Adams and Reese is pleased to announce that Leigh Ann Schell and Sara C. Valentine, both experienced commercial litigators, have joined the firm’s Litigation Practice Team in the New Orleans office. Schell and Valentine, both joining as Special Counsel, previously practiced at a majority female-owned local firm.
Practicing law for nearly 30 years, Schell 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. She was a founding partner at her previous firm.
Among Schell’s representative experience, she 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. Schell also worked with other attorneys in her previous 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.
In the legal community, Schell has served in various roles with the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) for many years. Within the IADC, she has 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. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.
Valentine has practiced law for more than a decade and focuses her work primarily on environmental litigation and commercial litigation. Her practice includes land contamination and wetlands/land loss claims, and indemnity and contractual disputes. Throughout her career, she has also represented insurers in the areas of ERISA and life, health, disability and accident insurance as well as employers in discrimination and whistleblower/qui tam actions. Valentine has also handles Act 312 cases, including discovery efforts, working with experts to address and defend against allegations of soil and groundwater contamination, and drafting and negotiating settlement agreements in compliance with La. Rev. Stat. Section 30:29.
Valentine is a member of the Bar Association of the Federal Fifth Circuit, the American Bar Association, and the New Orleans Bar Association. She earned her J.D. as a William L. Crowe, Sr. Scholar from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Valentine is admitted to practice in both Louisiana and Missouri.