Jones Walker added a white-collar crime defense practice to its Houston office, hiring James “Jimmy” Ardoin III as a litigation partner and a member of the firm’s corporate compliance and white-collar defense team.
Prior to joining Jones Walker earlier this month, Ardoin had been a solo practitioner in Houston since 2011, and before that practiced with Houston criminal defense attorney Dan Cogdell.
Ardoin, who does criminal defense and civil litigation, said he talked with Jones Walker lawyers for months about the opportunity. He said he decided to move to Jones Walker because the big firm provides him with support from other firm lawyers in the white-collar crime defense practice.
“Really since Enron, it’s become clear the white-collar crime cases are becoming very complex cases and the clients are looking for firms that can handle those kinds of cases, the massive discovery that goes along with it,” he said.
Ardoin said he handled big litigation as a solo by relying on contract attorneys to assist with discovery and the motions practice, but he said that’s not something clients always want.
Rick Schroeder, a Jones Walker partner in New Orleans who is head of the corporate compliance and white-collar defense practice, said the firm has a lot of work in that area in Texas, and the firm has been looking for someone with Ardoin’s qualifications to hire in Houston.
“The white-collar lawyer we are looking for is not just the person who is at ease in front of a jury, but somebody who can walk into a boardroom. We find that the attorneys with the most courtroom experience give the best advice,” he said.
Schroeder said a few of the lawyers on his firm’s white-collar defense team know Ardoin, and talks started months ago after the firm learned he was interested in going to a big-firm environment.
“We’ve been interviewing and wooing him for months,” Schroeder said.
Ardoin said his docket includes health care fraud, securities fraud and general civil fraud cases, white-collar crime defense, criminal defense work and other civil litigation. He said his clients include Larry LeFlore, who was recently charged in Walker County in the 1991 murder of his wife after an investigation on the Oxygen Network show “Cold Justice,” which stars former Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler. Among civil suits, Ardoin represents Alejandro Anastasia, a former United Airlines employee who was sued by a man claiming he pushed him down at Bush Intercontinental Airport. He also does compliance work.
Jones Walker moved to new offices in downtown Houston in September, but the move was delayed by Hurricane Harvey. The move was scheduled to begin just as the storm hit the Texas coast Aug. 25, creating widespread flooding in Houston after 51 inches of rain fell over a few days.
The firm also has an office in The Woodlands.