June 18, 2019
As part of Taylor Porter's annual summer law clerk program, our Firm hosted eight students from five law schools for the first session, including four students from LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. The LSU law students included Beverly Perkins, 2L; and Braxton Duhon, Zach Lester, and Patrick Riley, 1L's.
Under the guidance of practicing Taylor Porter attorneys and mentors, law clerks gain hands-on experience and interaction that reﬂect real life as a lawyer. The work ranges from case research to legal writing to shadowing attorneys at depositions, hearings, and oral arguments, and speaking with both Taylor Porter partners and associates one-on-one and learning about their personal experiences.
We asked the LSU Law students to share what they have learned through our summer law clerk program.
Beverly Perkins, LSU 2L
Beverly Perkins completed her second year at Paul M. Hebert Law Center, where she is a senior editor for the Journal of Energy Law and Resources and President of the Tax Law Society. As a volunteer for the VITA program, she has obtained IRS certification and prepared federal and state income tax returns for foreign students and professors who work for LSU’s Main Campus. Beverly has also clerked for Long Law Firm and has been a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Guy Holdridge at the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals. Prior to law school, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in the field of Accounting from Louisiana State University.
What practice area(s) are you most interested in and why? While I cannot narrow it down to a few select areas, I am drawn to commercial litigation, white collar defense and taxation. There is something about the business aspect of litigation and transactional work that I find calculating yet ever-changing. However, I am always open to experience new practice areas and learn different aspects of the legal field!
How has the Taylor Porter summer law clerk program helped prepare you for becoming a lawyer? My clerkship at Taylor Porter has greatly increased my efficiency when performing research assignments and meeting project deadlines. The attorneys have provided me with the opportunity to experience hearings and attend client interviews in a professional setting, which has assisted me in understanding the importance of preparation and poise. By treating the clerks the same way they would a first-year associate, we are able to assist with the preparation of important documents and provide in-depth analysis through memorandums that have a true purpose.
Who are your Taylor Porter attorney mentors and what have you learned from them about the legal field that will stick with you? My attorney mentors are Leah Cook and Tim Poche. Leah has been so incredible at guiding me through the struggles of beginning a new clerkship. She has taught me the importance of time management and the value of utilizing the knowledge of other attorneys when faced with an unfamiliar issue! Tim has assisted me in understanding the regulatory side of the law and the significance of following procedures. Overall, my mentors have instilled in me a greater sense of professionalism and time optimization.
What do you like best about the TP Summer Law Clerk Program? The people! The Summer Law Clerk Program at Taylor Porter allows clerks to constantly interact with all members of the staff from associates to paralegals and administrative staff all the way up to the managing partner without any deference towards a position title. Everyone is truly treated as equal and no one would ever refuse a helping hand. The atmosphere at Taylor Porter allows the clerks to comfortably seek out advice without hesitation.
Braxton Duhon, LSU 1L
Braxton Duhon completed his first year of law school at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU. He is a Paul M. Hebert scholar, and he has received the CALI Excellence Awards for Torts, Legal Research and Writing I, and Legal Traditions. Braxton graduated summa cum laude from LSU with a B.A. in political science and a minor in Sociology. Braxton grew up in Reserve, Louisiana.
What practice area(s) are you most interested in and why? I entered the clerkship program with an open mind and no idea what practice areas I was interested in. I am still open to all areas, but my favorite projects at Taylor Porter concerned Commercial Litigation.
How has the Taylor Porter summer law clerk program helped prepare you for becoming a lawyer? One of the great things about Taylor Porter’s summer law clerk program is the wide assortment of projects from different practice areas. This process has helped me to stay on my toes and always be prepared for something new, a valuable skill for any attorney. Additionally, the clerk program has given me the opportunity to apply things I learned in law school to real world situations and experience the effects of that work.
Who are your Taylor Porter attorney mentors and what have you learned from them about the legal field that will stick with you? My mentors are Mike Crawford and Ashley Meredith, who are both phenomenal and extremely helpful. Mike has taught me a great deal about bankruptcy, which I had absolutely no exposure to prior to my clerkship at Taylor Porter. Additionally, he demonstrated a high ethical standard that I will not soon forget. Ashley taught me the importance of fostering relationships within the firm and gave me insight into life as an associate.
What do you like best about the TP Summer Law Clerk Program? My favorite aspect of the TP Summer Law Clerk Program is the exposure to the firm’s people and culture. One of the most important aspects of a workplace are the people who make it up, and getting to meet the great people at Taylor Porter has demonstrated the effectiveness of teamwork and support. I also like the exposure to a wide variety of practice areas that the program provides, which allowed me to learn about many new and interesting concepts.
Zach Lester, LSU 1L
Zach Lester completed his first year at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, where he is a member of both the Tax and Maritime Law Society. As a member of the tax law society, Zach assisted foreign exchange students and professors by helping them file their 2018 federal and state tax returns through the VITA program. Zach grew up right outside of Baton Rouge in St. Francisville.
What practice area(s) are you most interested in and why? As of right now, I still have not determined what area of practice that I like the most. I have done projects ranging from bankruptcy to trade secrets and I have found each of them interesting.
How has the Taylor Porter summer law clerk program helped prepare you for becoming a lawyer? Attending hearings, depositions, and status conferences has allowed me to get an experience outside of law school.
Who are your Taylor Porter attorney mentors and what have you learned from them about the legal field that will stick with you? My two mentors are Coulter McMahen and Tom Easterly. Coulter taught me the importance of clear concise writing and how to sharpen the argument in my memos. Tom was very helpful with showing me how to juggle different assignments as well as the practical aspects of his practice.
What do you like best about the TP Summer Law Clerk Program? The whole entire program is great, but my favorite thing about it is working on the 10th floor library with all of the other clerks. We all will be working for two to three hours straight in absolute silence, and then all of a sudden one person will crack a joke. The conversations and jokes that we get in provide a great break to the research and writing.
Patrick Riley, LSU 1L
Patrick Riley finished his first year at LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center where he is a Chancellor's Scholar and an officer in the Student Bar Association. He is also a member of the Maritime and Admiralty Law Society. Patrick graduated from LSU with a B.S. in chemical engineering and a concentration in molecular biology. He has worked for the Louisiana State Senate, LSU's chemical engineering department, and Precision Firearms.
What practice area(s) are you most interested in and why? Prior to my clerkship with Taylor Porter, I really only knew that I wanted to explore areas related to my engineering background. During my time here, I have primarily worked on cases involving construction and medical malpractice, both of which I have enjoyed immensely. While I am still open to other options in the future, medical malpractice and industrial construction litigation seem to be a natural fit.
How has the Taylor Porter summer law clerk program helped prepare you for becoming a lawyer? I have been able to work closely with a group of attorneys throughout the process of discovery and preparing for trial, which has given me invaluable insights into the legal process. Additionally, I have gained practical experience from attending meetings, depositions, and hearings. I have also been able to hone my research, communication, and organizational skills throughout the process.
Who are your Taylor Porter attorney mentors and what have you learned from them about the legal field that will stick with you? My mentors are Blue Loupe and Savannah Smith. I’ve been able to work very closely with Savannah throughout my clerkship and she has given me insight into what life is like as a new associate at Taylor Porter. Savannah and Blue also provided me with feedback on my work and guidance across the entire six-week program that helped me not only to improve my work product, but also to understand how to work and communicate efficiently.
What do you like best about the TP Summer Law Clerk Program? My favorite part about Taylor Porter is the people. Every partner, associate, and staff member has been so kind, welcoming, and helpful to me since the day I arrived. I never once felt like I had been assigned a fake project or “busy work.” Instead, my input was valued and I felt that the projects I worked on were actually helpful to the attorneys that assigned them to me. I honestly could not ask for anything more in a work environment than to be treated with respect and to be allowed to do meaningful, enjoyable, and interesting work. That is exactly how I would describe my experience at Taylor Porter.