Gene W. Lafitte, a 1952 graduate of the Law Center, has been named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, announced Chancellor Jack M. Weiss during the spring meeting of the Law Center Alumni Board of Trustees.
“This is the highest professional honor awarded by the LSU Law Center, and Gene is extremely deserving of this honor. He has been a leader in the legal profession in Louisiana and beyond for decades. Just as importantly, Gene is universally respected as a person of unquestioned integrity.” Lafitte was nominated by long-time friend, John P. Laborde (’49), who was also present for the announcement, along with Gene’s wife, Jackie. Lafitte will be honored at special ceremonies this fall.
When asked about his philosophy and vision of the legal profession, Lafitte said, “In my view there is no substitute for hard work and for being conscientious about one’s responsibilities—to the client, the court and other lawyers. I hope that we can all agree that the law is a profession—not a business—and that the liberal use of courtesy and civility does not undermine one’s effectiveness.”
Following graduation, Lafitte served the U. S. Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps as a first lieutenant. He joined Liskow & Lewis in 1956, where he founded the litigation department. He has practiced as a trial and appellate lawyer, primarily in the fields of oil and gas, business contracts and torts, anti-trust, securities, intellectual property and environmental law. Before being named chairman, Lafitte served for almost 10 years as the firm’s president and managing partner.
From 1977–1986, Lafitte served as an appointed member of the Louisiana Board of Regents and was president from 1984–1985. He served as Chairman of the LSU Foundation Board from 2001–2002. He is a member of the American, Louisiana, and New Orleans Bar Associations; a fellow with the American Bar Foundation, the Louisiana Bar Foundation, the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers; and, a member of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary from 1981 until 1987.
He is proud of his service on the ABA committee that evaluated the appointments of Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Chief Justice Rehnquist. Since 1996, he has served as a member of the U.S. Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.
In addition to his organization and committee work, Lafitte also enjoys golf, hunting and fishing and many spectator sports. He enjoys oil painting, reading, music and travel. He continues to be active in his church and social clubs. The Lafitte’s have three children (two lawyers and a paralegal) and six grandchildren.
Additional details regarding the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus event honoring Gene Lafitte will be forwarded at a later date.