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Martin A. Stern

Partner, Firm General Counsel, Appellate Team Leader

My clients are primarily in-house lawyers at Fortune 500 companies, and they say my proven track record is the main reason they hire me. They pick appellate lawyers by talking to other in-house counsel and lawyers they trust in the jurisdiction, and they find out who has won appeals, whose petitions for certiorari have been granted by the state Supreme Court, and who has earned the respect of appellate judges generally. Fortunately, I’m on a short list of Louisiana lawyers who are considered for important appeals.

The Firm’s General Counsel and Appellate Team Leader, Martin Stern focuses his practice on appellate litigation. Martin is among the first group of lawyers, only ten statewide, to be certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization as Appellate Practice Specialists. His deep and varied practice ranges from representing a major oil-and-gas company in the appeal of a $1 billion punitive damage award to representing a defendant sentenced to death. Both cases resulted in grants of certiorari by the United States Supreme Court. In the latter, Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008), the Court announced its landmark holding that the death penalty is unconstitutional for most non-homicide crimes.

Martin has an extensive background in complex litigation, particularly class actions. In legal ethics matters, he represents judges before the Louisiana State Judiciary Commission and lawyers before the Louisiana State Disciplinary Board, for which he formerly served as Hearing Committee Chair. Martin also has a growing practice in legal malpractice defense work.

With a roster of national clients, Martin represents many companies in the pharmaceutical and energy industries. He defends claims brought against pharmaceutical companies by the State Attorney General. He counsels oil and gas companies on claims arising from coastal land loss. He continues to counsel clients who face claims stemming from toxic release, refinery fires, explosions and other incidents.

As a longtime advocate for pro bono representation, Martin is past director of both the national and Louisiana chapters of Appleseed, a nonprofit organization that attacks injustice at its root cause, which The American Lawyer called “pro bono’s new frontier.” He received the national Appleseed’s Evelyn Singer Award, and New Orleans CityBusiness named him to “Leadership in Law” for spearheading the reestablishment of Louisiana Appleseed after Hurricane Katrina. In 2016, Martin was honored with Louisiana Appleseed’s Good Apple Award and the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Catherine D. Kimball Award for a project culminating in the state Supreme Court’s adoption of a rule allowing lawyers to earn CLE credit for pro bono representation.

Companies increasingly see the value in retaining counsel whose focus is on appellate litigation, because what works before the trial court could be a misstep before a court of appeal.

Education

  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1985
  • University of Texas, B.A., 1981

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Louisiana

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Louisiana Supreme Court

Acknowledgements

  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers® - Appellate Practice, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants
  • Best Lawyers®, "Lawyer of the Year," Appellate Law, 2017
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Class Action/Mass Torts, Appellate 2009-2018
  • Louisiana Appleseed “Good Apple Award, 2016”
  • Benchmark Litigation® – Local Litigation Star (Louisiana)
  • Louisiana State Bar Association, Catherine D. Kimball Award for the Advancement of the Administration of Justice 2016
  • New Orleans' Top Lawyers, New Orleans Magazine, 2017

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
  • Louisiana State Bar Association
  • LSBA Appellate Section Specialization Committee, Chair
  • Louisiana Appleseed, Former Member, Board of Directors
  • New Orleans Bar Association, Appellate Section Co-Chair