Ray Ward joined Adams and Reese in 2002 and focuses his practice on appellate advocacy. He is among the first group of lawyers (only six statewide) to be certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization as an Appellate Practice Specialist. He typically represents defendants in products liability, toxic exposure, and other tort cases, often in complex litigation. He has served clients in many industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, insurance, and health care. Among the successful results he has obtained for his clients are the following:
- Reversal of an $88.75 million judgment against an electrical-products manufacturer in a case arising from a massive explosion at an industrial plant.
- An appellate court’s reduction of an $8 million punitive-damage award to $2.37 million, followed by the Louisiana Supreme Court’s complete reversal of punitive damages.
- Summary judgment by the Louisiana Supreme Court in favor of an employer in an industrial-accident case, reversing judgments of the trial and appellate courts.
- Reversal of a judgment against a pesticide manufacturer in favor of distributors claiming business losses caused by damage to their suppliers’ crops.
- An appellate holding that the attorney-client privilege applied to a memorandum written by in-house counsel, reversing the district court’s denial of the client’s claim of the privilege.
- An appellate decision enforcing a contractual forum-selection clause, reversing the trial court’s refusal to enforce the clause.
- The Louisiana Supreme Court’s reversal of a $1.2 million judgment for breach of fiduciary duty against the liquidator of a failed insurance company.
Besides serving the firm’s clients, Ray has spent years sharing his knowledge of appellate practice with other lawyers through many presentations and articles on appellate advocacy and legal writing. He contributed a chapter on Louisiana appellate practice to the ABA’s “Appellate Practice Compendium,” published in 2012, and co-edited and contributed two chapters to “A Defense Lawyer’s Guide to Appellate Practice,” published by DRI in 2004. Excerpts from two of his briefs are featured as exemplars in Bryan A. Garner’s The Winning Brief (3rd ed. 2014).
Ray currently serves on the board of directors of Scribes—The American Society of Legal Writers, and he is an associate editor of the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing. For years, he has been on the steering committee of DRI’s Appellate Practice Committee, including several years as the Committee’s chair of publications.
Ray is an active member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New Orleans, where he plays guitar for the Sunday 6 p.m. mass ensemble and occasionally serves as a lector. He is a blues fan and a student of blues slide guitar.