If you’ve seen the popular Netflix docuseries, “I Just Killed My Dad,” which explores a highly complex and very unusual case of a 2019 Baton Rouge murder, then you already know LSU Law alumnus and criminal defense attorney Jarrett Ambeau. The 2008 LSU Law graduate took on the case of defendant Anthony Templet on a pro bono basis, and he’s featured extensively in all three episodes of the series, which was released on Aug. 9.
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Ambeau will return to his alma mater to share with students his experience defending Templet while having a film crew document the entire trial. Hosted by the LSU Law chapter of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (LACDL), the event will take place from 12:40 to 1:40 p.m. in Room 212.
“I’m going to be talking about some of the content of the Netflix docuseries, the nature of everything that went into making it, what it was like to go through that process, and what was going on behind the scenes,” said Ambeau, who founded his Baton Rouge-based law firm, The Ambeau Law Firm, in 2009. “I’ll also touch on the obvious question of how you might deal with the media as an attorney in the context of an ongoing case, and I’m excited to answer any questions the students might have for me.”
Ambeau’s visit will mark the reformation of the LSU Law chapter of LACDL, which had been active at the Law Center in years past before falling dormant during the pandemic. Assisted by Professor Jack Harrison, who serves as faculty advisor, a group of students has been hard at work to reestablish the LACDL chapter and bring a high-profile speaker like Ambeau to the Law Center for its first meeting of the year.
“We are so excited to bring LACDL back to LSU Law,” said 3L Karleigh Gwyn, a member of the chapter. “Criminal defense is such a fundamental element of legal practice and participating in LACDL will be rewarding, both for students who have already decided to go into criminal defense careers and those who are still weighing their options before choosing a career path.”
Ambeau said he’s equally excited to be the inaugural guest speaker of the reformed LACDL chapter.
“I can express a lot of things very quickly, but I can’t quickly or fully explain just how much I love LSU and LSU Law,” said Ambeau, who has previously served as a moot court judge during competitions at the Law Center. “LSU has given me so much more than I can ever repay, and I’m very excited about coming back to LSU Law again and giving a little something back.”
Ambeau said he was initially hesitant to agree to having his case and client be the subject of a Netflix docuseries when he was contacted by a production company about the opportunity.
“I didn’t even return their calls for quite a while,” he said. “It took a tremendous amount trust to allow them to be involved in the trial process and follow us around, and it also required some pretty strong contractual obligations, one of which was that they could not go public with anything until the trial was over.”
Another condition of Ambeau’s was that the docuseries producers help pay for an expert witness that proved to be key in the successful defense of his client.
“In the end, it served my client very well,” Ambeau said, “and ultimately I felt that allowing the entire process to be filmed and letting people to see a case like this unfold—no matter the outcome—would be an important story to tell.”