Jonathan C. “Jay” Augustine
33 Esq. Attorney at Law - Middleberg Riddle & Gianna, Baton Rouge, La.
Jay Augustine is lead counsel in constitutional, employment, tort and contract litigation at the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts, but he nurses the thought of teaching social studies in high school as his mother did. Why? “To make a long-term impact in many people’s lives.” Arguably, his impact to date has been far reaching. After graduating from Howard University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he served in the U.S. Army—earning decorations as an infantry officer—before heading to Tulane University School of Law in Louisiana. He wanted to become an attorney “to help advocate for those who most need an advocate,” he says.
Augustine began his legal career as a law clerk for legendary civil rights crusader and Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson. During the 2002 federal elections, he was election law counsel to U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D.-La.) and a surrogate speaker for the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign at rallies around the country. He appeared on the news of the British Broadcasting Corp. As if his current workload at the Baton Rouge, La., offices of Middleberg Riddle & Gianna were not enough, he serves as executive vice president of Young Democrats of America and is a director of several nonprofit organizations, including Capital Area Legal Services, SERVE Baton Rouge, 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge Ltd. and the Louisiana State University Earl K. Long Hospital Foundation.
Augustine believes that “God never closes a door without opening a window,” and often recalls his mother’s words, “You always get more flies with honey than vinegar.” His mother, St. Augustine High School in New Orleans and his childhood hero, civil rights attorney Ernest N. Morial, who also was the first Black mayor of New Orleans, he says, laid the foundation for his success.
Not surprisingly, Augustine has received numerous honors, including being selected by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” and by Ebony magazine as one of “30 Leaders of the Future.”