Appellate Referrals, Co-Counsel Assistance,
Independent Contract Work, & Brief Polishing
I accept referrals of work from other attorneys on a co-counsel basis or an independent contract basis. Depending upon the nature and scope of the work requested, it may be necessary to secure the client's informed consent for me to undertake such work, or it may be necessary for the client to enter into a formal agreement for joint representation or a separate agreement for legal services. The Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys are determinative of what will be required.
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“He who writes carelessly confesses thereby at the very outset that he does not attach much importance to his own thoughts. ” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
A universal truth -- some people do some things better than others can. This variance is an inevitable consequence of our unique qualities and talents as individuals, molded by the circumstances of our lives.
Despite the subjective character of writing styles, some lawyers are clearly better than others at writing coherent and persuasive legal memoranda and briefs. And some lawyers simply don't like to sit down and write memoranda and briefs; they prefer the immediacy of the courtroom, the other intellectual challenges of law, or personal interaction with their clients. Finally, due to the pressing nature of their schedules, some lawyers may not on occasion have adequate time to produce legal briefs for their clients that have the quality and polish they might otherwise possess.
The use of proper grammar and spelling and the ability to clearly express complicated facts, issues, and arguments do matter in court, particularly at the appellate level. More and more frequently, appellate opinions have taken to task those attorneys who present careless, shoddy, or otherwise inadequate briefs.
I have been told that I am a good legal writer. Although I was a business major in college, I also completed the English honors program. In my practice, I pride myself on quick reading comprehension and analysis as well as careful fact review, thorough research, concise composition, and diligent proofreading in my legal writing. In addition to my litigation and appellate writing experience, I have assisted other attorneys in editing and proofreading their briefs and in distilling the content into streamlined, articulate language. If you are an attorney, I may be able to assist you in some of the various tasks described above.
As a side note: Some of the pretrial statements, memoranda, and pleading forms that I wrote in the course of my litigation practice are still being used as forms by other attorneys, well over 10 to 15 years after I wrote them. I know this for a fact because I recognized those variants of my forms in recent civil suit records, based upon their content. I am certainly not offended by that "plagiarism," if it can even be called that; rather, I consider it a compliment to my previous work. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say.)
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During the course of my recent work at the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal, I had the privilege of assisting the court in the preparation of numerous appellate opinions. By doing so, I hope to have contributed in some small part to that court's reputation for thoroughness, accuracy, efficiency, and the fair administration of justice. In turn, I have benefited from exposure to a broad range of legal issues in areas of law outside of my earlier practice experience.
Many of the appellate opinions that I worked on have involved complex factual, substantive, and procedural issues, as illustrated by the following examples:
Doe v. Breedlove , 04-0006 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2/11/05), 906 So.2d 565 (refusal by court to recognize a cause of action for negligent initiation of sexual advances or negligent infliction of sexual intercourse, in the context of determining applicability of insurance policy's "intentional act" exclusion);
N. Am. Treatment Sys., Inc. v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 05-0081 (La. App. 1st Cir. 8/23/06), 943 So.2d 429, writs denied, 06-2803 (La. 2/16/07), 949 So.2d 424, 06-2918 (La. 2/16/07), 949 So.2d 423 (determination of inapplicability of res judicata in the context of multistate litigation relating to defective California wastewater treatment plant and interpretation of CGL insurance policy coverage and exclusions);
Fishbein v. State ex rel. LSU Health Sciences Center, 06-0549 (La. App. 1st Cir. 3/9/07), 960 So.2d 67, writs denied, 07-0708 (La. 6/22/07), 959 So.2d 505, 07-0730 (La. 6/22/07), 959 So.2d 495 (determination of methodology of computation of state university retirement benefits based upon statutory analysis);
Peak Performance Physical Therapy & Fitness, LLC v. Hibernia Corp., 07-2206 (La. App. 1st Cir. 6/6/08), 992 So.2d 527, 65 UCC Rep.Serv.2d 1002, writ denied, 08-1478 (La. 10/3/08), 992 So.2d 1018 (holding that the civilian doctrine of contra non valentem does not operate to suspend prescription of a claim under Louisiana's version of the UCC for conversion of a negotiable instrument, absent proof of fraudulent concealment by the defendant asserting prescription as a defense); See also ASP Enterprises, Inc. v. Guillory, 08-2235 (La. App. 1st Cir. 9/11/09), 22 So.3d 964, 69 UCC Rep.Serv.2d 1057, writ denied, 09-2464 (La. 1/29/10), 25 So.3d 834;
Teague v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 06-1266 (La. App. 1st Cir. 4/7/09), 10 So.3d 806, writ denied, 09-1030 (La. 6/17/09), 10 So.3d 722 (claim by insured physician for legal malpractice arising from his defense attorneys' handling of medical malpractice claim compromised without his permission);
La. Workers' Comp. Corp. v. La. Ins. Guar. Ass'n, 08-0885 (La. App. 1st Cir. 5/15/09), 20 So.3d 1047, writ denied, 09-1308 (La.10/9/09), 09-1308 (La.10/9/09), 18 So.3d 1282 (dispute over interpretation of constitutional amendment and enabling legislation relating to guaranty association's method of assessment of member insurer);
Thongsavanh v. Schexnayder, 09-1462 (La. App. 1st Cir. 5/7/10), 40 So.3d 989, writ denied, 10-1295 (La. 9/24/10), 45 So.3d 1074 (detailed analysis of current Louisiana standards for qualification of foreign-language interpreter and of other evidentiary issues at trial);
In re Matter of La. Dep't of Envtl. Quality Permit Decision Re: Harrelson Materials Mgmt., Inc. Type III Constr. & Demolition Debris/Woodwaste Landfill, 10-1950 (La. App. 1st Cir. 6/10/11), 2011 WL 2977218 (unpublished opinion) (judicial review of administrative approval of solid waste landfill).
The following is an impartial third-party observation on another opinion, Dean v. Griffin Crane & Steel, Inc., 05-1226 (La. App. 1st Cir. 5/5/06), 935 So.2d 186, writ denied, 06-1334 (La. 9/22/06), 937 So.2d 387:
"The opinion is a scholarly and exhaustive inquiry into all rules of contractual interpretation and of indemnification agreements in particular . . . ." 12 William E. Crawford, Louisiana Civil Law Treatise: Tort Law § 8.3 n.3 (2nd ed. 2010).
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Since the opening of this office in 2012, I have successfully handled and assisted other counsel in numerous writ applications and appeals in the Louisiana appellate courts.
An example is the case of Domangue v. Falgout, 2014-CW-0408 (La. App. 1st Cir. 6/25/14), writ denied, 14-2051 (La. 11/26/14) [unreported writ decision], a case arising from Terrebonne Parish, in which I obtained the reversal of the district court's denial of summary judgment based upon the applicability of the Louisiana Recreational Use Immunity law. The case was significant in that it confirmed the applicability of immunity to owners of recreational camps or vacation homes for accidents arising from the gratuitous use of the property granted to others. This required researching and proving the original legislative intent from 1964, when the first such immunity statute was enacted in Louisiana.