Walter J. Leger, Jr.

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Class Action & Mass Torts Attorney in New Orleans, LA

Leger & Shaw
 | 935 Gavier St, Suite 2150
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: 504-588-9043
Fax: 504-588-9980
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2020
Licensed Since: 1976
Practice Areas:
  • Class Action/Mass Torts: Plaintiff (40%),
  • Transportation/Maritime (40%),
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (20%)
Attorney Profile

Attorney Walter J. Leger, Jr., is a senior partner with the Leger & Shaw law firm in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nationally recognized as one of the leading trial advocates in the state as well as the country, Mr. Leger focuses his practice primarily on plaintiff class actions and mass torts, transportation and maritime liability cases, and other plaintiff personal injury claims.

Over the course of his more than 43 years of practicing law, Mr. Leger has achieved an impressive list of credentials. He is currently the president of the New Orleans Bar Foundation and past president of the New Orleans Bar Association. He accepted an appointment from Louisiana's governor to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Authority after Hurricane Katrina, where he ultimately served as vice chairman following his reappointment. He has also served several other appointments, including chairman of the Louisiana Land Trust, as well as a member of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.

Drawing upon his extensive legal experience and knowledge, Mr. Leger has testified before various Senate and House committees, and he has appeared on numerous television and radio news programs, offering in-depth legal commentary on a variety of subjects. He has also conducted lectures and seminars at Harvard Law School and other prestigious law schools, and he has earned many awards and honors from his peers.

Of note, the Louisiana Bar Journal named him a "Louisiana Legal Legend" in 2018, and the Louisiana State Bar Association bestowed him with the "Citizen Lawyer" award that same year. In addition, New Orleans CityBusiness magazine has included him in its list of "Leadership in Law" members for several years and inducted him into its “Leadership in Law Hall of Fame.” Mr. Leger has also received the President's Award from the New Orleans Bar Association, the Louisiana Association for Justice and the Federal Bar Association.

Along with maintaining a successful legal practice, Mr. Leger is highly active in his local area, and he has received numerous awards for his selfless service to his community. A two-time cancer survivor, he serves on the Louisiana Cancer Research Center's board of trustees, and he has served on the board of a number of other cancer research and treatment organizations, as well as local colleges and legal associations.

Mr. Leger obtained his Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School in 1976, where he was a member of the Tulane Moot Court Competition and served as managing editor of the school's law journal. He is admitted to practice before all U.S. District Courts in the state as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th and 11th Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court. Last but not least, he also holds an AV Preeminent peer review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

 
Practice Areas
Lawyer Practice Area Pie Chart

Class Action/Mass Torts (40%)

Transportation/Maritime (40%)

Personal Injury - General (20%)

Selections

Selected to Super Lawyers for 14 yearsbottom-image

Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2020

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About Walter Leger, Jr.

Admitted: 1976, Louisiana

Professional Webpage: https://www.legershaw.com/attorneys/walter-j-leger-jr

Honors/Awards:

  • American Admiralty Institute Award, Tulane Law School
  • Louisiana Bar Jounal, "Louisiana Legal Legend" 2018 Louisiana State Bar Association "Citizen Lawyer" Award 2018 Cancer Crusaders, Survivor of the Year, 2017 Co-Chairman, The Whitney Zoo-To-Do, 2014 Co-Chairman, Key to the Cure /Louisiana Cancer Reseach Center Drive, 201110-12 Magazine, Players in the Region 2009 New Orleans CityBusiness "Leadership in Law Hall of Fame," 2009 to presentNew Orleans CityBusiness "Leadership in Law," 2007, 2008, 2009 "Louisiana's Super Lawyers," 2007, 2008,2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017, 2018, 2019 U. S. Coast Guard Commendation for Rescue and Lifesaving, 2008 Arthur B. Hanson Rescue Award - U.S. Sailing Association, 2008 New Orleans Bar Association President's Award, 2009 Louisiana Association of Justice President's Award, 2008 Federal Bar Association President's Award, 2007 "Ten Outstanding People," Family Services Foundation, 2007 "Man of the Year," St. Bernard's Business & Professional Women's Club, 2006 "Role Model" Young Leadership Counsel, 2005 "Trial Lawyer of the Year" Award, Finalist - Lawyer's for Public Justice Foundation, 2005 "Breath of Life Award" American Cancer Society, 2003 "Kingfish of the Month"- Kingfish Magazine 2000New Orleans Magazine, "People to Watch in 2006"New Orleans Magazine, "People to Watch in 2000"New Orleans Magazine, "82 People to Watch in '82" "Volunteer of the Year," The Southern Economic Development Council, 1999 "Volunteer of the Year," The Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (LIDEA), 1999 Boy Scouts of America, Southeast Louisiana Council, "The Walter J. Leger, Jr. 1999 Class of Young Americans" "Citizen of the Year" St. Bernard Parish Chamber of Commerce, 1986 Distinguished Community Service Award, Alliance for Good Government, 1994Who's Who in America since 1992Who's Who in American Law since 1987Who’s Who in the Southwest U.S. and Who’s Who in American Society
  • Tulane Moot Court Competition, Tulane Law School

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1980
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1976
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1981
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana, 1976
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana, 1978
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana, 1977
  • Louisiana, 1976
  • College of Arts & Sciences, Louisiana State University, Advisory Council, Member
  • Maritime Law Association of America Southeast Maritime Law Institute New Orleans Bar Foundation, Fellow, President New Orleans Bar Association, Past President American Bar Foundation, Distinguished Fellow Louisiana Bar Foundation, Fellow American Bar Association Louisiana Bar Association St. Bernard Bar Association Jefferson Bar Association St. Tammany Bar Association Federal Bar Association Bar Association if the U. S. Fifth Circuit American Association of Justice Louisiana Association of Justice  
  • Bernard Economic Development Commission/Foundation, Chairman, 1996 - 2013
  • Business Council, New Orleans & the River Region
  • New Orleans City Park Board of Commissioners, 2017

Pro bono/Community Service:

  • Business Higher Education Council, University of New Orleans
  • President, New Orleans Zephyrs Triple A Baseball Team
  • March of Dimes of Greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana, Chairman, 1981 - 1985
  • LSUHSC Stanley Scott Cancer Center, Board
  • Tulane Cancer Center Advisory Council, 2001 - Present
  • LSU Health Science Center Foundation, Board and Executive Committee, 2001 - Present
  • Greater New Orleans, Inc., Board and Executive Committee, 2004 - 2011
  • Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, Directors Council, 2004 - Present
  • Board, Nunez Community College Foundation, 1986 - Present
  • Bernard Council, The Chamber/New Orleans and the River Region St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce, Chairman 5 times between 1984 and 2008
  • Bernard Community College Foundation, Board of Directors, Vice Chairman, 1986 - 1993
  • Delgado Community College Foundation, Board of Directors, Member, 1998 - Present
  • Metrovision Economic Development Partnership Foundation, Executive Committee, Co-Chairman, 1998 - 2000
  • Leger has also tirelessly served the people of his community and Louisiana. He is a past Chairman of the Board of the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chairman of the MetroVision Regional Economic Development Partnership, and the St. Bernard Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Louisiana Committee of 100 for Economic Development, the Southeast Louisiana Business Council Coalition, the New Orleans/Baton Rouge Super Region Committee, and the Board of Trustees of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. He was Chairman of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation/Commission. He was a founding Director of GNO, Inc. In addition to service as Vice-Chairman of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the Louisiana Land Trust and Co-Chair of the St. Bernard Citizen's Recovery Committee, he has or currently serves on the Boards of GNO, Inc., the World Trade Center, the Committee of 100, the Business Council, the New Orleans Bar Association, the New Orleans Bar Foundation, the LSU Health Science Center Foundation, the Delgado Community College Foundation, Nunez Community College Foundation, Tulane Cancer Center, LSU Cancer Center, and the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. After Hurricane Katrina, Leger was appointed by Governor Kathleen Blanco to the Louisiana Recovery Authority where he was one of the LRA's most active members. Governor Bobby Jindal re-appointed Leger and he served as Vice-Chairman. He was also appointed by both Governors to serve as Chairman of the Louisiana Land Trust and by Mayor Mitch Landrieu to the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA). Leger became well known as the co-host with Garland Robinette of a weekly WWL radio show on hurricane recovery issues. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Disaster Recovery whose participants included Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Joseph Lieberman, and then-Senator Barack Obama. Leger has appeared on behalf of the homeowners of Louisiana before five Congressional and Senate committees and sub-committees and met numerous times with Senate and House of Representatives staff and committee staffs, including the Appropriations and Finance committees, and with U.S. Senators, Congressmen, and editorial and news staff of the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Associated Press. He has also made appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, PBS, LPB and numerous local and national television and radio stations. He is often consulted by members of the media for his expertise on maritime and complex litigation issues.

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • The Tulane Maritime Law Journal, Managing Editor, Tulane Law School, 1975 - 1976

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • Leger has been known as a prominent attorney in complex litigation. More particularly, he has demonstrated his leadership in major maritime disaster cases, in class action litigation against the tobacco industry, and as special counsel for the Attorney General of the State of Louisiana and the Governor of the State of California. After Hurricane Katrina he was involved in the Murphy Oil Spill Litigation and represented dozens of homeowners and businesses against their insurance companies.   Leger has repeatedly been recognized for his leadership and experience. He is currently counsel to numerous governments in the nationwide Opioid Litigation. He was Special Trial Counsel in the BP/DEEPWATER HORIZON Oil Spill Case and was a member of the Phase I and Phase II Trial Team. He was the lead negotiator on behalf of Louisiana local governments in the historic government settlements with BP. He represented hundreds of businesses, citizens and governments in the litigation. Appointed by U.S. District Judge Lance Africk as a member of the Claimants’ Steering Committee he represented businesses and governmental entities (including the Port of New Orleans and the St. Bernard Port) damaged as a result of the collision of a ship and barges causing a massive Oil Spill in on the Mississippi River in 2008. Leger was appointed by U.S. Judge Peter Beer as Chairman of the Plaintiff’s Committee and served as Lead Appellate Counsel in the case of The State of Louisiana, ex rel. v. M/V TESTBANK, involving the claims of over 2,000 fishermen and businesses damaged as a result of a ship collision causing the spill of PCP into the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The Fifth Circuit’s en banc decision and its progeny continue to guide the determination of economic loss and business damages in maritime cases to this day. Representing dozens of businesses, he was appointed by U.S. District Judge Morey Sear as Co-Lead Counsel in the M/V BRIGHT FIELD/Riverwalk Disaster. Other notable maritime cases include but are not limited to M/V INCA TUPAC collision, (U.S.D.C., E.D. La.)(Lead Counsel, collision and explosion involving numerous deaths and burns);M/V POET, (U.S.D.C., E.D.Pa.)(mysterious ship disappearance in Atlantic Ocean with 25 crew lost); M/V TEXACO NORTH DAKOTA, (U.S.D.C., E.D.La.)(fiery ship collision with post hurricane damaged oil platform); M/V MISS CHRIS/Claiborne Ave. Bridge allision and collapse; M/V LEE III/M/V ZIM MEXICO III (Collision in Southwest Pass causing deaths of entire crew and closure of river and port). Leger’s experience and leadership extends far beyond admiralty and maritime law. In the Castano Tobacco Litigation, he served on the Trial Team, Discovery Committee, Science Committee, and Administrative Committee. This case was brought against the Tobacco and Cigarette industry in numerous states, including the Castano Tobacco Litigation, California Tobacco Litigation, and the Brown Case. Leger served as Class Counsel, Trial Counsel, Trial Liability Team Captain, and Expert Team Captain in the Scott Tobacco Litigation. In Louisiana Breast Implant Litigation, Leger served on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee as Chairman of Discovery Committee and Member of the Strategy Committee, Planning Committee, Administrative Committee, and Law Committee. After Hurricane Katrina, he was appointed by U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon to Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee in the Murphy Oil Spill Litigation. He was appointed by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance to Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee in the Education Testing Services Litigation. In the Billieson Lead Paint Class Action, he was appointed as Class Counsel. Leger was also a member of F. Lee Bailey’s Litigation Sub-Committee in the Bhopal, India/Union Carbide Disaster. He has had particular experience in actions involving major collisions, numerous claims, and limitation of liability proceedings. His career has spanned over 40 years in the litigation of individuals, businesses, port authorities, towing companies, barge owners, shipyards, and ship pilots, officers and crew. He has represented clients in the state and federal courts of Louisiana and others, and at U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board hearings.

Representative Clients:

  • The Louisiana Charter Boat Association
  • Associated Branch Pilots
  • New Orleans Zephyrs AAA Professional Baseball Club, LLC, ECL Marine Company

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • President, New Orleans Zephyrs Baseball Club (AAA) and New Orleans Storm Professional Soccer Team (1999-2000); Owner (1995- ); Vice President/General Counsel (2003- )President, Regel Investment Properties, L.L.C.President, ECL Barge Company President, "Voice of the New Orleans Zephyrs" (1993 and 1994)

Educational Background:

  • Tulane University School of Law, 1976
  • Louisiana State University, B.A., Major: Political Science, Minor: Economics, Honors: Phi Gamma Delta National Leadership Award, Senior Scholar's National Award, Who's Who in America's Colleges and Universities, Freshmen Honor Award Scholarship, Centennial Honor Award Scholarship, 1973

Industry Groups

  • Local Governments
  • Maritime
  • Ports
  • Seafood Industry
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Office Location for Walter J. Leger, Jr.

935 Gavier St
Suite 2150
New Orleans, LA 70112

Phone: 504-588-9043

Fax: 504-588-9980

Walter J. Leger, Jr.:

Last Updated: 6/24/2019

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