Young Lawyers Committee


~The LADC Young Lawyers Committee is where new lawyers get to know one another, and network with experienced professionals.~

In recent years the LADC Board of Directors has acted to provide more participatory opportunities for young lawyer members and to include them more in the governance of the Association.  However, the Board became convinced that young lawyers need their own committee to determine ways in which to increase their roles in the LADC.  In 2014, the Board formed the LADC Young Lawyers Committee.  Since that time, the roles of young lawyers in participating and governing have increased through communication between the YL Committee, the LADC Board, and initiatives started by the YL Committee and supported by the Board. 

The YL Committee is now a standing Committee provided for in the LADC bylaws.  Young lawyers speak at almost all LADC seminars, write columns for the LADC monthly newsletter, and organize their own mini-seminars.  These activities provide an excellent opportunity for young lawyers to get exposure in their field of interest. Perhaps the crown jewel of YL Committee initiatives has been the annual LADC Board and Young Lawyers Awards Dinner, at which the Frank L. Maraist and Young Lawyers Committee Member of the Year awards are presented. The lifeblood of an organization is in developing its younger members.  The LADC is grateful for the work of the Young Lawyers Committee.

The Committee is chaired by Valerie Fontenot along with a great group of members. Each person serves a three year team.  We thank our committee members who have completed their terms for their faithful service.

If you are interested in serving on the Committee or in assisting with any of the activities of the Committee, please contact the LADC at [email protected]


Valerie E. Fontenot – Chair, Baldwin, Haspel, Burke & Mayer

Valerie Fontenot joins Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer as an associate after working as an assistant attorney general for the Louisiana Department of Justice – Civil Litigation Division. Her practice is based in litigation of civil matters, particularly the trial and appeal of health care matters, including medical malpractice defense and regulatory and compliance. Valerie also has significant experience in the litigation and appeal of general liability cases in an array of areas, including high value motor vehicle accidents. Valerie’s areas of experience have provided her numerous opportunities to interact with many expert fields including medical causation, vocational rehabilitation, life care planning, bio-mechanics and economics. Valerie is originally from New Roads, Louisiana. She received her law degree cum laude from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center and her B.A. from Tulane University. She earned her Master of Public Health magna cum laude from the LSUHSC School of Public Health. Outside of the courtroom, Valerie is perfecting her practice of choosing, cooking and eating good food. She also enjoys traveling, reading and playing tennis. You can also find Valerie in the classroom, as she currently serves as an adjunct professor of civil litigation at Herzing University.


David Adams, Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea

David Adams is an associate in the New Orleans office of Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea, where he practices primarily in the areas of medical malpractice defense, toxic tort, and other casualty litigation. David graduated summa cum laude from Loyola law school in May 2016 and was a member of Loyola Law Review. Before law school, David earned his bachelor’s degree in Greek and Roman Studies from Rhodes College in December of 2012.




Erica Durr, Stamey & Miller, LLC

A native of Natchitoches, Erica Durr is with the firm of Stamey & Miller, LLC, practicing primarily in the field of insurance defense. She received her Toxicology degree with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Louisiana at Monroe before obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2012. Erica is licensed to practice law in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, and is a licensed teacher as well.


Erin Sayes Kenny, Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips LLP

Practicing law since 2011, Erin Sayes Kenny is a Partner at Taylor Porter, where she maintains a varied state and federal civil litigation and appellate practice, with an emphasis in alcoholic beverage licensing and related enforcement issues, commercial litigation, insurance defense and insurance coverage cases. Erin also has experience in personal injury, products liability and other tort litigation. She is admitted to practice in all Louisiana state courts; all federal district courts in Louisiana; and the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.



Leisa B. Lawson,  Louisiana Department of Justice - Alexandria Litigation

Leisa is an assistant attorney general in the Louisiana Department of Justice’s Alexandria Litigation office. Her practice focuses on general liability and civil rights defense of the State of Louisiana and its agencies. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, she worked at Gold, Weems, Bruser, Sues & Rundell, where her practice included defense of casualty, products liability and redhibition, and employment claims. Leisa has served as member of the LADC’s Young Lawyers Committee since 2014. In addition, she is the secretary of the Children’s Advocacy Network and a member of Rotary Club of Alexandria, where she serves on the Mentoring and Career Day committee. Leisa received her law degree from from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University in 2011, and graduated from Rice University in 2008.



Elizabeth Liner, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

Beth Liner graduated magna cum laude from Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University in 2012. Beth has been a member of the LADC since 2012, and she has served on the Young Lawyers Committee since 2013. Beth is an associate at Baker Donelson, and focuses her practice on Labor and Employment litigation. Beth helps to defend clients in claims brought under Title VII, FMLA, ADA, ERISA, FRSA and other grievances through litigation, mediation and arbitration. She also manages Department of Labor investigations, regularly responds to EEOC charges and drafts position statements and assists clients in updating employee handbooks.




Amber Barlow, Kuchler Polk & Weiner, LLC

Amber B. Barlow is an associate in the New Orleans office of Kuchler Polk Weiner, LLC, where she practices primarily in the areas of toxic torts, products and premises liability, and environmental litigation. Amber graduated magna cum laude from Mississippi College School of Law in 2012, where she served as Managing Editor of the Law Review, President of the Women’s Student Bar Association, Vice President of the Mississippi Defense Lawyer’s Association-Student Chapter, Law Student Bar Association Senator, and Mississippi College School of Law Honor Court Justice. Prior to law school, Amber completed her undergraduate education in 2009 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with minors in English, Classical Civilizations, and Sociology.


Thomas McCall, Jones Walker, LLP

Thomas McCall is an associate in the Baton Rouge office of Jones Walker LLP.  He has been with Jones Walker since 2013 and is a member of the firm’s Business & Commercial Litigation Practice Group.  A native of Lake Charles, Thomas earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Journalism cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2007.  After working in Chicago for three years, he moved back to Louisiana and earned his Juris Doctor degree and Diploma in Comparative Law magna cum laude from Louisiana State University in 2013. During law school, Thomas served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Brian A. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana



Kimberly R. Silas, Special Counsel - Language Access Coordinator

Kimberly Silas joined the Louisiana Supreme Court in February of 2018 as Special Counsel – Language Access Coordinator where she is responsible for developing and managing a language access program for Louisiana. She also serves as the Title VI Coordinator for the Court. Prior to joining the Court, Kimberly was an associate at Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver L.L.C. for nearly six years. Her primary practice was in the areas of insurance coverage and bad faith as well as commercial litigation. She was recognized by Louisiana Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2018. Ms. Silas is a member of many professional organizations including the Louisiana, New Orleans, and American Bar Associations, and the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Society, where she serves as Vice-President of Internal Communications. She also serves as Vice- Chair of the New Orleans Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, and serves on the Board of the New Orleans Bar Association. She is also a graduate of the 2015-2016 LSBA Leadership Class and was named as a 2016 finalist for the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel Frank L. Maraist award. Ms. Silas received her J.D. from Southern University Law Center where she was on law review and the moot court board.


Kelly L. Staples, Kinney, Ellinghausen, Richard & DeShazo

Kelly’s practice includes a wide range of commercial litigation and transactional matters. She handles bad faith cases, employment and contractual disputes, and has negotiated and structured various real estate and corporate transactions. Kelly graduated cum laude from Tulane University in 2008 with majors in Psychology and Sociology. After college, she was selected as a Teach For America Corps Member and taught special education in the New Orleans Recovery School District. Kelly is a 2013 graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, where she was a member of the Louisiana Law Review.




Dianna Duffy Willem, Hebbler & Giordano