Married to Kathi, a wonderful, patient, kind, and beautiful woman.
I work hard for the people and will continue to do so with your help.
ELECT RICHARD DUCOTE
Richard Ducote, a Republican Covington attorney licensed since 1978, has been one of the nation’s leading child abuse/domestic violence litigators and law reformers for 42 years. He received a B.S. in psychology from Tulane in 1974. Immediately following his law school graduation from Loyola in New Orleans in 1978, which he earned while serving as a juvenile probation officer in the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court, he created a specialized program to provide and train attorneys for abused and neglected children. That project, which developed the Tulane University School of Law Juvenile Law Clinic, was one of only four in the country nationally recognized for its innovative court improvements. In the 1980’s, as an appointed special assistant district attorney in 19 parishes, he tried child abuse/ termination of parental rights cases in 40 courts. Through his efforts in the courtroom, social service agency offices, and the legislature, the Louisiana foster care system for the first time moved hundreds of forgotten children into adoptive homes. In 1984, he began his nationwide focus on complex child custody cases involving domestic violence and child abuse. In 1991, he drafted for successful enactment the Louisiana Post-Separation Family Violence Relief Act (La. R.S. 9:361-369), the first state law barring abusive parents from serving as custodians, and forcing them to pay all costs and attorney’s fees. This law, which has been called model legislation by the Harvard Law Review, has been replicated in many states and foreign countries. He has written over a dozen other child welfare /child custody statutes passed in Louisiana and other states. Most recently, in 2018, he was one of three lawyers to write a comprehensive overhaul of Louisiana’s child custody laws to better protect children in the family courts. For this, he was honored as a Legislative Champion by the Southeast Louisiana United Way. Mr. Ducote has been an ardent critic of due process flaws in family courts, and the inappropriate delegation of authority to mental health evaluators and discredited theories in custody cases. He was appointed to the clinical psychiatry faculty at LSU Medical Center in New Orleans, and regularly conducts mandated certification training for California custody evaluators. He has served as an invited trainer and presenter at many national, state, and local programs sponsored by the American Bar Association, the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Institute on Violence, Abuse & Trauma, state and national domestic violence coalitions, child welfare agencies, and law schools. His work has resulted in honors and awards from Justice for Children, The Northern Plains Tribal Institute, The National Association of Social Workers, the Young Lawyers Division of the ABA, The LSU School of Social Work, the Louisiana Foster Parent Association, and the California Protective Parents Association. In 2012, he received the Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Organization of Forensic Social Work. Mr. Ducote was featured in the 2005 PBS Documentary Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories, and in Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts. Articles in Newsweek, Oprah Magazine, Parade Magazine, Money Magazine and many newspapers around the country have quoted him. New Orleans Magazine named him on of the top lawyers in the city. As a Martindale-Hubbell “A-V” attorney (the highest possible rating from judges and lawyers for competence and ethics) since his first rating in 1988, he is also admitted to the bars of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals; and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana, the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas, the Northern District of Ohio, the District of Colorado, and the Western District of Pennsylvania. In January, 2011, he received his LL.M. degree from Loyola Chicago School of Law in child and family law, where he taught a course on advanced issues in domestic relations law addressing child abuse, domestic violence, and family court flaws. His successes include a 1992 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of two sexually abused children. His work has taken him to courtrooms in forty-five states, and over more than 2 million miles. In August, 2014, he was invited by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges to serve on a national roundtable of judges, lawyers, law professors, and mental health professionals to address the problems caused by the use of “custody evaluators” in domestic violence cases. In November, 2014, he was awarded the Judge Richard Ware Memorial Award by the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund for his years of work in child abuse prevention. Although his practice has focused on child advocacy work, his cases over the years have involved complex issues of constitutional law, self-defense, civil and criminal procedure, personal injury, and workers’ compensation. He is also the proud father of four, and the grandfather of three.
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