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. Kathleen E. Simon

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    Kathleen is a New Orleans native and now resides in Covington. She graduated with honors from the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans in 1979 and went just down the streetcar line to attended Newcomb College of Tulane University graduating with a B.A. in History in 1983. In 1986, she graduated from Loyola University School of Law and was then admitted to practice in the state of Louisiana.

    Having practiced in both greater New Orleans metropolitan area, as well as on the North Shore, including the parishes of the 22nd JDC (Washington and St. Tammany) and 21st JDC (Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Helena), Kathleen has extensive trial experience in Louisiana state courts. Her experience also extends to state court appellate practice, including interlocutory and post-trial appeals in virtually all the state circuits and the Louisiana Supreme Court. She has also presented oral argument before these courts, and she is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

    Her career began with the firm of Simon & Rees first as an associate and then a partner when the firm became Simon Rees & Simon. Upon retirement of senior partner, E. Kelleher Simon in March of 2002, Kathleen joined the firm of Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson. Once again, she rose through the ranks at PH&J and became a partner in the Covington office. With the litigation boom post-Katrina, Kathleen’s practice expanded to include complex litigation and bad faith claims.

    Kathleen is a member of numerous Bar organizations and is currently involved in the Covington and Louisiana Bar Associations and St. Tammany Inns of Court. For more than 12 years she has served as a hearing officer for the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, and she is now the chairman of one of the hearing committees. She has been active with the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel and serves on its Board of directors. She served as a faculty member and mentor as chair of the LADC Trial Academy, a three day CLE program for young defense lawyers. Participants “learn by doing” and go through the phases of trial from opening statement through closing argument including direct and cross examination of witnesses including experts, for over 15 years.

    Ms. Simon has lectured at continuing legal education programs for the Louisiana State Bar Association, Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board and Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel on issues related to trial practice and litigation strategy as well as ethics, professionalism and social media. She is a member of the Insurance Law Committee of CLM and has written for the “Fraud Squad” column in the CLM publication, and she recently attended the CLM Litigation Management Conference. While her focus has been on being an attorney and counselor at law, Kathleen continues to be involved in the community including serving as a board member and national representative for the Academy of the Sacred Heart (New Orleans) Alumnae Association, Habitat for Humanity, Krewe of Iris and 100 Supper Club, a women’s fundraising group for local charities.

    Educational Background:

    Academy of the Sacred Heart – New Orleans, Louisiana; Graduated with Honors 1979

    Newcomb College of Tulane University – New Orleans, Louisiana; B.A. in History 1983

    Loyola University School of Law – New Orleans, Louisiana; J.D. 1986

    Sworn in as a member of the Bar for the State of Louisiana – 10/10/86 (LSBA #17800)

    Notary Public State of Louisiana

    Professional Employment History:

    10/10/1986 to 12/31/1997 – Associate
    Simon & Rees
    New Orleans and Covington, Louisiana

    01/01/1998 to 02/28/2002 – Partner
    Simon, Rees & Simon
    Covington, Louisiana

    03/04/02 to 08/31/2015 Porteous, Hainkel & Johnson, LLP
    03/04/2002 to 12/23/2006 Associate
    01/01/2007 to 08/31/2015 Partner

    Professional Associations, Membership and Board Service:

    Louisiana State Bar Association – 1986 to present

    Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel (LADC) – 1986 to present

    Member of the Board of Directors – (multiple terms)
    LADC Trial Academy 2002 to present – faculty member, board of directors and current program director

    Louisiana State Bar Association – Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
    Member and Hearing Committee Chair – appointment January 2002 through December of 2015

    Covington Bar Association – Member 1998 to present

    Inns of Court 22nd JDC – Member 2004 to present

    Admitted to practice before the following Courts:
    State of Louisiana – all state and appellate courts
    United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
    Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
    Supreme Court of the United States of America

    Lectures and participation in continuing legal education programs:

    Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy (a NITA based program)
    Member of the faculty from 1999 to present
    Board of Directors 2004 to present
    Program Director 2014 to present

    Lecturer at numerous CLE programs
    Louisiana State Bar Association
    Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
    Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
    Topics including trial practice, litigation strategy, social medial, ethics and professionalism

    Civic and Volunteer Positions:

    Rosary Alumnae Association – Academy of the Sacred Heart (New Orleans)
    Board member 1995 to present
    Regional and national representative 2001 to present

    AASH – Associated Alumnae/i of the Sacred Heart (National Board)
    Board member 2006 to present
    Southern Regional Director

    AMASC – International Association of Alumnae/i of the Sacred Heart
    Study Plan Coordinator for the term of 2002-2006

    Advisor and Legal Counsel for Chi Omega Fraternity
    Rho Chapter at Newcomb College of Tulane University
    New Orleans, Louisiana from 1986-2000

    Habitat for Humanity – St. Tammany Parish 2011 to date


  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


  7. 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.