My Toughest Case: Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority—East

Bessie Antin Daschbach

Environmental Law
Managing Member | Jones Swanson Huddell & Garrison, LLC
17 years in practice
LLM Columbia Law School, New York, 2006
J.D. Tulane Law School, New Orleans, 2001
B.A. Duke University, Durham, N.C., 1998
Native of New Orleans

A manager of teams of attorneys in multiple practice areas, Bessie Antin Daschbach describes herself as a “facilitator, the foreman on the job,” sometimes she even describes her work at Jones Swanson Huddell & Garrison law firm in New Orleans as “air traffic control.”

Daschbach joined the firm in 2011, bringing an extensive background in the three main practice areas at Jones Swanson—environmental, commercial and international law.

She explained that she didn’t necessarily choose the areas of law she wanted to practice in but was guided into them through the cases she was assigned to.

“A good lawyer practices what’s in front of them,” Daschbach says. “We look for those cases that are high risk and that are intellectually stimulating with clients who really have a problem in front of them. The value of these cases is so significant for these clients.”

After graduating from Tulane University Law School, she practiced with the defense firm Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein and Hilbert in New Orleans in construction litigation for five years. She then moved to New York City where she completed a master’s degree in comparative law at Columbia University.

She came back to New Orleans and joined Jones Swanson where she “slid over to the environmental side of law,” in 2011 leading the firm’s environmental litigation team.

“I fell into it with the aim of bringing structure and project management to a group of people,” she said. “I have been learning on the fly from managing this group and have since started managing our international practice that we started as well.”

In 2013, Daschbach led the firm’s landmark Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority- East case against 97 oil companies.

“It was an enormous undertaking in every way,” she says. “We also were responsible for coordinating three different law firms, 20 lawyers and dozens of lobbyists. There was a political part of the case, the legal side and then communications part.”

She described how every day was new and brought “different bills that were targeting this legislation,” adding that the firm “had an enormous amount of blowback.”

“Not only did I come out of that as a different kind of lawyer with new competencies, but we were all different because of it. Our understanding of joint ventures is so much more mature,” she said. “When you represent a cause and a public body you have the inside information for something that is critical for the community. That enables us to educate, which became particularly important because you need to make sure the constituents understand.”