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LSU Law Center Names 2014 Distinguished Alumnus and Achievement Honorees

Five men and a woman wearing formal attire smile with four men and a woman holding wooden plaques

L to R: Chancellor Jack Weiss, Honorable James Brady (’69), Maryam Sabbaghian Brown (’00), Cordell Haymon (’68), Craig Murray (’76) and Patrick Ottinger (’73) at the 2014 LSU Law Center Distinguished Alumnus and Distinguished Achievement Awards Luncheon

The LSU Law Center honored Cordell H. Haymon (’68) as the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and the Honorable James J. “Jim” Brady (’69), Maryam Sabbaghian Brown (’00), Craig W. Murray (’76) and Patrick S. Ottinger (’73) for Distinguished Achievement at an awards luncheon on Sunday, September 21, at the Lod Cook Conference Center. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is given annually to a graduate for rare distinction in professional achievement and loyalty to the LSU Law Center and the Distinguished Achievement awards recognize graduates for professional achievement and career distinction, service to and support of LSU Law, and service to the community.

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“This year’s honorees once again embody the qualities of professional achievement and integrity that make all of us proud to be members of the LSU Law family,” said LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss.

The Distinguished Alumnus of the Year program began in 1986 and in 2012, the Law Center added the Distinguished Achievement award as a way to honor additional alumni for their achievements and service.

Biographies of the honorees:

Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Cordell H. Haymon is a 1968 graduate of the LSU Law Center. He received his BA in Economics from Rice University in 1965. Haymon is Senior Vice President of SGS Petroleum Service Corporation, based in Baton Rouge. He is a Board Member of SGS U.S. Holdings, Inc., the world’s leading inspection, testing and verification company based in Geneva, Switzerland. Haymon also serves as Director (Past Chair) of Signal Mutual Indemnity Association. Previously, Haymon was the Principal Owner and CEO of Petroleum Service Corporation from 1968 until its sale to SGS in 2004. He was in the private practice of law from 1968 until 1992.

Haymon’s service to education, planning, the arts and the law is far-reaching.   He currently serves as Board Chair for Teach for America-South Louisiana, board member for Baton Rouge High School Foundation, member of the Committee for Education Excellence for East Baton Rouge Parish Schools, and Reading Friend at Park Elementary. Haymon chaired the committee that organized Plan Baton Rouge and is currently the Board Chair for the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX), an organization dedicated to inclusive land use and transportation planning for the Baton Rouge area and across Louisiana. He is Past Chair of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and a former board member of Playmakers. He is a Cabinet member for the Community Fund for the Arts and is a member of the Search Committee for the new dean of the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts. Haymon serves as a board member for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and is a member of the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Baton Rouge. From 1992 until 1998, he was a board member of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

Haymon is Past President of the Louisiana State Law Institute. He is a member of the Council of the Louisiana State Law Institute and various Law Revision committees, including Obligations, Sales and Non-Navigable Waterways. In 1990, he served as President of the Baton Rouge Bar Association. An active member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Haymon received the LSBA Inaugural Pro-Bono Award in 1986 and is a former member of the LSBA Board of Governors. He serves on the LSBA committee to revise the State Bar Exam. Haymon is a fellow of the Louisiana Bar Foundation and is the former Board Chair for Capital Area Legal Services Corporation.

Haymon’s numerous recognitions for his community service include the Community Champion Award from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber in 2014. He was inducted into the Baton Rouge High School Hall of Fame in 2011 and in 2010, the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations awarded Haymon the Powell-Reznikoff Humanitarian Award. In 2008 he was recognized with the Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Volunteer Activist Award from the Speech and Hearing Foundation.

Haymon is active at the LSU Law Center, serving as a member of the LSU Law Center’s Board of Trustees, Chancellor’s Council, the Committee to strengthen the Civil Law program and the Quality Enhancement Committee. In 2009, Cordell and his wife Ava established the Saul Litvinoff Distinguished Endowed Professorship in honor of Professor Litvinoff. Cordell and Ava, the Poet Laureate of Louisiana, have two children and three grandchildren.

The Honorable James J. “Jim” Brady is a 1969 graduate of the LSU Law Center. While at LSU Law, Brady served as president of the student body and was named Outstanding Senior for the LSU Law Class of 1969. Brady received his undergraduate degree in history from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1966, where he also served as student body president and was a four-year letterman in varsity track. In 1995, Southeastern Louisiana University named him Alumnus of the Year, and he received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree from the university.

For some 23 years, Brady was associated or in partnership with Camille F. Gravel in their Gravel, Brady & Berrigan law firm and its predecessor firms. The firm had offices in Alexandria, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Brady became a partner in the Washington, D.C. firm of Dyer, Ellis, Joseph & Mills in 1993. In March 1996, he became a Director in the New Orleans firm of Sullivan, Stolier and Daigle, where he was the resident Director of the firm’s Baton Rouge office. In August 1997, Brady joined the firm of Gordon, Arata, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan where he was the senior partner of the firm’s Baton Rouge office. He was nominated to the federal bench by President William J. Clinton in July 1999 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 24, 2000.

Brady was elected to the Democratic State Central Committee of Louisiana (Louisiana Democratic Party) in 1971. In 1975, he was elected Vice Chair and served in that position until 1985 when he was elected Chairman. He was re-elected to four-year terms as Chairman in 1987 and in 1991. In 1991, he was elected president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and by virtue of his election he was designated Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He was re-elected to a second two-year term as President of the Association in 1993 and a third two-year term in 1995, thus becoming the first person so honored in the Association’s 35- year history. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Mid-term Conference in 1974 and was a delegate to each Democratic National Convention from 1980-1996.

An active member in the Federal Judges Association, Judge Brady currently serves as a member of the Association’s Board of Directors; he also serves as Past President of the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association. He is a frequent lecturer and panelist at legal seminars and functions.

In 1987, Judge Brady became a charter member of the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame. He served as member of the Law Center’s Board of Trustees from fall 2001 until spring 2004. He and his wife, Karen, have two children and two grandchildren.

A 2000 graduate of the LSU Law Center, Maryam Sabbaghian Brown is Assistant to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for Policy. In her capacity as advisor to the Speaker, Brown provides advice and counsel on domestic as well as international energy and environmental policy issues.

Brown has been instrumental over the years in guiding and coordinating committees of relevant jurisdiction in the development of legislation for eventual House floor consideration. As a key member of the Speaker’s staff, Brown engages with individual Members regarding specific concerns on legislation prior to and during floor consideration. Brown also serves as House Leadership liaison with Senate Leadership counterparts.

Brown has held a number of positions “on the Hill.” Before joining the Speaker’s Office, Brown worked with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, most recently, as its Energy Chief Counsel. She also served the Senate Republican Policy Committee and the House Resources Committee as Energy and Minerals Staff Director.

Brown’s experience in energy law began while in private practice. Before coming to the Hill in 2004, she was an associate with the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in San Francisco, working primarily with energy clients.

A Louisiana native, Brown received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University. While at LSU Law, she was a member of the Louisiana Law Review, and she graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif.

Brown is a member of the LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center Advisory Council. She and husband, Stephen, have one son, Benjamin, and one step-daughter, Rebecca. They are expecting another son at the beginning of the new year.

The Senior Finance Partner at the Houston office of Vinson & Elkins, Craig W. Murray is a 1976 graduate of the LSU Law Center. During his time in law school, he served as Managing Editor of the Louisiana Law Review, was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, and graduated a member of The Order of the Coif.   Murray served as a Captain in the United State Marine Corps from 1969 until 1973, which included a tour in the Republic of Vietnam in 1971-1972.  He received his B.A. from Rhodes College in 1969.

Murray’s primary area of practice is corporate and energy-related finance, with special emphasis on structured finance, asset securitization, and project finance. Murray is consistently recognized for his legal expertise in banking and finance law, bank lending, and corporate law by publications that include Legal 500 U.S., The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Who’s Who Legal: Texas, and Texas Super Lawyers. In Chambers USA, he was described by clients as “The Senior Statesman of Energy Finance in Houston.” Murray was selected as one of “The Best Lawyers in Houston,” by H Texas magazine.

Murray is a frequent speaker for seminars and continuing legal education programs including the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute, the State Bar of Texas, and the Texas Association of Bank Counsel.  His presentations are related to structured finance, legal drafting, the basics of secured transactions, and oil and gas finance law.  Murray is a member of the Houston Energy Finance Group and the Houston Commercial Finance Lawyers Group.  He is a co-author of “Raising Capital for the Oil and Gas Industry,” presented at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Institute (2013).

In 2008, the Craig and Meepsie Dougherty Murray Scholarship was established at the LSU Law Center by Craig and his wife, Meepsie.  Murray is a member of the LSU Law Center’s Chancellor’s Council and serves on the LSU Law Center’s Board of Trustees and various ad hoc committees at the Law Center.

Patrick S. Ottinger is a December 1973 graduate of the LSU Law Center, where he was a member of the Moot Court Board. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1971.

Ottinger has been in private practice in Lafayette since graduating from law school. He is a partner in the firm of Ottinger Hebert, L.L.C. His profes­sional practice has been concentrated in the corporate and commercial area, with emphasis on oil and gas, financial transactions, real estate, eminent domain, mediation and arbi­tration, corporate and banking matters, as well as litigation in these areas. From January 2004 through January 2011, Ottinger served as City-Parish Attorney for the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government. He served in this position for seven years, longer than any other incumbent.

Ottinger serves as an Adjunct Professor at LSU Law Center where, since 1996, he has taught the course in Mineral Rights and an Oil and Gas Seminar. He is the author of the course materials entitled Ottinger, A Course Book on Louisiana Mineral Rights (12th Rev. Ed., August 2011). Ottinger is the author of two chapters pertaining to mineral servitudes and mineral royalties in the Louisiana Mineral Law Treatise (Claitor’s 2012), a project of the Institute on Mineral Law. Ottinger is a member of the Mineral Code Committee, the Mineral Law – Unsolicited Offers Committee, the Counterletter Committee, the Prescription Committee and the Tax Sales Committee of the Louisiana State Law Institute.

A Fellow of the Louisiana Bar Foundation, Ottinger served on its Board of Directors from 2003-2007. He has served as President of the Lafayette Parish Bar Association and as a Member of the Board of Governors of the Louisiana State Bar Association. Ottinger served as the President of the Louisiana State Bar Association during 1998-1999. In May 2011, Ottinger received the Friend of Pro Bono Award from the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Ottinger is a former member of the LSU Law Alumni Board of Trustees and is a member of the Chancellor’s Council.