Spotlight on Successful Women in the Law: Hattie Broussard

June 11 2021 | Committees

Hattie M. Broussard is a managing member and mediator at Broussard Dispute Solutions,  L.L.C (BDS), providing mediation services and a general civil law practice, including child custody and visitation, employment, wills, successions, and other civil matters. For over 40 years, Hattie has practiced law in the State of Louisiana with experience in personnel and employment law, enforcement of federal rules and regulations, interagency and community relations, criminal investigations, child custody and civil mediation. Prior to BDS, Hattie had a distinguished thirty-six (36) year career in federal service, having served as Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Louisiana, U.S. Department of Justice; Regional Counsel, U.S. Customs Service for Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee; and, Estate and Gift Tax Attorney, Internal Revenue Service, New Orleans, La. In  recognition of her expertise as a Senior Federal Attorney with extensive field experience,  Hattie was recruited in 2002 to join a fledging new federal agency, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  There, she  assisted in standing up the agency and federalizing the nation’s airports after the horrendous September 11, 2001, attack on our country. She retired from Federal Service in 2010, after serving for eight (8) years as the Supervisory Field Attorney, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration for Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.

After retiring from federal service, Hattie established BDS, L.L.C., and served for several years as a mediator for the Orleans Parish Civil District Court as a Child Custody Mediator, effectively assisting clients and the Court in resolving child custody disputes. She later served as the Clerk of the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, where she supervised all operations of the Clerk’s Office and handled all adoption filings. Currently, she has resumed her general civil law and mediation practice at BDS with her husband, Attorney Terrel J. Broussard.

Hattie attended Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge during the turbulent time of the Civil Rights movement, when very few African American students were present on the campus. She remembers vividly her first day at LSU, being dropped off by her parents at the dormitory at the age of 16, not knowing anyone and never having visited the campus before. She remembers coming to tears the next day as she walked without direction around the campus on the first day of registration, trying to find the location with no one to assist her. She was also present on the campus on the day of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and went with other Black students to the flagpole on the parade ground where they lowered the flag to half-mast. She remembers being afraid of the repercussions but felt that she was compelled to take a stand that evening. She remembers being relieved that the campus security officers surrounded them but did not interfere. The next day, the campus was closed for the remainder of the week and students were sent home. Hattie experienced many racially-motivated incidents at LSU. Nevertheless, she did not leave and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government.

Hattie entered law school the following fall semester at the age of 20 and earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she finished in the top 15 percent of her class and served on the Moot Court. During her 3L year at Tulane, she was disappointed to learn that the law school did not require the majority law firms in New Orleans to interview Black students. In spite of her high class ranking, none of the majority law firms that interviewed on the campus would respond to her letter of request for a job interview. Fortuitously, a classmate knew that the federal government was interested in hiring a recent graduate as an Estate Tax Attorney. Hattie applied for the position, was hired, and began her long and historic career as a federal attorney.

Hattie was the first African American female to serve as an Estate and Gift Tax Attorney in New Orleans. This was only one of several “firsts” as she moved through her years of federal service. While her original plan was to enter private practice in a large New Orleans law firm after law school, Hattie now appreciates the depth and breadth of the experiences that serving as a federal attorney provided.  As she became a senior and then supervisory attorney in the various organizations where she served,  Hattie was able to make a significant difference by being directly involved in drafting and enforcing federal laws, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures on a variety of issues that often affected the lives of every person in the country.

Hattie has a true passion for public service and volunteerism, recently serving as the Arts Facet Committee Chair of the Pontchartrain Chapter of The Links, Incorporated (President, June 2009 – May 2013), a member of The Links, Incorporated, National Arts Facet Committee,  and as a member of the New Orleans Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her civic involvement includes service as a Commissioner of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), Board Secretary of the Eastover Property Owners’ Association, Inc. (EPOA) and membership in the Independent Women’s Organization (IWO) and Together Louisiana.  She has also served as a Board member and past President of Family Service of GNO, a Board member and past President of the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans and as a Board member of the Finance Authority of New Orleans. Hattie is also an active member of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, where she is a member of the Mass Choir, Marriage Ministry, HOME Ministry, Sunday School and Scholarship Committee.

As an active member of the legal profession, Hattie is a member the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, the New Orleans Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Louisiana and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Hattie is married to Attorney Terrel J. Broussard and together they have two wonderful sons, Jeremy and Matthew and five (5) beautiful granddaughters.

 

Lynn Luker 
Women in the Profession Committee Chair

Each month NOBA's Women in the Profession Committee will spotlight a different female lawyer. WIP aims to support and celebrate successful women lawyers in New Orleans and their accomplishments. If you are interested in writing an article, please contact Lynn Luker for more information.

 


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