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NACDL and LACDL Join Forces in New Orleans 2023

On March 2, 2023, NACDL and LACDL hosted a joint fundraiser honoring the work of James (Jim) Boren and celebrated the memory of Billy Sothern. 

Thank you to all of our sponsors, and attendees, for their support!

We also would like to extend a special thank you to the Toulouse Theatre and Chris Young for their support! Delicious food was provided by 2 Brothers 1 Love.  



(As of 3/2/2023)


Stephen Ross Johnson and Ritchie, Davies, Johnson & Stovall, P.C.
Lawrence Zimmerman and the Coleman B Zimmerman Memorial Fund


The Ambeau Law Firm
Andrew S. Birrell
Kathleen Stilling & Jerome Buting
Ramon de la Cabada
Kerry P. Cuccia, Attorney At Law
Law office of Jacqueline Goodman
Michael P. Heiskell, Sr.
Longman Jakuback
Schonekas, Evans, McGoey & McEachin, LLC
Tin Fulton Walker and Owen
Law Office of Catharine O'Daniel
The Law Office of Justin Rosas 
Jones Walker
Jeffery S. Weiner


Harry Daniels III
John Wesley Hall
Eugene S. Oliver
The Juror Project
C. Gary Wainwright


Seth Chazin
Eric J. Davis
Nina Ginsberg 
Benjamin R. LaBranche
Barry Scheck
Majeeda Snead


The Toulouse Theatre 


The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is proud to present criminal defense legend Jim Boren with the Champion of Justice Award at the association’s 2023 Midwinter Meeting & Seminar. This award recognizes over four decades of service to the defense bar and tireless efforts to improve the quality of justice for all persons accused of criminal offenses.

A dedicated NACDL member for over three decades, Jim has served on NACDL’s Board of Directors and chaired the public defense and death penalty committees. He is a frequent lecturer at NACDL’s trainings and the author of numerous articles for The Champion magazine.

Beyond his service to NACDL, Jim lectures around the country and has dedicated his time to countless commissions, task forces and other efforts focused on improving the fairness of criminal justice in the state of Louisiana.

In the courtroom, Jim is widely known as a fierce advocate whose commitment to justice extends beyond the handful of high-profile clients who need his help to include the hundreds who have been marginalized and often abused by the criminal legal system. Jim perfectly sums up his calling in a feature by the Louisiana Super Lawyers magazine: “I thought I would be a criminal defense lawyer because I felt I lived in a state with rich roots in racism, and that poor people who found themselves in trouble were in serious trouble because they were disproportionately prosecuted and sentenced…. I just had a calling of some sort to represent the underdog.”

What may be less known, partially because of his humble nature, is Jim’s support for younger attorneys entering into the field, especially lawyers of color and young lawyers who are committed to representation in poor communities of color. For nearly 20 years, he taught at LSU Law School, sharing his expertise in the areas of capital punishment and wrongful convictions, and inspiring new generations of lawyers with his passion for justice.

Please join us in New Orleans to recognize Jim Boren’s outstanding commitment to his clients, to the field, and to equal justice and fairness in our criminal legal system.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), joined by the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (LACDL), will be posthumously honoring Billy Sothern during the event on March 2, 2023.  Billy was a committed member of NACDL and LACDL and was known for taking on some of Louisiana’s toughest capital cases. Near the top of that list is the conviction, and ultimately the release, of Albert Woodfox who spent 42 years in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. 

As a teenager, Billy was arrested on drug charges.  But in lieu of prison time, he was sent to rehab. Billy realized that had he been anything other than a middle-class and white, the outcome of that run in with the law could have been quite different. This realization served as the basis for a career helping others not so fortunate.

A graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, Billy earned his law degree at New York University. While in law school, Billy worked for Bryan Stevenson at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. Stevenson, who also taught at NYU, emphasized the need to fight for justice in the communities with the greatest need. After graduating, Billy relocated to New Orleans, intent on fighting on behalf of impoverished clients across the Death Belt.

Like his mentor Stevenson, Billy believed that no one was as bad as his or her worst act. That led him to take on not just wrongful-conviction cases, but cases where guilt was undeniable, but the punishment was unduly cruel and harsh.

Billy began his legal career as a lawyer at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, and went on to direct the Capital Appeals Project, representing death-row inmates from across Louisiana in trial and post-conviction appeals. He was a member of the legal team in Kennedy v. Louisiana, in which the Supreme Court greatly cut back on the availability of capital punishment.

Billy was an author, a family man, and an adopted son of New Orleans who became close friends with many who he represented in court. He left us far too soon and NACDL and LACDL join with his family, friends, and community, in recognizing the positive impact he made.

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