Blair Schilling represents clients in a wide range of commercial matters in federal and state court, with a concentration in environmental law. Her environmental practice includes matters involving coastal restoration, land contamination, land use, clean water, getting brownfield sites safely back into commerce, regulatory and permitting, and expropriation issues. In doing this work, Blair represents state government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies and individuals, including the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, Restore the Mississippi River Delta, and many private landowners. The goal of her environmental practice is to make Louisiana more resilient and encourage future sustainable economic growth in the region.
Blair represents landowners throughout Louisiana against some of the oil and gas industry’s largest operators for land loss, oilfield contamination, erosion, and groundwater contamination. Because the cases she handles are highly technical and require a great deal of scientific and operational understanding, Blair is known for immersing herself in the complicated aspects of these matters, as well as for her keen ability to steer her cases in a strategic and effective manner to achieve the overarching goal of the litigation.
In 2017, Blair was a member of the five-day trial team for Fishman Haygood’s seminal coastal land loss case, Vintage Assets Inc. v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., et al., which set a course for the restoration of coastal wetlands that surround pipelines. The team obtained favorable injunctive relief against pipeline company defendants, requiring restoration of the lost wetlands and an ongoing obligation to protect these wetlands from future erosion.
From there, Blair has brought multiple cases on behalf of landowners against various pipeline companies across the state, similarly seeking to have the land loss caused by the pipeline canals traversing the property restored and protected in the future. For example, Blair recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of the LDWF for land loss damage to the Pointe aux Chenes Wildlife Management Area (WMA), which is made up of nearly 34,000 acres of coastal wetlands in Lafourche and Terrebone parishes. This land is entrusted to the LDWF and provides habitats for many species of fish and wildlife, and it offers valuable ecological functions, namely storm protection and public recreation. The LDWF recently filed a petition for injunctive relief seeks to hold several pipeline companies accountable for failing to properly maintain the land entrusted to them for their use as pipeline canals, resulting in destruction of the important marshlands across the WMA. The suit seeks to require the pipeline defendants to honor their contractual obligations to safeguard and restore the coastal wetlands they have damaged.
As a lifelong learner, Blair continually seeks out ways to diversify her practice while helping the greater community. She recently completed training at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, an internationally recognized program at Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law. Blair applies these skills by mediating, for example, Hurricane Ida claims, no small task as Louisiana’s insurance coverage lawsuits skyrocketed over 2020 hurricane damages. Understanding the importance of mediation programs in keeping courts from becoming overloaded, Blair devotes her time to helping to amicably resolve these matters. Due to her dedication to disaster relief, Blair was recently appointed to the American Bar Association’s Disaster Legal Services Team, a pro-bono initiative where the ABA has teamed up with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help people navigate the aftermath of presidentially-declared disasters.
Blair frequently shares her knowledge with others. She and a panel of leading coastal experts were chosen to present “Legal Ramifications Surrounding the Latest Scientific Evidence in Pipeline Canals and Land Loss” at the 2023 State of the Coast conference (the largest statewide conference of its kind), which provides an interdisciplinary forum to exchange timely and relevant information on the dynamic conditions of Louisiana’s coastal communities, environment, and economy.
Female representation in the legal field and in her community is of utmost importance to Blair. She was recently chosen for the Loyola University New Orleans Women’s Leadership Academy, a noteworthy recognition given that she is a Loyola Law alumna. The program seeks to increase the representation of women in leadership roles by educating, empowering, and elevating its cohorts, and it is the only one of its kind hosted by a university in Louisiana.
Blair is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She is a past President of the Association for Women Attorneys and has also served as the Bylaws Chairperson for the Independent Women’s Organization.
Updated July 2023