About Us

Our Approach to Legal Service: Building Relationships by Putting Our Clients’ Needs First.

Initially, Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. expanded into Louisiana at the end of 2009 when lawyers from the former Abbott Simses firm in New Orleans joined the Fort Worth group. In 2015, we were joined by lawyers from established firms in Corpus Christi and The Woodlands. The addition of each group of lawyers was a result of relationships we had already formed through years of collaboration with one another on large cases for common clients. We were drawn together not only by the successful results we had shared, but also the respect and appreciation we had for one another based upon quality of work, concern for the clients, and the spirit of welcoming cooperation and input from other talented minds.

Because we focus on developing a keen understanding of our clients’ businesses, we are able to tailor a specific, individual case-handling strategy to include new ideas, technology, and creative approaches to billing and fee structures in keeping with each individual client’s needs. We make what works for our clients work for us.

Fort Worth

The Fort Worth office of Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. began as Kirkley Schmidt & Cotten, L.L.P. in 1992. The founders of the firm had practiced together for several years at a major Fort Worth law firm. By forming a leaner and more efficient organization, we deliver greater value to our organizational and individual clients. Over the course of two decades, our client relationships fueled steady growth, with the firm growing from seven lawyers to 17 by the time we joined forces in 2009 with the former Abbott Simses law firm in New Orleans.

We were honored when, early in our firm’s existence, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company recognized the quality and value of our legal representation by naming us a Primary Law Firm for DuPont – one of less than 40 such Primary Law Firms in the United States. Over the years, we have continued to have the privilege of representing DuPont and many other clients on significant legal matters, not only in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, but throughout the United States. Despite our firm’s relatively small size, we have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to be major contributors to the defense of nationwide litigation dockets.

Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P.’s Fort Worth office began with a complementary mix of lawyers serving the legal needs of a diverse clientele in both litigation and transactional matters. That has not changed. We continue to represent multinational manufacturers in high-stakes litigation, advise medical practices and other businesses on issues such as contracts and employment matters, and assist individuals with their estate planning, family law, and tax needs. Regardless of the size of the client or the nature of the case, our goal has been, and remains, to obtain the best possible result for our client as cost-effectively as possible.

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Fort Worth Chamber logoNew Orleans

The New Orleans office of Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. originated from the previous law firm of Abbott Simses. Larry Abbott, of the New Orleans office, founded the firm in 1980 and remained the managing and majority shareholder until the creation of Cotten Schmidt & Abbott, L.L.P. in 2009.

In the early days of the New Orleans law firm, many of its clients were maritime in their business operations and the firm’s practice was primarily litigation. These cases involved seizures of vessels, pipeline explosions, allisions, collisions, Jones Act cases, injuries on oil rigs and platforms, as well as other cases involving serious injuries and deaths on vessels.

In the mid-1980’s, a transition took place with the firm’s clients as it increasingly represented companies involved in land-based oil operations and chemical manufacturing. These cases involved property damage and/or personal injury from naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), chemical exposures, toxic torts, mass torts, and virtually anything that could happen in the operation of oil refineries and chemical manufacturing plants. This type of work quickly became the “bread and butter” of the law firm, and for many of the attorneys today, it still is.

The New Orleans practice has diversified tremendously into almost every area of civil and commercial litigation, including health care, medical malpractice, all forms of products liability, employment, transportation, business and transactional litigation, class actions, construction, insurance defense, coverage, and subrogation and casualty, as well as its continuing strong admiralty, maritime, toxic tort and mass tort practices.\

Corpus Christi

Formerly Hornblower, Manning, Ward, Harrison, and Rodriguez, Professional Corporation, the Corpus Christi office of Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P. was founded in 1995 by Jonathan Hornblower, Russell Manning, and Gene Ward. Today, Gene Ward, Luis Rodriguez and Stephen Garrett provide a wide range of legal representation throughout South Texas and along the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Corpus Christi office undertakes representation involving commercial litigation, trust and estate litigation, construction law, trucking and transportation defense, insurance defense, employment law, corporate law, toxic tort litigation, and environmental litigation.

The office has a long history of obtaining positive results throughout the life of a lawsuit and through the appellate process. The Corpus Christi office continues its dedication to defending its clients in the most efficient manner possible in unison with Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P offices in Fort Worth, The Woodlands and New Orleans.


From its inception, The Woodlands office has been organized to efficiently meet the trial needs of clients, particularly in the fields of admiralty / maritime, commercial, oil and gas, and environmental litigation.

Today, The Woodlands practice continues that mission and has expanded its focus to include specialization in mass tort / toxic tort defense and trucking / transportation litigation. In addition to these core practice areas, the office takes pride in its demonstrated ability to obtain positive results in a diverse range of cases.

Cotten Schmidt, L.L.P.’s office in The Woodlands works in concert with the Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, and New Orleans offices to ensure no stone is left unturned in obtaining the best result possible for clients, which range from publicly-traded companies to individuals and small businesses. It shares the mission with its sister offices of doing so with zero unnecessary expense.

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Our Offices are located in Fort Worth, New Orleans, Corpus Christi, and Houston.