The Young Firm
400 poydras street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Our clients come to us because they find themselves in a very difficult place. Our clients are very proud, and they typically love the work that they’ve done on the water. They’ve been the providers in their families. They have been the one that their children look up to; that their spouses love. They provide for their spouse with the careers that they have. We understand that’s all been taken away from them when they come through our doors.
I see my role as trying to help get them back on their feet, and move them forward. And there’s a few special things about me that helps me guide them to a much better place in their life.
They’re going through an area of law that’s very complicated, and more than anything, I want them to know that I have helped other people do this. I limit my practice to just maritime law for injured workers. This lets me really know that type of complicated law so I can best help my clients. I don’t learn the ropes on my clients’ cases, and I never have to get ‘up to speed’ on the law. I have seen maritime and Jones Act cases play out again and again, day after day. This helps me to help the only client that matters to me, the injured maritime worker.
Also, by helping only maritime workers, I have seen lots of other clients get through their tough times. They had trouble with their health and their finances, just like you may. I know you can get through it too. It’s going to be a journey, and we understand that it’s scary for you. By helping only injured maritime workers, I have seen a lot of the same troubles you may be going through.
In a maritime case like yours there are two skills that are very important for your attorney to have. One is the ability to negotiate very well. At some point in all cases, settlements are discussed. I saw very early on how important it was to be able to negotiate well—at the right time, with the right people, in the right way. It can make a significant difference in the amount you are offered and obtain from your claim. I have focused on the skill of negotiating. It really does interest in. Books, workshops and other learning, coupled with hundreds of individual settlement for other clients have helped me learn what to do and how to do it to get the best settlement offers possible. Here is a list of the negotiation books I have studied and highly recommend.
In addition to excellent negotiation skills, you should have an attorney who has the ability to try a good case. It’s not as easy as just showing the jury the evidence in your case. What you say, how you say it and when you say it all matter greatly. To help hone my trial skills I have taken many trial workshops and advanced classes on trial techniques and strategies. And your settlement is often influenced by how likely it is your attorney will go to court and actually try your case if necessary. This advanced learning is one more way I can help my clients if we do end up in court.
How My Life as a Maritime Attorney Started
I always knew what I was going to do when I grew up. If your father or older uncles worked offshore or on vessels or tugs, you may have been the same way. My father is an attorney and around the house he would talk about his work and the cases he was working on. As a child I heard all about my father’s offshore clients. He never told stories about his insurance company work or the large companies that he helped file some paperwork for in court. No, instead it was always about a hardworking man in Florida or Alabama or Mississippi or south Louisiana who got hurt on an oil rig or a vessel.
These were the stories that made me wonder, “Dad, how did it turn out for him?” Each case had a person’s name on it. It was “Gene Grace’s” case or “Lars Carter’s” case. Over the years he gathered more and more stories of meeting their wives and children. Growing up we had gifts of handmade Christmas ornaments from a client and homemade wine from another.
It really was about people. I associated doing good work with helping someone through a pretty bad time in their life.
My Education & Licensure
To get into law school I had to take a standardized test called the LSAT. It measures your ability to think logically and to analyze situations. I scored extremely well on it (a 45 out of a possible 48). I guess I have a natural talent for looking at a situation, analyzing it and “connecting the dots”.
I went to Tulane Law School and enjoyed it. I know that’s weird because most people hate law school, but I enjoyed the challenge. And I did well. I graduated from Tulane in 1993 with honors.
I am licensed to practice law in both Louisiana and Texas. I actually took the Louisiana bar exam during one week on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then flew to Houston and took the Texas bar on the following Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! I passed them both, but it was a long two weeks. People thought that was crazy but it worked for me. It’s funny too, because that is how trials are now—you buckle down hard for a good week or two and do what you need to do.
For more than 23 years I have focused my practice on helping injured maritime workers. I have tried plenty of cases and argued in the Appeal Courts, both state and federal, many, many times on maritime and Jones Act cases. I have had several jury awards reduced by the trial judge or appeal court which usually makes me mad. A fair jury believed my client was entitled to a certain amount, yet a judge or appeal court disagreed and got to lower the award.
I now limit my practice to handling only maritime and Jones Act cases. Sometimes I think our maritime and Jones Act clients don’t understand how important that is. Being able to pay attention to one thing, and get good at it is so important these days. I am continually telling my children to focus more, and get distracted less. To go deeper into a few things rather than bouncing around many things.
Since 1993 I have focused on maritime law and Jones Act cases and I have handled cases in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida on behalf of clients from across the country, but mostly from the Gulf South states.
Over the years groups have asked me to give talks on maritime law and the Jones Act. The Alabama Trials Lawyers invited me speak at their annual conference in Florida. I have also appeared on TV in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida many times to discuss maritime issues for workers. I have written several books which educate maritime workers on their rights and options. And I belong to state and national groups of attorneys who practice maritime law, including the Louisiana Association for Justice (where I am on the Board of Governors) and the American Association for Justice (where I am a member for the maritime section).
I am married and I have two children, a daughter and a son. They are technically what some people call “step children”, but I don’t like that term. My wife works at our daughter’s school, in charge of Institutional Development for the school (raising money for the school and its growth). She and her work are a great inspiration for me. It’s important to see work that is more important than just ourselves. We were both born and raised in New Orleans and love the city. Like most parents we think our kids are on their laptops and phones too much, but they are still really great kids. We have a cool dog named ‘Simon’ who is smarter than all of us because he has us trained to wait on him and give him anything he wants!
What’s the Reason I Do What I Do?
In every case I handle for an injured rig or vessel worker there are many times in the case when I get furious at the other side. The company lawyer is trying to twist our client’s words or catch him on video trying to go back to work and help his family, or take some technical law and hang it around our client’s neck. Other lawyers will tell me not to take it personally, and that we lawyers have to stay professional with each other. I understand that. But during those moments in each case, I truly see things from my client’s point of view. I am standing in his shoes. Those times motivate me like nothing else possibly could. I truly feel alive and thankful for what I do. It’s not just his fight anymore, but my fight for him and his family. Those times always remind me how important what I do is for my clients.
Maritime and offshore injury cases are different from any other case. You guys have more serious injuries, you risk your jobs when you file a claim, and your claims are more important to you than most claims are to other people. That is why the only types of cases I handle are offshore injury cases. It’s very important work and it makes a difference.
What I Have Learned About My Clients
I have learned a whole lot about my clients over the years. It starts when we first meet and they explain their problems to me. Usually, these include worries about monthly bills, and being blackballed and getting good medical treatment. They always mention their wives and children and worry about how they will pay for this or that now that they are hurt. Will the company keep them around or run them off? Should they go see the company doctor again? But those are simply the ‘facts’ of what they are going through. What’s more important is how they feel.
1993 Tulane Law School, Cum Laude
1990 Wake Forest University
Admitted in Louisiana (1993) and Texas (1993)
Member- American Association for Justice (Maritime Section Member)
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Member- Louisiana Association for Justice (Board of Governors) Multi-Million Dollar Advocates – Lifetime member
AVVO – 10.0 Superb Rating
AVVO - Client's Choice Award
National Trial Lawyers
Give us a call today: (866) 703-2520.