1. William Africk

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    Practicing in one of the most “tough on crime” jurisdictions in Louisiana, Mr. Africk began his career as a Public Defender and quickly grew at ease arguing to a hesitant, and, occasionally, hostile, Court. By the time Mr. Africk ended his time as a Public Defender, he had won 93% of all substantive motions, including attaining a victory in front of the Louisiana Supreme Court by the time he was 30.

    Mr. Africk was considered an invaluable resource for defending DUIs and poisonings, while also attacking testing and experimental methods that were employed. Due to lack of funding, Mr. Africk was often required to make his case on the back of an adverse expert’s testimony. Thankfully, Mr. Africk had many opportunities to hone his cross-examination skills of those necessarily more knowledgeable in their own field.

    Next saw Mr. Africk as a law clerk to the Honorable Chief Judge Christopher Bruno of Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans due to his drive to be a well-rounded attorney in civil law,. During his time clerking, Mr. Africk was able to learn the finer points of the practice of civil law and procedure. He worked on cases that not only involved disputes over car accidents or contracts, but also exposures to toxic chemicals, defective constructions, intentional torts, and regulation of businesses and non-profits. During his time clerking, Mr. Africk also assisted the Court rule on numerous Daubert hearings and evaluate the evidentiary weight of a given expert’s testimony.

    Mr. Africk graduated from Tulane Law School where he was recognized as writing the best appellate brief in Legal Research and Writing course and also received a CALI Award in Comparative Contract and Tort Regimes. During his free time, he also externed for the Honorable Carl Barbier and the Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He was also an active participant for the in the Pro Bono Project and clerked for a growing Plaintiff’s firm as well as a well-regarded Defense firm that defended corporations against their alleged fault for casualties, toxic exposures and environmental and catastrophic losses. Mr. Africk recently co-wrote “Proactive Steps that Every Business Should Consider” published in For the Defense (October 2022).

    During his free time Mr. Africk serves on the board of Encore Charter Academy and the NOLA Gold Foundation, one of three professional sports teams in New Orleans.

  2. Alvin J. Bordelon Jr.

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    A New Orleans native, Mr. Bordelon attended Jesuit High School, received his B.A. from University of New Orleans (at the time LSUNO), and received his J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in 1973. He joined the United States Army in 1968 to 1970 and was a United States Naval Reserve from 1963-68.

    He is active within the city’s political and legal community. He was an instructor at Loyola University City College and the School of Law from 1975-77. He served as Judge Ad Hoc for the First City Court for the Parish of Orleans, as member of the New Orleans Mayor’s Commission on Crime, and President of Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association from 1978-1981.

    He has been admitted to practice before the Louisiana Supreme Court and all Louisiana appellate and district courts since 1973, admitted to practice before the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals since 1975, and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court since 1983. His practice focuses on tort litigation, school law, labor management relations and contract negotiation, employment litigation, civil rights, civil service and administrative law. He is rated “AV” by Martindale -Hubbell.


    • Awarded recognition by Louisiana Senate for outstanding civic leadership in 1982
    • Listed in Marquis’s “Who’s Who in American Law”
    • Winner “Writer’s Digest” Short Story Competition, 1993
    • Listed in “Nationwide Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Business”


  3. Sherry Watters

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    She has tried cases in virtually all judicial districts in the state, including judge and jury trials. Ms Watters has practiced in all five of the state appellate circuits and in the Louisiana Supreme Court.  She became a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court in 2002, and has had appeared before that Court.

    Originally from Iowa, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa in 1979, Ms. Watters re-located to New Orleans to attend Loyola University School of Law. She obtained her Juris Doctorate in 1982 and was licensed to practice in Louisiana the same year and first clerked for Judge Henry Roberts in Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. She maintained a private civil practice from 1982 to 1996, with a focus in personal injury, successions, and domestic relations law, while she was also a public defender.

    A recipient of the Louisiana Public Defenders’ Association’s Trustee of Freedom Award in 2010,  Ms. Watters is a frequent lecturer on appellate and criminal law, professionalism, ethics, and discovery methods. She has also served as an adjunct professor of business law and family law.  She co-chairs the Louisiana Bar Foundation’s Kid Chance Committee, a program that awards scholarships to children of workers who were disabled or killed on the job.

    She has served on the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Committees on Access to Justice and Right to Counsel. She is a member of the New Orleans Bar Association, the Louisiana Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel.

    Since adopting New Orleans as her home in 1982, Ms Watters has been involved in many civic activities. She has mentored three children through the Each One, Save One program. She is a founding and sustaining board member of the DeSaix Area Neighborhood Association and was appointed to the Fairgrounds Citizen Advisory Board by the New Orleans City Council.

  4. Jean Melançon

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    A native of New Orleans, Mr. Melançon is a 1976 graduate of Tulane University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. He returned to Tulane to complete a Juris Doctor degree and joined the Terriberry, Carroll & Yancey law firm upon graduation and admission to the Louisiana bar in October 1980. He remained with Terriberry, Carroll & Yancey until moving to Guam, where he was admitted to practice in 1987. While in Guam, Mr. Melançon  practiced with the McCully, Lannen, Beggs & Melançon, P.C., firm in Guam, where his focus was maritime, general litigation and real property development law. In July of 2012, Mr. Melançon became of counsel to OB&S. He is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

  5. Kevin O’Bryon

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    Originally from the Washington, DC area, Mr. O’Bryon is a 1977 graduate of Tulane University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. He returned to Tulane to complete a Juris Doctorate degree in 1981, joining the Hammett, Leake & Hammett law firm upon admission to the Louisiana bar in April of 1982. He remained with Hammett, Leake & Hammett, becoming a partner in 1986, until its dissolution in 1987. He was one of the founding partners in the successor firm of Leake & Andersson, where he developed his commercial litigation, toxic tort, insurance coverage, product liability and casualty/personal injury defense practice, until forming O’Bryon & Schnabel in January of 2000.

    Admitted to practice before the Louisiana Supreme Court, the US Supreme Court, US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eastern, Middle and Western United States District Courts in Louisiana, Mr. O’Bryon has tried cases throughout Louisiana.

    He is active in local professional associations, having served as the President of the New Orleans Association of Defense Counsel (1999-2000). He is also a member of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel and the New Orleans Bar Association, and is frequently called upon as a continuing legal education lecturer. He currently serves as chair of The Louisiana State Bar Association Legal Malpractice Insurance Committee.

    On the national level, Mr. O’Bryon is a member of the Defense Research Institute, serving on the Medical Liability Committee, and the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, involving himself in the work of the Insurance Coverage and Construction Sections.


  6. Marta-Ann Schnabel

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    She began her career with the firm of Hammett, Leake and Hammett, where she became a partner in 1986, and was shortly thereafter a prime mover in that firm’s transformation to Leake & Andersson, LLP. Ms. Schnabel served as Leake & Andersson’s managing partner for over a decade, until she and Kevin O’Bryon founded OB&S at the turn of the century.

    In over 30 years of practice, she has primarily represented clients in matters involving business and commercial litigation, construction disputes, insurance coverage issues, casualty defense, premises liability defense, and professional malpractice defense. Ms. Schnabel’s clients rely on her ability to find practical and affordable solutions to complex problems. Her peers have acknowledged her skills with the highest possible rating, ranking her as a Martindale A/V recommended lawyer. She has been honored as a Super Lawyer (annually from 2007-2021).

    She is a 1978 graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, with a B.A. Honours in History. Upon moving to New Orleans, she attended Loyola University College of Law, where she graduated cum laude in 1981, having served as a member of Law Review and of the National Moot Court Team.

    Ms. Schnabel served as Editor of the Louisiana Bar Journal from 2001-2003 and received the Louisiana State Bar Association’s President’s Award on three separate occasions–in 1998, 2004, and 2010. When she was sworn into office on June 9, 2006, she became the first woman to serve as President of that organization.

    Ms. Schnabel chaired the Louisiana Access to Justice Commission from its inception until January of 2019, and she remains an actively involved with the Commission. She has been appointed to the Louisiana Supreme Court Language Access Stakeholder Committee. In April 2019, she retired as the Chair of the Louisiana Supreme Court Judicial Campaign Oversight Committee, having completed three successive terms. She served on the Disciplinary Committee of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana from 2015-2018. She was President of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel in 2014-15.

    Nationally, she has served in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, as well as on a number of its committees, including ABA President Thomas Wells’ Planning Committee for the first ABA Diversity Summit in 2009. She is a member of the DRI Center for Public Policy and is the Chair of the DRI Law Practice Management Committee. In 2023, she was awards the DRI’s Annual Professional Achievement and Service Award. She was invited to join the International Association of Defense Counsel.

    Ms. Schnabel is often called upon to speak and write on a variety of topics, including legal ethics and professional malpractice. She is a frequent contributor to the Louisiana Bar Journal and other publications, particularly with regard to matters impacting the profession.

    Marta has been contributing to the Louisiana Bar Journal for over a decade. You can find a selection of these credits here.