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, Frilot LLC

Valerie Fontenot joins Frilot, LLC as an associate after working with Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer and 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.



Matt Smith,  Kean Miller

Matt Smith is an associate in the Baton Rouge office of Kean Miller. He joined the firm in 2013 and practices in the commercial litigation, toxic tort defense, and environmental litigation groups. His work focuses on the representation of oil and gas exploration and production companies, mid-stream companies, and other industry companies in various litigation matters including property damage and contamination, property rights, and commercial and contractual disputes. Matt earned his B.A, summa cum laude, from Louisiana State University in 2009. He earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from the LSU Law Center in 2013, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board and the Order of the Coif.



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, Deutsch  & Kerrigan, LLP

Amber B. Barlow is an associate in the New Orleans office of Deutsch & Kerrigan, LLP, 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



Cody Grosshart, Perkins & Associates

Cody Grosshart is an associate attorney with Perkins & Associates, LLC in Shreveport where he and the rest of the team primarily focus on casualty and general liability defense for trucking and transportation companies. Cody is a native of north Louisiana having grown up in the Shreveport-Bossier area. After graduating from the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches, Cody traveled to Baton Rouge to attend Louisiana State University for both undergraduate studies and law school. While attending the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, Cody served as both a junior associate and senior board member of the LSU Journal of Energy Law & Resources. He was also active with the Public Interest Law Society as well as the Court Appointed Special Advocates. Once admitted to the Louisiana bar, Cody moved back to north Louisiana where he remains involved in the community through the Shreveport Bar Association, LSMSA Alumni Association, and the Shreveport Rotary




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

Dianna Duffy Willem is an associate attorney with Hebbler & Giordano, LLC practicing primarily in the field of insurance defense. Dianna graduated from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law in May 2015. At Loyola, Dianna served as President of the Student Bar Association, and was a member of Moot Court and Maritime Law Journal. Dianna attended LADC Trial Academy Bootcamp in 2016. In addition to her involvement with the Young Lawyers Committee of LADC, Dianna is on the board of the Young Lawyer Division of the Jefferson Bar Association. Dianna graduated from The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre and Public Relations.



Nicholas S. Wise, Liskow & Lewis

Nick Wise is an environmental and energy litigator at Liskow & Lewis in Lafayette. His focus is on representation of oil and gas companies in oilfield legacy matters, mineral interest disputes, and maritime personal injury cases. He received his Law Degree, cum laude, from Louisiana State University in 2011.  After completing law school, Nick had the honor of serving as a law clerk to the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana under the Honorable Tom Stagg.




Patrick Hunt, Bienvenu, Bonnecaze, Foco, Viator, & Holinga

Patrick Hunt joined Bienvenu, Bonnecaze, Foco, Viator & Holinga, APLLC in 2013 following a clerkship with Judge Donald E. Walter in the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. He has a general litigation practice with an emphasis on toxic torts; worker’s compensation; general personal injury; and commercial disputes.  A native of North Carolina, Patrick graduated from North Carolina State University before moving to Louisiana. Patrick graduated magna cum laude from Louisiana State University law school in 2012 where in he was a member of the Louisiana Law Review.




Molly L. Manieri, Talley, Anthony Hughes & Knight

Molly L. Manieri is an associate in the Mandeville office of Talley, Anthony, Hughes & Knight, LLC, where she practices primarily in the areas of public entity/political subdivision defense, medical malpractice defense and toxic tort litigation. Molly graduated from Louisiana State University law school in 2012. Prior to law school, Molly completed her undergraduate education in 2008 at Louisiana State University, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising and minors in English and History. In addition to her involvement with the Young Lawyers Committee of LADC, Molly is a past board member and chair of the Young Lawyer Section of the 22nd JDC Bar Association.





Click here to view a full review of the YLC member duties.

For information on joining the Young Lawyers Committee email Kimberly at [email protected]


(Updated April 2020)