Stephen has formed and developed local construction companies, and assisted them with various issues relating to contract procurement and negotiation, as well as demolition and remediation services. Stephen also maintains an active land use practice, which enables him to assist well-established and new community businesses in their compliance with zoning and municipal ordinances. From organic food markets and national restaurant brands to local hotels and bars, he is able to guide his clients through issues ranging from ABO and permit procurement, to premises liability, to efficient and compliant daily operating.
Stephen has developed the transactional aspects of his practice by providing a variety of legal and logistical services to commercial and private lenders, including local and national banks, private equity groups and investors, vessel finance, vessel owners and operators, and owners and operators of oil and gas and pipeline assets. Stephen's representative experience encompasses the preparation of marine asset finance and re-financing documents, such as preferred ship and vessel mortgages, security agreements, commercial loan agreements, UCC-1 financing statements, purchase and sale agreements, commercial and personal guarantees, promissory notes, and conventional and unconventional loan closing packages.
Stephen's knowledge of United States Coast Guard procedures and vessel documentation enable him to assist his clients beyond the traditional lending process in vessel finance and sales matters by enabling him to file and perfect items with the National Vessel Documentation Center. He has supervised and worked with transactions involving commercial vessels, such as freight and tank barges, tow boats, work boats, industrial and offshore vessels, drilling barges, floating drilling platforms, bluewater ships and cargo carriers, very large crude carriers, ATBs, and recreational vessels ranging from personal sailing crafts to mega-yachts in international shipping registry.
Notwithstanding his experience with movable assets, Stephen has assisted lenders and borrowers alike in a variety of matters involving the sale and acquisition of immovable property, Section 1031 like-kind property exchanges, the negotiation and drafting of commercial leases, and the financing, sale, and purchase of real property ranging from land-based real estate to river-based fleeting operations, deep-draft berths, anchorages, and a myriad of fixed oil and gas equipment, rigs, and transferable prospects.
Stephen was selected by New Orleans CityBusiness as a 2012 Leadership in Law Award recipient. He is listed in Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2012-2015. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center of New Orleans.
- Seized an oil tanker in the Mississippi River to obtain security for dock damage
- Represented commercial vessel owner and operator in numerous fleet refinancing, documentation, and redocumentation transactions
- Represented international trade clients in coordinating, negotiating, and arranging shipment of bulk, break-bulk, and containerized cargo
- Represented large midstream stevedoring company with the finance, acquisition, and development of batture property and fleeting operations along the lower Mississippi River
- Represented vessel owner and operator in the sale of high capacity floating cranes to a foreign purchaser, and handled all aspects of the transaction from drafting the purchase and sale agreement to obtaining governmental agency approval of the sale, and shipment of the assets to a foreign destination
- Representation of offshore drilling company in its $45 million acquisition of nearly a dozen offshore drilling units, including coordination of foreign and domestic vessel registry, and application and procurement of various operating licenses, permits, and documentation. This representation included forming a corporate ownership entity under international registry
- Represented Cayman Island based vessel owner in the acquisition of a $63,000,000 luxury yacht
- Represented offshore oilfield services provider in filing and enforcing liens under the Louisiana Oil Well Lien Act
- Prepared vessel arrest and cargo seizure suits and successfully negotiated recovery of accounts receivable for offshore contractor
- Coordinated representative advices to U.S. affiliate of entities engaged in international steel trade and foreign and domestic steel-product manufacturing
- Represented Houston, Texas based client with the cash sale acquisition of a $17,500,000 luxury yacht
- Represented local bank in tax exempt vessel finance deal for purchase of commercial vessel
- Represented regional bank in closing transaction for multiple marine assets in a commercial vessel fleet
- Represented numerous commercial lenders in closing transaction pertaining to water-front property and marine asset acquisitions and vessel finance
- Represented large commercial shipyard in litigation involving an allegedly injured welder, and obtained dismissal of all claims against the shipyard at both the trial court and appellate court levels
- Assisted local construction contractor with numerous issues involving successful satisfaction and dismissal of project liens
- Advised international affiliate of domestic pipeline company regarding compliance with Export Administration Regulations and export control classification issues
- Represented Gulf of Mexico installation operator in property damage litigation, successfully coordinating with U.S. Coast Guard and Marshall Service to seize and detain an offshore tug, its tow and cargo as security for the damages incurred by the platform
- Assisted drilling well operator and non-operating interest owners in drafting and negotiating Joint Operating Agreements, Participation Agreements, Exploration Agreements, and Gas Balancing Agreements
- Assisted non-operating interest owner and investor in land-based drilling prospect in the negotiation and drafting of buy sell agreements
- Represented community organic grocer in municipal land use hearings before New Orleans City Council and City Planning Commission
- Negotiated and closed a $32,000,000 vessel finance loan based on yacht-collateral
- Represented numerous restaurants and ABOs in obtaining alcohol beverage outlet permits and other operational licenses
- Represented domestic affiliate of foreign manufacturer, exporter, and importer in matters involving custom duties compliance, and successful administrative fee reduction
Stephen earned his B.A. in French from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999 and also studied French abroad at the Université Catholique De L'Ouest in Angers, France. Stephen also completed coursework at the University of New Orleans. He earned his J.D. in 2002 from the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law where he served as a member of the Moot Court program, Moot Court T.A., and Treasurer then President of the Student Bar Association. Stephen holds an International Trade Certificate having successfully completed the World Trade Center of New Orleans International Trade Certificate program.
- Admitted, Louisiana, 2002; United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana; United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- New Orleans, Louisiana State, and American Bar Associations; Phi Delta Phi, Black Inn; Jefferson Chamber of Commerce; Judge John C. Boutall Inn of Court; Mariner's Club of the Port of Greater New Orleans; Offshore Marine Service Association; World Trade Center New Orleans
Articles, Publications and Presentations
- Texas Law Propels U.S. 5th Circuit’s Admiralty Attachment Decision, Louisiana Law Blog, April 12, 2016.
- The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act Matters to Louisiana Industry, Louisiana Law Blog, March 18, 2016.
- Market Conditions Require Alternative Financing Solutions for Vessel Acquisitions, New Orleans CityBusiness, February 29, 2016.
- “Attorney’s Guide to Oil Field Equipment and Operations”, Lorman, February 2015, CLE Presenter
- Vessel Acquisition and Finance Presentation, Quantum Offshore, Houston, Texas, November 2014
- Vessel Acquisition and Finance Presentation, Ellsworth Insurance, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 2014
- “Louisiana Secured Transactions" Presenter, Loyola Law School, April 2013
- “Vessel Finance, Acquisition, and Construction,” Work Boat Show Executive Series, Round-table moderator, December 2012
- "Recent Development of the Shipowners Limitation of Liability Act in Light of the DEEPWATER HORIZON Gulf Oil Spill", Offshore Marine Service Association, New Orleans, LA, January 27, 2011.
- "Dispute Resolution with the Masters: Lessons from 2 Super Lawyers", Mediation and Arbitration Panel for the Louisiana State Bar Association, New Orleans, LA, October 22, 2010.
- Assist in preparation of the Foundation for the Advancement of Maritime Education's presentation entitled, "A Significant Step in Rectifying the Qualified Mariner Shortage"-presented at FAME kickoff event in New Orleans and to the International Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of New Orleans Convention; Point Clear, Alabama, 2008.
- Professional Responsibility CLE for the Louisiana City Attorneys Association; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2008.
- "Be Interview Ready and Summer Associate Savvy":An Informal Seminar presented in conjunction with the Loyola University School of Law On-Campus Interview Program, 2007.
- The Importance of Youth Leadership Programs and Mock-Government Initiatives, presented to Louisiana Boys State, 2002.
- Member, Board of Directors, World Trade Center of New Orleans
- Member, President-Elect, Law Alumni Association Board of Directors, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law
- Member, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Board of Directors
- Past Project Group Leader, Proud to Call it Home Campaign of the Young Leadership Council (2002-2003)
- Member, International House of Blues Foundation
- Member, Foundation for the Advancement of Maritime Education (Board of Directors 2009-2010)
- Boys Hope Girls Hope, Race Judicata Planning Committee Chair, CCC Charity Liaison
- Volunteer, Homeless Experience Legal Protection Program
- Participant, Orleans Parish Public Defenders Pro Bono Project, Firm Liaison
- Muscular Dystrophy Association, Muscle Team Committee Member (2012-2013)
- Member, United Way Visiting Nurses Association Board of Directors (2010-2012)
- Member, Lakeview Civic Improvement Association
- Member, Board of Directors, Liberty's Kitchen
- Member, New Orleans Museum of Art
- Member, Audubon Zoological Society
- Member, GNO Inc.