Yesterday, The New Orleans Bar Association and New Orleans Bar Foundation welcomed the Honorable Bernette J. Johnson for our Louisiana Supreme Court Luncheon. The program began with welcoming remarks from NOBA President, Mark Surprenant. Chief Justice Johnson then addressed the state of the legal profession in Louisiana, including the importance to our society and to our legal profession of lawyers working in Public Interest Law. To follow, the Mark A. Moreau Public Interest Law Award was presented to David H. Williams. The Mark A. Moreau Public Interest Law Award recognizes lawyers who have dedicated themselves to serving the poor through public interest law in the highest ideals of the legal profession. The award is named the Mark Moreau Public Interest Award to honor Mark Moreau's lifelong commitment to public interest law.
Other than Mark Moreau, David Williams, Litigation Director at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), is the first career public interest lawyer to receive this honor. David has shown his passion for fighting for the rights of people living with disabilities, becoming a nationally recognized expert in federal pratice and the complex and highly regulated area of Medicaid law. As Laura Tuggle, Executive Director of SLLS, said, "It is the good fortune of our agency and the clients we serve on a daily basis to have David Williams as the leader of our systemic advocacy and impact litigation."
The New Orleans Bar Association and New Orleans Bar Foundation created a Public Interest Law Fellowship in Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, to provide an opportunity for lawyers who wish to devote heir professional lives to providing legal services to the poor. The Fellowship wil enable bright legal minds to serve the public interest at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.