Valerie B. Bargas
Kinchen, Walker, Bienvenu, Bargas, Reed & Helm, L.L.C.
BRBA: Tell us about your education.
I have an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Smith College and a J.D from Tulane Law School.
BRBA: Where are you from?
BRBA: Where and what type of law do you practice?
Founding member of Kinchen Walker, Bienvenu, Bargas, Reed & Helm, LLC. My practice is focused on general casualty defense and bad faith litigation in State and Federal Court.
BRBA: Why did you want to become an attorney?
I have always enjoyed political discourse which lead to a general love of discourse. The natural path was the practice of law.
BRBA: If you were not practicing law, what would be your alternate profession?
I completed my remaining pre-requisites for medical school while I was in law school. Medicine was my first alternate.
BRBA: What is one thing you wish you would have known before you went to law school?
The business side of the practice of law is far more difficult than I would have imagined.
BRBA: Are you involved with the BRBA? If so, how?
I’ve been fortunate to work with the BRBA on a wide variety of projects, starting with Wills for Heroes and other Pro Bono and civil legal aid initiatives. My close friend, Cathy Giering, asked me to help with the Bench Bar Conference last year. I have consistently attended with my family over the years and I really enjoy the camaraderie fostered between the local Bench and the Bar.
BRBA: What motivated you to become involved with the BRBA?
The vast majority of my service to the profession has been at the State level, but I love the Baton Rouge legal community. There is something special about the professionalism exhibited in this “big, small town.” I feel like it is a natural step for me to give back a bit more on the local level with attorneys that I regularly practice (with and against).
BRBA: What is your favorite BRBA activity or event?
Bench Bar has always been my favorite event. Time away from the practice to learn, socialize, and see attorneys and Judges as people is so important. It is imperative that we look for ways to humanize our colleagues. It does improve our working relationships.
BRBA: Are you involved with any other organizations or causes?
The focus of my service to the profession and the public has been with supporting civil legal aid in the State, through my work with the Louisiana Bar Foundation and the Access to Justice Commission’s Funding Committee. I was recently appointed to the Louisiana Appleseed Board, which seeks to solve our State’s toughest problems at the root cause. I serve on the Board for PACE, which provides healthcare services to the low-income elderly, who would choose to stay in their homes rather than be forced into a nursing home. In January, I assumed the position of President-Elect of Louisiana ABOTA, an organization with an equal amount of civil defense and plaintiff attorneys who advocate for the preservation of the right to a civil jury trial. I am also active with my Church Parish and serve on the Our Lady of Mercy School Board.
BRBA: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Once a task is begun, never leave it ‘til it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all. – my grandfather, Lloyd LeBlanc, instilled this in me at a young age.
BRBA: What are your leisure activities?
With three active children (ages 8, 11, and 13), my leisure activities are pretty much identical to their activities. However, I do find time to escape into a good book. It is the only way I can turn my brain off from thinking about my cases. I also enjoy running and working out. My husband is a big foodie. We do love to eat out and try new dishes. (hence, the need to run and workout).
BRBA: What is the last book that you read?
I just finished the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. It is being turned into a Netflix series this year. It was a good read.
BRBA: Tell us something interesting about yourself.
If you would like to contact Valerie, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been a certified aerobics teacher for 22 years and I teach several aerobics classes every week at the Woman’s Center for Wellness. It is a great creative outlet for me.
For more information or to comment on this this Member Spotlight feature, contact Landon Hester at email@example.com or 225-214-5560.