April 20, 2016
Alumna of the Year Marian Mayer Berkett (L '37) brought down the house with her acceptance remarks at the Tulane Law Review centennial celebration banquet April 14.
Photos by Tracie Morris Schaefer
Meredith and Jeremy Grabill (both L '06), pictured with U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman (L '57), helped ensure that the Tulane Law Review published without interruption after Hurricane Katrina struck.
In its first 100 years, the Tulane Law Review has seen cutting-edge scholarship, remarkable resilience and a fair share of enduring romances.
What started in 1916 as the Southern Law Quarterly, took an 11-year hiatus because of World War I, but since then has published continuously — even printing multiple issues on time after the destruction and months-long disruption caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The law review’s April 14 century celebration, attended by more than 200 former and current editors from across the country, connected the past to the future: from 103-year-old Alumna of the Year Marian Mayer Berkett (L ’37), who still practices at New Orleans’ Deutsch Kerrigan, to 2015-16 editor in chief Kyle Satterfield (L ’16), who recently was chosen to clerk for new 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo (L ’86) in 2018.
View a banquet photo album.
“I don’t remember a single time I ever was on the Tulane Law Review. They tell me I was,” quipped Berkett, whose name appears on the 1936-37 masthead along with classmate Hale Boggs, who later was elected to 13 terms in Congress and rose to Majority Leader. Berkett often is celebrated for being the first woman hired at a Louisiana law firm, but she credited co-founder Eberhard Deutsch as “a man of vision” who showed great courage in giving her the opportunity.
One of the oldest legal journals in the United States, the review has been led by students who’ve become leaders in the profession nationally and globally: federal judges, law school deans, professors and renowned attorneys.
Many law review veterans have remained connected as members of the board of advisory editors and through a separate alumni association that provides support including food for students studying for final exams.
Kyle Satterfield (L '16), Tulane Law Review editor in chief in 2015-16, has accepted a clerkship with 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo (L ’86) for 2018.
“Once you’ve not only survived something like that but thrived at it, you feel like you can do anything,” said advisory board member Kelsey Meeks (L ’10), an attorney at Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver who was senior managing editor in 2009-10.
She said working on the law review gave her confidence that she later channeled into launching a nationwide nonprofit to collect and distribute Halloween costumes to children who can’t afford them.
For the team that was displaced by Katrina just a week into the fall 2005 semester, the review provided some semblance of continuity and connection amid catastrophe.
Then-editors Meredith and Jeremy Grabill (both L ’06), who weren’t yet married, recalled that they didn’t evacuate New Orleans until two days after the hurricane, when it became clear that the city would be without services for months. But they ran out of gas in Mississippi, left his Jeep on the roadside to ride with passersby 100 miles to Jackson then met up with his father, who drove from Pennsylvania with 20 gallons of gas.
Adam Swensek (L '06) and Elizabeth Carter (L '07) met through the Tulane Law Review and celebrated their 10th anniversary at the April 14 banquet.
After they retrieved the Jeep and traveled to Pennsylvania, Jeremy dug out the engagement ring he had left hidden in the abandoned vehicle and proposed.
Meanwhile, Meredith, who was editor in chief, said she felt obligated to honor authors’ contracts, so she contacted one of them, a University of Texas professor who arranged with the UT dean to enroll 12 Tulane Law Review students for the fall semester and provide office space, FedEx access and other support. Though other team members were scattered across the country, the review came together: the third of six issues went to press by January, when Tulane reopened for spring classes.
“In the end, we published 2,043 pages, consisting of 40 articles and essays, five comments, five case notes, four book reviews and memorials,” recalled Meredith Grabill, now a Gordon Arata associate. (Jeremy Grabill is a Phelps Dunbar associate.)
The work “forced each of us to keep taking one step after another and provided a framework of normalcy and routine,” she said. “Most importantly, it created unique bonds of friendship that endure.”
Two members of that team, LSU law Professor Elizabeth Carter (L ’07) and New Orleans Assistant City Attorney Adam Swensek (L ’06), celebrated their 10th anniversary at the banquet. He got down on one knee to present her a gift — commemorating their first date, at a law review banquet.
Tulane Law Review Centennial Projects
As part of the Tulane Law Review centennial, the advisory board has two projects underway: gathering anecdotes and reminiscences for a book with publication expected late this year, and a campaign to create a $2-million endowment fund to ensure the review can cover its operating expenses and remain independent.
Donate to the Tulane Law Review Centennial Fund.
Share law review memories with Meredith Grabill or Aimee Quirk.