Elizabeth Haecker Ryan
Tackling an alleged petroleum pipeline damage case provided this general civil litigation attorney with a window into the maritime industry.
General Civic Litigation
30 years in practice
BA Tulane University; JD Tulane University School of Law
For Elizabeth Haecker Ryan, the path to her profession was not a direct one.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Ryan came to New Orleans to attend Tulane University’s Newcomb College. After graduation, she entered the Tulane School of Architecture, though she recognized quickly this was not her field. After some time selling antiques at Mannheim Galleries, she considered her affinities for writing, researching and public speaking, and decided that “law school seemed like the logical next step.”
Upon graduating from Tulane Law School, she clerked for a federal judge, which provided an excellent vantage point for observing the styles of different law firms. Knowing which firms best matched her priorities and personality helped her identify the right situations for her; as a result, she has only worked for three firms in her three-plus decade career.
Ryan is currently a director at the New Orleans office of Coats Rose, a Texas-based firm. Ryan is admitted to the bar in Louisiana, Texas, multiple federal district courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Her practice is in general civil litigation, with specialties as varied as maritime, environmental, and pharmaceutical and medical device law.
Acknowledging that it may sound “old school,” Ryan gives great weight to legal ethics and courtesy.
“I endeavor to ensure that everything I do falls within the ethical guidelines of the profession,” she stated. “I love the law and the study of the law, and I hope that courtesy can be resurrected in the profession with training and by setting an example.”
Ryan also performs mediation and arbitration work, which she finds particularly rewarding. “Being able to bring people to resolution without the expense and angst of going to trial can save a lot of emotional wear and tear,” she explained. “If I can help people avoid that, I’m happy to do it.”
Ryan’s varied expertise has served her well in particularly complex litigation. One of her most challenging cases related to alleged petroleum pipeline damage, which required wading through a lot of technical information from the industry, as well as factoring in legal issues pertaining to offshore structures and even international maritime law.
“The case offered a fascinating window into that industry,” recalled Ryan, “and it was rewarding to observe another legal system’s concepts on a significant issue, even though it can be quite a tortured path to follow.”
Drawing on her history with winding paths, Ryan navigated the case to a successful resolution.