New Orleans CityBusiness has named five University of New Orleans alumni among its 2016 class of Leadership in Law awardees. The 12th edition of the publication includes profiles of Jim Letten (’76), Lynn Luker (’78), David Salley (’85), Scott Schneider (’94) and Christopher Couch (’97). Couch, a three-time recipient of the honor, was also inducted into the Leadership in Law Hall of Fame. New Orleans CityBusiness’s Leadership in Law publication serves as “a record of local professionals who have distinguished themselves within the legal industry as well as the larger community.”
Jim Letten has a long history of public service, having served as a New Orleans assistant district attorney, a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana and U.S. Attorney. At the time of his retirement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, he was the longest serving U.S. Attorney in the country. He spent three years working with Tulane University Law School, where he received his law degree, to enhance and expand its experiential learning program. More recently, Letten has joined the firm Butler Snow, LLP where he is senior counsel for its investigations and white collar group and consults in a variety of other roles.
Lynn Luker studied psychology at UNO before going on to Tulane University Law School. She was admitted to practice in 1981 and became a partner at Adams and Reese LLP just a few years later in 1987. She went on to earn advanced degrees in maritime and energy and environmental law. Luker opened her own firm in 1999 and worked there until she was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court as Judge Pro Tempore for Civil District Court in 2014. More recently, she has engaged in mediation and arbitration working with Perry Dampf Dispute Solutions and continues her litigation work with Stanley, Reuter, Ross, Thornton and Alford LLC.
After 15 years at the firm of Sessions, Fishman and Nathan, David Salley founded Salley, Hite, Mercer and Resor not long before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. He counts keeping the new firm intact during a chaotic time among his toughest challenges. Since then, the firm has more than doubled in size, growing from six attorneys and four staff members to now 15 attorneys and 11 staff members. Salley says he is proud of the professional relationships he has developed over the years with fellow litigators as well as clients. He often mentors young attorneys and emphasizes the importance of professionalism to successful litigation. In addition to earning his undergraduate degree at UNO, Salley’s other campus connection was his late mother Coleen Salley, who taught children’s literature and storytelling at UNO for 30 years.
Scott Schneider specializes in higher education law at Fisher and Philips, which means he spends a great deal of time helping universities across the country deal with sexual misconduct issues. Prior to joining Fisher and Philips, Schneider served as in-house counsel at Tulane where his expertise was valuable in helping students navigate difficult situations. Having seen legal issues affecting higher education from both sides, Schneider is a resource for administrators and student groups alike. He blogs and tweets about developments in higher education law.
Christopher Couch describes the rapid growth of his firm as one of the proudest achievements in his career. In its first eight years of operation, Couch Conville and Blitt (CCB) has grown from five attorneys and 20 staff members operating in three states to 18 attorneys with 50 staff members operating in six states. The firm is based in New Orleans and focuses on creditors’ rights and consumer legal collections. Among the firm’s accolades are national recognition for its commitment to compliance with regulatory and judicial standards as well as community service. CCB conducts a monthly fundraising initiative and supports several charities. A recent fundraising effort has benefitted flood victims in St. John, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes. Couch was also recognized in 2013 as a New Orleans CityBusiness “Money Maker.”