April 29, 2014
Attorney Rosie LeBreton (NC ’73, L ’76), who chaired the alumni planning committee, welcomes attendees to the 2014 Tulane Law School Hall of Fame luncheon on April 25.
Hall of Fame 2013 inductee John Giffen Weinmann (A&S ’50, L ’52) shares a laugh with 2014 honoree Paul Verkuil, former Tulane Law School dean, during the April 25 luncheon.
Professor Emerita Cynthia Ann Samuel (L ’72) speaks about her experience as a faculty member while accepting her 2014 Tulane Law School Hall of Fame award.
Robert Acomb Jr. (BBA ’51, LLB ’53), a maritime law authority and former adjunct professor, is recognized as a 2014 Tulane Law School Hall of Fame honoree.
Photos by Digital Roux Photography
The rich history of Tulane Law School — and its future — were celebrated April 25 as a large crowd of alumni, faculty, relatives and friends honored the second class of Hall of Fame inductees.
Veteran journalist Cokie Roberts spoke eloquently about her father, 2013 Hall of Fame honoree Hale Boggs, and the remarkable Class of 1937, some of whose most prominent members formed the People’s League to rid corruption from Louisiana government.
Honoree Cynthia Ann Samuel (L ’72), a law professor emerita who was the first woman on the law school’s tenure-track faculty, recalled that “my colleagues always wanted me to succeed.”
And former Dean Paul Verkuil, now chair of the Administrative Conference of the United States, announced that he and his wife, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, are providing an endowment to support faculty scholarship.
Roberts, in accepting the award for Boggs (A&S ’35, L ’37), said he and his classmates “basically went to law school with the purpose of making government better.” At Tulane, Boggs and fellow 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Marian Mayer Berkett helped form the People’s League, a grassroots organization dedicated to cleaning up state politics.
Boggs was elected to 13 terms in Congress and rose to House Majority Leader in 1971. He and his wife, Lindy Boggs, who succeeded him in office, championed civil rights. Roberts said that, like Berkett, as a woman she early on had trouble getting a job, but that changed because of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “The importance of having the law on your side is having rights on your side,” Roberts said.
Verkuil, a renowned administrative law scholar, is credited with energizing Tulane Law School’s research mission during his leadership of the school from 1978 to 1985. “I think scholarship must be preserved and celebrated,” he said in announcing the endowment for faculty research.
In addition to Samuel and Verkuil, the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees included Robert Acomb Jr. (BBA ’51, LLB ’53), a retired Jones Walker partner and leading national authority on maritime law and litigation who taught for decades as a Tulane Law School adjunct professor and led the Tulane Admiralty Law Institute.
Four new members were honored posthumously:
— Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Charles Erasmus Fenner (L 1855), a decorated Civil War veteran who served in the Louisiana Legislature, was president of the Board of Tulane and in 1894 helped lay the cornerstone for Gibson Hall and Tulane's Uptown campus.
— Mitchell Franklin, a legendary Tulane Law professor who was instrumental in reviving interest in Louisiana civil law and helped to found the Institute of Comparative Law (a forerunner of the Eason Weinmann Center for International and Comparative Law).
— John M. McCollam (L ’59), a preeminent Louisiana lawyer who also taught oil and gas law at Tulane from 1963 to 1987 and was a highly regarded mentor and colleague.
— Dorothy Dowling Wolbrette (NC ’42, LLB ’45), who as an assistant Louisiana attorney general argued a key case at the U.S. Supreme Court and went on to serve 12 years as an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration.
Hall of Fame selections are made by an alumni committee, in consultation with the dean, based on nominees’ distinguished professional achievements and enduring dedication to the mission and students of Tulane Law School. The Hall of Fame was created in 2012 with the support of an endowment gift by Mike Veron (A&S ’72, L ’74), founding partner of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson in Lake Charles, La., and his wife, Melinda.