Darrel Papillion was born in Eunice, Louisiana, in St. Landry Parish. He was Student Body President at Louisiana State University at Eunice, before transferring to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He attended LSU on an academic scholarship, graduating with a degree in History, with minors in English and Political Science in 1990. While at LSU, he was active in several campus organizations and served on the national board of directors of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
He attended LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center on a full scholarship. After graduation, he served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Catherine D. Kimball of the Louisiana Supreme Court, before joining the New Orleans office of McGlinchey, Stafford, where he worked from 1995 to 1999.
In 1999, he moved to Baton Rouge, where he began representing plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death cases. He is a partner in the law firm of Walters, Papillion, Thomas, Cullens, LLC, which he founded, along with Edward J. Walters, Jr., David Abboud Thomas, and J.E. Cullens, Jr. in June 2010. All four partners in the firm had practiced together, with great success, at another Baton Rouge firm for at least 10 years.
He handles complicated wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases, including industrial accidents, severe burns, paralysis, medical malpractice, 18 wheeler accidents, sexual abuse, medical negligence and other matters.
He is very active in professional associations and is a frequent legal author and lecturer.
He has been on the faculty of the LSU Law Center for nearly 10 years teaching appellate advocacy.
He is the Secretary of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Baton Rouge Bar Association, is a member of the Board of Governors of the Louisiana State Bar Association, and a host of other professional and civic organizations.