Image: Cherrell Taplin
Cherrell Simms Taplin
Shareholder, New Orleans
Chief Diversity Officer
Hancock Whitney Center
701 Poydras Street
Suite 5000
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139


Cherrell is a litigator at Liskow & Lewis who assists commercial clients, non-profit organizations, and major oil and gas companies in all areas of litigation. She is also qualified as a mediator through the Mediations Arbitration Professional Systems, Inc. ("Maps") on its prestigious Panel of Neutrals.

Prior to joining the firm, Cherrell worked as a partner in private practice, served as judge pro tempore in state court, and served as the Senior Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. After graduating from Loyola University School of Law in 2002, Cherrell began her career as a litigator where she primarily represented the Orleans Parish School Board in all aspects of defense litigation, as well as novel issues specific to education. Later, she became the first African-American woman partner at a major law firm in New Orleans. There, she represented insurance companies, businesses, and corporate clients in both Federal and State Courts throughout Louisiana. She litigated hundreds of cases and was able to expand her litigation experience to include all insurance law (property and casualty, liability and coverage, and bad-faith claims), maritime law, commercial litigation, general liability, construction defects, environmental/toxic tort liability, subrogation, and workers’ compensation matters. The cases that she handled often included complex and high-exposure litigation. During this time, she also gained extensive experience in mediation and resolved hundreds of cases for a major insurance client following Hurricane Katrina.

In 2013, Cherrell was appointed Senior Chief Deputy City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. Her role was as second-in-command to the City Attorney and included the position – Chief of Litigation. As Chief of Litigation for the City of New Orleans, Cherrell managed over 1000 cases that involved litigation in state, federal, and municipal and traffic courts. The matters that she handled were varied and included: personal injury, contract, construction, land use, public bid,  employment, code enforcement, public records, administrative appeals, and civil rights litigation. She also represented the City of New Orleans in several high-profile cases.

In April 2017, the Louisiana Supreme Court saw fit to appoint Cherrell to serve as Judge Pro Tempore in Division J of the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. Cherrell served as a judge and presided over judge and jury trials, summary proceedings, and hundreds of motions.

Cherrell is an Adjunct Professor teaching Negotiation and Mediation at Tulane University Law School and she is a Skills Instructor for Negotiation and Mediation at Loyola University College of Law.

She was recently named the New Orleans CityBusiness' Women of the Year Class of 2020 and she was selected to join The National Black Lawyers' Top 100. As the Chief Diversity Officer, Cherrell is devoted to increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. She is also the diversity partner for one of the firm’s national oil and gas clients, and in this role, she identifies opportunities for the firm to partner with its clients on diversity and inclusion initiatives.




  • Mediations Arbitration Professional Systems, Inc. ("Maps"), Panel of Neutrals
  • Louisiana State Bar Association
  • New Orleans Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • National Bar Association
    • Annual Convention Planning Committee Co-Chair, 2010
    • National Board of Governors, 2008-2009
    • Regional Board of Governors, 2006-2007
  • Association for Women Attorneys
  • The National Black Lawyers
  • Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society
    • President, 2007-2008
    • Board of Governors, 2006-2009
  • American Inn of Court, A.P. Tureaud Chapter
  • Defense Research Institute 
    • Diversity Planning Committee, 2007
  • Tulane University Law School – Adjunct Professor, Negotiation and Mediation
  • Loyola University College of Law – Skills Instructor, Negotiation and Mediation


  • Bridge House/Grace House, Board of Directors, 2020


  • New Orleans CityBusiness' Women of the Year Class of 2020
  • The National Black Lawyers, "Top 100," 2020
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2012, 2014
  • Loyola University College of Law, Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Distinguished Alumni Award, 2009


  • Post Pandemic Litigation, National and Louisiana Judicial Counsel, May 22, 2021
  • The Impact of Social Media: Benefits, Burdens & Legal Implications, Louisiana State Bar Association, December 8, 2020
  • Conflicts of Interest: When Do You Need Separate Counsel?, Louisiana State Bar Association, December 10, 2019
  • Professionalism: High Impact Opening and Closings, Louisiana State Bar Association, December 6, 2019
  • Malcolm Monroe Federal Practice Seminar: Recruiting and Self Marketing, December 4, 2019
  • How to Try a Case in Ten Days, Louisiana Bar Association, December 20, 2017
  • Professionalism in the Judiciary, Louisiana Bar Association, December 1, 2017
  • Summary Proceedings, City of New Orleans, July 26, 2017
  • Everything You Don't Know About E-Discovery (But Wish You Did), National Bar Institute, May 15, 2015

After Hours

Cherrell was born and raised in New Orleans, is a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy, Loyola University, and Loyola Law School.  She is married to a New Orleans musician and has two children. She loves to travel and enjoys all things that New Orleans has to offer, especially Saints games, Mardi Gras, and all the festivals that she can attend.