Our lawyers have assumed leadership roles in local public education, both by serving on local charter school boards and by representing the interests of public school children in litigation. The firm’s managing partner, Jim Swanson, is chair of the Choice Foundation, the operator of three open-enrollment public schools in New Orleans, including the largest elementary school in the city. Choice Foundation was a lead plaintiff in Navis Hill v. Bobby Jindal, the lawsuit that stopped Governor Bobby Jindal from terminating the State of Louisiana’s Common Core testing contract.
Our lawyers regularly lend their expertise in First Amendment law to causes that further the public interest. Partner Lori Mince is a frequent lecturer on First Amendment rights of speech and access. She and associate Alysson Mills frequently partner with the ACLU in cases that implicate First Amendment rights, including Ciccarone v. City of New Orleans, 2:13-cv-00133 (E.D. La.) (city ordinance banned all signage not sanctioned by the NFL during 2013 Super Bowl); Gros v. City of New Orleans, 2:12-cv-02322 (E.D. La.) (city ordinance banned street preachers from Bourbon Street); Sturgis v. Copiah Co. Sch. Dist., 3:10-cv-455 (S.D. Miss) (school cut lesbian student’s senior portrait from yearbook); and McMillen v. Itawamba Co. Sch. Dist., 1:10-cv-61 (N.D. Miss.) (school prohibited lesbian student from attending prom with same-sex date). They also co-teach a course on First Amendment and media law at Tulane University.
Our lawyers regularly lend their resources to criminal justice causes. Jim Swanson serves on the board of the Innocence Project New Orleans and has co-counseled with the organization in successful petitions to free the wrongfully accused. Alysson Mills frequently accepts appointments to represent indigent criminal defendants in federal court. She, partner Jason Burge, and associate Jesse Stewart currently serve as co-counsel with the Mississippi Innocence Project in two federal habeas proceedings currently pending in Mississippi.
In addition to giving their time, pro bono, to a variety of deserving matters, our lawyers also serve on the boards of several local non-profits. Our lawyers serve or have recently served on the boards of the Bureau of Governmental Research, of which partner Scott Willis is past-chair; the Baton Rouge Area Chamber; the Louisiana Art and Science Museum; the New Orleans Opera Association; WRBH-Reading Radio for the Blind; St. George’s Episcopal School; Isidore Newman School; the Dunham School of Baton Rouge; Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans, of which Alysson Mills is chair; the Boys and Girls Club of Baton Rouge, of which partner Louis Quinn, Jr. is past-chair; the Fore!Kids Foundation; and the American Red Cross for Southeast Louisiana, among many others.