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In Memoriam, Thomas G. O’Brien

6/5/2015

“Tom O’Brien was a strategic leader of our regional growth. He was always a step ahead. Certainly he was a formidable practicing attorney, but he also had a brilliant mind for business. He taught me a lot. His legacy is deep and wide.”
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Gif Thornton, Managing Partner

We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of our partner, colleague and friend, Thomas G. O’Brien on June 4, 2015. Tom was a highly skilled litigator, a trusted advisor to his many clients, and a mentor and role model to dozens of young lawyers. He touched many lives, personally and professionally, and will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Following his graduation from Tulane School of Law in 1979, Tom joined Adams and Reese as an associate, and soon after earned his partnership. Few people have had as significant a role in the success of any organization, as did Tom with Adams and Reese. A great visionary with an entrepreneurial spirit, Tom personified the firm’s “Out in Front” motto. Throughout his 35-year career with Adams and Reese, he held virtually every elected, appointed and volunteer position in the firm. At the time of his death, Tom was serving his third term on the Executive Committee. He was a Practice Group Leader for many years and also served three terms on the Compensation Committee. Tom assisted in unifying hiring practices and procedures across all 16 offices during his service on the Recruiting and Expansion Committees. He served on every firm Strategic Planning Committee since 1994, and as Chairman of the Firm’s Growth Committee, he played a key role in the expansion of the firm to its current regional footprint of 16 offices in seven states throughout the South, and in Washington, D.C. Other areas of firm management where he made significant contributions included the Budget Committee, Succession and Retirement Committee, and Long Range Planning Committee. Pro Bono work was also important to Tom. He devoted hundreds of hours of personal pro bono service to those in need, and he served on the firm’s Pro Bono Committee for many years, including one term as Committee Chair.

"We will miss Tom greatly, not only for his prowess as a leader of Adams and Reese, but also as the keeper of the firm's vision, as an advocate for and able counselor to our clients, and a friend and mentor to so many lawyers. I am proud to have been his friend and Partner."
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Jeff Brooks, Executive Committee Chairman

In addition to his strong management skills, Tom also had a brilliant legal mind. His clients as well as his adversaries, held him in high esteem. Tom’s practice was comprised of transactions and litigation arising out of the exploration, development, production, transportation and regulation of oil and gas operations in the Gulf Coast Region. He appeared as lead trial counsel in State and Federal Courts in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Wyoming, and before numerous governmental agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board, the Minerals Management Service and the United States Coast Guard. He litigated matters that ranged from personal injury and property damage claims to collisions, towage, oil pollution, limitation of liability, salvage, oil field liens, construction disputes, contract litigation and marine and energy insurance coverage issues. Tom had extensive experience in negotiating and drafting contracts for all phases of exploration, development, production, transportation and regulation of oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico. He also counseled clients in preventative measures to minimize risk and avoid the expense of litigation.

“Tom lived his life with boundless energy and purpose. We are grateful for the time he spent teaching many of us the practice and business of law. He will be missed, but not forgotten.”
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Frank Liantonio, Partner and Executive Committee Member

Tom received numerous honors throughout his career including Louisiana Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) in Transportation/Maritime law, Best Lawyers® (by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners) in Admiralty and Maritime law, and Leadership in Law by New Orleans CityBusiness.

Tom received his J.D. in 1979 from Tulane University and his Bachelor of Arts in 1976, also from Tulane University.

Arrangements and service information can be found here.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to Tom’s wife, Teri, his children, Tim and Kristin, his stepson Blair,
and his stepdaughter Devan and all his family and many friends.