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LSU Law mourns the loss of Gene Fendler, alumni board of trustees president and 2019 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

Gene Fendler

Gene Fendler at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Celebration.

A great lawyer, leader, and passionate supporter of LSU Law has left us too soon.

Gene Fendler — a 1973 graduate of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, president of the LSU Law Alumni Board of Trustees, and a 2019 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year — died Wednesday, Oct. 21, in a light plane crash in Slidell, Louisiana. He was 73.

Fendler was one of LSU Law’s most dedicated alumni. He was always thinking of ways to enhance support for the Law Center, and he constantly worked to make our institution a better place for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. LSU Law is — and will remain — a better law school for his incredible influence and support.

Fendler was appointed to serve on the LSU Law Alumni Board of Trustees in 2005 and served as board president since 2010. He was also a long-standing member of the Dean’s Council, and was a frequent guest lecturer at the Law Center.

As a former managing partner of Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, Fendler was instrumental in a gift that established The Liskow & Lewis Visiting Professorship in Energy Law in 2013. The professorship provides funds to bring distinguished scholars in energy law and closely related fields to the Law Center on an annual basis as part of the LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center. The law firm also established the LSU Law Liskow & Lewis Professorship of Law in 1995 and supports an annual scholarship.

“We lack words to adequately express the sorrow felt at the sudden loss of our partner and friend, Gene Fendler,” reads a message on the homepage of the law firm, where Fendler spent his entire career following a clerkship with renowned federal Judge Alvin B. Rubin. “He was the absolute best in all of the ways that truly matter: devoted to his family, loyal to his friends, and a natural born leader. His accomplishments in life and in law were extraordinary. Gene was a lawyer’s lawyer, and our law firm will not be the same without him. Quite simply, Gene was the best of us.”

Fendler graduated from LSU Law in 1973 as a member of The Order of the Coif and was editor-in-chief of the Louisiana Law Review. When he was honored as a 2019 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, Fendler said: “To be recognized by the school that I hold dear means all the world to me. LSU Law continues to turn out great lawyers today, just like it did when I was there in the Class of ’73. It was a great place when we went and it’s a great place today.”

When LSU Law recently asked alumni to provide messages of support for current students as they pursue their law degrees during the pandemic, Fendler was one of the very first to pass along some words of encouragement.

“You could not have chosen a better law school than LSU Law,” reads his message. “Even in these uncertain times, the preparation for your legal career is second to none. Pay attention to the professors, study hard, and you will find that it was all worth it. The three years will pass quickly, but the legal skills and friends you make will last a lifetime.”

Due to the pandemic, no memorial service will be held at this time.

Friends and colleagues, together with the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, are working on plans to recognize Gene for his significant contributions to LSU Law. A memorial fund has been established at the LSU Foundation and gifts can be made online at by entering Gene’s name in the “Tribute Information” section on the webpage.