Pro Bono and Civic Engagement

Nonprofit Involvement

Fishman Haygood attorneys devote their time to area nonprofits. Our lawyers serve or have served on the boards of the Bureau of Governmental Research; the Baton Rouge Area Chamber; the Louisiana Art and Science Museum; Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge; Capital Area United Way; Council for a Better Louisiana; the LSU Foundation; the New Orleans Opera Association; WRBH-Reading Radio for the Blind; Touro Synagogue; St. George’s Episcopal School; Isidore Newman School; the Dunham School of Baton Rouge; the Boys and Girls Club of Baton Rouge; the Fore!Kids Foundation; the St. Bernard Parish Special Education Advisory Council; the St. Bernard Autism Awareness Krewe; the American Bar Association’s Disaster Legal Services Team; and the American Red Cross for Southeast Louisiana, among many others.

Civil Rights and First Amendment Matters

Our lawyers regularly lend their expertise in civil rights matters and First Amendment law to causes that further the public interest. The firm frequently partners with the ACLU in cases that implicate First Amendment rights and other civil liberties, including Suggs v. Mikkelsen, et al., No. 2:21-cv-1327 (E.D. La.) (racial profiling in traffic stops); 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); and Gros v. City of New Orleans, 2:12-cv-02322 (E.D. La.) (city ordinance banned street preachers from Bourbon Street). Partner Lori Mince is a frequent lecturer on First Amendment rights of speech and access, and she also has taught a course on First Amendment and media law at Tulane University.

Criminal Justice Causes

Our lawyers also lend their resources to criminal justice causes. The firm has co-counseled with the Innocence Project of New Orleans and other organizations in successful petitions to free the wrongfully accused, including the release of an inmate wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder. We partnered with the ACLU to obtain the release of two inmates from long-term solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Tad Bartlett has drafted pleadings on behalf of the condemned seeking post-conviction relief, including an application for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in a capital post-conviction case, and has advised on immigration and criminal justice appeals in the Fifth Circuit, including of qualified immunity in an excessive force civil rights claim before the en banc Court. Bartlett, along with Jim Swanson and Hogan Paschal, collaborated with the New Orleans Capital Appeals Project in authoring white papers on the clemency power delegated to Louisiana’s executive branch and representing 55 death row inmates seeking commutations of their sentences to life without parole. Rebekka Veith successfully represented a plaintiff in Marshall v. Leblanc, et al., No. 2:18-cv-13569 (E.D. La.), a civil rights lawsuit related to inadequate medical treatment at Rayburn Correctional Center, which resolved with the plaintiffs’ ultimately obtaining his release from prison.

Public Projects and Initiatives

Fishman Haygood’s attorneys have been involved in groundbreaking public projects and initiatives important to our local communities. Most recently, partner Jim Swanson, who serves on the Board of Trustees for Xavier University of Louisiana, an HBCU, was the Xavier representative on the organizational committee of Xavier’s proposed partnership with Ochsner to establish a College of Medicine that will “create a strong physician pipeline that addresses longstanding inequities within the nation’s health care system” and within Louisiana, in particular. Swanson also serves as Chair of Xavier’s Investment Committee, which has expanded the diversity of the asset managers investing the endowment. Women and minority-owned investment managers now manage more than 30% of Xavier’s portfolio.

Our attorneys are routinely recognized for their pro bono work, including as recipients of LSBA’s Pro Bono Publico Award, and have received accolades from the ACLU and the Louisiana Pro Bono Project.