Best Lawyers: Defending Jefferson Parish’s Voting District

My Toughest Case
jeffery johnston

A passion for the legal process has defined Kim Boyle’s extensive legal career. Although her focus is in labor and employment law, much of Boyle’s work is in litigation involving race discrimination claims, disability claims and other civil rights issues.

This year, Boyle is almost shocked to say, will mark her 30th year of practice.

“I love the mixture of my practice; it allows me to concentrate on other issues outside of simply labor and employment law,” she said.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Boyle was heavily inspired by the work of both of her parents. As early as high school, Boyle considered pursuing a career in law, inspired in part by her mother, who was an English teacher and taught speech and debate in public schools. Her father was a postal worker who died this past December at the age of 85.

“I am very proud of my mother. Both of my parents’ influence has impacted me enormously in what I do in life, in civic and in nonprofit work,” she said.

Boyle always appreciated the fact that lawyers are advocates, which is why she wanted to litigate.

“I truly like the advocacy side of things, going to court, and articulating my point to a judge or a jury,” she said. “I believe that lawyers have the capability to advocate for change in our society. We would not have had the changes with the laws that impact civil rights, women’s rights, the rights of the disabled, without attorneys,” she said.

She particularly recalls a challenging case where she defended Jefferson Parish against a lawsuit that claimed the parish’s existing majority-minority voting district violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The court ruled in favor of Jefferson Parish and Boyle would go on to argue in favor of the rule at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“This was a time period when these voting districts were being challenged throughout the U.S. I am very proud of the ruling in this case,” she said.

Boyle has always tried to maintain an active involvement in nonprofit groups that speak to one of her core beliefs that attorneys provide a critical service to society.

She joined Phelps Dunbar in 2001 as a lateral partner and would go on to continue breaking barriers, becoming the first African American president elected to the New Orleans Bar Association in 2003. In 2009 she became the first female African-American president of the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Playing a small role in addressing diversity issues in these legal organizations has been a tremendous honor and privilege, said Boyle.

“One thing that I always remembered from the time I was a young lawyer was Justice Revius Ortique’s constant reminder to young minority attorneys that “we stand on the shoulders of giants,” she said. “Therefore, while I may have been the first African-American president of the New Orleans Bar Association and the first African-American female president of the Louisiana State Bar Association, I stood on the shoulders of trailblazers such as Justice Revius Ortique, Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, Judge Israel Augustine, Mayor Dutch Morial, A. P. Tureaud, Wayne Lee (the first African American president of the Louisiana State Bar Association), and so many others who paved the way for me and many others.”

Kim Boyle

Labor and Employment Law
Phelps Dunbar
30 years in practice


A.B. Politics — Princeton University 1984

Teaching Certificate 1984

J.D.University of Virginia 1987

Categories: Legal, The Magazine