Member Spotlight: Dyan Schnaars
Get to know LBA Member Dyan Schnaars
Dyan Schnaars was born in Shreveport, Louisiana as a fraternal twin with a surprising number of siblings, a total of fourteen. At the young age of six, she moved with her family to Alexandria, Louisiana and was a 1990 graduate of Oak Hill High School in Elmer, Louisiana. After her graduation, Dyan became a legal secretary/paralegal in 1991 and in 1995 she moved to Lafayette, where she still resides today.
In 1999, Dyan began working for her mentor, John Jeansonne Jr., whom she credits for teaching her integrity and professionalism. Before she began practicing law, and while working for Mr. Jeansonne Jr., Dyan went back to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to earn her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration. After her graduation in 2008, Mr. Jeansonne Jr. played a major role in persuading her into going back to school for her degree in law. Additional inspiration for Dyan to return to school in 2009 was her 9-year old son for whom she provided sole financial support. She obtained her Juris Doctorate in 2012 from Southern University Law Center propelling he forward to where she is now.
Today, Dyan owns and operates Schnaars Law firm, LLC, where she practices Family Law exclusively, including divorces, child custody and support, spousal support, community property partitions, intra-family adoptions, interdictions, wills, estates, name changes, and minor transactional issues.
Dyan's success goes beyond her practice. Her achievements began in high school when she was granted the Mason's Honesty and Integrity award; she became the Management Development Vice President for the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Alexandria for one term. As a paralegal, Dyan was named in the Who's Who of Executive Professionals, and in 2017 she received the Top Attorney and Top Firm Awards from the LBF. She has also served on the Lafayette Public Library Foundation Board. Dyan has also been awarded for her pro bono work and has held several board positions with the Susan K. Woodruff Family Law Section of the Lafayette Parish Bar Association. For the past three years she has received the Outstanding Attorney Award from the LBF LVL program and is now serving on the LVL Advisory Board for the LBA. This year, she is an At Large Member of the Managing Board of the Susan K. Woodruff Family Law Section.
A typical day for Dyan starts off in the early hours of the morning as she sees her husband off to work and her son off to school. Her love continues to flow to her clients, as Dyan often does not stop for lunch to get in as much work for her clients as possible in the workday. However, she makes sure to close around five o'clock each afternoon to be home and cook supper for her family. In the late hours of the day, she tends to read case material, watch a documentary, or view a nineteenth century drama on television until she is ready for bed. When she is not in her office, Dyan loves to sing with the praise team at her church and as a soloist; she also loves to cook and stage themed dinner parties in her home for small gatherings.
When asked what three things she could not live without, her answers were simple: her children, the music she loves to listen to, and pockets of peace. Some of Dyan's favorites, other than her family, is her favorite score of music from Phantom of the Opera, her favorite musical artist (Josh Groban), and her favorite authors: John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell, and Francine Rivers. She also enjoys the stage, where she has held the lead roles of Masha with Abbey Players in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, and Regina Giddens in IPAL's Fall 2018 production of The Little Foxes.
Dyan also has several inspirational figures in her life such as her mentor, John Jeansonne, Jr., and her pastors, Steve Horn and his predecessor, Perry Sanders. She also admires many of the female practitioners in her field, including: Laura Davenport, Elizabeth Dugal, and Diane Sorola; the female professionals mentioned, along with many others have paved the way for Dyan and other female legal professionals.
When asked what advice she would give to young attorneys, Dyan says: “Be prepared!” She also advises new practitioners to speak slowly, clearly, and loudly in court with confidence as you never know who is watching. Also, treat everyone with equal courtesy and dignity no matter their status or level of success. Dyan cautions: “Your reputation of integrity and professionalism is a priceless commodity that will open many doors, but if tarnished, will be impossible to outrun.”