Thursday, April 18, 2024

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will join law firm after leaving office

by Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Thursday that once he leaves office next week he will join a New Orleans-based law firm where he will focus on renewable energy litigation.

During Edwards’ past two terms as governor, which has spanned eight years, the Democrat has prioritized developing and expanding Louisiana’s renewable energy sources and reducing the state’s carbon dioxide emissions. Before entering the political world, Edwards, who was unable to run for governor again because of consecutive term limits, was a trial attorney who had opened a civil law practice in his hometown of Amite.

“It has been the greatest honor of my lifetime to serve as governor of the State of Louisiana,” Edwards said in a news release Thursday. “I look forward to rejoining the legal profession and continuing to serve the state by establishing Louisiana as a leader in green energy while maintaining our commercial competitiveness.”

Edwards will join Fishman Haygood LLP as special counsel when he leaves office on Jan. 8. He will work with the law firm’s business and litigation teams.

“We are thrilled to have the governor join our team,” John Werner, a partner of Fishman Haygood, said in a statement. “John Bel has been a proven leader throughout his life, including his recent efforts to grow the renewable energy sector in Louisiana. We are excited that he has chosen to join us in this next phase of his career.”

The law firm, which was founded in 1996, has been involved in negotiating complex land deals and corporate mergers as well as high-profile cases like the Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme and the BP Deepwater Horizon settlement, The Advocate reported.

Over the past two decades, Louisiana has had a front-row seat to the effects of climate change, with hurricanes making landfall more frequently, coastal areas being eaten away by erosion, subsidence and rising sea levels, and the Mississippi River reaching record-low water levels, causing barges with agricultural exports to get stuck. In addition, the state, which shares its southern border with the Gulf of Mexico, has tens of thousands of jobs tied to the oil and gas industry.

Recently, efforts to expand Louisiana’s renewable energy opportunities have come to the forefront. Last month, the state’s first-ever wind energy operating agreements in offshore waters were approved.

Edwards has long told reporters that after leaving the governor’s mansion he plans to move back to Tangipahoa Parish with his wife and go “back into private business.” While he has repeatedly said he has “no expectation or intention” to run for political office in the future, he hasn’t outright ruled it out.

Edwards’ successor, Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry, will be inaugurated Monday.

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