Clay Garside was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. Or outside Mobile really, in Tillman’s Corner. He went to Spring Hill College, a Jesuit school, and won awards in writing, was named the President’s Scholar in Philosophy, and graduated summa cum laude in only three years. He then got a master’s degree in writing, even published a few poems in real paper magazines, if you can believe it. He set off to travel the world as a poet and philosopher. That ended about as you would expect.
Nowadays he’s more likely to be with his kids, hiking, swimming, and camping in our State parks or skateboarding the ramps under the I-610 rather than travelling abroad. Although he still does that sometimes too.
In 2005, Clay graduated magna cum laude from Tulane Law School. While there, he served as an editor of the Tulane Law Review, published an article about regulating pollution from foreign vessels in U.S. waters, litigated a Clean Air Act case against Exxon-Mobil, and worked at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Alabama Attorney General’s Environmental Section. Following law school he was all set to start as law clerk to Honorable Carl J. Barbier, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. His first day at the Court was to be August 29, 2005, the day that Hurricane Katrina hit. He didn’t make it to work that day. That inauspicious beginning developed into an intense two-year crash course in litigating disaster law in federal court. It wasn’t all disaster though. While clerking he also published a law article with Judge Barbier about the scope of maritime jurisdiction.
Clay left the federal courts to join Waltzer & Associates, now Waltzer Wiygul & Garside, in 2007. He runs the firm’s New Orleans office and litigates an active docket of property damage, personal injury, maritime, environmental, and public law cases. During the past few years, his practice has centered on representing clients in the massive BP/Deepwater Horizon case. He has, of course, represented individual commercial fisherman, boat owners, property owners, and business owners to present their claims and maximize their recoveries. But he has also worked with non-profits and church organizations to help educate and protect our injured community generally. He helped form the fishing industry advocacy group GOFISH, fought to make sure the true value of the Gulf Coast’s seafood rich diet and culture were compensated through “subsistence” claims under the Oil Pollution Act, and advocated along with Vietnamese community leaders for the fair treatment of the Vietnamese fishing community.
All that BP work did not prevent Clay from also halting construction of a dirty coal-fired power plant in Arkansas for the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, suing sewage operators for polluting the rivers north of Lake Pontchartrain for the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, closing a racetrack that opened right in the middle of a rural neighborhood, or litigating over 200 cases of personal injury and property damage during that time. He also sits as a Board Member of the Environmental Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association.
They say work smart, not hard. It’s plain to see that Clay does both.
For a more detailed professional resume, you can learn more about Clay by clicking here.