federal Judges Association, and the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association. Judge Polozola was also an adjunct professor of law both at LSU Law Center and at Southern University Law School. Besides teaching at the two law schools in Baton Rouge, Judge Polozola has also been on the faculty of the Federal Judicial Center since 1980.

He has been instrumental in establishing the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program and Job Challenge Program for at-risk youths at the Gillis W. Long Center in Carville, Louisiana, and continues to support these two programs and the Job Corps Program which is also at the Gillis W. Long Center.

Recent achievement awards include: Recognition Award from the LSU School of Social Work for Outstanding Contributions to Mental Health and Correctional Services; Law League of Louisiana’s Bernard J. Caillouet Award for Outstanding Contribution in Law Related Education; Knights of Columbus Council #3298 Person of the Year in 1993; 1994 Citizen of the Year award by the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; 1994 inductee into the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction; Catholic High School Hall of Fame; the Capital City Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Distinguished American Award; Pelican Award by the Louisiana National Guard Youth Challenge Program; 1993 LSU Baseball Alumni of the Year; the Eagle Award by the Louisiana National Youth Challenge Program; 2006 President’s Award from the Baton Rouge Bar Association; 2006 LSU Athletic Department Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award; a 2001 inductee into the American-Italian Athletic Hall of Fame; Southeastern Conference 75th Anniversary Person of Character Award; 2008 inductee into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame; and Louisiana Bar Foundation 2009 Distinguished Jurist.

He is married to Linda Kay White and has three children, Gregory Polozola, Sheri Vutera, and Gordon Polozola, and seven grandchildren, Dustin, Danielle, and Bradley Vutera, Sean and Alana Polozola, and Evan and Sophia Polozola.

2009 Distinguished Jurist

Ralph E. Tyson


Ralph E. Tyson, was a Judge in Division C of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After graduating from Southern University Laboratory School in 1966, Judge Tyson received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1970 at Louisiana State University and his Juris Doctor Degree from the LSU Law School in May, 1973.

Judge Tyson was admitted to the practice of law in Louisiana in October, 1973, and subsequently was employed as Special Counsel and Assistant Attorney General in the Louisiana Department of Justice; Assistant District Attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish; and, for over nine years, was the Chief City Prosecutor for the City of Baton Rouge. During this time, Judge Tyson was also actively engaged in the private practice of law for over 15 years, first with the firm of Pitcher and Tyson and, finally, with the firm of Tyson, Avery & Cunningham.

In October, 1988, Judge Tyson was elected to a vacant seat in Division B of the Baton Rouge City Court where he presided for over five years. During that time, he was elected to serve as Treasurer of the Louisiana City Judge’s Association and, later, as Secretary of that organization.

In January, 1993, Judge Tyson was elected without opposition to Division B of the 19th Judicial District Court where he presided over misdemeanor and felony criminal trials. From July, 1997, to June, 1998, Judge Tyson served as the Chief Criminal Judge of the 19th Judicial District Court. During this time, Judge Tyson also served as Judge Pro Tempore on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal by special appointment of the Louisiana Supreme Court from May, 1997 to October 31, 1997.

On April 2, 1998, President Clinton nominated Judge Tyson to a newly created judgeship in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 31, 1998, and Judge Tyson then became the first African-American federal judge in the Federal Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. On September 1, 2005 Judge Tyson became Chief Judge of the Federal Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.

Judge Tyson was married for to the former Patricia Jordan. They have four children, Chris, Todd, Eric and Cara. Judge Tyson was a lifelong member of Wesley United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Board of the General Health System in Baton Rouge and, on September 24, 2009, Judge Tyson was recognized as the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the LSU Law Center.

2008 Distinguished Jurist

Bernette Joshua Johnson

Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson was elected Associate Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1994, and was reelected, without opposition, in 2000. Since she has been on the Supreme Court, Justice Johnson has been appointed to the Legal Services Task Force, and has served on the Judicial Council of Louisiana. She is the Supreme Court’s contact person for the National Campaign on best practices in the area of Racial and Ethnic Fairness In the Courts, and has worked closely with the Court’s Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Committee, and the Committee on Bar Admissions.

In 1984, Justice Johnson was the first woman elected to the Civil District Court in New Orleans. She was reelected without opposition in 1990, and was elected Chief Judge by her colleagues in 1994. Justice Johnson attended Spelman College in Atlanta on an academic scholarship, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. One of the first African-American women to attend the Law School at Louisiana State University, she received her Juris Doctorate degree in 1969.

Prior to her election to the bench, Justice Johnson spent much of her legal career working in the public sector. She has been a legal services attorney, and a Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. Justice Johnson has worked as a law intern with the U.S. Justice Department, Civil Rights Division, and as a community organizer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City. She helped to organize household workers, so they would receive social security benefits and a minimum wage.

In 1996, Justice Johnson’s portrait was unveiled, and she was inducted into the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame. Justice Johnson is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award in 1998. She was the recipient of the first Ernest N. Morial Award given by the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation and the A.P. Tureaud Citizenship Award given by the Louisiana State Conference, NAACP. In 2000, she was presented the Medal of Honor by the Mayor of the City of New Orleans. Also, in 2000, she received the Women of Wonder award presented by the National Council of Negro Women. In 2001, Justice Johnson received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Spelman College. In 2005, she was presented the Judicial Public Service Award by the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine of North and South America and its Jurisdictions. Inc.

Justice Johnson organized the first Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program for the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society and was Chair of the CLE Committee. She was given the Martinet’s President award in1997 and 2008. She is a Fleur De Lis member of the New Orleans Bar Association, and is active with several committees of the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA). She was presented with the LSBA President’s award in 2005, for her work as co-chair the Diversity Committee. In 1998, she Chaired of the National Bar Association Judicial Council, where she also served a term as Secretary. She is currently a member of the A.P. Tureaud Inn of Court and the Louisiana State Law Institute. She is an active member of the National Association of Women Judges. She has served as a District Director, and is now active with the Women in Prison Project.

2007 Distinguished Jurist

Thomas F. Daley

Judge Thomas F. Daley currently serves on the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and has served on that Court since 1996. Prior to serving on the appellate court he served as District Judge on the 40th Judicial District Court beginning in 1991. Judge Daley received his Masters in Law from the University of Virginia School of Law, his Jurist Doctorate from Loyola University School of Law, and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and English from Rutgers University.

Judge Daley is a member of the Louisiana Judicial College Board of Governors and currently chairs the Louisiana Judicial Council’s Court Costs Subcommittee. He is Chairman of the Louisiana Bar Foundation Education Committee. He has previously served on the Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics, the Supreme Court Committee on Preparation of Appellate Records, the Supreme Court Committee on Legal Internship, and the Lake Maurepas Park Commission. He was an Assistant Bar Examiner for the Louisiana Bar Association from 1993 to 2002.

Judge Daley has co-authored a Treatise entitled “Louisiana Law on Lawyering” and “A Practical Digest of Louisiana Class Action Decisions.”

Judge Daley is an Adjunct Professor at LSU School of Law teaching Pre-trial Procedure, and is a recipient of the Honorary Order of the Coif from the LSU School of Law. He frequently lectures in CLE programs for the Louisiana Judicial College, Louisiana Bar Association, and LSU School of Law on topics ranging from Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, Appellate Procedures, Judicial Ethics, and Class Actions.

Judge Daley is very active in the St. John the Baptist Parish community and chairs the Keep St. John Beautiful Committee. He is an active member of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Margaret Mary Versaggi, and has two daughters, Bernadette and Monique.

2006 Distinguished Jurist

Catherine D. “Kitty” Kimball

Justice Catherine (Kitty) Kimball was elected associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court in November 1991, becoming the first woman to serve on that court. She is a graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University and served as district judge in the 18th Judicial District prior to being elected to the Supreme Court. Her previous legal experience includes law clerk, United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Special Counsel, Louisiana Attorney General’s office, General Counsel, Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, and private law practice in New Roads, Louisiana.

Justice Kimball is a founder of the Sunshine Foundation, which distributes free books annually to Louisiana’s pre-schoolers to enhance self-esteem regardless of personal circumstances. To date, the Louisiana National Guard has distributed over 500,000 free books to Louisiana children.

Justice Kimball currently serves as chair of the Louisiana Budgetary Control Board; chair, Louisiana Supreme Court Technology Committee; chair, Court Committee Southeast Louisiana Criminal Justice Recovery Task Force; chair, Louisiana Integrated Criminal Justice System Policy Board. She also serves on the Paul M. Hebert Law Center Search Committee; Louisiana Children’s Cabinet; Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission; and Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice. She is one of two judges on the COSCA/NACM National Center for State Courts Joint Technology Committee.

Justice Kimball has been inducted into the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame and the Louisiana State University Law Center Hall of Fame. She was selected as the Outstanding Alumni of the LSU Law Center in 1999. She received the Outstanding Judicial Award from Victims & Citizens Against Crime Inc. and was nominated on three occasions for the YWCA Women of Achievement Award. She was honored as one of the 25 Women of Achievement by the Baton Rouge Business Report in 1997 and received the 2002 Louisiana CASA President’s Award as well as the 2003 Ambassador for Children Award from the Louisiana CASA Association. She was recently honored by Crimestoppers with the Crimestoppers Criminal Justice and Community Service Award.

2005 Distinguished Jurist

Jay C. Zainey

Hon. Jay C. Zainey was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 19, 2002. He is a graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University and he served in the United States Air Force Reserves from 1970-76.

Judge Zainey and New Orleans Attorney Mark Surprenant founded SOLACE, a Louisiana State Bar Association program, which provides services to members of the bar association and the entire legal community who experience family tragedies. There are currently approximately 1900 volunteer attorneys throughout the state who participate in the SOLACE Program. SOLACE was instrumental in assisting attorneys who were displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina in finding housing, office space, office furniture and books.

In May 2004, Judge Zainey organized the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (H.E.L.P.) Program. Over 350 attorneys provide legal consultation and notary services at four homeless centers in New Orleans. He is organizing similar programs in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Shreveport, Alexandria, New York City, Washington, DC, and Memphis.

In October, 2004 Judge Zainey and his wife Joy founded the God’s Special Children Program. The program includes a monthly mass for people with special needs, their families and friends.

Judge Zainey has also worked with the Louisiana State Bar Association to Provide Legal Services for Persons with Disabilities in providing pro bono legal services to people with disabilities and their families.

While currently carrying a full docket in the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Zainey also assists his colleagues by presiding over cases in both the Southern District of Texas and the Southern District of Mississippi.

He is past president of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Jefferson Bar Association, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Pro Bono Project, the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Magnolia Special School, and is President of the Judge John C. Boutall American Inn of Court. He also currently serves on the American Bar Association’s Hurricane Katrina Task Force, and has recently written an article about the H.E.L.P. Program which will be included in a book entitled “Lawyer’s Working to End Homelessness,” a book published by the American Bar Association’s Commission on Homelessness and Poverty.

2004 Distinguished Jurist

Nancy Amato Konrad

The Honorable Nancy Amato Konrad is the senior judge of Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court, Section “C”. A graduate of Ursuline Academy, Loyola University New Orleans, and Loyola University School of Law, Judge Konrad began her private practice of law in 1965. In 1980 she was elected Juvenile Court Judge in Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court, Section “C”. She has the distinction of being the first female Judge in the history of Jefferson Parish.

She is the 1993 recipient of the Loyola University Adjutor Hominum Award, 1999 Judge Richard Ware Award, the 1999 FINS Award, the 1999 Champion for Children’s Award, the 2000 Public Elected Official of the Year awarded by the Louisiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and the 2003 Judge of the Year Award by the Louisiana CASA.

Judge Konrad is currently involved in many community organizations including, Member of Ursuline Academy Board of Directors; Member of the Loyola University School of Law Visiting Committee; Member of United Way Women’s Leadership Initiative Governing Board; Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA); Jefferson Parish Bar Association; Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity; National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; Member & Treasurer Louisiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (President 1988-89); American Judges Association; National Association of Women Judges; Louisiana Law Institute Children’s Code Revision Committee; and Louisiana Association of Elected Women. In addition, she is a former member and board member of numerous other organizations in her community.

Judge Konrad is also recognized for her special and continuing contributions to the Louisiana Juvenile Justice System. In 1984, she was one of two Louisiana Court judges selected by the Louisiana Supreme Court to pilot a Program for Citizen Review of Foster Care. In 1985, she served as the Chairperson of the Juvenile Judges’ Benchbook Project whose ambitious undertaking organized and published all existing substantive and procedural juvenile law into a one-volume desk reference book for judges exercising juvenile court jurisdiction. She was the chairperson of the Children’s Code Project, a project, which compiled and rewrote all substantive and procedural laws affecting juvenile court jurisdiction. This comprehensive Code was passed into law at the 1991 regular session of the legislature. She was the Co-lead Judge of the Louisiana Task Force for Foster Care Reform, 1984. Judge Konrad served as Chairperson of the Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board, in addition she served as a representative for both the Louisiana Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges and for the Louisiana Supreme Court on the Louisiana Children’s Cabinet. In 2002, Judge Konrad along with Judge Gray in Orleans Parish Juvenile Court were both selected by the Louisiana Supreme Court to pilot a Mediation Program dealing with dependency cases. This pilot program has been very successful. The project is now focusing on developing the programming and funding to implement the project in other courts throughout the state. Judge Konrad has also been very involved in working toward the full implementation of the Juvenile Justice Reform Initiative envisioned by Chief Justice Calogero in his 2001 State of the Judiciary Address to the joint session of the house and senate of the Louisiana legislature.

2003 - 1986 Distinguished Jurist

2003- Tom Stagg*
2002- Henry L. Yelverton*
2001- Harry T. Lemmon, Richard J. Putnam* 
2000- Nauman S. Scott*, Steven R. Plotkin
1999- John M. Shaw*, Edwin F. Hunter, Jr.* 
1998- C. William Bradley*
1997- Morey L. Sear*
1996- Walter F. Marcus, Jr.* 
1995- Graydon K. Kitchens, Jr.
1994- Alfred A. Mansour* 
1993- Melvin A. Shortess
1992- Kaliste J. Saloom, Jr.
1991- Pascal F. Calogero, Jr.
1990- Robert M. Fleming*
1989- James C. Gulotta*
1988- Alvin B. Rubin*
1987- John A. Dixon, Jr.*
1986- John Minor Wisdom*