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Professor Tonya Jupiter receives Martinet award for work in legal education

August 31, 2023 12:30 PM
Alina Hernandez ahernandez4@tulane.edu



Tulane Law Professor Tonya Rhodes Jupiter (L’94) is the recipient of the Dr. Norman C. Francis Award from the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society.

Jupiter, who is Tulane Law’s Associate Dean of Experiential Learning and Public Interest Programs, will receive the award at Martinet’s annual Scholarship Gala and Jazz Brunch to be held Sept. 16.

The prestigious award recognizes exemplary educators for their outstanding contributions to the legal community, scholarly discourse, and civic education.

“Dean Jupiter is an incredible leader in legal education at Tulane Law School and in the broader community,” said Interim Dean Sally Richardson.  “She has increased and improved experiential learning for our students, giving students more real-world, practice-ready opportunities."

Richardson continued, "In addition to being an excellent administrator and teacher, Tonya is also a wonderful person and Tulane alumna, giving of her time and talents to every student and colleague. To have her recognized by the Martinet Society is truly a testament to her extraordinary career.”

Jupiter has been a key educator in the experiential learning program, first as the Director of Pro Bono Programs and now in her current role as Associate Dean. Under her oversight, she expanded the Trial Advocacy program, Pro Bono program, the Intersession boot camps, and a variety of innovative field-learning initiatives.  She played a pivotal role in curricular development, working in consultation with adjunct and Trial Advocacy faculty to support and strengthen those programs and launch new opportunities for students to gain experience in the field. 

She has been the force behind making sure more than 600 law students connect with dozens of agencies and non-profits in need of assistance where they will serve out their pro bono hours. Students work doing research, interviewing clients and drafting memos and briefs alongside licensed attorneys, assisting the community’s most vulnerable clients.

“Your achievements in the field of legal education at Tulane are truly inspiring and have not gone unnoticed,” the Society wrote in awarding Jupiter the honor.

As a classroom teacher, Jupiter was elected by the 2021 graduating class to receive the Monte Lemann Award for Distinguished Teaching. For her work expanding pro bono programs, she was honored in recent years with the Louisiana Appleseed Access to Justice Pro Bono Good Apple Award.

Jupiter also has played a vital leadership role in efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the experiential program and at Tulane Law more generally. She has had a significant impact on diverse faculty recruitment, integrating EDI education and training into the experiential curriculum and broadening student mentorship.

Jupiter also helped organize Tulane’s successful inaugural Black Law Alumni Reunion Weekend in 2019 and 2023, serving as the lead faculty member connecting hundreds of Black Law Alumni to Tulane.

Prior to joining Tulane Law in 2016, Jupiter was in private practice, working with various private firms where she concentrated on civil defense litigation, including toxic torts, general casualty, and commercial and personal injury litigation. Jupiter clerked with the Hon. Michael G. Bagneris (L ’75) at Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans.