Former Southern University Law Center Chancellor Freddie Pitcher Jr. has rejoined Phelps Dunbar’s Baton Rouge office as a senior partner in the litigation division, the firm announced Tuesday.

Pitcher, who is also a retired judge, was a partner at the firm before becoming chancellor in November 2002.

He will focus on commercial, appellate and toxic tort litigation and insurance coverage in addition to continuing to serve as a professor of law at Southern, according to a statement issued by the firm.

“His wealth of diverse experience and strong community ties will help expand our capacity to serve clients in Louisiana and in our offices throughout the Gulf South,” said P. Ragan Richard, managing partner for the firm’s Baton Rouge office.

Phelps Dunbar also has offices in New Orleans, Houston, Dallas, Mobile and other locations along the Gulf Coast.

The Southern University Board earlier gave Pitcher a six-month contract extension through June.

The action came amid changes in the lineup of Southern University System leaders, including the hunt for a new president and chancellor.

John K. Pierre is serving as interim chancellor of the Southern University Law Center.

The search for a permanent law school chancellor had been delayed until Southern hired a new president and chancellor, which it did on June 17 when Ray Belton was named.

Pitcher was the first African-American judge in Baton Rouge, winning election to the City Court in 1983.

He was also the first African-American elected to the 19th Judicial District Court in 1987.

Pitcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern University in 1966 and his Juris Doctor from the Southern University Law Center in 1973.