Judge Fred Crifasi
19th Judicial District Court
BRBA: Tell us about your education.
Redemptorist High School (RIP,) LSU undergrad and Paul M. Hebert Law Center.
BRBA: Where are you from?
Of course, Baton Rouge.
BRBA: Where and what type of law do you practice?
While I dabbled in other areas, I practiced primarily in the area of criminal defense.
BRBA: Why did you want to become an attorney?
I didn’t. After college I was working as a Merchandise Manager for JCPenney. (My last assigned department was women’s foundations and lingerie. Really.) My plan was to return to school for my MBA. My dad and his friend Jay Campbell convinced me that a law degree would be more marketable. So, I went to law school instead. During law school I was lucky to clerk for Tony Marabella and Hillar Moore. These two showed me what it meant to be a lawyer.
BRBA: If you were not practicing law, what would be your alternate profession?
BRBA: What is one thing you wish you would have known before you went to law school?
That everybody else was going too.
BRBA: Are you involved with the BRBA? If so, how?
It is a pleasure to be involved now as a judge and I am particularly looking forward to this year’s Bench Bar Conference. I served as President in 2010 and Chair of the Young Lawyers’ Council in 1997. Law Day was always a favorite of mine as well as Belly Up to the Bar.
BRBA: What motivated you to become involved with the BRBA?
Early on I was taken to Bar Luncheons where I met so many amazing lawyers. Back then, before Facebook, people seemed to enjoy getting together for a brief respite from the practice. The camaraderie was alive and always humorous. Many precious relationships were formed in those days, most of which I still treasure today.
BRBA: What is your favorite BRBA activity or event?
Back in my days on the Young Lawyers’s Council, Bubby Burns birthed the idea of a backyard cooking contest amongst lawyers. He, along with Jay Jalenak, Edy Koonce, Kevin Hayes and others created the first Belly Up with the Bar and, you know the rest of the story.
Some of Chuck Davoli’s hand crafted trophies now adorn my courtroom chambers. Ollie Pierson, Tony Marabella and I had loads of fun at these events. We cheated. We always brought in Scottie, my next door neighbor, as a ringer chef. If his pure talent wasn’t enough to win, Ollie usually made sure by blatantly bribing the judges. (The $100 bills always found their way to the overall earnings of the event that supports all of the bar’s youth education programs.)
BRBA: Are you involved with any other organizations or causes?
Well now I’m a member of the Louisiana Judges’ Association. I am amazed by the support of this dynamic group. You guys should feel good in knowing that this group exists and constantly works to improve our service to the bar and community. We have some excellent judges across the state that lend much of their time and wisdom to help rookies like me.
BRBA: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Do not be afraid of change. Be afraid of not changing.
BRBA: What are your leisure activities?
Cooking outside; LSU sports; traveling when possible; gardening
BRBA: What is the last book that you read?
I recently re-read A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.
BRBA: Tell us something interesting about yourself.
Fred was not my real name. At birth my mom named me Timothy Daniel. Handsome name right? But, I had strawberry blonde hair and my dad called me “red-headed Fred.” I was Tim throughout grade school. Upon entering junior high, went with Fred because the nickname began to stick. My first encounter with the legal system was adding Fred to the beginning of my name.
For more information or to comment on this this Member Spotlight feature, contact Landon Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-214-5560.