April 20, 2020
Taylor Porter Partner Skip Philips, the newly elected 2020-2021 President of the Louisiana Bar Foundation, is featured in a Q&A interview in the April/May edition of the Louisiana Bar Journal, a bi-monthly publication by the Louisiana State Bar Association. The Louisiana Bar Foundation is the largest state funder of civil legal aid supporting non-profits throughout Louisiana that provide free, civil legal representation to the indigent, law-related education to the public, and administration of justice projects.
"The work of the Foundation is important to the goal of providing access to justice to those who cannot afford it. As the funding provider to many worthy grantees, the Foundation ensures that limited financial resources are put to work in the best places and to help the most people," Philips said. "Being a part of that effort is important to me and I hope it is important to all lawyers and judges around the state."
Below is the interview with Philips.
Q&A with 2020-21 LBF President Harry J. (Skip) Philips, Jr.
Interviewed by 2020-21 Secretary Deidre Deculus Robert
Robert: Tell us about yourself and your family.
Philips: I was born in New Orleans but grew up in Baton Rouge where I attended parochial school and then LSU (twice), finishing law school in 1983. I have three younger sisters. Colleen and I are celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary in April. We have two wonderful children and three spectacular grandchildren.
Robert: How did you get involved with the Louisiana Bar Foundation (LBF)?
Philips: Several years ago, Mike Patterson asked me to help with the LBF Grants Committee. I learned a lot about civil legal aid and especially the Legal Services Corporations by reviewing their grant applications. I became the LSC subcommittee chair for the committee and then was asked to join the board.
Robert: Why did you become a Fellow of the LBF?
Philips: The work of the Foundation is important to the goal of providing access to justice to those who cannot afford it. As the funding provider to many worthy grantees, the Foundation ensures that limited financial resources are put to work in the best places and to help the most people. Being a part of that effort is important to me and I hope it is important to all lawyers and judges around the state.
Robert: Why do you think the LBF is important to the law profession?
Philips: One of the goals of our profession should be to help ensure that access to justice is not just a catch phrase. The Foundation is able to help resource activities that promote access to further that goal.
Robert: Why do you think the LBF is important to Louisiana?
Philips: The Foundation is the focal point for funding most of the nonprofit and volunteer organizations that provide critical legal services to those who cannot otherwise afford it and the Foundation does this with minimal administrative expense so that maximum benefit is obtained from every contributed dollar. The benefits to the citizens of the state who qualify for services rendered by the Foundation’s grantees provide tangible and intangible benefits to the entire state and help improve the quality of life for those who receive the services provided by the dedicated lawyers, staff and volunteers associated with the grantee organizations."
Robert: What role does the LBF play in the Louisiana civil legal aid network?
Philips: As the funder of civil legal aid, not only does the Foundation invest and administer funding programs, but its oversight and review of the grantees’ use of the funds provided enhances accountability and quality. The Foundation also serves as a coordinator of services and provides training for grantee management teams and governance boards.
Robert: What do you hope to accomplish this year as LBF president?
Philips: I would like to, first, continue the great work of our current president, Amanda Barnett, and the officers and board members. We are working on several initiatives that are incorporated into the Foundation’s strategic plan to include finding a permanent home for the Foundation and some of its grantees. Expanding access to justice through enhanced funding sources and education of the public and our decision makers will be part of the agenda for the coming year.