Cheney Joseph Jr., noted attorney, legal scholar and interim co-dean of the LSU Law Center, died Friday at 73.
“It’s difficult to overstate his impact on Louisiana lawyers for the last 40 years,” said outgoing Chancellor Jack Weiss.
In addition to teaching three, four, even five classes a semester, Joseph advised the legislature through his work at the Louisiana State Law Institute, and last month the state supreme court named him executive director emeritus of the Louisiana Judicial College, which provides ongoing education for judges. He was executive counsel to former Gov. Mike Foster, and helped Gov. Bobby Jindal set up his own legal team.
Joseph also served variously as an investigator, prosecutor and acting District Attorney in East Baton Rouge Parish. Current District Attorney Hillar Moore III called him “one of the finest men I have ever known.”
“Men of his character, intelligence and integrity are extremely rare. With Cheney’s loss, goes a fountain of institutional knowledge of Louisiana criminal law. He will be sorely missed and never replaced,” Moore said.
Friends remembered him as a dedicated professor and mentor to “generations” of defense attorneys and prosecutors.
“Cheney was a great lawyer and a wonderful teacher, and he had the interest of his students at heart for 40 years,” said attorney Charles McCowan, Jr.
Thousands of students would recall learning from Joseph as their fondest memory of law school, Weiss said.
“He was the heart and soul of the Law Center, and he was one of the most influential lawyers in the history of the Louisiana legal profession,” the Center wrote in a statement.
He was instantly recognizable on campus for his unique personality and style — often seen sporting a plaid shirt and a possibly matching tie that may have been gleaned from a deceased friend’s closet, Weiss remarked.
And though it had slowed to a shuffle with age, Joseph took an afternoon jog around campus, often accompanied by friends, with a dedication that rivaled the U.S. Postal Service, the chancellor continued.
“Cheney and I and several others enjoyed evening runs around the LSU lakes, where I learned more criminal law than I did in law school,” Moore said.
Joseph, who graduated from LSU’s Law Center in 1969, had been associate dean for 15 years and was named interim co-dean in August.
“With heavy hearts, we bid farewell to our beloved friend, colleague, teacher, mentor and leader,” the school’s release states.
“We will endeavor to honor his memory by working to preserve and improve the Law Center to which he devoted his life’s work. We will never forget Dean and Professor Cheney Joseph.”
Visitation will be at Rabenhorst Funeral Home Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. A service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church Monday at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation at 10 a.m.
Click here to read Joseph’s full obituary.
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