Gaming & Licensing: Louisiana
- Star IndividualsPaul West (Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC)
- Band 1J Kelly Duncan (Jones Walker LLP)
- Band 2Jeffrey M Barbin (Phelps Dunbar LLP)Thomas M Benjamin (Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, LLP)Deborah Harkins (McGlinchey Stafford PLLC)C Lawrence Orlansky (Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC)
- Band 3Joseph P. Brantley IV (Brantley & Associates, APLC)Richard B Easterling (Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, LLP)Daniel K Rester (Adams and Reese LLP)
Gaming & Licensing: Louisiana
THE FIRM Despite having only formally established a gaming group in 2010, this firm has become a go-to choice for clients requiring gaming law advice in the state. The team advises a large number of the gaming licensee holders in Louisiana on regulatory and gaming issues, and also handles M&A, financial restructuring and environmental issues. Recent highlights include acting for a major gaming company in connection with a $100 million acquisition of a riverboat casino.
Sources say: "Timely and terrific to work with."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul West is a preeminent gaming lawyer and "the leading expert in the state," say sources. He also wins praise for being "proficient and extremely cost-effective." His practice extends to national and international level gaming issues.
THE FIRM Jones Walker is a leading player in the Louisiana gaming market, as demonstrated by its recent work for a casino company on a riverboat gaming license award. The firm's wider regional gaming coverage was also enhanced in 2011 by a merger with Mississippi-based firm Watkins Ludlam, increasing the size of the regional team considerably. The team handles a full spectrum of regulatory and transactional gaming work both within the state and also for clients overseas and elsewhere in the USA. It recently acted for a foreign business interested in making investments in US gaming companies.
Sources say: "If we have any issues they will always know what to do."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kelly Duncan is a leading expert in this market, with significant experience in maritime and gaming issues. His recent highlights include representing a newly formed casino company in compliance, licensing and financing work relating to the award of a riverboat gaming license. Clients appreciate his "ability to approach the regulators with a lot of ideas," and also note that "he is great with responsiveness."
THE FIRM This respected firm represents gaming, hotel and hospitality companies in a range of compliance, transactional and licensing matters in the state. The team has particular experience in obtaining alcohol and video poker licenses, and recently represented Murphy Oil USA before state and local alcohol licensing agencies. The group also has experience in transactional matters, such as zoning, leasing, financing and corporate deals.
Sources say: "Extremely professional, very responsive and knowledgeable."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Daniel Rester also earns praise, and has many decades of experience. He has a broad practice covering gaming licensing, oil and gas pipeline work, commercial litigation and corporate matters.
THE FIRM The recent arrival of a team of gaming attorneys from Lemle & Kelleher has greatly increased this firm's gaming work capabilities in Louisiana. The newly formed team is well versed in regulatory and compliance work in the sector, having previously represented a variety of gaming clients including poker truck stop owners and a number of startup gaming companies. Gaming work is predominantly handled from the New Orleans office; the firm also has further offices in Baton Rouge and Covington.
Sources say: "They are well versed and expedient, and understand the business of gaming from more than just the legal side."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Benjamin joined the firm in 2012 from Lemle & Kelleher. Sources describe him as "a consummate professional" who is "thoughtful and thorough" in his approach. His practice includes regulatory, licensing and permitting work.
THE FIRM This respected firm handles legislative, regulatory and financing matters for gaming clients, including racetrack, riverboat and video poker companies. Recent highlights include acting for a client on the development and licensing of a new casino in the state. The firm has also been involved in legislative work in the state. The team recently advised on the development of new state laws relating to slots at racetracks, and has also subsequently helped racetrack owners to obtain slot licenses.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gaming specialist Deborah Harkins is recommended as an energetic attorney who "knows the casino regulatory environment from back to front." She is involved in regulatory gaming work and also advises on legislative gaming issues. Her recent highlights include representing a gaming client in a national licensing transaction.
THE FIRM Phelps Dunbar has a solid regulatory gaming practice, and frequently works in partnership with the firm's Mississippi offices to serve clients' needs. The group acts for a number of well-known local clients on transactions involving obtaining regulatory approvals. Recent highlights also include licensing work for overseas companies.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeffrey Barbin is a "very knowledgeable and accomplished regulatory lawyer" who "has excellent practical judgment," according to sources. He is the main contact in the firm's Louisiana offices for regulatory gaming matters, and has recently been involved in advising gaming clients on internet gaming law legislation.
THE FIRM This respected local firm has a longstanding relationship with casino operator and developer Pinnacle Entertainment, and continues to handle its regulatory, financing and litigation needs. The firm also acts for gaming and non-gaming suppliers on licensing issues with the Gaming Enforcement Division of the Louisiana State Police. Other related activities include representing the secured creditors in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization of a gaming company.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Market sources confirm that Lawrence Orlansky is a "very well-respected lawyer" who "does a good job." He has a solid practice encompassing commercial litigation, gaming and professional liability and ethics work.
Experienced attorney Joseph Brantley
of Brantley & Associates, APLC
is noted for the wide range of gaming work he has handled over the years. He has an excellent reputation for gaming work in the Baton Rouge area.
Since publication, Richard Easterling
has joined Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, LLP from Adams and Reese. Clients single out his responsiveness as a key strength, emphasizing that "he has been consistently helpful and quick to respond to queries."
He is well versed in regulatory work throughout the alcohol beverage licensing and enforcement process, and also has an active practice in corporate M&A matters.
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