April 18, 2017
New Dean’s Advisory Board member Judy Perry Martinez (L ’82) talks with board member Randy Ebner (L ’80), general counsel of ExxonMobil, and Dean David Meyer at a New Orleans conference for attorneys in the energy law field.
New Dean’s Advisory Board member Victoria Reggie Kennedy (L ’79) speaks to students and donors at Tulane University’s Celebration of Scholarship March 19.
Photo by Tracie Morris Schaefer
With the addition of eight members over the past two years, the Tulane Law Dean’s Advisory Board has further expanded its role in providing vital support for the future of the law school.
In March, the newest members joining the board were Victoria Reggie Kennedy (L ’79), Judy Perry Martinez (L ’82) and Laurie Smiley (L ’89).
The 46-member board meets as a group twice a year to discuss developments affecting the law school and to advise on strategies for positioning Tulane Law for the future.
In 2014, the group rewrote its bylaws to enlarge the role of members in supporting the school.
“The past seven years have been a time of unprecedented challenge and transformation both for the legal profession and for legal education,” Dean David Meyer said. “In keeping Tulane out in front of this change, we’ve been extremely fortunate to be guided by a group of remarkably devoted and talented alumni leaders.”
The advisory board includes a diverse cross-section of law firm leaders, judges, general counsel and leaders in business, the bar and public service. Board members have played important roles in many recent innovations at the law school, including Tulane’s distinctive lawyering skills boot camp and an expansion of the school’s transactional skills curriculum.
New Dean’s Advisory Board member Laurie Smiley (L ’89) is London-based and helping organize an October Tulane Law alumni event in London.
Kennedy, Martinez and Smiley came on board in time for the March 24 meeting held in conjunction with the alumni luncheon recognizing the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame 2017 honorees.
Kennedy is senior counsel in the corporate and securities practice group at Greenberg Traurig in Washington, D.C. and is board president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, a museum and nonpartisan organization in Boston dedicated to educating the public about the unique role of the Senate in American democracy. With her family, Kennedy in 2014 endowed a Tulane Law scholarship honoring her late father, Judge Edmund Reggie (L ’49).
Martinez is a veteran of firm and corporate practice and one of the most prominent leaders in the American Bar Association. She spent 21 years as a litigator at Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn, then 12 years at Northrop Grumman, where she managed litigation for the western half of the United States and later was vice president and chief compliance officer. She's now of counsel at Simon, Peragine.
Martinez’s American Bar Association leadership roles include chairing the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary; Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services; Young Lawyers Division; and ABA Commission on Domestic Violence. She most recently sat on the ABA Task Force on building public trust in the American justice system.
At the Dean’s Advisory Board March meeting, she led a discussion of the implications of the ABA’s “Report on the Future of Legal Services in the United States,” an ambitious assessment of the fundamental drivers remaking the legal profession and legal education. Martinez had chaired the ABA Presidential Commission that released the report in 2016.
Smiley has spent more than a decade counseling wealth managers. She is CEO and an executive director of Tak Advisory Limited based in London. She was general counsel to London-based private investment firm Alta Advisers until 2015 and currently serves on its board of directors. Earlier, she was general counsel for Cascade Investment, which manages Bill Gates’ wealth, and for Gates’ related investment office. She previously had practiced with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and Hong Kong, then as a partner at Stoel Rives, Cooley Godward and Orrick Sutcliffe & Harrington in Seattle.
In 2016, new faces on the board were Dick Crowell (L ’65) of Alexandria, Louisiana; New York attorney Dan Kusnetz (L ’82); Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard shareholder Rose McCabe LeBreton ( L '76); Michael Rubenstein ( L '93), managing partner of Liskow & Lewis’ Houston office; and Graham Williams (L ’15), an Adams and Reese associate.
Crowell, a longtime civic leader in Alexandria, Louisiana, was a name partner in his own firm for more than 45 years and served on multiple corporate boards, including Whitney Holding Co. He chairs the board of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana and recently published a history of southwestern Louisiana, The Chenier Plain. He endowed the Richard B. Crowell Scholarship in honor of his 50th Tulane Law reunion.
Kusnetz is a Schulte Roth & Zabel partner in New York City who handles tax planning for complex transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring and other multimillion-dollar deals. He has served as tax counsel to debtors’ and creditors’ committees in numerous Chapter 11 cases, including TWA, Drexel Burnham Lambert and Seaman’s/Levitz Furniture. He also has served on the law school’s transactional skills boot camp faculty.
LeBreton is a shareholder at the New Orleans office of Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard and chairs its commercial real estate practice group. She was Tulane Law’s assistant dean of admissions from 1977-1979 and for many years has organized law school alumni events, including the annual Tulane Law School Hall of Fame Luncheon.
Rubenstein, managing partner of Liskow & Lewis’ Houston office, is a litigator with a diverse commercial practice encompassing business bankruptcy, complex business litigation and criminal law. He has been Tulane Alumni Association president since 2013 and serves on the Tulane President’s Council. In 2015, he established the Michael Rubenstein Endowed Excellence Fund at Tulane Law.
Williams graduated cum laude with a certificate in Civil Law and was Student Bar Association executive president and a managing editor of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal. He helped launch a class gift campaign that was the first of its kind for Tulane Law and served as a model for subsequent classes to provide scholarships for future students. He’s a member of Adams and Reese’s litigation practice group and is helping to represent the perspectives of recent alumni in Dean’s Advisory Board discussions.
Note: This story was updated on April 18 and on April 24, 2017.