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In September, the Louisiana Association for Justice held their annual Fall Conference in New Orleans. Included in the conference was the presentation of the Association’s Stalwart Award. Recipients of the Stalwart Award exhibit extraordinary service to the Association and the legal profession and this year’s Stalwart Award was presented to Baron & Budd Shareholder, Burton LeBlanc.
Mr. LeBlanc heads the Baron & Budd office in Baton Rouge where he works in the areas of pharmaceutical, environmental law, securities, and asbestos litigation. In addition to his work representing individuals, Mr. LeBlanc has successfully represented many governmental entities, including the States of Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, and West Virginia in complex consumer fraud litigation. He is currently working as the Co-Chair of the Opioids Litigation Group in the nationwide opioid litigation against the largest drug manufacturers and distributors.
Mr. LeBlanc served as president of the Louisiana Association for Justice (LAJ) from 2006 to 2007 and also as a member of the Council of Directors, Board of Governors and the Committee for the Environmental Law/Toxic Tort Section. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of LAJ.
Edwin Dunahoe, the 2020-2021 president of LAJ, said, “Burton LeBlanc served as president of Louisiana Association for Justice and of American Association for Justice and is a national leader in litigation involving some of the country’s most compelling and complex issues. Burton is not only an excellent attorney but also a tireless and effective leader and advocate.”
As president of AAJ, the largest trial lawyer non-profit group in the United States, Mr. LeBlanc advocated for protection of America’s civil justice system and rallied resources when corporate interests attempted to infringe on individual rights. He is an adamant crusader for the abolition of forced arbitration and a supporter of the fundamental right to a trial by jury.
During his acceptance speech, Mr. LeBlanc offered the crowd a piece of advice he was given early in his career that resonated with him and was critical in shaping his outlook as an attorney. He said, “The founding partner of Baron & Budd told me, and I never forgot, he said, ‘Burton, you’re not fully representing your clients if you’re not engaged in the legislature and the political process,’ and that’s something that’s stuck with me. It doesn’t matter how good your opening statement is, how well you cross examine a witness, if you can’t get into the courtroom it just doesn’t matter. So be fully engaged and represent your clients both in the legislature and the political process,” said LeBlanc. Mr. LeBlanc thanked many individuals who had an influence on his career. In his speech, he recounted how his father-in-law convinced him to join the Association when he was a law student in the late 1980s and how he is extremely thankful that he did. The mission statement for Louisiana Association for Justice states the organization is “committed to preserving the civil justice system, protecting open access to courts, protecting individual rights, promoting individual and corporate responsibility, and preserving the highest of ethical and educational standards for the profession.” “Equal access to justice for our people is critical,” Mr. LeBlanc stated, as he thanked everyone for their membership and dedication to the organization