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Four receive law school Staff Excellence Award

August 10, 2021 10:45 AM



They are the people of Tulane Law that make student and faculty life a little smoother, who assist in programs that help the public or simply keep our building running.

Each year, Tulane Law recognizes the work of staff with the Staff Excellence Award, to honor those whose work – often behind-the-scenes – contributes in extraordinary ways to the school’s success.

This year there were four recipients:

Kesana Durand (L’09) is the Tulane Domestic Violence Clinic Grant Administrator since 2018, but her role has continued to expand ever since. A 2009 Tulane Law graduate, she has been pivotal in fundraising and navigating the work of key programs, including the Women’s Prison Project and a series of federal grants supporting the Domestic Violence Clinic. In her work, Durand monitors progress on programmatic goals, anticipates program and faculty needs and maintains strong internal and external relationships critical to program success.

“Kesana has provided pivotal leadership in the development of our local community partnerships, taking the time to attend events, conferences, and trainings even when they occur on nights and weekends,” read the nomination letter from clinic leaders.

“Her work reflects an intense curiosity and a drive to always push forward and imagine something better. It is the most valuable perspective a co-worker could bring to the table. Because of this trait, Kesana’s work has expanded well beyond grant administrator. She plays a leadership role in our new Women’s Prison Project, manages external partnerships, and strategizes as a partner in nearly every aspect of our program.”


Lori Garrett is the administrative legal assistant of the Tulane Law Clinics program, a position she held almost entirely since 2007.  In addition to duties of answering clinic phones and screening client calls, she is a trained paralegal and holds a post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies from the Tulane School of Professional Advancement. Over the years, Garrett's duties have expanded to include legal research on specific projects and managing some duties with court appointed clients.  Her work is crucial to the legal clinic’s mission, and her ability to navigate client issues –some of whom are juveniles – has left an impression on her colleagues. 

“Lori is an invaluable member of the Law Clinics and a key component of our continued successes,” the nomination letter read. “Her strong work ethic and unflagging joy that she brings to the job is infectious, and as the first line of communication and greeting for those calling or visiting the clinic. She is an excellent ambassador for Tulane. “


Jozette Kauffman is the Associate Director of Online Legal Education, the sole staff member driving the founding and expansion of Tulane Law’s online degree programs.  Kauffman joined Tulane Law in 2015, and is a jack-of-all-trades – de facto dean of admissions, dean of students and program administrator. The programs during her tenure have grown from one – the Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law – to four, including an extensive certificate program.

“Jozette is a consummate professional and the Labor Law program would never have attained the level of success it has achieved without her.  She works tirelessly and enthusiastically,” said the nomination letter. “She is the most outstanding employee I have ever worked with in my 45 years on this faculty.”


Brenda Tate is member of the Law School’s overnight custodial team. Her remarkable warmth and kindness toward students was noted this spring after her family suffered a tragedy with the death of her granddaughter’s husband.  Students collected money and gifts for her after noting that she routinely took an interest in their well-being as she cleaned classrooms. She offered them advice and helped them buck up when they were feeling overloaded.

“They are the reason I get up and go to work every day,” Tate said. “If it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure I’d go in!”

Her affection was returned in kind when students collected $1500 to help her family. Read the story here.