Hon. Joycelyn Y. Elmore
Judge, Division of Administrative Law
Areas of Practice:
Before becoming an administrative law judge, my areas of practice involved Family Law, Bankruptcy and Consumer Law.
Favorite BRBA project or event:
The Holiday Star Project is my favorite event. Christmas is my favorite holiday. Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child is one of the things that make it truly special. My mother was a single mom with three small children. Although we didn't have much, I never had a sad Christmas. The Holiday Star Project brings joy to so many children in the Baton Rouge area.
I'll admit that I'd never given much thought to having a personal hero until the 2016 Presidential election. I voted early at the State Archives. As I arrived I saw an elderly black man approach wearing a World War II veteran's hat. He was alone. The crowd began to thank him for his service. As I went to help him, I recognized that it was Johnnie A. Jones Sr. He told the crowd that he was present on D-Day. The Battle of Normandy was a decisive battle for the allied victory. Johnnie Jones served as counsel for the Baton Rouge bus boycott. He was instrumental in integrating the 19th Judicial District Courthouse. Very few of us remember when black lawyers could not sit with white lawyers. I was so in awe of him. I was holding the hand of someone who helped to make all the liberties that I enjoy today possible. A hero is one who in the face of danger combats adversity. Johnnie A. Jones Sr. is my definition of a hero!
The part of my job I do best is:
Listening is what I do best. While words and phrases are important tools to the legal profession, listening is a skill that is really underrated. Listening is an important and useful tools for an administrative law judge. Often times citizens file appeals understanding that there is no legal remedy for their problem and seeking no other remedy than to be heard. The Division of Administrative Law has provided the citizens of Louisiana a neutral forum to voice their grievances with state agencies since 1996.
I am single with no children. I am the youngest of three siblings; I have an older sister and brother and an army of nieces, nephews and godchildren that I love to spoil.
Name a historical figure that you admire:
The historical figure that I admire is a fictional character. "Gone with the Wind" is one of my favorite movies, and Scarlet O'Hara is a character that I admire. While I don't condone her means of achieving her goal, I admire that she persevered in an era when there were few options for women. Scarlet as the defacto head of her family saved the estate and became an astute businesswoman. She broke the mold of a traditional and southern belle. I believe that's important when in 2017 we are still using the phrase "first woman to" (fill in the blank).
What makes you most proud of being a lawyer:
I began my legal career as a staff attorney with New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation, now known as Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and from there with the state to Support Enforcement Services. The cases that legal services and support enforcement accept are not fee-generating cases. It is difficult for those without resources to find legal representation. I'm most proud that I've been a part of helping those who could not otherwise afford it, access justice.
How have you been involved with the BRBA?
Prior to becoming an administrative law judge, I participated in Ask-A-Lawyer and the Pro Bono Project. Since then, I have served as a judge for the Mock Trial Competition and I take part in the Holiday Star Project.
Favorite law school memory:
I have many favorite law school memories and they all involve the birth of "the Clique." The Clique is a group of special friends that I met in law school. We were not all study partners but they were and still are the best support group that you can ever imagine. It's a blessing when friendship evolves into extended family.
I graduated from Baton Rouge High Magnet School. I received my undergraduate degree in speech pathology and audiology from Southern University, and I am a graduate of Southern University Law Center.
Suggestions for young lawyers:
Treat your peers, your clients and the court with respect. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Rudeness does not make you a zealous advocate.
What is the best thing about living in Baton Rouge?
I am a native of Baton Rouge, so I have enjoyed watching it grow into a major metropolitan city while maintaining a small town feel.
If you would like to contact Joycelyn, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information or to comment on this this Member Spotlight feature, contact Susan Kelley at email@example.com or 225-214-5559.