Each member of the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame Class of 2019 reshaped the law in their respective fields, and in some cases, changed the national discourse along the way.
One serves in Congress as the next generation of leaders in the House of Representatives. Another helped desegregate New Orleans Public Schools and Tulane University. One shaped corporate governance laws for decades, writing landmark decisions from the Delaware Supreme Court bench. One is a professor emeritus and a leader who helped Tulane rise post-Katrina, a commercial lawyer who twice served as interim provost. Another is a distinguished scholar of health and ethics law -- who still holds the record for having the highest GPA at Tulane Law -- who has served as a dean to three law schools. After 26 years on the bench, one is among the most accomplished bankruptcy judges in the country, still serving the law school on the Tulane Law Review board and through teaching the lawyering skills Boot Camp. And one fought in WWII, returned home to becoming a leading transactional lawyer who served both on the Tulane University Board of Administrators and as Chair of Tulane Medical Center.
They are alumni and faculty who represent the excellence of Tulane Law School, and on May 9, the law school honored them as the 2019 Class inducted into the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame. Among the speakers were family, friends and colleagues of the honorees. One speaker, Pearlie Elloie, a client of honorree Katherine Settle Wright and one of the first African-American students to enroll at Tulane, spoke of Wright's trailblazing efforts that led to the desegration of higher education, and captured the essence of the Hall of Fame distinction: "We are here because she wouldn't give up. We are here because one person did not turn the other way."
Indeed, every inductee reflects Tulane Law's mission of excellence and service.
|Gail Agrawal (L ’83): A New Orleans native, Gail Agrawal graduated first in her Tulane Law class -- and still holds the highest GPA ever recorded -- before going on to clerk for the legendary Judge John Minor Wisdom (L ’29). She practiced law in New Orleans before entering the academy and becoming a distinguished scholar of health law and ethics. She has served as Dean of three law schools, the University of Iowa, University of Kansas, and University of North Carolina law schools.|
|Professor Paul Barron: A distinguished scholar in commercial law, labor law, and ADR, Paul Barron joined Tulane’s law faculty in 1976 and was later appointed as the Moise Steeg Professor and the Class of 1937 Professor of Law. He twice served Tulane University as Interim Provost, as well as CIO, and played a key senior leadership role in the University’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina. He became the Class of 1937 Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 2013.|
|Judge Jerry Brown (L ’59): A Kentucky native, Judge Brown was a law clerk for Judge Wisdom during critical early period in the Civil Rights era and practiced law in New Orleans for three decades, during which he was elected as president of the state bar. Appointed a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in 1992 and now in his 26th year on the bench, Judge Brown is recognized as one of the most accomplished bankruptcy judges in the country. He serves actively on the Tulane Law Review’s Board of Advisory Editors and teaches in the Law School’s Lawyering Skills Bootcamp.|
|Cedric Richmond (L ’98): Congressman Richmond was elected to the Louisiana House of Representative in 2000, at age 27 and just two years after law school, becoming one of the youngest members ever to serve in the legislature. He was elected to Congress in 2011, representing Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District in New Orleans, serving on the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees. From 2017 to 2019, he was Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; in December 2018, he was appointed to a key Democratic leadership role as Assistant to the Majority Whip, in a move meant to “empower the next generation of leaders” of the House of Representatives.|
Posthumous honorees are:
|George Denègre (L ’48): A combat Navy veteran of World War II, Denègre joined Jones Walker soon out of law school and became a named partner, leading its transactional practice for decades; in addition to leading numerous New Orleans civic organizations, he served as Vice Chair of Tulane University’s Board of Administrators (1980-93) and Chair of the Tulane Medical Center (1977-83). He passed away in 2008.|
|Justice Andrew G.T. Moore (L ’60): After a prominent career as a corporate litigator in Delaware, Justice Moore was appointed in 1982 to the Delaware Supreme Court. During his 12-year tenure on the Court, he wrote 468 opinions including many landmark opinions shaping corporate governance and shareholder rights, including the Aronson, Revlon, and Unocal decisions, and is regarded as a figure of “towering importance” in cementing Delaware’s preeminence in corporate law. He co-founded the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and passed away in December 2018.|
|Katherine Settle Wright (L ’57): After graduating from the University of North Carolina law school in 1951 and practicing law at a major Chicago law firm, Katherine Settle Wright moved to New Orleans in 1954 and earned an LLM at Tulane Law School in 1957, studying constitutional law and the history of the 14th Amendment. She put that expertise to work shortly after graduating as a legal advisor to a volunteer organization working to desegregate New Orleans’ public schools. In 1962, she represented the plaintiffs Barbara Marie Guillory and Pearlie Hardin Elloie in a landmark lawsuit to desegregate Tulane University (where her husband was a mathematics professor), successfully arguing before Judge Skelly Wright that Tulane qualified as a state actor subject to the 14th Amendment; the litigation ultimately led the University board to voluntarily desegregate in 1963. Wright later returned to North Carolina, practiced law there until 1996, and passed away in 2008.|