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Leigh Ann Schell

Special Counsel

Leigh Ann Schell joined Adams and Reese in 2017 as a member of the Litigation Practice Group in the New Orleans office. Practicing law for nearly 30 years, Leigh Ann primarily handles complex litigation including wetlands/land loss matters, toxic torts, product liability, appellate work and commercial litigation. She has also handled on and offshore personal injury, environmental, False Claims Act/Qui Tam matters and employment litigation. Prior to joining Adams and Reese, Leigh Ann was a founding partner in a majority female-owned local law firm.

Among her representative experience, Leigh Ann was primarily responsible for the briefing and argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Simoneaux v. DuPont, in which the Court favorably answered a question of first impression in the Courts of Appeals. Addressing the interaction between the False Claims Act and regulatory penalties, the Court held that unassessed regulatory penalties are not “obligations” that can give rise to FCA liability after the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 amended the FCA. This ruling is important to all who must comply with regulatory statutes such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Leigh Ann worked with other attorneys in her prior firm to co-write legislation that places limits on governmental hiring of outside counsel. She also co-wrote and testified in favor of Louisiana’s Daubert statute, which governs the admissibility of expert opinions. Additionally, Leigh Ann testified before the Federal Rules Advisory Committee in favor of the recent amendments to Rules 26 and 31 on proportionality and sanctions.

Among her additional representative experience, she:

  • Testified before a Congressional Judiciary Committee in favor of legislation aimed at transparency in the asbestos trust system, which successfully passed through the committee.
  • Analyzes complex litigation at the trial court level, developing legal strategy and carrying that strategy through motion practice and trial.
  • Is a negotiator and has a demonstrated record of resolving many disputes soon after litigation begins.

In the legal community, Leigh Ann served in various roles with the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) for many years. Within the IADC, she served as social media chair of the Civil Justice Response Committee and as chairman and vice chairman of the Legislative, Judicial, and Governmental Affairs Committee. Leigh Ann is a member of the Defense Research Institute, Lawyers for Civil Justice, the Louisiana State Bar Association, and the New Orleans Bar Association. She has also been active with the National Association of Women and Minority Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) in recent years.

Leigh Ann earned her J.D. cum laude from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. After three years of undergraduate education, she was granted early admission to Loyola Law School and went on to graduate in the top five percent of her class. As a law student, Leigh Ann was a member of the Law Review and served on the Moot Court Board both as a team member and coach. She was also a teaching assistant for legal research and writing. In 1987, after her first year of law school, Leigh Ann received her B.A. in English/Pre-Law from the University of New Orleans.

In her spare time, Leigh Ann enjoys marathon running and spending time with her husband and six children.