Firm Overview

Philosophy

Stevens Baldo & Lighty, P.L.L.C.’s practice is based upon the simple premise that consistently delivering clients maximum value builds long-term client relationships. We achieve maximum client value through the following principles:

Discipline, speed, and determination in achieving agreed litigation strategies and financially successful outcomes.
Providing candid advice from the outset.
Exceed client expectations through greater efficiency, creativity and better use of resources.
Responsibility for a successful outcome is shared by all the firm’s lawyers and staff.
Legal representation is most effective in an environment of openness, plain speaking, and mutual support.
Every action taken be necessary or add value to the client’s cause.
The successful and long-standing relationships we have developed with our clients are a testament to our philosophy.

Advantages

Size

SB&L has remained lean. We have purposely avoided having too many lawyers in multiple office locations. By remaining lean, we are able to provide high quality service and avoid one of the fundamental problems with modern law practice, the pressure to perpetually feed an onerous overhead structure through the performance of work that adds no value to the client’s cause.

Our leanness also allows us quickly to adapt to changes in the litigation environment. Our clients operate in a dynamic business and legal environment, and they should expect counsel to anticipate and adapt to change. Our relatively small size allows us to adapt to change quickly and continue to provide our clients value by changing with them.

Expertise

SB&L is primarily devoted to a litigation practice for the following industries:

  • Transportation
  • Petrochemical
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail and Franchise
  • Agriculture
  • Travel and Hospitality
  • Public Administration

By focusing our efforts, we are able to provide and maintain a depth of expertise not commonly found in similarly sized firms.

Pragmatic Approach

All too often attorneys seem to become sidetracked by technical issues rather than focusing on the resolution of the dispute. SB&L prides itself on maintaining its focus on the practical steps necessary to bring about a positive resolution for our clients rather than getting caught in the technical issues that tend to cost much while providing little benefit. To maintain focus, the firm seeks to assess each case as early as possible to develop a clear, agreed, and achievable strategy. This strategy identifies the most appropriate means of resolving each conflict or issue involved. Once developed, the strategy is routinely evaluated to confirm that it is effective and revisions are made as necessary.

The best value we can provide to our clients is protecting them from the risk of conflict in the first place. To that end, we routinely advise clients on measures that can be taken in order to avoid a conflict before it develops. When a conflict does arise, the firm seeks to achieve the earliest possible resolution that is compatible with the client’s goals and objectives. To do this we routinely engage in Alternative Dispute Resolution, including mediation, arbitration, or various permutations of these techniques.

Of course, some conflicts are not capable of being resolved outside the courtroom. When it appears that a conflict cannot be resolved quickly, we employ a strategy to develop the case in the most cost-effective manner that will not prejudice the chance of success. (For instance, our experience has proven that discovery is the most expensive aspect of the litigation process and the firm seeks to limit our discovery activities to what is necessary to develop our client’s case to the point where it can be resolved inside or outside the courtroom.)

Practice Geography

SB&L serves a variety of local, regional, national, and international clients in the Southern United States. The firm’s office is located in Beaumont, Texas and the firm routinely represents clients throughout Texas and Louisiana, including major metropolitan areas and more obscure venues that see a disproportionately high volume of lawsuits due to friendly juries and high damage awards. The firm has been retained to represent clients in other venues, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Georgia.

Fee Arrangements

SB&L utilizes a transparent billing system that details tasks and costs incurred. The overwhelming majority of our clients prefer the traditional hourly fee arrangement. The firm’s hourly rates are based upon comparative studies of rates charged by other firms with similar practices. The rates are established to be highly competitive for the level of expertise and quality of representation provided. Our rates recognize long-standing relationships and a client’s need for experienced counsel. The firm’s billing procedures currently incorporate the American Bar Association’s Uniform Task-Based Management System. We understand that many potential clients have set billing policies and procedures, including parameters for the billing of disbursements. We have extensive experience with such guidelines and are happy to work under these arrangements. When extensive travel is expected in a case, such as where attorneys are expected to travel overseas, alternative fee arrangements such as daily rates are available.

The firm also handles cases on contingent, fixed, and other terms. We are confident in our ability and are open to discuss fee arrangements where the firm shares the risks and benefits of a case with our client. These alternative fee arrangements are not the norm and will not work in every case; nevertheless, SB&L urges any client wishing to engage us on alternative fee terms to discuss the desire with us.

We frequently bring clients added value without a charge. We feel it is important to get to know and understand our clients’ goals and objectives in order to incorporate them into our legal strategy. The time spent doing this is done without charge. In addition, we routinely provide assistance in legal educational programs for clients that range anywhere from explaining the litigation process to focused seminars on narrow legal issues.

Representative Clients

  • Al Marine Adjusters, Inc.
  • American Dairy Queen/ International Dairy Queen
  • American Equity Ins. Co.
  • American Steamship Owners Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association, Inc.
  • Bechtel, Inc.
  • Canal Barge Company
  • Chevron Shipping Company
  • Chubb Group
  • Cigna Companies
  • City of Beaumont
  • CNA Insurance Company
  • Conns Appliance, Inc.
  • Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.
  • Dooley-Tackaberry, Inc.
  • Farrell Lines, Inc.
  • Great Lakes Carbon Corp.
  • Gulf Copper and Manufacturing Corporation
  • Higman Marine Services, Inc.
  • International Transport Intermediaries Club, Ltd.
  • Intertek Caleb Brett
  • Jefferson Ins. Co.
  • Keystone Shipping Co.
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
  • Marine Transport Lines, Inc.
  • Marriott Management Services
  • Martindale Electric Company
  • Oakfabco, Inc.
  • Oriental Gasket and Packing Company
  • Owens and Minor Medical, Inc.
  • Royal and Sun Alliance Ins. Co.
  • Sanko Steamship Co., Ltd.
  • Southeastern Claims Services, Inc.
  • PCS Phosphate Company, Inc.
  • The Hartford Ins. Co.
  • The London Steam-Ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association Limited (A. Billbrough)
  • The Sabine Pilots
  • The Standard Steamship Ownership Protection and Indemnity Association (Bermuda), Ltd. (Charles Taylor P&I)
  • The Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association (Bermuda) Limited
  • The Travelers
  • The United Kingdom Mutual Steam Ship Assurance (Bermuda) Limited
  • Transit Mix Concrete and Materials Co.
  • Zurich Insurance