On October 25, 2019, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana held its 2nd Biennial Bench and Bar Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown New Orleans. Approximately 500 members of the Eastern District’s bench and bar were in attendance.
Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown opened the conference. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon followed the opening with a dedication to retired U.S. District Judge Helen “Ginger” Berrigan. U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey honored U.S. District Judge Peter Beer, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby followed by honoring retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles and retiring U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson. Afterwards, Chief Judge Brown acknowledged the contributions which various bar presidents made in planning the conference. These bar presidents included Cory Vidal, former president of the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, Jason Waguespack, president of the New Orleans Bar Association, and W. Raley Alford, III, former president of the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. In addition, both U.S. 5th Circuit Judge Carl Stewart and U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance were honored - Judge Stewart for his service as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Judge Vance for her service as Chair of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
After the conference opening, attendees received instruction on a variety of civil and criminal law topics, including A Primer on Attorney Discipline in the Eastern District (Eva Dossier and Darren Patin), A View from the New Kids on the Bench (U.S. District Judges Barry Ashe, Greg Guidry, and Wendy Vitter and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Grabill), an Introduction and Conversation with Priscilla Owen, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Chief U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown and Chief U.S. 5th Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen), Criminal Advocacy and Sentencing (U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, Federal Public Defender Claude Kelly, U.S.S.C. Deputy Director Alan Dorhoffer, and U.S.A.O. Chief of Trials Bill McSherry), U.S. Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit Updates (W. Raley Alford, III, Jason Waguespack, Southern Law School Vice Chancellor Shawn Vance, Tulane Law School Professor Stephen Griffin, and LSU Law School Professor Maggie Thomas), Settlement Conferences (U.S. Magistrate Judges Janis van Meerveld, Michael North, and Karen Wells Roby), The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Grabill, Mark Mintz, Leo Congeni, Cherie Nobles, and Timothy Kirkpatrick), Procedural Aspects of Disability & Medicare Appeals (Jason Waguespack, DHH Associate Chief Administrative Law Judge Tamia Gordon, SSA Administrative Law Judge Jeffery Morgan, and Wiebke Breuer), and ABC’s of Multidistrict Litigation (U.S. District Judges Carl Barbier, Eldon Fallon, and Jane Triche Milazzo, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael North, Kim Moore, and Gerald Meunier).
In addition, attendees were treated to a riveting and thought-provoking lunchtime presentation on Evidence-Based Sentencing given by retired U.S. District Judge and Harvard Law Professor Nancy Gertner.