Randall A. Smith
Randall A. Smith is a veteran trial lawyer and the founder and managing partner of Smith & Fawer, LLC, a boutique litigation firm, which focuses on providing excellent trial counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants in complex cases. Mr. Smith’s litigation experience is broad, with a special emphasis on business and commercial litigation, takings/eminent domain litigation, and white collar criminal defense. Having obtained many successful judgments and successfully defended against many claims and prosecutions, Mr. Smith has earned his reputation as an assertive, creative, and focused trial counsel.
Mr. Smith was born in New York and raised in Geneva, Switzerland and Washington D.C. His father, Robert S. Smith, was a lifelong diplomat who served, among other posts, on the National Security Council and as the United States Ambassador to The Ivory Coast. His mother, Sally L. Smith, was a pioneer in the field of learning disabilities, who founded The Lab School of Washington, authored ten books in the field, and was a tenured professor at American University.
Mr. Smith is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst College (‘78) and Yale Law School (‘82) who moved to New Orleans to serve as a law clerk in 1982-1983 to the Honorable Charles Schwartz, Jr., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. After completing his clerkship, Mr. Smith accepted a position with the Stone Pigman law firm, where he was named partner after five years in 1988. At the end of 1994, Mr. Smith left the partnership to pursue his vision and start Smith & Fawer, LLC.
In addition to his practice, Mr. Smith has been active in numerous bar organizations and has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University’s School of Law for over twenty-five (25) years, teaching courses on business litigation and white collar crime every year, in addition to lecturing at many seminars locally and nationally, particularly in the area of eminent domain. Mr. Smith was also selected as the sole Louisiana member of the Owners’ Counsel of America, a national association of experienced property rights and eminent domain attorneys, and is currently serving as Chair of the Board of Directors.
Mr. Smith is a community leader committed to New Orleans, who works tirelessly for the betterment and improvement of the City, particularly in the area of the arts, where he supports a wide variety of creative projects. Mr. Smith served for over a decade as President of the Canal Street Development Corporation (“CSDC”), a public benefit corporation dedicated to stimulating business development and the adaptive reuse of Canal Street. After leading the CSDC in bringing back the Saenger Theater following Hurricane Katrina, he now serves as the Chairman of Friends of the Saenger and New Orleans Theatre, Inc. Mr. Smith has also committed his time and resources to improving childhood education in the City in various ways, including piloting and funding the Judgment Call project for elementary school children through a grant to the Junior League of New Orleans and serving on the board of different schools.
1983, Louisiana, U.S. District Court, Eastern, Western and Middle Districts of Louisiana and U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; 1990, U.S. Supreme Court Law School Yale University, J.D., 1982.
Amherst College, B.A., 1978, (Phi Beta Kappa, 1977).
American Bar Association Federal Bar Association Fifth Circuit Bar Assocation Louisiana Bar Foundation Louisiana Bar Association New Orleans Bar Association AV Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
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Michael S. Fawer
Mike Fawer is Bronx born but a longtime New Orleans criminal defense attorney. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Law School. His career has spanned a 60 year period, trying cases in New York, Washington, D.C., Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Nevada and of course Louisiana. He has probably tried more high profile criminal cases than any other Louisiana attorney: murder cases (Aaron Mintz, William Johnson, Curtis Kyles), political corruption cases (Edwin Edwards, Charles Roemer, Chief Judge Walter Nixon), blatant government misconduct (Douglas DiLosa, Curtis Kyles, David Mark), and unique cases including attempted murder by injection of the HIV virus (Dr. Richard Schmidt of Lafayette). He has argued over 25 cases at the appellate level, securing reversals of conviction in at least half and has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Highlights of his career appear in his recently published book "From the Bronx to the Bayou" and in a 10 episode podcast styled "Combat in the Courtroom".
1960, New York; U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York; 1963, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia; 1968; U.S. Supreme Court; 1972, Louisiana; U.S. District Court, Eastern, Western and Middle Districts of Louisiana; 1990, U.S. District Court, Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas; 1991, Texas; U.S. Court of Appeals, Second and Fifth Circuits
Columbia Law School, LL.B., 1960.
Cornell University, B.A., 1956.
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York; Louisiana State and American Bar Associations; State Bar of Texas; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
J. Geoffrey Ormsby
A native of Islington, Massachusetts, Geoffrey is a seasoned litigator, who practices mainly in the areas of complex commercial litigation, community property litigation, as well as succession litigation, environmental litigation, and maritime litigation. Geoffrey graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst in 1988, having spent a full year at the University of Queensland, Australia. After graduating from university, Geoffrey worked for the Honorable Elihu Harris, former mayor of Oakland, California. Geoffrey also worked with the advertising firm of Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco, California. He attended Tulane University Law School, where he graduated cum laude with a Certificate in Environmental Law and was the recipient of the Cullen R. Liskow Award for excellence in Oil & Gas Law. Geoffrey practiced in New Orleans for three years and then moved his practice to Washington, D.C. before returning to his adopted home of New Orleans to re-establish his practice as a maritime and oil and gas litigator. Geoffrey joined Smith & Fawer in August 2006, where he has successfully represented closely-held and larger companies, individuals, insurance companies and maritime related entities in a variety of litigation matters. He has first chaired multiple bench and jury trials in both federal and state courts, as well as in arbitration, obtaining several multi-million-dollar judgments for Smith & Fawer clients. In his spare time, Geoffrey enjoys playing and coaching rugby.
Louisiana; Virginia; U.S. District Court, Eastern, Western and Middle Districts of Louisiana; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit; U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia; U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Tulane University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1995.
University of Massachusetts/Amherst, B.A., cum laude, 1988.
University of Queensland, Australia February 1987 – November 1988
Louisiana State Bar; Virginia State Bar.
Stephen M. Gelé
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Stephen Gelé is committed to the culture and institutions of Southeast Louisiana. He grew up in the Gelé family's generational hunting and fishing store, earned a degree in Political Science from Loyola University, and then a law degree at Loyola School of Law.
He enjoys both the policy and procedure of the law. He has litigated a great variety of disputes in multiple forums throughout his almost twenty-five years of practicing law, including such diverse issues as internal business disputes, injuries to person and property, construction defect, campaign challenges and intellectual property. He has also consulted with multiple clients regarding legislation, public policy, campaigns, and public interest organizations.
He revels in his civic engagement, including: acting as Chairman of the Board of a think tank focused on improving Louisiana law and government; serving as an elected member of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee; and enjoying D.C. Mardi Gras as a member of the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians. In the past, he has served as the president of his neighborhood association.
He resides in Uptown New Orleans with his wife Monica and three daughters Julia, Emma, and Vivian.
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Mary Nell Bennett
Mary Nell Bennett joined Smith & Fawer, LLC in 2012 and since that time her litigation practice has primarily focused on property litigation, specifically eminent domain matters on behalf of private landowners throughout the State of Louisiana. Mary Nell additionally handles matters involving bad faith insurance defense, Title IX, and personal injuries of all types. She is also an adjunct professor at Tulane University in the A.B. Freeman School of Business where she teaches business law.
Prior to joining Smith & Fawer, Mary Nell worked in the area of complex, multi-district litigation, representing plaintiffs who suffered a personal injury or wrongful death involving pharmaceutical product liability, mass tort litigation, and class actions. Mary Nell also previously served as a law clerk for the Hon. Lynda Van Davis, Criminal District Court in the Parish of Orleans; as a Judicial Intern for the United States Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office in New Orleans; and as a judicial intern for Hon. Fredericka Homburg Wicker, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Mary Nell attended The University of Mississippi where she lettered four years in volleyball on a full scholarship, and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll from 2002-2004. In 2006, she graduated cum laude with Bachelor’s Degrees in both Marketing and Banking & Finance. Mary Nell went on to attend Loyola College of Law where she was awarded several scholarships, including the Warren E.W. Mouledoux Memorial Scholarship and the Joseph V. Bologna Award for Civil Law Property. Additionally during her time at Loyola, Mary Nell served as the Alumni Chair for the Moot Court Board, a Legal Research and Writing teaching assistant and received three Law in Excellence awards.
Mary Nell is licensed to practice law throughout the State of Louisiana, and is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the New Orleans Bar Association. She is also active in community organizations such as Hogs for the Cause and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation. She is currently serving as an adjunct professor for Tulane University.
Construction Impacts From Public Project Are Not "Quality Of Life" General Damages, But Takings Requiring Compensation
L. Tiffany Hawkins
A senior attorney at Smith & Fawer, LLC, Tiffany Hawkins focuses her practice on takings and eminent domain law, commercial litigation, civil litigation, and property litigation. As a New Orleans lawyer at Smith & Fawer for more than twenty years, Tiffany represents clients throughout Louisiana. Tiffany is rated by Martindale-Hubbell® as AV Preeminent, which is the highest rating that an attorney can receive for professional ability and adherence to ethical standards. Tiffany is a member of the Louisiana Law Review and a recipient of the Louisiana State University Law Center Hall of Fame Award. She is a member of the New Orleans, Fifth Circuit, Louisiana State, Federal, and American Bar Associations. Tiffany also served on the Mississippi Athletic Commission, which regulates boxing and wrestling, and has experience in the development and restoration of residential, commercial, and agricultural property.
- Licensed to practice law in Louisiana since 1991
- Admitted to practice in all Louisiana state and federal courts
- Martindale Hubbel Peer Review AV Rated
PAUL M. HEBERT LAW CENTER, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Juris Doctorate, May 1991, Rank 5 out of 254
Admitted to Louisiana Bar October 1991
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Bachelor of Science - Psychology
Graduated May 1988
Construction Impacts From Public Project Are Not "Quality Of Life" General Damages, But Takings Requiring Compensation
Dylan T. Leach
Dylan T. Leach joined Smith & Fawer, LLC in 2014. Prior to joining Smith & Fawer, LLC, Dylan attended Tulane University Law School, where he worked as a student attorney for the Tulane Civil Litigation Clinic and from which he graduated cum laude in 2014. Prior to entering the legal field, Dylan worked in the maritime field on educational and commercial vessels.
Dylan’s primary practice areas include business litigation, professional liability litigation, and construction defect litigation. He also has experience in catastrophic injury litigation, complex insurance litigation, intellectual property litigation, and maritime litigation.
Dylan is licensed to practice law throughout the State of Louisiana, the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Western, and Middle Districts of Louisiana, and the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.
In his spare time, Dylan enjoys spending time with his wife Kelly and their two dogs, exploring the various parks and nature areas in the Greater New Orleans area.
Bar Admissions and Memberships:
- Louisiana, 2014
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Western, and Middle Districts of Louisiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- American Bar Association
- Louisiana State Bar Association
- New Orleans Bar Association
- Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, LA, J.D. cum laude, 2014
- Admiralty & Maritime Law Certificate
- Dean’s Scholarship
- BarBri Max Nathan Honorarium (for public-interest work)
- Cullen R. Liskow Award (for highest grade in Oil & Gas Law)
- Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, A.B., 2009
- Major in Philosphy
- Minor in Geology
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Timothy T. Yazbeck
Timothy Yazbeck joined Smith & Fawer, LLC in June of 2017, and since that time his practice has primarily focused on Criminal Defense and Civil Rights litigation. Prior to joining Smith & Fawer, Timothy has always defended the constitutional rights of Louisiana citizens. Timothy first made the decision to practice in the field of criminal defense at the age of thirteen at Saint Paul’s School in Covington, when he was asked to write a paper concerning his future goals. Always attracted to the courtroom and trial practice, Timothy sought every opportunity to train for his future.
In high school, besides playing football and basketball, Timothy took acting classes and even participated in Drama. While attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Timothy majored in Philosophy, while also taking acting and film classes. Timothy chose those areas of study in preparation for future trial practice.
While attending Law School at Loyola New Orleans, Timothy joined and competed with the trial advocacy team and was part of the Loyola Criminal Defense Law Clinic. It was during his time with the Law Clinic, that Timothy represented indigent defendants and witnessed the criminal justice system first hand. Since that time, Timothy has always fought aggressively on behalf his client’s liberty interest and has gained the reputation as a zealous advocate and effective trial counsel.
In addition to trial practice, Timothy also writes appeals and Applications for Post-Conviction Relief. Timothy is licensed to practice law throughout the State of Louisiana, and to practice in Federal Court for the Louisiana Eastern District and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
In his spare time, Timothy also enjoys to draw on his restaurant experience and cook for family and friends, and loves spending time with his daughter Ella Rose
Lynnette F. Judge
Lynnette F. Judge has been with Smith & Fawer since the firm’s inception in 1995. A native New Orleanian, Lynnette has strong ties to the City and its culture. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, magna cum laude, with a double major in political science and psychology. In 1987, Lynnette graduated from Loyola Law School in the top 6% of her class where she served on the Loyola Law Review, and cultivated a scholarly interest in the Louisiana civilian legal tradition, as well as constitutional law and appellate litigation. After law school, she joined the appellate section of Barham and Churchill, and benefitted from the mentoring of the late Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Mack Barham in preparing appeals and writs. Following the dissolution of that firm, Lynnette then moved to McGlinchey Stafford, gaining experience in antitrust, RICO, and commercial litigation.
Building on this foundation, Lynnette has enjoyed the intellectual challenges of working on a wide variety of cases at Smith & Fawer, including complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, and eminent domain claims. In her capacity as “of counsel,” she focuses on the research and writing aspects of litigation, striving to present clients’ positions in briefs and memoranda clearly and persuasively.
Lynnette is licensed to practice at all levels in the Louisiana state court system, all Louisiana federal district courts, and the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. She is a commissioned notary public, and member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Federal Fifth Circuit Bar Association.
Sarah A. Lowman
Sarah A. Lowman received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Newcomb College of Tulane University in 1984 and her Juris Doctorate from Tulane Law School in 1987, where she received the American Jurisprudence Award in Advanced Louisiana Oil & Gas. Ms. Lowman has broad experience representing defendants and plaintiffs in general civil litigation, with a concentration in complex, multi-party litigation, construction and commercial litigation. Her experience includes takings/inverse condemnation law, public bid and procurement law, ERISA, insurance defense and coverage issues. She has extensive appellate experience.
Prior to joining Smith & Fawer, Ms. Lowman was primarily responsible for handling cases of numerous businesses and home owners against the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans for damages arising from the SELA drainage canal projects in Uptown New Orleans, involving inverse condemnation. She continues in this role with our firm.
Ms. Lowman had significant prior experience working on cases for a major engineering, procurement and construction firm. She was an integral member of the defense team that tried the first bellwether case in the FEMA Trailer/Formaldehyde multi-district litigation arising from the use of travel trailers after Hurricane Katrina, obtaining a defense verdict on behalf of the same engineering firm that served as a FEMA contractor. In re: FEMA Formaldehyde Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 07-1873 (E.D. La. 2009).
Philip J. Kaplan
Philip is a trial attorney, who started his legal career in New Orleans and then relocated to Los Angeles, California. In California, Philip focused on general business litigation, as well as tort litigation. Because of his musical background, he was drawn to the entertainment field, in which he has litigated copyright and trademark issues on behalf of artists and writers. For the past decade, Phil has also devoted considerable time representing Plaintiffs in Civil Rights’ suits. These cases, many of which have been filed in Louisiana, involve such claims as false arrest/excessive force (under the Fourth Amendment), free speech retaliation claims (under the First Amendment), cruel and unusual punishment claims (under the Eighth Amendment), as well as Equal Protection claims against the government.
U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Louisiana
U.S. District Court, Central, Southern, and Northern Districts of California
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Tulane Law School, J.D., 1984
Oxford University, Brasenose College, Graduate, 1978-79
Washington & Lee University, B.A., 1978 (Phi Beta Kappa)
Michelle, a life-long resident of the New Orleans Area, joined Smith & Fawer in 2002 as a legal assistant, and she has since earned the additional titles of Human Resources Director and Paralegal.
Prior to joining the Firm, Michelle worked in different practice areas, including insurance defense, medical malpractice, estate planning, and domestic relations.
Sonya Roberts joined Smith & Fawer, LLC as a Paralegal in 2020. She has over 25 years in experience in various practice areas including Personal Injury, Workers Compensation, Maritime, Bankruptcy, Construction Defect, Product Liability, Toxic Tort and Notarial Law.
Sonya was born in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, but moved to Louisiana as a young child and has been home ever since. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences from Loyola University in 2009 and commissioned as a Louisiana Notary in 2014.
James Bewers joined Smith & Fawer, LLC, as a junior paralegal in 2020. With a concentration in journalism, the New Orleans native received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from the Manship School at Louisiana State University in 2016. After graduating from LSU, James spent a year interning at The Baton Rouge Advocate. From there, James moved to Lafayette and spent more than two and a half years as a full-time reporter for both The Daily Advertiser and The Acadiana Advocate.
At Smith & Fawer, James' primary focus is assisting the firm's team of attorneys in investigation related to litigation.