Incoming Louisiana Chief Justice and Other Southern Justices and Judges to Speak in New Orleans at LSC Forum on Civil Legal Aid

January 22, 2013

WASHINGTON— Incoming Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson will join five other distinguished Southern justices and judges on Friday, January 25, at a forum on civil legal aid at the Louisiana Supreme Court Building.

The forum, which will be opened by LSC Board Chairman John G. Levi and Judge Madeleine M. Landrieu of the Louisiana State Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit, is being held in conjunction with the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Board of Directors’ quarterly meeting.

Joining Justice Johnson will be Alabama Supreme Court Justice Michael Bolin; Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jess H. Dickinson; Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan L. Hecht; Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr.; and Florida First District Court of Appeal Judge William A. Van Nortwick, Jr.

The panel will address LSC Board members and an audience of more than 100 attorneys, judges and other access to justice leaders from across Louisiana.  They will discuss the role of civil legal assistance for the poor in safeguarding the fair administration of justice.  Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow, vice chair of the LSC Board, will moderate the panel, which will take place from 9-10:45 a.m. at the Louisiana Supreme Court, 400 Royal St. in New Orleans.

The forum will also examine the role of legal aid in disaster preparedness and relief. Legal Services Corporation President James J. Sandman will moderate a panel of national and regional experts that includes Brad J. Kieserman, general counsel for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA);  Robert Horowitz, director of the American Bar Association Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness; Martha Bergmark, founding president  and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice; Paul E. Furrh, Jr., executive director of Lone Star Legal Aid; Raun Rasmussen, executive director of Legal Services NYC; Marta Schnabel, President of the Louisiana Civil Justice Center and O’Bryon & Schnabel shareholder; and Ranie T. Thompson, managing attorney for Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. The panel will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

At a luncheon following the panel discussions, Justice Dickinson will speak on Access to Justice: Past, Present and Future. He is a charter member of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, serves as the Mississippi Supreme Court's liaison to organizations providing legal services to the poor, and is a national advocate for equal justice.

LSC Board and committee meetings will take place on January 25th and 26th at the Hyatt French Quarter New Orleans 800 Iberville Street.  Details regarding the board and committee meetings may be found in a notice published on the LSC website.  Members of the public who are unable to attend may listen to open sessions of the board and its committees by telephone, using the instructions in the notice.


Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.