Drawing upon more than 25 years of professional expertise, Lila Molaison Samuel, Esq. has practiced almost exclusively in the area of family law, representing cases regarding child custody and visitation, divorces, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act jurisdictional issues, and community property partitions. Before entering law school in her late 30s, Ms. Samuel flourished in several other fields, including work with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services for two years.
Before embarking on her legal journey, Ms. Samuel earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Louisiana State University and a JD from Loyola University’s School of Law. After graduating from law school in 1991, she became board certified to practice family law through the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization in 1999. Ms. Samuel remains aware of ongoing changes in the field of law through her affiliations with the Jefferson Parish Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Family Law Division and the attendance of yearly seminars offered by these groups.
Ms. Samuel began her career in law later in life. While in college, she got married at 21 and had children. She worked in other fields for a period, but at age 36, she decided to go back to school to receive a JD. In that time, she found her niche because of her love for children. Family law ended up being the perfect place for her.
Dedicated to her community, Ms. Samuel devoted herself to various civic organizations to include being a member of the Saint Martin’s Episcopal School board of trustees. In previous years, she has chaired numerous benefits to include those for the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony, the Young Audiences and Children’s Concerts, several school fundraisers, and other philanthropic endeavors in the community. Ms. Samuel has also worked with the local chapter of the United Way and been active in her three children’s schools. In recognition of her professional excellence, she has consistently accrued AV Ratings from Martindale-Hubbell for the past 25 years and honors through Super Lawyers. In the coming years, she intends to expand upon her expertise and continued success in her private practice.
From the younger people coming in, Ms. Samuel has lived through most of it. Right off the bat within the first couple of years, her husband had an alcohol abuse issue, which they finally resolved. She really did not babysit growing up, although her brother is seven years younger. She took on those children, on top of her own children, to cope. She was the intake supervisor and it was a real revelation; it taught her what the world was. She recalls, on her third day in the office, a little pregnant girl came in applying for help, aged 14. She had a 1-year-old baby, who was born disfigured due to incestuous conception. Ms. Samuel worked a lot with different families. She would like to be remembered as somebody who really cared about children and what was in their best interests; she is a voice and advocate for children.
Ms. Samuel’s advice for those looking to pursue her field is that if you want to go into family law – and you do not want to get into the lucrative divorces and community property, but instead the more personal side – then you really have to believe in it. It is not a moneymaker and it should not be. You certainly should be paid for your services, but you do not have to run up a bill having these meetings and conferences. If you are going to do child custody, then get a mental health professional. You go to your own people and have them look into it; LSU Health Science Center has therapy sessions free. You need to let the client have the appropriate resources.