Category Archives: Student life

From New Delhi to New Orleans: A journey with Bob Marley

By Divesh Kaul
(Divesh Kaul, a trained lawyer from India, has taught in Bhutan and India and worked in the nonprofit sector. He completed an LLM at Tulane Law School in 2016. Unwilling to put New Orleans behind him yet, he now is pursuing an SJD with a focus on international economic law. He hopes to work in that area and/or in human rights. Here’s why he wanted to continue at Tulane Law.)

Ooh, yeah! All right! We’re jammin’, I wanna jam it with you, and I hope you like jammin’, too.

After my long flight from India, this Bob Marley song playing in a taxi was first music I heard upon my arrival in New Orleans in July 2015.

Divesh Kaul (LLM '16) now is studying for a Tulane Law SJD.

Divesh Kaul (LLM ’16) now is studying for a Tulane Law SJD.

The Haitian driver, Victorien, was taking me to Tulane University, which would be my home for the next year. During the half-hour drive, Victorien shared his ordeals in Haiti, where he had been a police officer, and how happy he was to be living in New Orleans with his family. His eyes glimmered while he drove and joyfully described his experiences in New Orleans. Marley meanwhile sang in the background:

‘Cos every day we pay the price with a little sacrifice, jammin’ till the jam is through.

I stayed in Tulane’s student housing for a week while searching for an apartment. It was there that I met Fakrul, a graduate student from Bangladesh, who was also looking for an apartment to rent. Thanks to the law school’s orientation session for LLM students, I found my two other futures housemates, Nicholas from Bolivia and Zhang Chao from China. Four of us decided to move into an apartment that was a 15-minute walk from the campus. It turned out that the day we moved in, July 30, was the same day that Bob Marley & the Wailers had visited New Orleans in 1978 during the “Kaya Tour,” where they sang in a concert at The Warehouse:

Exodus! movement of Jah people … we’re leaving Babylon … are you satisfied with the life you’re living? we know where we’re going, we know where we’re from.

An apartment shared among four Tulane students from four different nationalities was no less than a culinary delight. The sharing was not limited to numerous collective meals. The Bolivian housemate became a fan of Bollywood films. My Chinese and Bangladeshi housemates enjoyed free haircuts given by me. Our umpteen household discussions ranged from cultural stereotypes to funny anecdotes, from theology to national issues and from quotidian matters to interdisciplinary discourses. Also, Zhang Chao issued us a travel advisory for his country when we learnt that wearing a green hat in China meant one’s wife was unfaithful!

Tulane Law LLM and international students for 2015-16 gather in the courtyard.

Tulane Law LLM and international students for 2015-16 gather in the courtyard.

I reached Tulane a month before the fall semester began, but as international students we already were busy. The orientation was intensive, but daily interactions with the LLM and exchange students from 39 different nationalities and the blossoming of numerous friendships made it the most enjoyable period. For every international student in our LLM batch, studying in an American law school was a new venture. Some had left their countries for the first time. Some never wrote an exam on computer before. Others came from a non-common law background.

Each one of us had apprehensions. Even so, we realized that each one of us had some strengths, too. The LLM students sat together in smaller congenial groups in study rooms, the students lounge, Tulane University’s LBC student center or elsewhere and had the longest discussions on law topics. In the process, we became each other’s strengths while we helped each other prevail over the academic barriers. During one such group discussion, James, one of my batch-mates from Zimbabwe, told me that 35 years earlier, in April 1980, when his country won independence, India’s then-Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, visited their country and participated in their independence celebrations. That year, 1980, was also the year Marley performed his last “Uprising Tour,” and he sang on the eve of Zimbabwean independence:

Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny … so arms in arms, with arms we will fight this little struggle ’cause that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.

Kaul traveled to New York City among other locations during his first year in New Orleans.

Kaul traveled to New York City among other locations during his first year in New Orleans.

The welcome lunch offered by Dean David Meyer and his wife, Professor Amy Gajda, at their residence was a great celebration of our new beginnings. I also fondly cherish Professor Herb Larson and his wife, Julianne, greeting and treating us a couple of times at their Edwardian house equipped with a magnificent piano and a large antique mahogany dining table.
The fall and spring sessions progressed at full steam, with LLM and JD students shoulder to shoulder marching across the corridors, rushing from one class to another, sneaking in to symposia and seminars, reading endless black legal letters in the library and making outlines, conversing in the student lounge filled with the aroma of dark roast coffee and working for law reviews.

Tulane Law LLMs got in the New Orleans spirit for Halloween.

Tulane Law LLMs got in the New Orleans spirit for Halloween.

Despite the strenuous schedule, never-ending readings and memorandums, students managed to balance law school with family, work and — most certainly — leisure. Some went together to watch the latest flick, others preferred a weekend drink at a bar. Students visited the legendary French Quarter, saw the Halloween parade and took part in celebrating New Year’s Eve. Law school and students’ associations also performed their sets of rituals, including organizing formal balls and pizza parties. The Mardi Gras parades in February were a centerpiece of the New Orleans experience. The celebrations coinciding with the 71st birth anniversary of Bob Marley were icing on the cake. One night, after experiencing the extensive parades in the French Quarter, we righteously grabbed some coke and rums at Café Negril on Frenchmen Street, where the live band sang:

You’re gonna lively up yourself and don’t be no drag, you lively up yourself and don’t say no … you rock so like you never did before … be alive today!

While we progressed in our graduate study in law, Tulane and New Orleans suitably embraced us with open arms and let us live like never before. I learnt a lot about America’s evolution through various civil and political struggles and how law contributed in them. The 14th Amendment and cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Obergefell v. Hodges have been some of the legal landmarks instrumental in America’s shaping. During a day tour to the Whitney Plantation Museum of Slavery, our tour guide quoted Marcus Garvey: “the man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.” Prejudice and suppression have prevailed in all nations and among all races, and slavery exists even today in many forms, the guide observed.

Bob Marley, too, was influenced by Garvey’s speech in Nova Scotia in October 1937 when he wrote the “Redemption Song”:

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds … won’t you help to sing, these songs of freedom.

Humanity, nonetheless, has come a long way ahead from the “separate but equal” doctrine, segregation laws and colonialism. I have also learned that music has been one of the tools of liberation from suffering and poverty. In Kingston, Bob Marley found it through reggae. In New Orleans, Louis Armstrong found it through jazz.

Kaul and friends celebrated the conclusion of their LLM year with a cruise.

Kaul and friends celebrated the conclusion of their LLM year with a cruise.

No doubt my learnings at Tulane were more than academic. I discerned a portrayal of various national characters from my LLM batch-mates such as Italian enthusiasm, German compassion, Greek resilience, Irish wittiness, Chinese humility, Bolivian wisdom, Turkish generosity, Panamanian boldness, Nigerian calmness, Zimbabwean contentedness, Venezuelan perseverance, Albanian forthrightness and American openness. I must admit that I learnt the correct way to practice meditation through the ancient Indian tradition of Yoga only after attending Professor Keith Werhan’s “mindful lawyering” sessions. I realized that sometimes one needed an outsider’s perspective to understand the pros and cons of one’s national system and appreciate it better.

Just before my spring exams commenced, I also came to know that Bob Marley’s grandson, Nico Marley, who is a business student and football player at Tulane.

My Zimbabwean batch-mate, James, once mentioned a Zulu saying, “Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu,” meaning a person is a person because of people. That swiftly reminded me of an ancient Indian proverb with similar connotations, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” meaning the world is one family. Bob Marley justly summarized these ancient words of wisdom:

Me only have one ambition, y’know. I only have one thing I really like to see happen. I like to see mankind live together – black, white, Chinese, everyone – that’s all.

A gulf sunset near Cuba.

Tulane truly has been a global village where our academic upbringing ensued with members of global community instilling in us precious values from all over the world. After spring exams, my LLM journey culminated with a seven-day cruise with my six batch-mates from New Orleans to the Caribbean, covering Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. 

International law student explores U.S., finds lifelong friendships

Tulane Law | Dennis Zhao (LLM '15)

Chinese student Dennis Zhao (LLM ’15) moved to New Orleans to complete his LLM in Admiralty degree at Tulane Law. Photo courtesy of Dennis Zhao.

Dennis Zhao (LLM ’15) had never taken an American-style road trip before starting Tulane Law’s LLM program.

In his native China, Zhao relied on public transport for daily travel, and venturing far outside his hometown was difficult without a vehicle, he said. He’d never thought to simply hop into a car and drive cross-country.

That changed on his birthday in October 2014, when six Tulane Law classmates showed up at his New Orleans apartment and told him they were taking a trip. Justus Langelittig (Germany), Enrique Rubio (Spain), Joaquin De Obarrio (Panama), Nathan Sarkas (South Africa), David Morales (Mexico) and Zhao then set out to explore the Deep South over fall break. With a rented van and several maps, they took highways through historic plantation towns, rolling hills and oak-covered landscapes through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

Zhao discovered southern communities and culture that was “totally different from what I learned in books and movies when I was in China – another beautiful side of the United States,” he said.

And it led to lasting camaraderie with his Tulane Law classmates.

“I realized that we were six guys from six different countries,” Zhao said. “We shared stories and opinions on the road. We made jokes. This was the first time that I felt no concept of ‘foreigners’ in my mind. We established life-long, international friendships.”

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Throughout his time as a Tulane Law grad student, Zhao kept exploring (and photographing) sights in New Orleans and beyond: Lush landscapes and vibrant student life on Tulane’s campus. Sailing Lake Pontchartrain with Adjunct Professor Mike Butterworth (L ‘89). The Mississippi River’s bustling shipping industry. The unmatched energy of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans games – and Mardi Gras. Picturesque and historic architecture throughout the South. Thriving cities like New York and Washington, D.C.

Zhao even ventured to Alaska with classmate Joaquin de Obarrio (LLM ’15) during spring break.

After graduating, Zhao took one more road trip solo, visiting southern states he and his classmates weren’t able to reach: North Carolina, South Carolina and eastern Georgia.

And, although he and his friends are now spread across the world, Zhao said they still talk daily.

He credits Tulane for encouraging students to explore their surroundings, be open to other cultures and contribute to their communities.

“We opened our minds and hearts to share ideas and opinions. And we finally became a unique international family,” Zhao said. “I think this is the most important thing we got as LLMs.”

“Every international student has the same feeling: Tulane and NOLA are our home.”

Zhao is set to take the New York bar exam in February 2016 before returning to China.

Fall 2015 highlights

Happy holidays from Tulane Law School!

As semester exams wind down, students, faculty and staff are heading home for winter break. And we’re looking back with gratitude on the experiences, connections and celebrations that have filled Weinmann Hall this fall. We’re thankful to have shared these opportunities with our Tulane Law community, and we can only look forward to more excitement in 2016.

Click the thumbnails below to view them as full images.

The first semester: 1Ls reflect on law school life

For veteran Tulane Law students, the October fall break is a welcome time away from classes – but for 1Ls, it’s an important opportunity to reflect on the first weeks of their legal careers.

And to help first-year students transition into law school, new Assistant Dean of Students Abigail Gaunt is spearheading academic and wellness programs that encourage smart study habits and healthy lifestyles. Workshops open to all students focus on outlining skills and exam prep, while an in-depth academic support program for 1Ls provides tutoring from upper-level students who are in the top 15 percent of their classes.

But 1Ls are honing more than study skills. They’re also learning to stay balanced while juggling coursework and school activities.

Assistant Dean of Students Abigail Gaunt (center) chats with students over New Orleans-style snowballs at an event promoting Tulane's health and wellness services.

Assistant Dean of Students Abigail Gaunt (center) chats with students over New Orleans-style snowballs at an event promoting Tulane’s health and wellness services.

“Mastering the skills to deal with stress in law school will help students manage the challenges they will face throughout their professional careers,” Gaunt said.

This semester, she’s organizing a health and stress management session during the Career Development Office’s 1L mini-course, while Professors Keith Werhan and Pam Metzger are leading a school-wide mindfulness course. Both programs dovetail with enhanced wellness initiatives across campus.

Looking back on her own law school experience, Gaunt advises first-year students to “trust the studying habits that work best for them; take time for themselves to do things outside school; and not compare themselves to their classmates.”

“Above all, try to keep perspective. Law school is incredibly important, but it’s not as important as your health and happiness,” Gaunt said.

Below, three first-year students with degrees and experiences from across the country share their distinct backgrounds, favorite New Orleans finds and experiences juggling their first semesters at Tulane Law.

Annie Hundley

Tulane Law | Annie Hundley (L '18)

Louisiana native and former New York art director Annie Hundley (L ’18) says her favorite thing about Tulane Law has been “how kind and helpful everyone is.”

Hometown: Mowata, Louisiana. I grew up on a crawfish and rice farm there, approximately 150 miles west of New Orleans.

College: LSU, Baton Rouge.

Before Tulane Law: I was the digital art director at SKDKnickerbocker, a political communications firm in New York, for four years.

Started law school because: I’d always wanted to go to law school, but wanted to take some time after undergrad to make sure I wasn’t blindly following a path I’d set out at an impressionable age. After working for a few years, I was sure this was what I wanted. Law seemed like more of a sure thing than art, which can be inconsistent and often subjective. Also, my LSAT score was expiring, so it was something of a now-or-never moment.

Best Tulane discovery: The best thing about Tulane is how kind and helpful everyone is. It sounds disingenuous to make such a blanket generalization, but it’s truly the most defining characteristic I’ve found. People are always offering advice or outlines or “anything you need” — it’s so far from the stereotypical law school experience. And if you put in the work, you can find free food somewhere in the building at least twice a week.

Best New Orleans discovery: Again, so much food, all the time. Also, people wave or say good morning or interact with you in some way when they pass you on the sidewalk.

Mid-semester thoughts on Tulane Law: I never expected to be surrounded by so many smart, interesting people whose ambition doesn’t keep them from treating others well. Plenty of people here are accomplished enough to be overly snobbish, but you’d never know it. There’s a ton of camaraderie for what’s an inevitably competitive environment, and I feel lucky to be a part of it.

Lauren Starnes

Lauren Starnes (L '18) taught middle school English in North Carolina before starting Tulane Law School.

Lauren Starnes (L ’18) taught middle school English in North Carolina before starting Tulane Law School. Photos courtesy of Lauren Starnes.

Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee.

College: Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia.

Before Tulane Law: I took three years off between undergrad and law school. During the first two years, I taught middle school English at a private school in North Carolina. I spent the last year working as the office manager and legal assistant at Williams Anderson Ryan & Carroll, a boutique law firm in Dallas.

Started law school because: I decided to go to law school after completing a winter internship with Federal Defender Services of Eastern Tennessee. I found this experience incredibly moving. It fueled my desire to attend law school, so I could guide people through our complex and often confusing legal system.

Best Tulane discovery: I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Tulane gets the most interesting people to speak at the school! Just in the first month, I have heard Bill Nye and Tig Nataro speak.

Lauren Starnes (center) volunteered with her eighth grade students at The Book Harvest, an organization that distributes donated books to schools and families in need.

Lauren Starnes (center) volunteered with her eighth grade students at The Book Harvest, an organization that distributes donated books to schools and families in need.

Best New Orleans discovery:
Audubon Park! I run there every day. The giant live oak trees make exercising a little bit more bearable.

Mid-semester thoughts on Tulane Law: Everyone who has attended law school elsewhere has horror stories of evil classmates and professors. However, at Tulane Law School, my classmates and professors are incredibly nice and supportive. It is such a wonderful community!

Fall break getaway: In between studying and outlining, I soaked up some sun in Seaside, Florida.

Shane Copelin

Shane Copelin (L '18) grew up in New Orleans and, after earning his undergrad degree at Carnegie Mellon University, returned to his hometown for law school.

Shane Copelin (L ’18) grew up in New Orleans and, after earning his undergrad degree at Carnegie Mellon University, returned to his hometown for law school.

Hometown: New Orleans.

College: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

Started law school because: I thought law would be a good career for me that suited my personality, and I thought it would help add to my public policy undergraduate degree. I’ve always been fairly solemn, quiet and a logical thinker. I rarely believe things at face value. Becoming a lawyer was something I originally considered as a kid but did not come back to until I was a sophomore in college. [I later realized] law fit my personality, because lawyers are often calm, cool and collected thinkers, able to argue positions from multiple sides without emotional bias and after considering all possibilities. I think these personality traits align with my own, and I think law will harness my need to analyze things.

Most interesting law discovery: My most interesting law discovery is learning about “heat of passion” defenses in criminal law. Before law school, I used to wonder whether there were exceptions to murder in situations such as self-defense or when a women is escaping an abusive relationship. I found it interesting that my notions were already ingrained into the law almost 100 years ago.

Mid-semester thoughts on Tulane Law: I’m definitely enjoying law school thus far. It’s not quite as time consuming as people lead me to believe coming into it. I’m happy to be up early every day and learning something new that’s directly applicable to real-life scenarios, since everything we learn is from actual cases. The only thing I would say that caught me off guard about law school thus far was the amount of time spent on legal research and writing.

Spent fall break: I outlined for class and used my free time to work out, catch up on sleep and see my friends who don’t go to law school. I also watched the Saints beat the Falcons at the Superdome, which was great to see!

Summer work reflections: Law firm living

Each summer, Tulane Law students take off on opportunities near and far, working legal jobs, volunteering for pro bono service and studying abroad. Meet two third-year students who traveled beyond their home states to gain valuable experience and land permanent positions with major international firms after graduation.

Hayley Fritchie (L ’16): Louisiana native ventures to NYC

Tulane Law | Hayley Fritchie (L '16)

Louisiana student Hayley Fritchie (L ’16) enjoyed New York with her mother and brother — on his first trip to the city. Photos courtesy of Hayley Fritchie.

This summer, I worked with Proskauer Rose in New York. Being from Louisiana, I wanted to remain close to my family for law school with the hope of one day going to New York, which made Tulane Law the perfect fit. New York is a fantastic place to start your legal career, expose yourself to the sharpest minds in the legal profession and work on the most exciting cases.

As summer associates, we participated in a variety of tasks, including formal assignments, shadowing opportunities and summer program workshops, and we took assignments from all practice groups. That allowed us to try everything while still having the option to focus on a particular area.

I went in unsure what practice group interested me most and left with an incredible interest in labor and employment law. I was initially attracted to the field after taking Labor Law with Professor Friedman. Labor and employment attorneys counsel clients on an array of matters in an ever-changing area of law, and Proskauer has an incredible labor practice. The mentors in the group were instrumental in my success at the firm, and I loved the variety of assignments I was exposed to. For example, I researched the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. religious discrimination decision and legal issues in denying same-sex married couples employment benefits, to name a few. I drafted formal and email memos and gave in-person briefings to attorneys on my research.

Tulane Law | Hayley Fritchie (L '16)

Hayley Fritchie (L ’16) and fellow Proskauer Rose summer associates attended the 2015 NBA Draft.

In addition to formal assignments, partners and associates provided shadowing opportunities. I sat in on court hearings and client calls, getting an inside look into Proskauer attorneys’ work. Finally, the summer program put on four different workshops focused on negotiation, mergers and acquisitions, oral argument and mock trial. These programs were supervised by attorneys who gave us direct feedback.

As summer associates, we kept busy with projects during the day but also participated in activities outside the office. We took a cooking class, attended the Tony Awards, ventured on a scavenger hunt across the city, went to the NBA Draft and participated in a service day — to name a few! The events were a fun way to form relationships with my summer associate class and explore the city. The best part about most activities: We were visiting Proskauer clients!

My journey to Proskauer began when I participated in the New York interview program during my 1L summer. Assistant Dean for Career Development Sarka Cerna-Fagan encouraged me to participate, and she, along with CDO Director Katie O’Leary, put me in touch with alumni who’d worked with the firm. The interview and Tulane connections led to my summer associate offer.

At the firm, I felt ready to tackle assignments, thanks to my coursework. But beyond academics, I think Tulane’s culture helped shape me into a summer associate people enjoyed working with. In law school, it can be difficult to put aside competitive feelings and work with others to create the best work product possible. But Tulane’s collegial culture helped me make friends easily and taught me to work with my colleagues. I’m grateful to Tulane for making me a real person!

Tulane Law | Hayley Fritchie (L '16)

On a break from legal assignments, Hayley Fritchie (L ’16, left) learned culinary basics at a cooking class with summer associates and attorneys.

My summer experience shaped the rest of my life. As I suspected, New York is the perfect place to begin my legal career. On the other hand, I was unsure if working in a firm would be a good fit. I spent my 1L summer as a judicial intern, so this was my first time in a firm. I am now surer than ever that starting practice with a large firm is perfect for me — the people are brilliant, the resources are incredible and the learning experiences are never-ending. I found my passion in the labor and employment group and am so excited to practice. After graduation, I will be clerking for a federal judge in the Southern District of Mississippi, then joining Proskauer’s New York office as a labor and employment associate.

Emily von Qualen (L ’16): Midwesterner explores the Gulf Coast (and beyond)

I split my summer between Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Houston and Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, getting an insider’s look into life at different law firms.

Tulane Law | Emily von Qualen (L '16)

Emily von Qualen (L ’16), an Iowa native, worked in Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Houston and New York offices. Photos courtesy of Emily von Qualen.

I started at Skadden, working with the Houston office’s general litigation group. One of my big projects there involved helping draft arguments for a motion to dismiss in a class action derivative suit for a technology company. This gave me an in-depth look into argument framing and editing, and I felt like an integral part of the team doing substantive work. I also worked on a pro bono report on prison reform recommendations for the New York Bar Association, and my part focused on prisoners’ mental health needs. Beyond research and writing, I observed client phone calls, depositions of potential class action plaintiffs and strategy meetings about jury selection.

Skadden also sent me to its New York office for a few weeks, where I did shorter-term projects, researching discrete questions of law and giving email answers to supervising attorneys. I also observed a motion argument in a state supreme court. The New York office had a different feel from the Houston office, because it had more than 600 attorneys and 100 summer associates. Being able to get a broader perspective of the firm was great, and, as an Iowa native, living in New York was an adventure!

In both Skadden offices, I socialized with attorneys and other summer associates at lunches and other events. Almost every day, I went to lunch with different attorneys, which allowed me to get to know them much better. One highlight from New York was doing a citywide scavenger hunt that took us all over Manhattan looking for clues. I wasn’t familiar with New York beforehand and loved learning more about the city. In Houston, my favorite event was an amazing dinner prepared by a local chef at a partner’s home.

For the last part of the summer, I clerked at Liskow’s New Orleans office. I chose Liskow because of its strong environmental regulatory and litigation practice, and while there, I worked on several environmental law projects. For example, I researched and wrote a memo about how a company could be responsible for improper disposal of barge waste by another company. After drafting a memo, I got feedback from attorneys and went through a few rounds of edits before my memo was sent to the client. Having lawyers much more familiar with the field critique my language and organizational structure was especially helpful, because it helped build my substantive knowledge and strengthen my writing skills. And having the memo sent to the client was very rewarding.

Tulane Law | Emily von Qualen (L '16)

At Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, Emily von Qualen (L ’16) honed commercial and environmental litigation skills.

I also worked on general litigation projects, including some on federal and Louisiana Rules of Civil Procedure issues. For example, I researched possible mechanisms for a Louisiana party to compel a non-resident to appear in state court. One highlight of my summer was observing a two-day trial in Thibodaux, Louisiana, in which Liskow represented an oil company seeking easement rights to run a pipeline across the other party’s property. I had seen a trial in federal court the previous summer, but I had never seen one in state court. I really enjoyed observing a different courtroom style and seeing experienced litigators argue.

Outside researching, writing and observing legal practice, I was able to socialize with the attorneys in more relaxed settings. Liskow has coffee time every morning for attorneys to have casual conversations, and it highlighted the firm’s congenial atmosphere. Most days, I went to lunch with a group of attorneys, which was also a great way to get to know them and sample wonderful New Orleans food. In addition to daily social gatherings, Liskow had two main summer events: a cocktail reception at Commander’s Palace and a poker night. Both were great events that most attorneys attended, and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

My summer jobs showed me invaluable perspective on associate life at different firms, gave me hands-on legal experience and confirmed my interest in litigation. After graduation, I will continue to build on my experience as I clerk for Judge Minaldi, a federal district judge in Lake Charles, Louisiana for a year. I will then join Skadden in its Houston office.

Spring 2015 highlights

Happy summer, and congratulations to the Tulane Law Class of 2015!

It’s only been one week since Commencement, and we’re already missing our students at Weinmann Hall. But as we reflect on a spring semester packed with one-of-a-kind experiences and celebrations, spanning events such as the Summit on Environmental Law & Policy to Thank You Thursdays, we’re prouder than ever to be part of the Tulane Law community. And we can’t wait to do it all again next year.

Click the thumbnails below to view them as full images.

PS: Don’t be strangers! Share your summer experiences with us on social media using #TulaneLawSummer.

Dual degrees open far-reaching possibilities for Tulane Law alumni: Part three

Though a JD degree can lead to an array of practice areas – from securities to sports law, environmental to energy law – students focused on specialized fields can use Tulane’s dual-degree programs to open more doors in traditional practice and beyond. In four years, students can earn a JD combined with a graduate degree in another field, yielding deeper expertise and broader career opportunities.

In Lagniappe’s final dual-degrees feature, meet identical-twin brothers who paired their JDs with MBAs and now are tax attorneys for leading national corporations, one in-house and the other as outside counsel.

Law + Master of Business Administration: Brian Page

As an undergraduate student, Brian Page (L/MBA ’09) aimed toward a career in politics. But that ambition waned after he completed internships in the field and earned a political science degree, so he took an alternate path. He refocused on law and business and enrolled in Tulane’s combined program.

His path veered again when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast just days into his first year of graduate studies. Brian’s apartment flooded, ruining everything he owned. When Tulane’s classes reconvened in January after a semester’s hiatus, he faced a less-than-ideal situation for studying: living in temporary housing, having to replace all his possessions and attending a condensed lineup of classes.

Despite the challenges, Brian tackled the JD/MBA program’s demands, focusing on tax and finance classes, working on the Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law and finishing in fewer than four years. (His twin brother, Rich, joined him in Tulane’s dual JD/MBA track in 2006.)

Tulane Law | Dual Degrees | Rich Page & Brian Page

Rich and Brian Page earned joint Tulane JD and MBA degrees within one year of each other and are both practicing as business and tax attorneys. All photos courtesy of Rich and Brian Page.

Brian’s hard work paid off. He landed an internship with ExxonMobil during school that turned into a coveted career opportunity after graduation: working in-house for a major energy corporation. Brian, who went on to earn an LLM in tax from New York University School of Law, worked at ExxonMobil’s locations in Fairfax, Virginia and Houston before taking on his current role as a tax attorney at the company’s worldwide headquarters outside Dallas.

Lagniappe: Why did you pursue dual degrees?

Brian: My main motivation was curiosity. I was interested in both fields, and I wanted to learn about both business and law, so the program seemed like the perfect fit for me. I majored in political science in college and had internships focused on politics, but I discovered that I wasn’t as interested in that area as I originally thought I was. In the end, I felt drawn more to law and business.

Lagniappe: What was your experience in the two programs?

Brian: I focused closely on finance at the business school and thought it was a great program. . . . I took many tax law classes at Tulane Law and also some real estate law classes. . . . Overall, I found that the two programs really reinforced each other, and I was able to pick up a strong understanding of both fields.

Lagniappe: How did you balance the two programs?

Brian: It was very busy! You have to really learn to manage your time and be prepared to not have a lot of spare time for certain stretches, especially because many of the JD/MBA students end up taking two or three more credits per semester than students in just one program.

I also should mention that I did the whole program in three-and-a-half years. I got to Tulane in August 2005, right before Hurricane Katrina, went back in January 2006 and graduated in May 2009. In the hurricane, I lost everything – all my possessions. My apartment was destroyed in the storm, was later looted and had mold growing over everything. I had to live on a cruise ship for my first month back at law school. And after all of that, just two-and-a-half years later, I was interning with ExxonMobil, the largest publicly-traded company in the world. It shows you that you really have to count your blessings and not count yourself out sometimes. You have to keep trying even when things are difficult, because something really good could be right around the corner.

Lagniappe: What are some of the benefits you’ve gained from your dual degrees?

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | Brian Page

Brian Page (L/MBA ’09) accepted the 2012 Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono President’s Award on behalf of ExxonMobil. The award recognized the company for its pro bono service to low-income Houston residents.

Brian: One thing I definitely find is that my background has helped me be quicker at analyzing complex material. I’m often working closely on business projects with financial spreadsheets or calculations . . . all of which can be more complicated than you’d initially imagine. I think I grasp those things more quickly than some of my peers who just went to law school and didn’t study finance.

Also, a lot of law school is based solely on your exams at the end of each semester, but business school focuses more on teamwork and presentation skills. As an in-house attorney, I’ve drawn on those skills considerably when giving presentations and participating in meetings. . . . The skills you’re forced to learn coincide very well with what it’s like to work in a big corporation.

I think it also helps in terms of being relatable to people or connecting with folks. As an attorney, so many of your clients have gone to business school, whether it’s in an undergraduate or MBA program. With the group I’m in now, I’m working very closely with 20 MBA graduates. So the fact that I also did that program means I can relate better to them and know what they know. It’s really valuable from a connections standpoint.

Lagniappe: What advice would you give students considering dual degrees?

Brian: I think the sooner, the better to focus on one area for employment if you’re in a dual-degree program. If you target one thing, you can become really focused on that area of law. I think that allows you to get internships, learn about the industry to know what you’re getting into and be more well-informed about the job opportunities available. It’s also a good signaling mechanism to employers, showing what your primary interest is in. For the most part, while it can be tempting to switch around and explore different areas, I think it’s better if you can choose earlier on. . . .

More generally, I think the program is really valuable. It’s an extra year of school, so you’re not working or earning a salary as soon as you could be, and the opportunity cost seems expensive. But you have 30+ years to work, and the skill sets you build and benefits you gain from being better-rounded will easily make up for the initial expense, so I think it’s certainly worth pursuing.

Law + Master of Business Administration: Rich Page

Rich Page (BA ’04, L/MBA ’10) says he has “an insatiable appetite for learning.” His five degrees back that up: BA in political science from Tulane University; MPP from the University of Chicago; JD/MBA from Tulane; and LLM in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

The New Jersey native says he actually considered going for a PhD after earning his master of public policy. But he instead opted for the JD/MBA combination after weighing the broader practical and professional benefits.

And when selecting law and business schools, Rich quickly decided on Tulane — where he’d completed undergraduate studies and where his brother, Brian, also was studying in the JD/MBA track. After enrolling, Rich balanced both schools’ course loads while serving on the Tulane Law Review.

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | Rich Page

Rich Page (BA ’04, L/MBA ’10) holds five degrees — three from Tulane — counsels clients on the tax impact of business transactions and investments at Akin Gump’s New York office.

Now practicing tax law in the New York office of law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Rich says his joint legal and business background help him serve his clients’ diverse and complex needs. Before joining Akin Gump, he worked with Deloitte and Ernst & Young, two of the world’s prestigious “Big Four” professional services firms.

Lagniappe: Why did you decide to pursue dual degrees?

Rich: I knew I wanted to go into professional services, and I didn’t see law and business as entirely separate. I figured if I ended up focusing most of my career working on the business side, I’d want to have a firm understanding of the law, and, alternatively, if I ended up working full-time as an attorney, I would want to have a deep understanding of the business world, how people there think and what formal training they have received. . . .

I should also add that I have an insatiable appetite for learning. I had very seriously considered going for a PhD, and the JD/MBA was the alternative for me. One thing I considered when deciding, was that, from a practical standpoint, the JD/MBA would open many more doors career-wise. I also saw it as a much more powerful learning opportunity than a PhD. The information you learn in the JD/MBA is generally much more applicable to everyday life.

Lagniappe: What drew you to Tulane’s program?

Rich: I was tired of the cold winters in Chicago [where I earned my master of public policy], but I also really enjoyed my time at Tulane. I missed New Orleans, and I knew that Tulane has highly reputable business and law programs, which not every school has. Additionally, I had the unique situation that my identical twin brother was pursuing combined Tulane JD and MBA degrees at the same time, and he thought it would be fun if I joined him.

Lagniappe: What was your experience in the dual-degree program?

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | Rich Page & Brian Page

The Page brothers spent three years together at Tulane studying law and business — and enjoying New Orleans.

Rich: I thought it was a very good combination, because business and law are very closely related. Oftentimes, I had business classmates asking me legal questions when something about contracts came up in our business courses, and I also had law school classmates asking me business questions about things like finance and investments.

Also, both programs focus on writing and communicating clearly, which I thought was great. Even as a law student, you can benefit from taking courses at the business school about public speaking and business communications.

Lagniappe: How do you think your combined degrees have helped in your career?

Rich: The degrees have definitely helped. I’ve actually had clients and prospective clients who have been directly interested in engaging someone who has a joint legal and business background. One of the largest engagements I worked on at Deloitte was with management consultants on-site at a Fortune 100 company, where the client specifically requested that someone with a law degree join Deloitte’s team there. So I was specifically sought out to work as a business consultant within the general counsel’s office of a major company, which I did for about six months.

I also have a prospective client who is the CEO of a family business that has about $30 million in annual revenue, and he has said he wants me to be his point person directing all of his professional services. He’s not seeking someone who’s just an attorney or a business advisor. He really likes my comprehensive background, because he’s seeking both legal and business advice. He wants someone to look at the entire scope of his international business operations, give him advice from A to Z and help him identify other professional service providers he might need.

Lagniappe: Do you have any advice for students considering dual degrees?

Rich: For the JD/MBA or any other dual-degree program, I wouldn’t focus exclusively on short-term career benefits. The degrees very well may help you in terms of short-term job placement, but I would also think of it as an educational pursuit and a long-term investment in yourself, your personal knowledge and your career.

Dual degrees open far-reaching possibilities for Tulane Law alumni: Part two

New law students may be counting down the days until they can choose their courses as upperclassmen and explore a wide range of legal topics. But they may not realize they can broaden their studies even further by adding onto their JD degrees.

Tulane’s dual-degree programs equip students with invaluable skills and opportunities to excel in specialized career paths — by earning a JD with another graduate degree in only four years. From the JD/MSW to the JD/MA in Latin American Studies, dual degrees open doors in traditional legal practice and far beyond.

Lagniappe’s second dual-degrees installment features a grad who’s aiming for a career in national health policy and joined her JD with a Master of Health Administration.

Law + Master of Health Administration: K.T. Kramer

K.T. Kramer (L/MHA ’14) started with a clear vision for grad school: earn a master’s in public health to learn strategies for improving international health systems. But her path shifted while she was working for the Peace Corps, when she realized she needed to understand the law in order to shape meaningful policy. She decided on dual JD and MPH degrees and enrolled at Tulane.

Shortly after she signed on, though, her course veered again. She switched to a combined JD and MHA track so she could learn to navigate increasingly complex health systems in the U.S.

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | KT Kramer

K.T. Kramer and Leif Brierley, this year’s two David A. Winston Health Policy Fellows, are both working on Capitol Hill for the final months of their fellowships. All photos courtesy of K.T. Kramer.

K.T. successfully juggled the demands of both programs at Tulane. During school, she investigated employee benefit claims while working at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ New Orleans office; was active in the Public Interest Law Foundation and the Disability and Health Law Society; and analyzed municipal health laws as an extern with the City of New Orleans’ Health Department.

After graduation, the West Virginia native began a yearlong program as one of only two David A. Winston Health Policy Fellows. The Winston Fellowship is a national postgraduate program based in D.C. During the program, fellows rotate through meetings with national health care insiders over three months, then work at full-time health policy placements for the remainder of the year.

As part of the prestigious and highly selective program, K.T. has met with more than 200 health executives and policy leaders to learn the industry from the inside and is now working with Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, in Washington, D.C.

Lagniappe: Why did you go for dual degrees?

K.T.: I decided to look at joint-degree programs while a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan. When I started Peace Corps, my future plan was to get an MPH and work in global public health programs. However, while in Turkmenistan, I became much more interested in understanding how health systems as articulated in laws, regulations and policies are translated into people accessing health care and services. . . . But I realized I didn’t understand the language of the applicable law, and I needed to become proficient in that to be able to make real changes in health care, so I decided to earn a JD as well . . .

When I returned to the U.S. in 2010, I initially enrolled in the JD/MPH program, but I realized after the passage of the Affordable Care Act that the same questions of how to translate law into a real health system were present in the U.S. I transferred to the MHA program because I wanted to get a stronger understanding of the U.S. health system.

Lagniappe: What was your experience like in the JD/MHA program?

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | KT Kramer

K.T. (far left) attends the 2015 Winston Fellowship Health Policy Ball, the fellowship’s primary fundraiser.

K.T.: I think, like any student that goes to Tulane, I can say that I had a wonderful experience. It was undeniably challenging to balance the demands of both programs academically and practically . . . . But, I gained substantial subject matter knowledge in both law and health administration, made great friends, had great opportunities to gain practical experience as a student and got to live in New Orleans for four years!

Lagniappe: What was your impression of the program overall?

K.T.: I think the JD/MHA provided complementary skill sets that were very helpful. . . . [the] combination gave me a strong background that could prepare me for a career in health care, health law or health policy.

In particular, the practical aspects of the MHA program – the site visits, the public speaking and the terrifying accounting assignments – were a valuable addition to the law school curriculum. If I pursue health law in any capacity, knowing how to read financial statements and present information to managers will be helpful.

Tulane Law | Dual degrees | KT Kramer

Through her fellowship, K.T. (pictured at the White House with Leif Brierley) has explored D.C. and mastered the role of a Hill staffer – researching and analyzing legislation, organizing hearings and completing briefings.

Lagniappe: How do you think your dual degrees have helped prepare you for your career?

K.T.: I’m currently a health policy fellow, working for Sen. Alexander on the HELP committee, where I staff issues related to the Affordable Care Act, Food and Drug Administration and Public Health Service Act. The joint degree gives me credibility in terms of both law and health care. I was much more familiar with the breadth of issues that I work with on the committee from the start because I learned a lot of the subject matter.

Second, as I am realizing now as I search for my next position, the joint degree provided me with a much richer alumni network. And, particularly from the MHA perspective, they are in my field. Tulane’s alumni are fantastic and always willing to be helpful, so it’s incredibly valuable to have those helpful people in the industry that I want to work in.

Lagniappe: How would you describe the benefits of a dual degree to prospective students?

K.T.: In general, for all the dual degrees, I’d say that seeing both sides and being able to read a regulation or law and understand how to talk about it in the industry you’re working in is an incredibly valuable skill . . . having a more targeted education, you get the understanding of how to talk about legal implications in ways that make sense to the people you’re working with, whether they’re clients or co-workers in a legal organization. . . . Also, when you know you’re interested in a particular subject area and can learn how to talk about the applicable laws for that field, a joint degree is really helpful.

Lagniappe: What’s next for you?

K.T.: My health policy fellowship will wind up in June. Now, as I’m searching [future] positions, I’m considering all the options: do I want to have typical legal career working for a firm or government office where I work with health care clients, and what are the options there? Do I want to stay in a more policy-focused role, stay on the hill and work with any of the number of think tanks or lobbying organizations here? Or do I want to go to a private company? I have lots of questions to be answered. But having a double Tulane alumni network is very helpful in that regard, and I’m sure it will come into play. There’s something about being from Tulane that makes people very excited to meet you. They’re a very energetic and active group of alumni . . . it’s a great resource.

Dual degrees open far-reaching possibilities for Tulane Law alumni: Part one

Law students (and graduates) often cite the JD degree’s breadth as one of its top draws. You can study criminal and corporate law in the same semester, while spending your free time representing indigent clients in a law clinic and pursuing scholarly writing for a legal journal. Law school provides a flexibility and diversity of studies unlike other graduate programs.

But Tulane’s dual-degree program allows students to stretch their studies and career paths further. In four years, students can earn two degrees: a JD combined with another graduate degree from a wide range of areas, including business, accounting, healthcare administration, public health, international development, Latin American studies and social work.

The extra year of school pays off: Tulane’s dual-degree grads finish on track to be leaders in their fields, with strengthened expertise, extensive alumni networks and expanded opportunities at graduation.

In Lagniappe’s first dual-degrees installment, meet graduates who doubled their JDs with a Master of Social Work and a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies.

Law + Master of Social Work: Bethany Van Kampen

Bethany Van Kampen (MSW ’13, L ‘14) was bent on a career dedicated to helping others – but she didn’t realize how far she could reach until enrolling in Tulane’s dual-degree program.

After studying psychology in college, Bethany spent two years with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, teaching English and female empowerment and helping women develop a small farming business. She then returned stateside to pursue combined Tulane law and MSW degrees.

Bethany Van Kampen earned a master of social work in 2013 and a law degree in 2014 from Tulane.

Bethany Van Kampen earned a master of social work in December 2013 and a law degree in May 2014 from Tulane. Photo by Joseph Halm.

At Tulane, Bethany delved into women’s health issues: she interned with then-Sen. Mary Landrieu, Judge Bernadette D’Souza at Orleans Parish Civil District Court, AIDSLaw of Louisiana, Metropolitan Center for Women and Children and the National Women’s Law Center; worked as a student attorney in the Domestic Violence Clinic; and co-founded Tulane’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice, an energetic student organization that’s garnered two national awards after being on campus for fewer than four years.

After graduation, she landed a job with the public affairs team of Planned Parenthood in New Orleans, gaining both policy and volunteer programming experience. And now she’s completing a fellowship with Sen. Barbara Boxer in Washington, D.C. that’s facilitated by Women’s Policy, Inc. and funded through Tulane’s Newcomb College.

Lagniappe: Why did you decide to earn dual degrees?

Bethany: I think what really drew me to the dual degrees was the idea of informed policy-making. Social work gives you the ability to understand where your legal clients come from and allows you to meet them at that point. I think certainly in traditional legal practices, like litigation, a social work background helps . . . but it does even more so for those working in policy-making and public interest law.

Lagniappe: How would you describe your experience in the combined program?

Bethany: It was a little complicated because I switched between the two programs a few times throughout the four years. . . but it was wonderful when I was able to combine both fields. For example, I did a summer internship with AIDSLaw of Louisiana, and I was able to get the social work perspective from working with clients directly, but I was also able to do legal work and get that perspective, too.

Lagniappe: What do you think are the biggest benefits of the combined law and social work degrees?

Bethany Van Kampen (center right) and her peer Women's Policy, Inc. fellows attend the organization's annual gala in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Bethany Van Kampen.

Bethany Van Kampen (center right) and her peer Women’s Policy, Inc. fellows attend the organization’s annual gala in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Bethany Van Kampen.

Bethany: One thing that’s great about the social work degree is that it helps keep me connected. I think it can be easy to lose sight of the individuals we’re trying to help when we’re working on the macro level, shaping broad law and policy. But my social work background helps me keep that perspective. . . .

Another huge benefit of this degree combination is its flexibility, because it’s applicable in so many settings. Social work is a very broad degree, and so is law. I like the flexibility of being able to do clinical work for a few years, then do policy work, then practice law and come back again!

Lagniappe: How do you think your dual degrees have helped set you apart?

Bethany: My dual degrees have certainly drawn attention in interviews, and employers have been very intrigued by the combination. And truthfully, the combination is so unique . . . since I’ve graduated and have been working, I haven’t met anyone who has the same degrees I do.

Lagniappe: What’s next after your fellowship ends?

Bethany: I definitely want to stay on the Hill for another year or two, and then I hope to work for a women’s rights organization doing policy work. There are so many groups in that field here in D.C., so hopefully I can find something. And I’ve recently starting thinking that five years down the road, I’d actually love to come back to New Orleans and maybe run for state representative. Working in D.C., a theme I keep hearing is that there’s such a lack of young women running for office . . . I really think we need to fix that, and Louisiana would be a great place to do so!

Law + Master of Arts in Latin American Studies: Annalisa Cravens

Annalisa Cravens

Annalisa Cravens, currently completing a judicial clerkship with U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans, graduated with dual law and Latin American studies degrees.

As a Tulane undergraduate student, Annalisa Cravens (BA ‘10, L/MA ’14) immersed herself in her Latin American studies program. She studied abroad in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, became proficient in Spanish and Portuguese and studied Latin American perspectives in social sciences. But she still wanted to learn more – and decided to continue in Latin American studies when she applied to Tulane Law School.

Annalisa spent a year earning her master’s before transitioning to law school, where she also thrived. At Tulane Law, she worked with an immigration clinic and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, completed an externship with Judge James Dennis at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and served as senior articles editor for the Tulane Law Review. And she wrote a law review comment that won a Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing, one of the nation’s top legal writing honors.

She’s now completing a one-year judicial clerkship with U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans before starting her legal practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Houston office.

Lagniappe: Why did you pursue dual degrees?

Annalisa: I earned my undergraduate degree in Latin American studies at Tulane, so I enrolled in the master’s program mostly because I enjoyed my undergraduate studies so much. The master’s program is also fully-funded at Tulane, so I thought, why not? I didn’t realize going into it how much employers would value the master’s degree in terms of language skills and acquisition. . . . Latin American studies is what I really love and enjoy, and I wanted to continue my education in the field. I always say you should do what you like, and things will work out.

Lagniappe: How did you break up your studies in both schools?

Annalisa: I did one year in the master’s program, and then I did three years of law school. My master’s year actually felt a little like a fifth year of college, since I had just graduated in Latin American Studies the previous summer! It was a very easy transition.

Lagniappe: What are some of the benefits of the dual-degree program?

Annalisa: Tulane’s Latin American studies program is the best in the states. Every department at Tulane has at least one really strong Latin Americanist, and Tulane is consistently ranked at the top for Latin American studies. And one of the great things about the Latin American studies program is that it’s completely interdisciplinary, and you can pick your route within the program. I did a more social sciences-oriented track, but other students may focus more on language or art. There are classes in economics, sociology, anthropology, political science, art and music, to name just a few. You’re free to pick your area of focus.

Lagniappe: How have your dual degrees helped set you apart as a job candidate?

Annalisa: Since I’m clerking for a judge right now, my Latin American studies degree hasn’t been the most applicable here. But when I was interviewing for jobs, I was surprised how much employers focused on it. So many interviewers asked me if I was sure I didn’t want to do transactional law, because language skills are great for a transactional practice. But I assured them I wanted to do litigation! And there are plenty of ways I can use my skills in litigation – like international litigation and arbitration or working with foreign clients and attorneys.

Also, during my last summer clerking, I had the opportunity to speak with attorneys in Skadden’s New York office who do international arbitration work. And at one point in the summer, the Houston office’s managing partner and I met with attorneys from a firm we were working with in Mexico. It was a great experience.

Mardi Gras memories: The five best things about carnival season at Tulane Law

For anyone living in New Orleans, there’s no escaping Mardi Gras. It all begins with red-and-green holiday decorations giving way to purple, green and gold everywhere. King cakes — decadent and delicious — start appearing at school, work and parties. Before long, parades begin marching through every major neighborhood, and it’s nearly impossible to stay away from the colorful sights and joyful sounds.

Tulane Law students can’t escape Mardi Gras, either — and there’s no reason they’d want to. Read on for the best of Mardi Gras around Tulane Law School this year.

1. Mardi Gras is more than a single day of celebration. Carnival season lasts several weeks, and Weinmann Hall feels the festive spirit long before Fat Tuesday.

Tulane Law Review students Austin Priddy (L '15), Meghan Marchetti (L '15), Alston Walker (L '15), Libby McIntosh (L '15), Laura Cannon (L '16), Meghan Dupre (L '16), Kathryn Hasting (L '16) and Jeff Gelpi (L '15) infuse a little carnival spirit into their work.

Tulane Law Review students Austin Priddy (L ’15), Meghan Marchetti (L ’15), Alston Walker (L ’15), Libby McIntosh (L ’15), Laura Cannon (L ’16), Meghan Dupre (L ’16), Kathryn Hasting (L ’16) and Jeff Gelpi (L ’15) infuse a little Mardi Gras spirit into their work.

Tulane Law Review members have been reviewing scholarly articles all year, but for the past few weeks, they did so surrounded by festive Mardi Gras decorations and king cake. Junior Member Laura Cannon (L ’16) brightened up the law review suite with purple, green and gold garlands and banners, while other law review members contributed countless king cakes throughout carnival season.

“We’re in the law review suite so much that it’s become like a second home. I thought the decorations would make this a happier place for all of us to be during Mardi Gras,” Laura said.

Tulane Law | Mardi Gras

The Dictator took over Adjunct Professor Mike Butterworth’s admiralty class days before Mardi Gras. “The Dictator is nobody to trifle with,” Butterwoth said. Photo by Dennis Zhao.

2. The parade route isn’t the only place to catch beads during Mardi Gras.

Someone calling himself The Dictator invaded Adjunct Professor Mike Butterworth’s (L ‘89) class Thursday before Mardi Gras, throwing beads and overriding the lesson plan. Prof. Butterworth says he was not in class that day because he had been warned to avoid The Dictator’s takeover of his Carriage of Goods by Sea admiralty class.

The Dictator is the brazen leader of Le Krewe d’Etat, a Mardi Gras krewe that’s renowned for its satirical parade themes. Mardi Gras krewe members traditionally maintain anonymity, and locals have fun trying to recognize parade riders behind their masks each year. Revelers attempted to spot and identify The Dictator
at Krewe d’Etat’s parade Friday night, but the
masked man’s identity remains a mystery.

It cannot be confirmed or denied whether Prof. Butterworth himself is a member of any Mardi Gras krewes at this time.

3. The annual Mardi Gras Sports Law Invitational draws law students nationwide and is Tulane’s leading invitational moot court competition.

Moot court volunteers Shauna DiGiovanni (L '15), Jennifer David (L '16), Jaimie Riggs (L '15) and Kevin Koskovich (L '16) help run the Mardi Gras Invitational competition.

Moot court volunteers Shauna DiGiovanni (L ’15), Jennifer David (L ’16), Jaimie Riggs (L ’15) and Kevin Koskovich (L ’16) help run the Mardi Gras Invitational competition. Photo courtesy of Shauna DiGiovanni.

During the Mardi Gras Invitational, student competitors argued both sides of current and complex topics in sports law, a key area of focus at Tulane Law School. This year’s problem tackled issues surrounding the legalization of sports gambling and an MLB franchise relocation under baseball’s antitrust exemption.

The invitational drew approximately 95 competitors from 32 law schools throughout the country, and they were judged by attorneys and judges in each round.

“The practitioners are genuinely interested and eager to learn about the issues in the problem, making for intense and highly interactive oral arguments,” said Shauna DiGiovanni (L ’15), moot court administrative justice for invitational competitions.

And it’s only fitting that Tulane hosts its annual competition the week before Mardi Gras, when competitors can partake in quintessentially New Orleans traditions during downtime.

“It is a privilege to bring 95 people from all over the country to my home, and we make sure they have a chance to not only participate in a premier moot court competition, but to truly soak up everything New Orleans has to offer,” said Shauna, a New Orleans native. “From a Mardi Gras-themed awards banquet along the parade route after Muses, to homemade pralines and Zapp’s potato chips, the competitors undoubtedly leave New Orleans eager to return.”

Demetrius Sumner (L ’15), Assistant Dean Jim Letten (L ’79), retired attorney Joe Ettinger (L ’56), Professor Gabe Feldman, T.J. Henry (L ’13), Shauna DiGiovanni (L '15) and Jennifer David (L '16) join finalists Joseph Kammerman and Vino Jayaraman of Cardozo School of Law and Laura Grubb and Katelin Eastman of Pepperdine School of Law to celebrate a successful competition.

Demetrius Sumner (L ’15), Assistant Dean Jim Letten (L ’79), retired attorney Joe Ettinger (L ’56), Professor Gabe Feldman, attorney T.J. Henry (L ’13), Shauna DiGiovanni (L ’15) and Jennifer David (L ’16) join finalists Joseph Kammerman and Vino Jayaraman of Cardozo School of Law and Laura Grubb and Katelin Eastman of Pepperdine School of Law to celebrate a successful competition.

Tulane Law | Mardi Gras

Zhandra Marin (LLM ’10, SJD ’14), Wanadi Molina (LLM ’15) and Lara Vuillequey (exchange student) chat before the Muses parade.

4. Camaraderie is infectious during Mardi Gras, and Tulane Law students explore New Orleans together like never before – whether it’s their first or their 30th carnival.

Seeing Mardi Gras for the first time thrills New Orleans newcomers, but Tulane Law’s international students, who come to study in the city for just a year, get a special view of the fun.

Professor Herb Larson, executive director of international legal studies and graduate programs, and his wife, Julianne, welcome Tulane’s international students to carnival season with their annual dinner before the Krewe of Muses parade. Students gather at the Larsons’ uptown home for traditional New Orleans fare, like jambalaya and mini po’boys, then vie for beads and coveted hand-decorated shoes at the parade.

Sharaf Asgarova (LLM '15) samples Creole cuisine at Professor Herb Larson's Muses dinner. Photo by Rubaiyat Rahman.

Sharaf Asgarova (LLM ’15) samples Creole cuisine at Professor Herb Larson’s Muses dinner. Photo by Rubaiyat Rahman.

This year’s Muses party was only the beginning of the weekend’s celebrations.

“The city was full of energy, music was playing the whole day. I saw the spirit of New Orleans’ people. They were so kind and friendly to all of us. Also I got to see some of my Tulane professors in the floats…this showed me how important and valuable this festivity is to all the community,” Panamanian student Claudia Juárez (LLM ’15) said. “This weekend reminded me how lucky I am to live in this unique city.”

“It was my first ever Mardi Gras and it was a superb experience… Definitely a cultural experience I will not feel anywhere else,” Indonesian student Januar Putra (LLM ’15) said.

But, as Chinese student Dennis Zhao (LLM ’15) noted, the best part of Mardi Gras for many students was the fellowship it fostered. “For me, the greatest moment is to spend time with international friends… the whole international family getting together to share happiness,” Dennis said.

Tulane Law | Mardi Gras

Enrique Rubio (LLM ’15), Dennis Westerink (exchange student), Nathan Sarkas (LLM ’15), Dennis Zhao (LLM ’15), Justus Langelittig (LLM ’15), Claudia Juárez (LLM ’15) and Iliana Ibarra (LLM ’15) enjoyed the Krewe of Mid-City’s parade together on St. Charles Avenue. Photo courtesy of Claudia Juárez.

5. For most places in the world, Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras are just an ordinary Monday and Tuesday. Here, they’re days of vibrant celebration (and Tulane Law School holidays).

Who can argue with two days off, especially when they’re packed with so much energy and excitement?