The Kendall Vick Public Law Foundation was recently awarded the Calogero Justice Award, named in honor of Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr., who served on the Court for 36 years. Each year, the Louisiana Bar Foundation honors an individual or organization for a significant contribution to the Louisiana justice system. Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer attorney Jerome Reso, Jr. serves as the Vick Foundation President.
About Kendall Vick and the Foundation
Kendall Vick was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but lived in New Orleans for over 30 years prior to his death. He was a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Emory University School of Law in Atlanta. He completed graduate studies in international law at the London School of Economics and advanced legal studies at Balliol College of Oxford University. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
Among his many civic and governmental activities were his service as Director of the Governor’s Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, and he was an appointed delegate to the 1973 Constitutional Convention. He was an assistant professor at Loyola University College of Law in the mid-1960s and provided many years of legal expertise to the American Civil Liberties Union.
His principal activity, though, was serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the Louisiana Department of Justice from May 9, 1972 to March 11, 1988. During his tenure, he issued hundreds of Attorney General Opinions and argued nine cases on behalf of the State of Louisiana before the United States Supreme Court.
He was a staunch advocate for the proposition that State, Parish and local agencies should use in-house attorneys rather than engage the services of private law firms for their legal representation needs.
Upon his death on December 5, 1997, the Vick Foundation was funded and began its activities in 1999.
The first project of the Vick Foundation was to commission and fund a report titled Public Contracting for Legal Services. The report was a collaborative effort by the Bureau of Governmental Research, Public Affairs Research Council and The Public Law Center. The latter included efforts by students at the Loyola College of Law and the Tulane Law School.
The report conducted a survey of how government agencies at various levels within the State of Louisiana contract with and compensate private law firms to provide legal representation. Mr. Vick expressed interest in such a project while preparing for the establishment of the Vick Foundation.
Mr. Vick’s primary goal for the establishment of the Vick Foundation was for it to find ways to encourage law graduates to seek careers in public law. After considering a number of alternatives, the Board of Directors of the Foundation developed a plan to provide funding for Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (“LRAP”). In 2003, the American Bar Association approached Congress to provide a tax benefit for law graduates who chose careers in public law, rather than more lucrative private practice. One of the points discussed was that most law graduates face student loans and that those in the public sector would have more difficulty paying those loans than the attorneys who entered private practice. The result was the adoption of § 108(f)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides that financial assistance to law graduates working in the public sector from LRAP Programs is exempt from income taxation.
The Board of Directors concluded that providing funding for LRAP programs was a direct way to accomplish Mr. Vick’s vision to encourage careers in public law.
The Vick Foundation began providing Grants to LRAP programs at several institutions in the State of Louisiana in 2006. One condition of the Grants is that they be awarded to law graduates in public sector positions within the State of Louisiana.
The Louisiana Bar Foundation named the Vick Foundation the recipient of its Horn Blowers Award in 2009 in recognition of its support encouraging careers in public interest law.
In 2019, the Bar Foundation named the Vick Foundation the 2018 Calogero Justice Award recipient.