Dan Claitor

Leaders in Law endorses Dan Claitor as our exclusively recommended Maritime Law expert in Louisiana, USA. If you wish to get in touch with Dan please use the contact information provided above.

Senator Dan Claitor was born and raised in Baton Rouge and is a product of the Baton Rouge public schools.  Dan graduated from LSU in 1983 with a degree in finance and from Loyola Law School of New Orleans in 1987.

Dan tried his first jury trial, the defense of a manslaughter case, as a senior in law school in the fall of 1986.  That year he was awarded the 1986-1987 Charles C. Foti, Jr. Award for Excellence in the Field of Criminal Justice. After graduation, Dan returned to the courtroom as an Assistant District Attorney in Orleans Parish. He prosecuted thousands of cases that ranged from child support issues to murder. Since leaving the District Attorney’s Office in 1990, Dan has been self-employed. Collectively, Dan has tried more than 100 admiralty, civil and criminal jury trials.

Dan has been the Louisiana State Senator for District 16 since April 14, 2009, when he was elected in a rough and tumble campaign in which Governor Jindal actively opposed him. Dan was re-elected in 2011 without opposition and elected again in 2016. Dan’s reputation in the Legislature is that he is prepared and inquisitive.  Dan designed and carried through the legislative process important legislation relative to access to charter schools by those with developmental disabilities, transparency in the Governor’s Office, and buy in and oversight of Office of Group Benefits rate setting.

Dan has been an active member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association’s Law Day Committee for many years and encourages you to participate in that event.

Firm Description:

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, I am a product of our local public schools. I graduated from LSU in 1983 with a degree in Finance. I graduated from Loyola New Orleans Law School in 1987, but before graduating, I tried my first jury case. It was a manslaughter charge. The Orleans District Attorney was impressed enough to offer me a job upon graduation. I was an Assistant District Attorney for Mr. Harry Connick from 1987 through 1990 and have been on my own since then. As to public service after the District Attorney’s Office, in 2009 I was elected to the Louisiana State Senate for the Baton Rouge area, District 16. It has been an honor to represent the people of Baton Rouge. During the process, I believe I have become a better lawyer.

Whether your legal issue is a maritime matter, serious personal injury matter, wrongful death, business litigation or criminal defense, I can help you. Dan Claitor – Lawyer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Trusted Louisiana lawyer committed to client satisfaction.

  • Wrongful Death and Survival Cases
  • Serious Auto Accidents Cases
  • Maritime – Jones Act Cases
  • Trucking Accidents Cases
  • Business Dispute Cases
  • Criminal Defense Cases Proudly serving Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Denham Springs, Covington, and Madisonville local offices serving the state of Louisiana.


Alexander C. Van Hook

Leaders in Law endorses Alexander Hook as our exclusively recommended Civil Law expert in Louisiana, USA. If you wish to get in touch with Alexander please use the contact information provided above.

Acting United States Attorney

Western District of Louisiana

Alexander C. Van Hook is the Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.  As Acting U.S. Attorney, Mr. Van Hook oversees the investigation and litigation of all criminal and civil cases brought on behalf of the United States in the Western District of Louisiana.  The Western District consists of 42 of the State’s 64 parishes and geographically encompasses two-thirds of the State of Louisiana.

Prior to becoming Acting United States Attorney on August 3, 2020, Mr. Van Hook served for ten years as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, the second most senior official in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, helping to oversee both Criminal and Civil Divisions of the Office.  Prior to becoming the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Van Hook served as Deputy Criminal Chief for three years.  He also served as the lead Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force attorney for two years, and from 1999 to 2006, prosecuted virtually every type of criminal case with a concentration on public corruption, asset forfeiture, money laundering, and other white-collar crimes.

In 2002, Mr. Van Hook received the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the prosecution of a United States national who contracted for the murder of his wife in Haiti.  He was awarded the Director’s Award again in 2010 for the successful public corruption prosecution of two state court judges.

In 1997, Mr. Van Hook received a Juris Doctorate from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University.  Honors and activities include The Order of the Coif, Louisiana Law Review, and Chancellor’s List.  After law school, Mr. Van Hook clerked for the Honorable Tom Stagg, United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, and for Chief Judge Henry A. Politz, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Mr. Van Hook is also a 1993 graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana.

Firm Description:

Created by the Judiciary Act of 1789, the position of United States Attorney provided for the appointment in each judicial district of a “[p]erson learned in the law to act as attorney for the United States… whose duty it shall be to prosecute in each district all delinquents for crimes and offenses cognizable under the authority of the United States, and all civil actions in which the United States shall be concerned…” This same act also established the position of Attorney General of the United States, specified the structure of the Supreme Court of the United States, and created inferior courts, including a district court system which make up the United States federal judiciary.  Prior to the creation of the Department of Justice in 1870, the U.S. Attorneys were independent of the Attorney General and did not come under the Attorney General’s supervision and authority.

The U.S. Attorney is appointed by the President of the United States for a term of four years or at pleasure of the President, with appointments subject to confirmation by the Senate.  A U.S. Attorney shall continue in office beyond the appointed term until a successor is appointed and qualified.

The United States Department of Justice is called “the largest law firm in the world” and “the people’s law firm.”  Each United States Attorney represents the Department of Justice, serves as the chief federal law enforcement officer in each judicial district and is responsible for coordinating multiple agency investigations within that district.

Most of the trial work in which the United States is a party is conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office.  The Office has three primary statutory responsibilities under Section 507 of Title 28 of the United States Code:

  • the prosecution of criminal cases brought by the federal government;
  • the prosecution and defense of civil cases in which the United States is a party; and
  • the collection of debts owed the federal government which are administratively uncollectible.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana is one of 94 United States Attorney’s Offices nationwide.  The Western District is the largest of the three districts in the State of Louisiana.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office has staffed offices in Shreveport and Lafayette with unstaffed branch offices in Alexandria, Lake Charles and Monroe.  The office is organized into two legal divisions – Criminal and Civil, and one non-legal division – Administrative.

The Western District of Louisiana consists of 42 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes.  The District is bordered by Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi and the Mississippi River to the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.  With a population of over two million people, the District represents 47.23% of the state’s population and covers two-thirds of the state’s land area.  It has five of the seven major urban centers in the state:  Shreveport/Bossier, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, and Alexandria.  Three major interstate highways cross the District, Interstate 10 (in the southern part of the district running east to west), Interstate 20 (in the northern part of the district running east to west) and Interstate 49 (in the center of the state running north to south).

The Western District is also home to two of the largest military installations in the state.  Barksdale Air Force Base (which includes Global Strike Command, 8th Air Force, 2d Bomber Wing, and 917th Wing) has 17,000 employees and covers 22,000 acres, and the U.S. Army Post at Fort Polk has 10,971 permanent residents and covers approximately 100,000 acres.  Fort Polk houses the Joint Readiness Training Center which trains approximately 50,000 additional troops annually.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal and civil matters involving civilians at Barksdale and Fort Polk.

There is a Federal Penitentiary and Correctional Center located in Pollock, Louisiana, a Federal Detention Center and Federal Correctional Institution located in Oakdale, Louisiana, and an Immigration Detention Center located in Jena, Louisiana.  Major Veterans Administration Hospitals are located in Shreveport and Pineville, Louisiana.  There are also large national wildlife refuge areas, national forest areas and other significant federal assets throughout the District.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office is actively involved in all of these federal enclaves.

The state’s four federally recognized Native American tribal communities, the Chitimacha Tribe, the Coushatta Tribe of La., the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of La., are located in the District, each operating a casino.  Jurisdiction in Indian Country is based upon the unique sovereign relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes.  Congress has criminalized certain acts that take place in Indian Country.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes cases arising in Indian Country involving felonies where either the defendant or the victim is an Indian or both the defendant and the victim are Indian.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office also prosecutes cases involving misdemeanors where the defendant is a non-Indian.

The office is responsible for the prosecution of federal criminal statutes for the Western District of Louisiana, for all types of crimes ranging from acts of terrorism to public corruption, complex white collar crime, investment schemes, organized crime and gang activities, civil rights, internet-related crimes, drug trafficking, firearms violations, violent crimes, environmental crimes, tax evasion, illegal immigration and alien smuggling, and many other criminal acts.

The office also is charged, through its Civil Division, to represent the interests of the United States where the federal government is a party in defensive matters including employment disputes, medical malpractice, wrongful death, auto accidents, other tort actions, judicial review of agency decisions and cases challenging the constitutionality of federal statutes and regulatory schemes.

United States Attorney’s Offices represent over 200 federal agencies in civil litigation.  Most of the civil suits handled by the Department are defensive in posture and often have huge sums of money or significant federal policies at risk.  Defensive litigation encompasses a wide array of matters, including, but not limited to:  federal tort claims (including a large number of medical malpractice cases at VA’s, military hospitals and community health centers); employment discrimination; immigration; Bivens; commercial; Social Security disability appeals; bankruptcy; and federal program litigation.

“The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice be done. As such he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor — indeed he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.”

— Mr. Justice Sutherland in Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 88 (1935)


Chip Wagar

Leaders in Law endorses Chip Wagar as our exclusively recommended Maritime Law expert in Louisiana, USA. If you wish to get in touch with Chip please use the contact information provided above.

Chip applies his more than three decades of civil trial litigation experience to the most complex and difficult cases of medical malpractice and products liability nowadays. Based in the metro New Orleans area, Chip is licensed in Louisiana and Texas, he has a multi-state practice and has been admitted pro hac vice in many other states including Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Chip brings together meticulous preparation with passionate courtroom advocacy on behalf of both his individual and corporate clients.

Chip’s preeminent professional achievements have been recognized by his peers and various legal and professional organizations including Super Lawyers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the International Association of Defense Counsel. He is a Life Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has received Martindale’s highest (AV) rating for lawyers for more than 30 years. In January 2015, he was lead counsel in a medical malpractice wrongful death case in New Orleans that resulted in a multi-million dollar jury award; the highest damage award to a single medical malpractice victim in Louisiana history.  Chip handles medical malpractice cases all over Louisiana, southern Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida.

Chip also represents local, national and international manufacturers in products liability litigation claims involving the defense of personal injury, property damage and business interruption claims.  Chip has been a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, an invitation-only organization of preeminent defense attorneys and regularly represents Fortune 500 clients in these cases.

Chip has taught trial advocacy to hundreds of lawyers over the years with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and to law students at Tulane and LSU law schools in Louisiana. He is presently an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University’s College of Law where he teaches Medical Malpractice law.  He is also an award-winning writer of historical fiction, having two published novels, An American in Vienna and The Carpathian Assignment, a newly-released non-fiction work, Double Emperor, The Life and Times of Francis of Austria.

Chip Wagar and his wife Cheryl have lived in Mandeville, Louisiana since the late 1980’s; a city near New Orleans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.  Chip has two children, Will Wagar, and Sarah Hickman.  He enjoys writing in his free time as well as travel and exploration, especially in Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and the Americas.  An avid history buff, he narrates the military history podcast “Killing Time” on iTunes, which explores the greatest battles and campaigns that changed the course of history.

Website Links 




Firm Description:

Wagar Hickman is a new firm but brings nearly four decades of litigation experience to bear on behalf of our clients who need outstanding representation in difficult and complex civil cases. We begin our representation with analysis and then discussion with our clients on their legal needs and take our role as an advisor and counsellor as important as any other aspect of our practice.

As advocates we bring focused attention and energy to the essence of the client’s legal issues to avoid, forestall or minimize the conflict and dispute before or early in litigation, often achieving settlements and early resolution for our clients with maximum efficiency and speed. Examples of settlements we have achieved over the years can be seen on this website.

As attorneys at law, our clients have our experience and loyalty to the end of a lawsuit, including the courts of appeal and supreme courts. Our track record of success in many cases over the years can be seen on this website as well.

The reviews Chip Wagar and Sarah Hickman have garnered in their representation of individual and corporate clients is also a matter of record and is something about which we are most proud because, after all, there is no higher praise for a lawyer than a satisfied client.


Paul Douglas Stewart, Jr.

Leaders in Law endorses Paul Stewart, as our exclusively recommended Insolvency Law expert in Louisiana, USA. If you wish to get in touch with Paul please use the contact information provided above.

A Certified Business Bankruptcy Specialist, Mr. Stewart is licensed in Louisiana and clerked for the Honorable Louis M. Phillips from 1998–2000.

Mr. Stewart is a founding member of the firm. Mr. Stewart has authored and co-authored numerous bankruptcy related articles over the past twenty years and has lectured extensively on bankruptcy topics. Mr. Stewart has represented panel trustees, chapter 11 trustees, creditors, creditor committees and debtors-in-possession throughout his career. Mr. Stewart holds the designation of Advocate from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Mr. Stewart is perennially recognized by Super Lawyer magazine as an outstanding lawyer in the area of Bankruptcy.


  • Louisiana College, B.A., 1993
  • Mississippi College, J.D. 1996

Associations & Memberships

  • Louisiana State Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees

Prior Positions

Mr. Stewart clerked for the Honorable Louis M. Phillips, United States Bankruptcy Judge, Middle District of Louisiana from 1998 – 2000.

Prior to forming Stewart Robbins Brown & Altazan LLC, Mr. Stewart practiced with the firm of Taylor, Porter, Brooks, & Phillips, LLP and was a partner in the firm of Milling Benson, LLP.

Articles & Presentations

Mr. Stewart frequently presents on bankruptcy related topics with the Louisiana State Bar Association, Louisiana State University, the Fifth Circuit Bench Bar Conference and the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees.

Firm Description:

SRBA’s attorneys bring a cohesive, results-driven approach to complex in and out-of-court corporate restructurings, and state and federal insolvency proceedings, representing debtors, trustees and committees.

Our attorneys have represented stakeholders in various situations within the bankruptcy process, including:

  • Debtors in chapter 11 reorganizations
  • Unsecured creditors’ committees
  • Trustees in chapters 11 and 7
  • Prosecuting and Defending avoidance actions and other bankruptcy-related litigation
  • Asserting secured and unsecured claims against estates
  • Prosecuting the assumption or rejection of contracts and leases
  • Purchasing property from bankruptcy estates
  • Investigations of various parties in bankruptcy proceedings
  • Automatic stay modifications and other proceedings related to the automatic stay
  • Discharge and dischargeability proceedings


Richard Reynolds

Leaders in Law endorses Richard Reynolds as our exclusively recommended Corporate Law expert in Louisiana, USA. If you wish to get in touch with Richard please use the contact information provided above.

From 2007 to 2009 I contracted with Stewart Title Guaranty Company and was responsible for analyzing, processing, addressing and working to resolve claims where a policy of real estate title insurance had been issued and there were outstanding unresolved real estate title issues on properties in Louisiana that placed the marketability of the real estate in question.

From 1990 to 2007 I owned and served as the senior legal counsel and chief executive officer of RE/Source Partners, Inc. [successor to Strategic Mortgage Services of Louisiana, Inc., a licensee of SMS (formerly TRW)], a statewide and multi-state real estate settlement, title insurance and appraisal services company. I managed department heads and oversaw the handling of an array and severity of business operation issues ranging from the routine of enforcing company policies to addressing the more severe issues of customer service complaints and employee complaints including sexual harassment. I was responsible for all fiscal matters. I established and implemented the company mission and philosophies, and managed department heads who oversaw 35 company employees and 80+ subcontractors. I was responsible for the development and maintenance of proprietary software, automation systems, and other intellectual properties used in operating the company. In addition, I monitored and adjusted the business operations utilizing data analysis programs to produce analytical and statistical reports regarding the company operations which included a cost analysis of the company on a by-location and by-department basis

Prior to 1990 I engaged in the private practice as an attorney as a sole practitioner and through a professional law corporation, Richard Reynolds & Associates, APLC; I also worked as a part-time Attorney with the District Attorney’s Office St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana; as Attorney for the Louisiana Mental Health Advocacy Service as part-time Instructor for Delgado Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana.

I previously published a piece of regular legal advice and informative article entitled “The Barrister’s Corner” in a public monthly publication entitled The Northshore Journal.

I have served as Former Director, Title/Appraisal Vendor Management Association (TAVMA); Former Director, The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation, Inc.; Former Director, The Tchefuncte River Foundation, Inc.; Former President, Covington Rotary Club; Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International; Former Member, Board of Directors, Covington Rotary Club; Campaign Manager for Louisiana State Senate Candidate and recipient of The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation MVP Award-2016.

I have served as Former Director, Boy Scouts of America, Troop 110; Former Director, Alpha House, Associated Catholic Charities; Former Director, River Forest Academy School; and Former Treasurer, River Forest Homeowners Association

I attended Southern Methodist University, Dallas Texas. I graduated from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and graduated from Loyola School of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana with a Juris Doctor degree.

Firm Description:

I am licensed to practice law in Louisiana (1978), Mississippi (2004), Tennessee (2004) and Texas (2004). I am also a licensed Notary Public, licensed Real Estate Broker, a licensed Life, Health, Accident Insurance Producer and a licensed Building Construction Contractor. I am experienced as an administrator, manager, practising attorney and legal and business counsellor.

I maintain a private legal practice wherein I provide legal and ethical advice and counsel for businesses and individuals according to their legal needs within my primary practice areas of business practices, profit and nonprofit; real estate, estate planning, probate, regulatory, administrative, entertainment and general civil law. I serve as a business and legal adviser to business entities on issues involving human relations, employee contracts, third-party contracts, intellectual property, business structure and regulatory compliance.

Since 2007, I have worked as a contracted Hearing Officer (Administrative Law Judge), for the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, to preside in a fair and ethical manner over public regulatory administrative enforcement and licensing hearings on cases involving matters that question the qualification and/or suitability of persons and businesses to hold a gaming license or permit in Louisiana. I make findings of fact based upon the evidence submitted at the hearings and apply applicable law and ethics to the factual circumstances. I rule and render decisions based on my determination of one’s suitability and/or qualification under the Louisiana Gaming Control Act to possess a gaming license or permit in Louisiana with written reasons in support of my decision. I perform the legal services of Hearing Officer pursuant to Louisiana law and the established Standards of Conduct for Hearing Officers.


Raymond G. Areaux

Raymond G. Areaux is a founding partner of the firm, where he chairs the firm’s intellectual property practice group. His practice is devoted to obtaining, licensing and enforcing all manner of intellectual property rights. 

His primary practice areas are computers and software, patents, trademarks, domain names, trade secrets, media law, copyright, unfair competition and franchises. He is a Registered Patent Attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is a frequent lecturer on intellectual property topics. 

Mr. Areaux’s experience includes prosecuting patents in the electronic arts, software arts, web-based delivery arts, biotech arts, and mechanical arts; negotiating licensing, outsourcing and technology transfer agreements; prosecuting and maintaining a large variety of trademarks, service marks and brands; litigating patent, trade secret, trademark and copyright infringement and licensing disputes and litigating other contract disputes involving technology, including patent infringement claims against the United States government, including claims against the Department of Defense military departments; litigating domain name disputes, including UDRP and ACPA disputes; and arbitrating computer software licensing and transactions disputes. 

Mr. Areaux also assists his clients in preparing and negotiating organizational and operating documents for corporations and limited liability companies and related agreements as well as agreements for the acquisition or divestiture of companies and/or their assets, including angel, venture capital and other private capital investment arrangements.

Other Professional Experience: former product development engineer with IBM and former systems engineer with Conoco

Year Admitted to Practice: 1985.

Education: Tulane University, B.S. Computer Science, 1978; Tulane University, B.S. Electrical Engineering, 1978; Loyola Law School, J.D., 1985. 

Law School Honors:  

Loyola Law Review.


Registered Patent Attorney since 1989; Loyola University School of Law, Adjunct Professor, Trademarks and Unfair Competition; past Member of Advisory Board, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Department, Tulane University); Licensed Professional Engineer (Electrical Engineering)(now inactive); American Bar Association (Intellectual Property Law Section, Antitrust Section, Business Law Section and Litigation Section); Louisiana State Bar Association; International Trademark Association (past member of Editorial Board, Trademark Reporter); Tulane University, Adjunct Professor for Media Law; American Intellectual Property Law Association; American Arbitration Association (arbitrator); Original member of the UCITA study committee for the Louisiana State Law Institute; National Society of Professional Engineers; Louisiana Engineering Society; Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu.

Bar Admissions: Registered Patent Attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office; All Louisiana state and federal courts; United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.