Oldest lawyer in LA., Marian Berkett, succumbs at 104

MARIAN M. BERKETT, the oldest attorney in the state of Louisiana, died at her New Orleans residence on Monday, June 4, 2017.

Preceded in death in 2002 by her husband of many years,  Dr. George David Bercovitz Berkett, she had no children, but is survived by a nephew, Dennis Mayer of Anacortes, WA. and two nieces, Bobette Cohn Sears of Bronxvil, LA and Margaret Mayer of Magnolia, MA.

Berkett completed her undergraduate and graduate work at LSU, before enrolling at the Tulane University School of Law. She graduated first in her class at Tulane University Law School in 1937 and, after passing the Louisiana Bar Exam, practiced law at Deutsch, Kerrigan and Stiles for 72 years.

Although she was a pioneer in the field of practicing women attorneys, Berkett insisted that she be judged as any attorney, on the strengths of her case law.

According to an obituary written by John Pope in Nola.com and the Times-Picayune, Berkett was the last surviving member of The People’s League, a group she founded with Lawrence Eustis to combat Governor Huey Long, while she was still a student at Tulane University. Pope listed other members of the group as Hale Boggs,  James Coleman Sr.,  and other Jewish community members Bernard Mintz, Samuel Rosenberg and Moise Steeg, Jr.

A memorial service will be held from the Temple Sinai, 6227 St. Charles Avenue today, Friday, June 9, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. with Rabbi Matthew Reimer officiating. A reception will follow in the Goldring Pavilion. Burial was private.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Southern Poverty Law Center of New Orleans, 1055 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130. Condolences may be expressed online here.  Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp Funeral Home of Metairie is in charge of arrangements.

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