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BLAKE J. ARCURI is general counsel for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Arcuri is the lead counsel and supervisor of all litigation and legal matters for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office. He is a former assistant district attorney in the felony trials division of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office and a former associate of Usry, Weeks & Matthews which specializes in municipal and law enforcement litigation defense. Mr. Arcuri is an annual lecturer at the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association Warden’s Convention. He graduated with his B.A. degree from Louisiana State University, and he earned his J.D. degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. (New Orleans location)
MAGDALEN B. BICKFORD is of counsel with McGlinchey Stafford PLLC in their New Orleans office. Ms. Bickford represents management and employers in labor and employment litigation. She also consults employers on best practices in the workplace, provides guidance on policy and procedure drafting and implementation, provides management training and education, and provides other general legal counsel. Ms. Bickford has lectured and counseled extensively in all areas of employment law, as well as workers' compensation law and education law, including but not limited to, policies and procedures for employee handbooks, hiring, counseling and separation of employees, employee discipline, reduction in force, leave, employee growth and development, employee benefits, workers' compensation, non-compete agreements, privacy issues, compensation plans and strategies, restructuring and downsizing, EEO, FLSA, FMLA, ADA and general federal and state legal compliance as well as general policies and procedures in the workplace. She earned her B.A. degree, cum laude, from Loyola University and her J.D. degree from Loyola University School of Law. Ms. Bickford is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute, the New Orleans Bar Association, the Society of Human Resources Management (local and national chapters), and the Women’s Professional Council of New Orleans (past president, board member and Bylaws chair). (New Orleans location)
KURT C. GARCIA is a sole practitioner with his company Garcia Law Firm, LLC located in Kenner, Louisiana. Mr. Garcia’s primary areas of practice include litigation and appellate practice with an emphasis in municipal law including areas of urban planning, zoning, land use and injunctions. He also handles matters involving business law, successions, wills, contracts law, non-profit organizations and personal injury. Mr. Garcia is an adjunct professor in the Political Science Department at the University of New Orleans. He is licensed to practice in all Louisiana state courts, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Mr. Garcia graduated with his B.A. degrees and his M.P.A. degree from the University of New Orleans. He earned his J.D. degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Mr. Garcia is a member of the Louisiana Bar Association and the Jefferson Parish Bar Association. (Baton Rouge and New Orleans locations)
DANNIE P. GARRETT III is an attorney practicing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Mr. Garrett’s primary areas of practice are governmental law and governmental relations. He currently represents a number of parish governments and school districts, including Plaquemines Parish Council, St. James Parish School Board, Tensas Parish Police Jury and West Feliciana Parish Government, where he serves as the parish attorney. Mr. Garrett previously held positions as senior counsel at Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada, PLLC; as a registered lobbyist on behalf of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana; a staff attorney for the House Committee on House and Governmental Affairs, Louisiana House of Representatives; and defense counsel, staff attorney, for Louisiana Municipal Association. He has lectured for the Public Law Center at Tulane University, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of County Civil Attorneys. Mr. Garrett earned his B.S. degree in finance from Louisiana State University and his J.D. degree from Louisiana State University. He has been an officer in the National Association of County Civil Attorneys and a member of the Louisiana Law Institute Title 33 Revision Committee Member. (Baton Rouge location)
PAUL HOLMES serves as the Louisiana Municipal Advisory and Technical Services Bureau Procurement director and oversees the Louisiana Municipal Association’s procurement education programs and manages the LaMATS BidBoard Procurement Network, an electronic procurement system established for municipal and local government members of the LMA. He is a former deputy general counsel with the state of Louisiana, a former director of the Office of State Procurement, and served as the state’s chief procurement officer. Mr. Holmes earned his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from University of Louisiana Lafayette and then earned his J.D. degree from Louisiana State University School of Law, Baton Rouge. He is a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association and currently serves on the Legislature’s Best Practices in Public Contracts Task Force. Mr. Holmes is a past author of the Louisiana Procurement Handbook; the Vendor Guide, How to do Business in Louisiana; and currently authors the LMA’s Procurement Manual - Procurement in Louisiana, a Guide to Local Government Procurement and Competition. (Baton Rouge location)
DENISE C. PUENTE is a partner in the New Orleans law firm of Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn, L.L.P., where her practice is focused primarily on commercial litigation, including construction and surety law. She has represented contractors, subcontractors, owners and public entities in all aspects of construction, including public bid disputes, contract drafting, licensing issues and other transactional and litigation matters. Ms. Puente is a a frequent lecturer on construction and surety related topics. She is a former chair of the Fidelity and Surety Committee of the Defense Research Institute, a member of the American Bar Association (Forum Committee of the Construction Industry, Fidelity and Surety Committee, and the Tort and Insurance Practice Section), and a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association (Construction and Surety Committee). Ms. Puente earned her J.D. degree from Louisiana State University Law School. (New Orleans location)
KARLIN L. RILES is the assistant council attorney in the legal department of Saint Tammany Parish Government in Covington, Louisiana. Ms. Riles provides representation and legal advice to various Parish Council created boards and commissions in Saint Tammany Parish including fire boards, recreation boards and sewer, water and drainage districts. She represents the parish in litigation against the parish and its various officials and departments. Ms. Riles also represents the parish council and planning and zoning commission, assisting in the preparation of ordinances, the resolution and running of meetings, and providing general legal advice. Ms. Riles graduated with her B.A. degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and she earned her J.D. degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. She is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the 22nd JDC Bar Association. (New Orleans location)
AMANDA S. STOUT is of counsel in the Baton Rouge office of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC. Ms. Stout’s defense practice is focused on the areas of commercial litigation, labor and employment law and aviation litigation at both the trial level and the appellate level. She has defended local governmental entities, as well as private employers against various allegations of violations of federal and state statutes governing discrimination, harassment, whistleblower claims, wage and hour claims, and noncompete agreements. Additionally, Ms. Stout has represented employers in responding to allegations brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights and the U.S. Department of Labor. She graduated with her B.S. degree from Louisiana State University, and she earned her B.C.L. and J.D. degrees from Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center. Ms. Stout is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association (House of Delegates 2012-2017); the Baton Rouge Bar Association; and the Federal Bar Association, Baton Rouge Chapter. (Baton Rouge location)
KAREN WHITE is executive counsel for the Louisiana Municipal Association. Ms. White has been with the LMA for over ten years, serving as liability defense counsel until 2015. In that capacity, she provided legal services for members of the LMRMA self-insurance fund, and handled all aspects of litigation, from claims investigation to appellate work at the Louisiana Supreme Court. In her new position, she supervises the LMA’s Membership Services Department, including legislative advocacy, conferences, government and public relations, and education and training. Prior to working at the LMA, Ms. White was an assistant attorney general at the Louisiana Department of Justice in the Gaming Division, specializing in litigation and compliance. She is a graduate of LSU Law School, and has been practicing law since October 1998. (Baton Rouge location)
SHARONDA R. WILLIAMS joined Fishman Haygood LLP as special counsel in 2015, following a distinguished career in public service and private practice. She has served as city attorney for the city of New Orleans, as well as chief deputy city attorney. Ms. Williams has served as a trial advocacy Instructor at Tulane University School of Law, and also as a guest lecturer and skills course instructor at Loyola University College of Law. She regularly lectures on the state and national level at seminars and continuing education events. Ms. Williams earned her B.S. degree, summa cum laude, from Xavier University and her J.D. degree, cum laude, from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. (New Orleans location)