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President's Message October/November 2020

President's Message October/November 2020

Protecting Families During the Pandemic

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence recently reported that one in three women in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. According to the study When Men Murder Women by the Violence Policy Center, Louisiana is ranked 2nd highest in the nation for homicides related to domestic abuse. Domestic violence cuts across family, racial, and socioeconomic lines-impacting individuals regardless of race, age, or economic stature.

  pdf Click here for full article (195 KB)

Louisiana Bar Foundation Awards $8.7 Million for Civil Legal Aid

The Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF), a statewide organization,  recently awarded more than $8.7 million in grants to assist women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, the newly unemployed, and those facing loss of their homes with civil legal aid issues. Civil legal aid is free legal advice, representation, or other legal assistance provided to low-income and vulnerable people who cannot otherwise afford legal help.

Through a network of nonprofit, civil legal aid organizations who serve Louisiana’s poorest citizens, these funds will provide services that go to the very heart of the health, safety and security of many of Louisiana’s citizens and their families.

LBF President, Skip Philips said, “In these unprecedented times, the number of our citizens facing life-changing challenges increases every day. Through no fault of their own, more families find themselves qualifying for civil legal aid and more civil legal issues are surfacing. Civil legal aid is a vital component of the societal response to, and recovery from, the current public health crisis.”

Access to civil legal aid makes our community stronger by helping people avoid foreclosure, protect themselves from domestic violence, gain custody of loved ones, and safeguard economic security.

Click here to see a list of 2020-21 grantees receiving $8.7 million.

LBF Grant Application, LRAP Application Available online October 1

The Louisiana Bar Foundation’s (LBF) grant application for 2021-22 funding will be available online beginning Oct. 1. The deadline for submitting grant applications is Dec. 1, 2020. The Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) application for 2021-22 funding will be available online beginning Oct. 1. The deadline for submitting the LRAP application is Feb. 12, 2021. For more information, contact Renee LeBoeuf at (504)561-1046 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Grant applications will be available online at:

Link to grant application

Link to LRAP application


Louisiana Bar Foundation Statement on Social Justice

As the principal organization responsible for funding civil legal aid in Louisiana, the Louisiana Bar Foundation is keenly aware of its responsibility to organizations and volunteer lawyers who every day provide direct legal services to the marginalized and underserved members of our community. The clients of these volunteer lawyers and organizations might not otherwise have access to the courts and, by extension, to justice. The promise of “justice for all” rings hollow if those most in need do not have access to the courthouse or if our system of civil justice continues to fail them. The Foundation is committed to providing resources to organizations and volunteers alike who, by providing direct legal services to their clients,  are working every day to end discrimination and disparate treatment in housing, employment, health care and domestic relationships, and who thereby promote and achieve the social justice that should be at the heart of our society.

LBF Establishes Hurricane Laura Disaster Fund

Hurricane Laura Disaster Fund  Donate Now!

After a disaster, civil legal aid needs are dramatically increased.  Displaced families and individuals experience a variety of legal needs.  Many need help with successions and title clearing to access federal recovery dollars.  Domestic violence centers are impacted with increased residents.  Vulnerable children need protection due to family instability and separation.  The economic security of the elderly is in jeopardy.  The stories are powerful and heartbreaking. 
As a result of Hurricane Laura, the LBF is working with stakeholders on the local, state and national level to efficiently and effectively respond to the many disaster-related legal service needs, prioritizing the impacted areas.  We have established the Hurricane Laura Disaster Fund to address the following needs:

1.  Civil Legal Assistance for Victims - immediate legal services is a significant need facing Hurricane Laura victims.  Basic needs such as housing, employment, insurance and federal program benefits are issues for most citizens in the affected areas and not just for those living in poverty.  

2.  Assistance for Members of the Legal Community – direct relief to attorneys who lost their office or homes in the storm.

3.  Office Recovery Assistance – to provide displaced attorneys with access to computers, internet, copiers, phones, and office furniture lost in the storm.

Donations may be directed to the area of your choice or prioritized as needed by the LBF.  Make a donation to the Hurricane Laura Disaster Fund.  Checks payable to the Louisiana Bar Foundation/Hurricane Laura Disaster Fund may be mailed to 1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1000, New Orleans, LA 70112.  For more information, please contact LBF Associate Executive Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at (504) 561-1046.

The Louisiana Bar Foundation has a robust network of well-established partnerships with more than 70 legal aid providers across the state’s 64 parishes who are working hard to meet emergency civil legal needs. LBF stands with our community partners who are working even harder as more families need the help of Louisiana’s civil legal aid safety net to recover from the impact of Hurricane Laura and the pandemic.




COVID-19 and Louisiana’s Civil Legal Aid Network

In the COVID-19 era, the Louisiana Bar Foundation supported civil legal aid network are the first responders to those who need help navigating the legal system.


Unfair Eviction – Protecting Homes

     Although Orleans Civil District Court judges halted all residential evictions due to the pandemic, sanitation worker John Parker* found himself locked out of his apartment for paying his rent four days late. His landlady refused to comply.  She received a flood of phone calls, including staff from the Mayor’s Office who heard about it on social media.  After working with a Southeast Louisiana Legal Services attorney who filed a petition on Parker’s behalf, the judge ruled the eviction unlawful and ordered the landlady to allow him entry. Soon after, Parker had a shiny, brass key in his hand.  This time, thanks to his legal aid lawyer, the door opened.


Domestic Violence - Protecting Families

     Kelly Smith* endured years of abuse at the hands of her boyfriend. He berated her, beat her, and choked her. In the fall of 2019, when she was several months pregnant with their child, he threatened to kill her. In fear for her life, she finally broke of the relationship. She believed it was important for her child to have a relationship with his father, so she allowed him to have limited visitation.   

     In April, with the stay at home order still in place, the child’s father asked to deliver a gift to the child. As soon as he arrived, he snatched the child and fled. He refused to answer her phone calls or respond to any of her attempts to contact him. She called the police and was told they could not do anything without a restraining order from the court. With the help of a SLLS legal aid attorney, Kelly was able to obtain a temporary restraining order and her baby was safely returned to her.


Unemployment – Protecting Benefits

     After spending months balancing several part-time jobs, Sharon Wise* was excited to start a new full-time job in January 2020. She was relieved that she would finally be earning enough money to meet her family’s monthly expenses. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit our state. In April 2020, Sharon was laid off.

     She immediately applied for unemployment benefits hoping they would provide enough income to stabilize her family until she could get back to work. Weeks passed without any word on the status of her application. When she checked her application status online, she was shocked to find she had been disqualified. She was unable to resolve the problem and sought the help of a SLLS legal aid attorney. Within two days, the Unemployment Office removed Sharon’s disqualification and approved her for unemployment benefits.


Civil legal aid is a critical but often overlooked solution to helping vulnerable people and communities recover from disaster. Whether the disaster is natural, manmade, or a global pandemic, the type of civil legal needs that arise are similar. The economic hardship caused by business closures and illness creates conflicts only the civil justice system can resolve, such as:

Missed rent payments leading to eviction notices;
People being wrongly denied public benefits that can keep their families afloat (stimulus/unemployment);
Increased incidents of domestic violence due to quarantines;
Disputes over medical and consumer debt; and
Stay at home orders resulting in custody issues for minor children and an increase in abuse and neglect cases.

The inability to resolve these problems can tear families apart or drive people and an entire community further into poverty.

The Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF) is the single, largest statewide funder that is fully committed to ensuring that Louisiana’s civil justice system is accessible to all. With more than 30 years of experience serving as a trusted authority and responsible steward of funds, the LBF has a network of well-established partnerships with more than 70 grantees across the state’s 64 parishes that are leading community-driven efforts to help hundreds of thousands of Louisiana residents gain access to the civil justice system.




LBF President Appoints 2020-21 Chairs for Community Partnership Panels and Committees

Harry J. (Skip) Philips, Jr., the 2020-21 president of Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF) has appointed chairs for all Community Partnership Panels (CPP) and committees. Philips said, “Our volunteers are driven by a firm belief that all Louisianans deserve a fair and equal civil justice system, regardless of income.”

CPP chairs are Shannon Seiler Dartez, Acadiana; Teresa D. King, Bayou Region; Linda Law Clark, Capital Area; Elizabeth W. Randall, Central; Margaret E. Woodward, Greater Orleans; Thomas M. Hayes IV, Northeast; Hon. Page McClendon, Northshore; Paul L. Wood, Northwest; and Edwin F. Hunter III, Southwest. Click here for more info on LBF CPP’s

Committee chairs are Harry J. “Skip” Philips, Jr., Executive and Nominating Committees; Julie M. Lafargue, Building Committee; Deidre Deculus Robert, Communications Committee; Charles C. “Chuck” Bourque, Jr., Development Committee; Kerry A. Murphy, vice chair of Development Committee; Professor Russell L. Jones, Education Committee; Alan G. Brackett, Finance, Investment, Grants Committees;  Amanda W. Barnett, Governance Committee; Matthew R. Richards, Kids’ Chance Committee; Edmund J. Giering IV, Regional Grantee Board & Staff Training Committee. Click here for more info about LBF committees.


Make Your Nomination Now for 2020 Distinguished Honorees and Calogero Justice Award

Nominations for 2020 Distinguished Honorees and Calogero Justice Award must be submitted electronically by Friday, September 18, 2020.

Please take the time to submit the name(s) of nominees from your area. Be sure to include a brief statement on nominees. All nominations must be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, September 18, 2020.


2020 Distinguished Honorees

Each year at the Gala, the LBF honors a Louisiana distinguished jurist, attorney and professor who, by reason of his or her professional activities have distinguished themselves in their chosen career and have brought credit and honor to the legal profession.

pdf Click here to nominate a distinguished honoree. (77 KB)


2020 Calogero Justice Award

The Calogero Justice Award honors an individual or organization for a significant contribution to the Louisiana justice system.

pdf Click here to nominate a Calogero Justice Award recipient. (74 KB)


If you have any questions, please contact Danielle J. Marshall at 504-561-1046 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


President's Message August/September 2020

President's Message August/September 2020

During the public health emergency, the Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF) has maintained relatively normal operations, including making important decisions about grants for the coming year. We are very excited that we were able to maintain funding for our grants in this time of pandemic. As civil legal aid is a vital component of the public response to, and recovery from, the current public health crisis, support for civil legal aid will become an even more urgent necessity as civil legal problems continue to multiply in the long-term fallout from the pandemic.

Click here for full article.

President's Message June/July 2020

President's Message June/July 2020

In these unprecedented times, the number of our citizens facing life-changing challenges increases every day. Through no fault of their own, more families find themselves qualifying for civil legal aid and more civil legal issues are surfacing. Civil legal aid is a vital component of the societal response to, and recovery from, the current public health crisis.

Click here for full article

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