James R. Swanson

Contact Information

t: (504) 586-5267

f: (504) 586-5250


Jim Swanson represents state and local governments, corporations, and individuals in cases involving municipal finance, derivatives, CDOs, Ponzi schemes, corporate tax, coastal land loss, industrial and environmental accidents, and a range of other subject areas.  Jim’s efforts are recorded in over 100 reported decisions.  Jim is widely known for his securities practice and has obtained multi-million dollar judgments for his clients in jury and bench trials and commercial arbitrations.

In addition to his established securities practice, Jim is working on a series of cases involving coastal land loss and environmental damage for governmental entities and private landowners. He also represents several commercial contractors in confidential international arbitrations arising out of large-scale infrastructure and industrial development projects.  Most recently, Jim and his team prosecuted bilateral investment treaty claims before a tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce in London on behalf of a Turkish contractor against a North African nation for defaulting on a major housing and infrastructure contract and won a substantial unanimous award from the panel.

While the majority of Jim’s practice is plaintiff focused, he also represents defendants.

Best Lawyers named Jim Lawyer of the Year for Louisiana Bet the Company Litigation in 2011 and clients praise him as “an incredibly smart, focused, tenacious and outstanding trial lawyer.” Chambers & Partners calls him “dynamic and talented.”

Jim is a member of the Xavier University of Louisiana Board of Trustees, serving on the Executive Committee and as Chairman of the Investment Committee.  He is the former Chairman of the Choice Foundation, the governing board of three turnaround public charter schools in New Orleans that educate 1500 high poverty students.  He is also a former member of the New Orleans Opera Association Board.

Jim is a fellow of the American and Louisiana Bar Foundations and a member of the International Society of Barristers.   Jim is a faculty member of the Practicing Law Institute (PLI) in Securities Litigation and is a panelist in PLI’s annual program, Securities Litigation: From Investigation to Trial.   He has also taught at Loyola Law School and Tulane University.

Jim is a founding member of Fishman Haygood and served as Managing Partner of the firm from 2007 through 2019.




  • J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane University School of Law, 1987
    • Associate Editor of the Tulane Law Review
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.A. in Economics from Tulane University, 1984

Representative Matters

  • Tried a 90-plus day securities arbitration for a group of individual investors that resulted in a $23 million judgment, including punitive damages.
  • Tried a corporate income tax case for the State of Louisiana which resulted in a $26 million jury verdict, including bad faith penalties.
  • Tried a securities fraud case for the City of New Orleans involving pension obligation bonds that was settled post-trial for a confidential amount.
  • Tried a business tort case for Rouse’s Enterprises, Louisiana’s largest grocer, against its major supplier cooperative that settled in the middle of trial for a confidential amount.
  • Tried a securities fraud case for Baylor College of Medicine arising out of an issuance of Auction Rate Securities that settled for a confidential amount after the merits hearing, but prior to judgment.
  • Tried a jury case in Texas federal court for HPI arising out of an offshore rig explosion and consequential environmental damages and obtained a verdict in the client’s favor.
  • Tried a case for Manpower, Inc. arising out of the Kaiser plant explosion in Gramercy, Louisiana that settled mid-trial.
  • Represented numerous states, cities, political subdivisions and hospitals in individual cases against underwriters involving failures of their financing structures, especially structures involving auction rate securities and interest rate swaps.
  • Represented SMG and the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District in numerous cases including several disputes with major tenants, such as the New Orleans Saints.
  • Currently represents a proposed world-wide class of investors against five banks for aiding the Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme.
  • Currently represents several landowners in suits against major oil companies for coastal erosion.




  • Louisiana
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Louisiana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court