Happy to Hear From Mr. Lea

Happy to Hear From Mr. Lea

Wayne lee doesn’t want to reminisce about past instances. He doesn’t see tons point in discussing his numerous accolades. In short, lee, who has spent greater than forty years working towards commercial enterprise litigation, anti-agree with, insurance and sophistication movement/mass torts at stone pigman walther wittmann in new orleans, doesn’t see himself as that huge of a deal. “my consciousness has continually been imparting professional and incredible paintings for the customer,” he says. If he did need to gloat, he’d have masses to mention. Lee is a three-time recipient of the louisiana state bar affiliation president’s award, a member of the inaugural class of the tulane regulation faculty hall of repute and the recipient of the brand new orleans bar affiliation’s john r. “jack” martzell professionalism award. In contogouris v. Westpac resources, lee successfully defended kevin costner in a federal jury trial related to $18 million in claims of securities regulation violations and fraud brought by traders, inclusive of actor stephen 1st earl baldwin of bewdley. In louisiana caldwell v. Allstate insurance co., lee successfully defended kingdom farm insurance, which became accused with other insurers of conspiring to lowball bills to louisiana claimants at some point of and after hurricane katrina. A federal judge brushed off the lawsuit. He likewise served as suggest for nation farm inside the class movement instances that became part of katrina canal breaches consolidated litigation, for which harm exclusions have been upheld and sophistication certification denied. But lee doesn’t spend plenty time talking approximately beyond wins. Consumer confidentiality is part of it, as is character, however it’s typically pragmatic. “actually, while you’re searching again at vintage instances, it’s a depend of: for what reason?” he says. “the maximum vital instances which you’re working on are those who come inside the destiny. You need to be organized. Perhaps it’s a chunk like an athlete being asked to have a look at what they did final recreation, after which solution for what they’re going to do with this subsequent sport or the one after that. That ultimate game is gone; you may’t certainly get via with what changed into done within the earlier case. … there’s continually a special task these days, and due to the fact you did a very good job on [a case] 10 years ago, or maybe final 12 months, doesn’t come up with a free journey on what you need to do on the case right now.” but, lee’s peers aren’t afraid to offer credit score where it’s due. “wayne is the embodiment of the adage that achievement is 95 percent guidance and five percentage overall performance,” says phil wittmann, who employed lee back inside the ’70s and has labored with him on numerous instances. “he’s the real deal.” cynthia shoss, a pal and previous classmate at tulane university law school, adds, “he’s very consistent. He takes his clients significantly with out taking himself too significantly. I inform people, ‘if wayne can take your case, you’re in success.’ … he’s a totally humble guy with a superb sense of humor, no matter his achievement.” lee grew up in new orleans, the son of educators. His mom taught 2d grade; his father was a instructor and coach, who finally have become a primary. Unsurprisingly, schooling turned into taken significantly in the family. As such, lee went to st. Augustine high faculty, a parochial school for african-american boys that hadn’t yet incorporated while lee attended. Saint aug turned into known for its “warm however strict” surroundings and for high expectations, as ivy league admissions officials referred to in a time piece from 1965, lee’s sophomore yr. “there has been a completely strong emphasis on area and on getting children equipped for university and the sector,” lee says. “the idea become that, ‘you’re younger guys, you’re predicted to do properly—and we believe you can do well—however the reality is you would possibly have to work twice as hard because that’s how the arena is. But you can do it, and we’re going to get you prepared to do this.’” lee says saint aug forced him to paintings difficult and become the person he's nowadays. “for one among our records guides, i had to read the upward push and fall of the 0. 33 reich to put together for the very last exam, and it became like 1,500 pages,” he says. “it was a completely focused, and supportive, instructional enjoy.” he has remained worried along with his high college alma mater over the years, having just left its board of administrators, and he is still on the board at tulane university. Lee’s recollection is that he turned into certainly one of 18 african-american inexperienced persons admitted in his class at tulane in 1967. “on a campus of several thousand, the numbers have been fairly small,” he says. In lee’s junior year he married pamella dunn. The couple has been married for forty five years and have kids: wayne jr., who has one infant, and jennifer, who has 3 youngsters. It become round this time that lee commenced looking at what he ought to do with a political science diploma and records minor, and ended up in regulation college at tulane. “it turned into largely a chunk of good fortune, i have to say, due to the fact i had no concept what law faculty would be like,” he says. “i understood, in concept, what attorneys did—you’d watch movies on tv and see legal professionals going to court—however surely had no publicity to the alternative matters legal professionals do like tax law, real estate, finance issues, and all of the distinctive varieties of litigation that are obtainable. But i were given to law college and quick determined that i enjoyed the felony manner, the analysis and methods of reading issues, analyzing the law and trouble fixing and making use of criminal ideas to complex troubles. I found that, for me, it was a good healthy.” “even lower back in law college, wayne changed into first rate smart,” says shoss, a former stone pigman colleague who’s now a associate at sutherland asbill & brennan in ny. “he reduce right via dialogue with crystal clarity.” but when it got here time for lee to look for a summer time task, he encountered a few obstacles. He sent out packages and went on one unfruitful interview after any other. No person ever said whatever about race, but he had his suspicions. However, he says, “i'm able to’t waste a number of strength on angst. You could’t get up each day and let it power your day.” so he took the recommendation of his regulation review editor in leader and applied to clerk at stone pigman. 40-one years later, he’s nonetheless there. The firm now has two offices with almost 60 attorneys, but while lee commenced there had been just over a dozen. This helped him discover his area of interest, due to the fact he set to work in many areas of the law, together with real estate, tax law and property planning. “it gave me a hazard to discover what i preferred, where i felt my abilties have been maximum well-suited, and gravitated to what i do now,” he says. “i sincerely had no clue what a lawyer did till i came right here. While you’re taking courses you read a number of instances, but they don’t let you know what the attorneys do of their offices. You don’t pay attention approximately the pleadings, and how you're taking discovery.” wittmann says, “he's the final expert. We had a terrific pool of candidates to choose from, and wayne was such a standout applicant. It turned into a no brainer.” lee’s first federal jury trial became additionally his 2nd federal jury trial. In the center of the case, a maritime collision fit wherein he become an associate on the defense aspect, the associate lee labored with on the case argued a motion for a brand new trial based totally on an evidentiary problem and capacity prejudicial blunders that would have affected the jury’s decision. “the judge stated, ‘, you delivered up an exciting issue about this. I need to reflect onconsideration on it.’ after which he died earlier than rendering a choice,” lee says. The case turned into reassigned to a new choose, who heard the argument, agreed and restarted the trial. The plaintiff nevertheless acquired an award, lee says, although a miles smaller amount than the primary time around. “it changed into not my first jury trial. I discovered a few training on what you ought to and shouldn’t do, and were given a higher feel of what you need to do to put together,” lee says. “so we had been sincerely pleased we were given to do it again and got a great result.” his recognition has grown ever when you consider that. “he without a doubt likes servicing customers,” shoss says. “he has continually had grace under pressure, even as a very junior legal professional.” in 2003, lee became elected president of the louisiana bar association, making him the primary african-american bar president in country records. He describes his 12 months-long time as difficult, however he’s proud of the diversity assignment force and committee he helped expand. “it’s extraordinary to see new, younger faces taking on management and a number of the obligations, coming up with new thoughts,” lee says. Whilst he came in, lee says, the focus of the lsba range committee turned into on race, ethnicity and gender. Now lgbt, age and incapacity troubles also are inside the leading edge. “the law is constantly changing,” he says. “lawyers are about hassle-fixing. That’s what we do. We ought to study the law and try to discover methods to attain solutions.” lee has no instant plans to retire whenever quickly. “i still like what i do. I just like the truth that i’ve gotten to do a variety of quality work. Interesting instances, masses of possibilities to paintings with the courts,” he says. “i’d want to suppose that, someplace along the line, i’ve developed a few credibility with opposing events and the courts. Your reputation inside the prison network is critical. And that’s one of the matters a few human beings don’t consider in dealing with each different, and how they deal with the courts.” certainly. In a 2006 listening to regarding a motion to de-consolidate policyholder fits, presiding judge stanwood r. Duval jr. Brought lee through pointing out in reality: “we’re always glad to hear from mr. Lee.”