Our History


Fort Worth

The Fort Worth office of Cotten Schmidt & Abbott, 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. The combined Fort Worth and New Orleans offices of Cotten Schmidt & Abbott, L.L.P. now comprise more than 25 lawyers.

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 PLFs 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 & Abbott, 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.


New Orleans

The New Orleans office of Cotten Schmidt & Abbott, 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.