Steve Herman is special counsel in the firm’s Litigation Section. With thirty years of experience, his primary practice focus recently has been on representing both plaintiffs and defendants in commercial, class action, and professional liability cases. Steve also is often asked to provide expert testimony in such matters.

Steve maintains a broad civil practice. He has handled everything from highway defect and products liability cases to fire and flood loss cases, to attorney fee disputes and employment cases, to special appellate work before the Louisiana Supreme Court and other courts of appeal. Notably, in 2010 he was appointed by the Court to serve as one of two Liaison and Lead Class Counsel for all businesses, individuals, and local governments involved in the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill litigation.

Steve teaches an advanced torts seminar on class actions at Loyola Law School and an advanced civil procedure course in complex litigation at Tulane. He has given numerous speeches on consumer fraud, tobacco, maritime, and managed care litigation; complex discovery, electronic discovery, and spoliation; preemption, privilege, trial preparation, deposition strategy, motion practice, legal ethics and professionalism, class actions, and complex litigation. He is the author of America and the Law: Challenges for the 21st Century, and he maintains a What’s New in the Courts law blog (or “blawg”) at GravierHouse.com.

Steve serves as the President of the New Orleans Bar Association and is the Chair of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s (LSBA) Section on Class Action, Mass Tort, and Complex Litigation. He also currently serves on the standing LSBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee and is a patron fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Steve is an active member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), for which he has served on the Board of Governors since 2014. He is a fellow of both the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Litigation Counsel of America. Steve also is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI). He served for six years as a Lawyer Chair for one of the Louisiana Disciplinary Board Hearing Committees and is a past president of the Louisiana Association for Justice (LAJ).

Steve is a former Louisiana Appleseed board member, a former Southeast Louisiana Legal Services board member, and a past president of both the National Civil Justice Institute (formerly the Pound Civil Justice Institute) and the Civil Justice Foundation.

In 2017, Steve was presented with the Stalwart Award, LAJ’s highest honor, and in 2018 he received the Harry Philo Award from the AAJ. He was named a finalist for the Public Justice (formerly the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice) Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2005. Steve also has been recognized by Best Lawyers®Louisiana Super LawyersLawdragon Top 500, National Law Journal Elite, Chambers USANew Orleans Magazine Top Lawyers, and Who’s Who. Steve was named a New Orleans CityBusiness Leadership-in-the-Law (LiL) Recipient in 2010, 2017, and 2018 before being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Steve received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College, where he was awarded Citations of Excellence in the study of Milton and Shakespeare and won the Eleanor Frost Playwriting Competition with his one-act play, The Phoenix Sleeps Tonight. He was named Order of the Coif at Tulane Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude.

After graduating from Tulane, Steve clerked for Justice Harry T. Lemmon of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Education

  • J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane University School of Law, 1994
    • Order of the Coif
  • B.A. from Dartmouth College, 1991

Clerkship

  • Justice Harry T. Lemmon of the Louisiana Supreme Court, 1994-1995

Publications / Presentations

Publications

  • “Layers of Lawyers: Parsing the Complexities of Claimant Representation in Mass Tort MDLs,” co-authored with Lynn A. Baker, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol.24, Issue No.2, p.469 (Spring 2020).*
  • “Duties Owed by Appointed Counsel to MDL Litigants Whom They Do Not Formally Represent” Loyola Law Review, Vol. 64, p.1 (Spring 2018).**
  • “The Long Arc of Justice” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XXX, No.8 (Aug. 2015).
  • “How I Spent My Summer Vacations (and Still Remember the Lessons Learned)” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XXX, No.6 (June 2015).
  • “Personal Remarks” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XXX, No.5 (May 2015).
  • “Hot Coffee” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XXX, No. 2 (Feb. 2015).
  • “To Protect and Preserve an Independent Judiciary” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XXIX, No. 12 (Dec. 2014).
  • “Standing on the Shoulders of Those Who Came Before Us” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XXIX, No. 10 (Oct. 2014).
  • “How to Maximize the Advantages of E-Mail and Eliminate the Risks” Louisiana Advocates (Aug. 2007), p.6.
  • “Being a Savvy Blogger” Louisiana Advocates (July 2007), p.12.
  • “U.S. Supreme Court Rules Asbestosis Victims Can Recover Damages Based on Fear of Cancer” Louisiana Advocates Vol.XVII, No.6, p.7 (June 2003).
  • “Federal Court Upholds Rights of Plaintiffs Who Opted Out of Nationwide Class Action Settlement to Pursue Individual Claims” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XVIII, No. 1, p.14 (Jan. 2003).
  • “TLPJ Urges Trial Lawyers to Fight Court Secrecy” Louisiana Advocates Vol.XVII, No.6, p.13 (June 2002).
  • “Roark v. Humana:  What This New Decision Means for Your Medical Malpractice Cases Involving HMOs” Louisiana Advocates Vol. XVIII, No. 1, p.8 (Jan. 2003).
  • “Fighting Mandatory Arbitration” Louisiana Advocates Vol.XVII, No.5, p.13 (May 2002).
  • “Proposed Changes to Rule 23: Consulting with Practicing Attorneys” Sidebar Vol. 3, No. 2, p.7 (Spring 2002), reprinted in, The Federal Lawyer Vol. 49, No.8, p.14 (Sept. 2002).
  • Review of In Defense of Tort Law, TRIAL Magazine Nov. 2001, p.86.
  • “Understanding Spoliation of Evidence” TRIAL Magazine Mar. 2001, p.45.
  • “The Use and Abuse of Privilege in Discovery” Australian Products Liability Reporter, Vol. 10, No. 5 (June 1999).
  • “Federal Preemption: Geier and Its Implications” Louisiana Advocates Vol.XVI, No. 1, p.8 (Jan. 2001).
  • “Evidence Preservation and Spoliation” TRIAL Magazine, (Sept. 2005) p.50.
  • Contributing Author, “Procedures and Standards for Objections and Settlement of Objections Under Rule 23(e)(5)” Guidelines and Best Practices Implementing 2018 Amendments to Rule 23 (Duke Law School Center for Judicial Studies) (Aug. 2018).
  • Editorial Board, Guidelines and Best Practices Implementing 2018 Amendments to Rule 23 (Duke Law School Center for Judicial Studies) (Aug. 2018).
  • Contributing Author, “Lead Counsel Duties” Standards and Best Practices for Large and Mass Tort MDLs (Bolch Judicial Institute, Duke Law School) (Sept. 2018).
  • “Back to Basics – Briefing and Arguing Motions” TRIAL Magazine (Oct. 2019) p.18, and, reprinted in revised and edited form, as: “Tips for Briefing and Arguing Motions” Louisiana Advocates (Nov. 2019) p.9.
  • “Percentage Fee Awards in Common Fund Cases” Tulane Law Review Vol. 74, Nos. 5-6, p.2033 (June 2000).
  • Spoliation of Evidence” Civil Trial Practice: Winning Techniques of Successful Trial Attorneys (Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2000), revised and reprinted in, Aircraft Accident Reconstruction and Litigation (Lawyers & Judges Publishing, 2003).
  • “HMO Litigation” Tort Litigation: Preparation and Tactics – 2000 and Beyond (West 2003).
  • America and the Law: Challenges for the 21st Century, Austin & Winfield, 1998, (revised edition, Gravier House Press, 1999).

* Cited in Clopton & Rave, MDL in the States, 115 Nw.U.L.Rev. 1649, 1651 n.3 (2021).
** Cited and quoted with approval in Casey v. Denton, No.17-521, 2018 WL 4205153 (S.D.Ill. Sept. 4, 2018).

Recent/Upcoming Presentations

  • “Reflections on BP Oil Spill Litigation” ABOTA Southeast Chapter Conference, Biloxi, Miss., Apr. 29, 2024 (invited).
  • “Ethics for Using ChatGPT/AI in Your Practice” AAJ Mid-Winter Convention, Austin, Tex., Feb. 12, 2024 (invited).
  • “Legal Ethics: A Survey of Recent Developments and Decisions” New Orleans Bar Association, Jan. 25, 2024.
  • “Class Counsel Fee Awards: Navigating Increased Judicial Scrutiny” Strafford Webinars, Jan. 11, 2024.
  • “Ethical Issues in Class Actions” American Association for Justice Webinar, Dec. 5, 2023.
  • “Legal Ethics and Professionalism: A Survey of Recent Developments and Decisions” New Orleans Bar Association, Nov. 9, 2023, and Last Chance CLE, Louisiana Association for Justice, New Orleans, La., Dec. 7, 2023.
  • “Working Together: By Force and/or By Choice – The Challenges, Advantages and Disadvantages of Working with Other Firms” Injury Board Summit, Big Sky, Mont., Oct. 14, 2023.
  • “Settlement Considerations and Issues: Fee Charges, Experts Tied Up, and Failure to Produce Trial Package” AAJ Mass Torts Seminar, Philadelphia, Pa., July 14, 2023.
  • “What We Are Talking About When We Are Talking About ‘Class Actions’: Two Recent Examples: The Hard Rock Collapse and the Dean Nursing Home Cases” LSBA Summer School for Lawyers and Judges, Sandestin, Fla., June 6, 2023.
  • “Fee Issues in Class Actions” George Washington Law Conference on Resolving Mass Torts in Different Forums, Washington, DC, Apr. 27, 2023.
  • Faulty, AAJ Deposition College, Washington, DC, Apr. 13-15, 2023.
  • Ethics Panel, “View on Financing Litigation”, NOBA Bench-Bar Conference, Point Clear, Ala., Mar. 26, 2023.
  • Howard Twiggs Memorial Lecture on Legal Professionalism, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 6, 2023
  • “A Trial Lawyer’s Journey Thoughts on the Profession” Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, Jan. 14, 2023.
  • “Vetting and Preparing Your Expert to Survive Daubert” NOBA Masters of the Courtroom, New Orleans, La., Dec. 15, 2022.
  • “Difficult Depositions: Ethics and Strategies” LAJ Last Chance, New Orleans, La., Dec. 10, 2022.
  • “Getting Older: Changes in the Profession” New Orleans Bar Association, Dec. 9, 2022.
  • “Legal Ethics: Top Mistakes in Everyday Practice” FBA Webinar, Nov. 9, 2022.
  • “Finding the Right Balance Between Your Own Clients and the Greater Demands of the Profession” Injury Board Summit, Cliff House, Maine, Oct. 24, 2022.
  • “The Road Ahead: Recent Law on Trucking Cases Updates from the Court” LAJ Fall Conference, Sept. 23, 2022.
  • “Seller Liability” AAJ Annual Convention, Product Liability Section CLE, Seattle, Wash., July 18, 2022.
  • “Ethics Update” Mississippi Association of Justice Annual Convention, New Orleans, La., June 23, 2022.
  • “The Show Must Go On: Learning From Your Mistakes” AAJ New Lawyers Boot Camp, Vail, Colo., May 28, 2022.
  • “Witness Preparation” AAJ New Lawyers Boot Camp, Vail, Colo., May 27, 2022.
  • “Litigation Management” Harris Martin MDL Conference: The Current Mass Tort Landscape Infant Formula, Philips CPAP, Hernia Mesh, and More, New Orleans, La., Mar. 30, 2022.
  • “Confidentiality Orders and Secrecy Agreements” Virtual Coffee Hour, Mass. Academy of Trial Lawyers, Mar. 18, 2022.
  • “Should the Shipowners Act of 1851 be Repealed, Modified or Untouched?” Shipowners Limitation of Liability Symposium, Loyola Maritime Law Journal, New Orleans, La., Feb. 18, 2022.
  • “The Trial Lawyer’s Journey: Reflections on Changes in the Profession” Academy of New Orleans Trial Lawyers, Jan. 19, 2022.

Representative Matters

  • In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon, 21 F.Supp.3d 657 (E.D.La. 2014) (Phase One Trial Findings & Conclusions that BP was guilty of gross negligence and reckless and willful misconduct) (Co-Liaison Counsel for Plaintiffs and member of the Trial Team).
  • In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon, 910 F.Supp.2d 891 (E.D.La. 2012), aff’d, 739 F.3d 790 (5th Cir. 2014), rehearing en banc denied, 756 F.3d 320 (5th Cir. 2014), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 734 (2014) (approving BP Economic & Property Damages Class Settlement), and, 295 F.R.D. 112 (E.D.La. 2013) (approving BP Medical Benefits Class Settlement) (Settlements in Excess of $12.9 Billion) (Co-Lead Class Counsel), and, No.10-2179, Rec. Doc. 22252 (E.D.La. Feb. 15, 2017), aff’d, 934 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 2019) (approving Distribution Model for $1.25 Billion Halliburton/Transocean Class Settlements) (Co-Lead Class Counsel).
  • Hernandez v. Knauf, No.09-6050, 2010 WL 1710434, In re Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2047 (E.D.La. April 27, 2010) (awarding over $164,000 in remediation and other damages, plus interest, costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees, in first bellwether trial, holding that all drywall, insulation, entire electrical system, HVAC system and copper plumbing must be removed) (Co-Lead Trial Counsel).
  • In re Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, 424 F.Supp.3d 456 (E.D.La. 2020) (approving class settlement of $248 Million against Chinese Manufacturers) (Settlement Class Counsel); (see also, Amorin v. Taishan, 861 Fed.Appx. 730 (11th Cir. 2021) (affirming common benefit fee award)); (see also, Frego v. Settlement Class Counsel, 16 F.4th 1181 (5th Cir. 2021) (dismissing appeal by individual classmembers)).

Practice Focus

Recognition

Bar Admissions

  • Louisiana
  • Arizona
  • U.S. District Courts for the Easter, Western, and Middle Districts of Louisiana
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Notable Rankings