DIVERSITY · INCLUSION
Taylor Porter Diversity Committee Chair
Katia Desrouleaux Bowman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 225.381.0224
"When I think of diversity and inclusion at Taylor Porter, I think of this melting pot of divergent ideas, strengths, cultures and experiences working together toward a common goal. When this sort of collegial culture prevails within an organization, something amazing happens. Not only our members, but our clients and the community, benefit from this inclusive corporate philosophy."
Katia D. Bowman is a Taylor Porter partner who practices primarily civil and appellate litigation. She has defended the interests of public and private clients in personal injury, insurance defense, contract disputes, public utilities, unfair trade practice, civil rights, education, retaliation, defamation, wrongful termination, discrimination, and general tort matters. She is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Baton Rouge Bar Association, and the Defense Research Institute (DRI), and has served on the Planning Committee for the DRI Annual Diversity for Success Seminar and Expo. Katia graduated summa cum laude from Southern University and A&M College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2005. Within the firm, Katia also serves as the Recruiting Committee Vice Chair. Katia is multi-lingual and also a Haiti native.
Taylor Porter Diversity Committee Members
Taylor Porter's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
We actively encourage a diverse and inclusive firm environment by:
- Recruiting and retaining diverse attorneys and staff
- Recognizing, respecting and appreciating the dignity, individual talents and contributions of our colleagues
- Providing equal opportunities for professional and personal growth, including leadership positions
- Promoting an inclusive and welcoming culture
- Maintaining a collegial, cooperative spirit
- Seeking enduring relationships with our clients and with each other
- Treating others as we want to be treated
A strong, growing diversity commitment helps us:
- Better serve our clients – Close and inclusive working relationships among our members place Taylor Porter in a unique position to service our clients’ organizational, demographic, cultural, economic and social needs.
- Enrich our community – Our diversity commitment benefits not only Taylor Porter and the legal profession, but also the community in which our attorneys, staff, families, and clients live and work. Our active participation in non-profit and professional organizations helps us advance and promote diversity locally, regionally and nationally.
- Position the firm for long-term success – The varied backgrounds and experiences of our attorneys and staff enable our firm to continue to provide exceptional service and creative solutions. Attracting, recruiting and retaining diverse members is essential to firm growth and prosperity.
Our Diverse Leadership
Celebrating its 106th year of professional client service, Taylor Porter has assembled what is arguably one of the most diverse management teams of any law firm operating in Louisiana. Charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing firm policy, Taylor Porter’s nine-member Executive Committee includes among its ranks two women and one African-American male. The members of our Executive Committee are elected from all levels of partnership.
- Practice Team Leaders – Several women attorneys lead our practice area groups, including, Vicki Crochet, Labor and Employment; and Anne Crochet, Environmental Regulatory and Litigation.
- Women Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs – Taylor Porter has appointed several women to committee chair and vice chair positions. Our leaders include Partner Katia Bowman, Diversity Chair; Partner and Executive Committee Member Vicki Crochet, Diversity Vice Chair; Partner Ann Halphen, Strategic Planning Chair; Partner Nancy Dougherty, Opinion Review Chair; Partner Amy Lambert, Associates Co-Chair; Partner Lenore Feeney, Personnel Vice Chair; and Partner Anne Crochet, Marketing Advisory Chair.
- Influential Women in Business and Top 40 Under 40 – Vicki Crochet and Nancy Dougherty have been recognized among the most “Influential Women in Business,” while Katia Bowman, Leslie Daniel, Kathryn Goodson, Amy Lambert and Amy Groves Lowe have been selected among the “Top 40 Under 40,” by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, for their professional careers and community contributions.
- Bar Leadership – Our attorneys remain active in leadership roles in the legal profession. Preston Castille formerly served as President of the Baton Rouge Bar Association. Amy Lambert serves as current Treasurer of the BRBA, and Erin Sayes Kenny is an elected council member of the BRBA Young Lawyers Section.
Our Emphasis on Diversity Recruiting
The firm focuses its recruiting efforts for lawyers at Southern University Law Center, a historically black institution; Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University; Tulane University Law School; Loyola University New Orleans School of Law; and at minority job fairs. In addition to these recruiting efforts, the firm offers scholarships each semester to outstanding law students. The firm is a past sponsor of the National Counsel of Law Reviews hosted by Southern University. These recruitment efforts have resulted in the employment of diverse lawyers of various ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. Several Taylor Porter lawyers serve as adjunct professors at law schools in Baton Rouge, including Southern University Law Center, and LSU, Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Our executive committee member and partner, Preston Castille, began his career as a law professor in 2001 at LSU teaching Pretrial Litigation Practice. In 2003, Preston began teaching at Southern University Law Center and currently teaches courses in Louisiana Civil Procedure I & II and Evidence. Preston is the National President of the Southern University Alumni Federation. Taylor Porter welcomed associate Kelley Dick, Preston's former student at Southern University Law Center, to the firm as a member of our associates class of 2015. Taylor Porter takes pride in its Southern University Law graduates, including: Kari “Kiki” Bergeron (2007), Cindy Amedee (2008), Katia Bowman (2008), and Ne’Shira Millender (2014).
Our Diversity Outreach and Community Impact
In 2017, Taylor Porter’s Diversity Committee launched a firm-wide BUILD (Building Unity, Inclusion, & Legal Diversity) Community Outreach Program. The program was implemented by the Taylor Porter Diversity Committee and designed to further bridge and support the Firm’s diversity efforts, combined with its more than 106 years of traditional community outreach and volunteer work. Through the BUILD program, Taylor Porter will have the opportunity to provide assistance to several diverse community and nonprofits year-round, thereby affecting diverse segments of the community in a most positive and rewarding way.
Whether serving on the boards of directors of nonprofit organizations or making contributions to worthwhile causes, Taylor Porter’s attorneys and staff are actively involved in the community. Some examples of these organizations include:
- 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge - Partner and executive committee member Preston Castille is an active member of the 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge. Recently-retired partner and diversity committee member Deborah Lamb, received the “Portrait of Caring” award from Cox Communications and 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge for her efforts to promote diversity and unity in the Baton Rouge community. Taylor Porter also sponsors or donates to events benefitting this organization devoted to helping African-American males assume roles of community leadership, responsibility and guidance.
- Volunteers in Public Schools - Deborah Lamb served on the VIPS board of directors for many years and currently serves on its advisory panel, while associate, Ne’Shira Millender, currently serves as a board member. Taylor Porter received a Golden Apple award from VIPS for its work at Kenilworth Middle School, and was recognized by the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board for its partnership with the Dufrocq School through VIPS.
- Cristo Rey Baton Rouge High School - Taylor Porter has committed to serving as a corporate sponsor to Cristo Rey Baton Rouge High School, a Catholic high school opening in August 2016. The school combines college prep education with a corporate work study program through which several Cristo Rey students will work at Taylor Porter. The school is open to young people of limited economic means to help them become men and women of faith, purpose and service.
- Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) - Our executive committee member and partner, Robin Toups, serves on the board of directors of CASA, and Deborah Lamb is the past board chair and current nomination committee chair of this organization that serves the best interests of children in foster homes.
- Baton Rouge Bar Association Holiday Star Project - Recently-retired Partner Margaret Tooke received the President’s Award from the Baton Rouge Bar Association for her efforts in the establishment of the BRBA’s Holiday Star program, a tradition that has been continued for many years by Taylor Porter. In 2015, associate Erin Kenny led the holiday drive as Taylor Porter donated gifts to children from 70 families.
- Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank - Partner Eddie Hughes serves as Vice Chair of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, which supplies food to 156 agencies in the Baton Rouge area, aiding the underserved population. In 2016, Taylor Porter donated 265 pounds of food, $1,530, and attorneys and staff volunteered on site sorting food donations and assembling sorted items into food boxes, totaling 6,243 pounds of food for 1,100 families.
- Baton Rouge Blues Foundation - Partner Anne Crochet helped chair the 2015 Annual Blue Carpet Blues Gala for the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation, a non-profit that promotes, preserves and celebrates Baton Rouge blues culture. Among other projects, the Foundation sponsors a Blues Education program and Blues Music History Project, to help artists in need. Taylor Porter was a sponsor of the 2015 gala.
- Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra - Partners Blue Loupe and Deborah Lamb serve on the board of the BRSO, and Taylor Porter sponsors several BRSO performances throughout the year.
- Theatre Baton Rouge - Partner Amy Lambert serves on the board, and Taylor Porter sponsors several performances throughout the year.
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge - Partner Jim Ellis serves on the Habitat board, and Deborah Lamb formerly served as a board member. Attorneys and staff volunteer to build homes throughout the city.
- Louis A. Martinet Legal Society - Taylor Porter is a strong supporter of the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, an African-American legal association and an affiliate of the National Bar Association. Preston Castille formerly served as president. Associate Ne’Shira Millender is a member of the Baton Rouge Louis A. Martinet Society. Diversity Chair Katia Bowman is a former member.
- Louisiana State Bar Association Diversity Committee - Taylor Porter is an annual sponsor and participant in the Conclave on Diversity. The Conclave is a statewide event that brings together Louisiana judges and attorneys regarding the importance of diversity within the legal profession. In 2016, Taylor Porter is a platinum sponsor.
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association - Taylor Porter has participated in several events sponsored by the MCCA, which advocates for the expanded hiring, retention, and promotion of minority attorneys in corporate law departments.
- Defense Research Institute’s Diversity Conference - Taylor Porter demonstrates its commitment to encouraging diversity in the legal profession at the national level by participating in DRI's Diversity for Success Conference. Preston Castille has served as a speaker on DRI diversity panels at the national conference, and Katia Bowman has served on the conference planning committee for several events.
- Louisiana Women’s Conference - Vicki Crochet, a member of Taylor Porter's executive committee, chair of the firm's labor and employment practice group, and member of the law firm’s personnel, strategic planning and diversity committees, has been a speaker at this conference.