Persuasion requires more than just reciting legally significant facts. It requires weaving those facts into a coherent story that resonates with the judges and leads them to view the case through the client’s eyes. It’s my job to find that story in a sometimes large and messy appellate record and tell that story concisely and persuasively.
Ray Ward has deep experience in appellate advocacy, with more than 100 reported decisions and countless unreported decisions to his credit. He has argued cases in the U.S. Fifth Circuit, the Louisiana Supreme Court and all five Louisiana Courts of Appeal. He is certified as an appellate specialist by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization, and was one of the first group of Louisiana lawyers to earn that distinction.
Ray typically defends clients in a range of industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, insurance, and health care. His notable successes include the following:
- In a case arising from a massive industrial explosion, he helped win a reversal of an $88.75 million judgment against an electrical-products manufacturer.
- He helped win a judgment by the Louisiana Supreme Court restoring state funding of Type 2 charter schools, reversing a court of appeal’s judgment that had held the funding scheme unconstitutional.
- He has been deeply involved in several appeals related to massive, complex litigation arising from the Bayou Corne sinkhole, working with other members of the firm’s Appellate Team to win reversals in a series of appeals upholding the client’s right to arbitration with one adversary and a substantial reduction in the client’s fault allocation.
- He briefed, argued and won a case in the Louisiana Supreme Court reversing judgments against a refinery owner in favor of neighboring plaintiffs alleging emotional distress caused by a fire on the refinery premises.
Ray has given numerous CLE presentations and written several articles on appellate advocacy. He also shares his knowledge of appellate advocacy on his blog, Louisiana Civil Appeals. He serves as an associate editor of the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing. In his spare time, he plays guitar, and has learned enough to accompany the choir at St. Joseph’s Church in downtown New Orleans.
“ As lawyers, we need to learn from classical rhetoric, psychology, the social sciences, biology of the brain – every discipline that tells us how people think and make decisions, and how we can influence their thinking and decision-making. ”
- Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, J.D., 1990
- Franciscan University of Steubenville, B.A., 1980
- 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
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
- United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
Areas of Practice
- AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Louisiana Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Appellate, 2013-2023
- Order of St. Louis IX Medallion, Archdiocese of New Orleans 2008
- President's Law Award, Franciscan University of Steubenville 2005
- Loyola Law Alumni Award, Loyola Law Review 1990
- Editorial Board Award, Loyola Law Review 1990
- New Orleans' Top Lawyers, New Orleans Magazine, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022
Professional Affiliations & Memberships
- American Bar Association, Council of Appellate Lawyers
- Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
- Scribes - The American Society of Legal Writers, Board of Directors, 2013-2020
- Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization Appellate Practice Advisory Commission
- Will I Ever See the Day When Lawyers Write without Clichés?, 20 Scribes J. Legal Writing 119 (2021–2022)
- The Science Behind Plain Language, 19 Scribes J. Legal Writing 181 (2020)
- Insider’s Guide to the Louisiana Appellate Courts, Appellate Practice Compendium 733 (ABA 2012)
- Immortal Forms: The Vampires of Legal Writing, Defense 57 (DRI Jan. 2009)
- Counting Each Shot: Techniques for Emphasis and De-emphasis, For the Defense 35 (DRI Nov 2008)
- The Right Tool for the Job, Certworthy (DRI Winter 2008)
- How to Write an Appellate Brief, A Young Lawyer's Guide to Defense Practice 381 (DRI 2006)
- A Writ in Time, 51 La. B.J. 338 (Feb./Mar. 2004)
- Standards of Review, A Defense Lawyer’s Guide to Appellate Practice 95 (DRI 2004)
- Style, A Defense Lawyer’s Guide to Appellate Practice 205 (DRI 2004)
- Humility, Certworthy 7 (DRI Winter 2003)
- The Importance of Earnest Oral Argument, Certworthy 12 (DRI Summer 2009)
- Ledet v Seasafe, Inc.: To footnote or not to footnote?, Certworthy 15 (DRI Winter 2002)
- Compose a Winning Score: Powerful Writing, Louisiana State Bar Association (6 May 2022)
- The Persuasive Brief, from Cover to Conclusion, Adams and Reese LLP (28 July 2021)
- The Science of Brief Writing: How to Maximize the Art of Persuasion, Louisiana State Bar Association's Advanced Appellate Practice Webinar (9 Apr. 2021)
- Setting Precedents: 1st Annual Appellate Practice Seminar, Loyola University College of Law and Acadiana Law Firm, LLC (31 May 2018)
- Top 10 Ways to Lose an Appeal, Louisiana State Bar Association’s 2017 CLE Wrap-Up seminar (15 Dec. 2017)
- Professionalism on Appeal, Louisiana State Bar Association’s Advanced Appellate Practice seminar (16 Nov. 2017)
- Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal (11 Sept. 2017)
- Legal Writing Institute’s 14th Biennial Conference (30 June 2010)
- Louisiana State Bar Association's Legal Writing Seminar (20 Mar. 2009)