RON AUSTIN was born in Marrero, Louisiana, at West Jefferson Hospital, the third of four children. After graduating from Archbishop Shaw High School, he attended Southeastern Louisiana University where he majored in Criminal Justice. Always a well-rounded young man, Ron managed to find the time to join Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest black fraternity in the country. At the time Ron joined, the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was struggling to fund its national organization service program. Ron, with the assistance of his fraternity brothers, was able to raise $10,000.00 to continue its service projects which included tutoring and mentoring young black men to realize the importance of education and take advantage of the opportunity to attend college. Ron was also a student representative on the President’s Board while at Southeastern.
After he graduated from Southeastern, Ron enrolled in Southern Law School, during which time he clerked for the Louisiana Department of Revenue & Taxation. Also during law school, Ron participated in a clinical program where he acted as a student prosecutor in the Baker City Court. After graduating from law school, Ron began his legal career with the Sacks & Smith law firm where he became involved in class action litigation, immediately providing him with the opportunity to develop his skills at complex litigation. A couple of years later Ron joined the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s office where, under the guidance of Paul Connick, Ron first became a juvenile and then a felony prosecutor where he prosecuted the state’s first intentional exposure to AIDS case. Ron successfully prosecuted numerous other felony cases involving murder, robbery and sexual assaults, as well as cases involving misdemeanor offenses.
Ron eventually founded his own law firm in 2001 where his skills as an environmental lawyer were immediately tested. Ron, along with several other lawyers, took on one of the largest corporations in the world, Exxon-Mobil, and obtained a record setting judgment in excess of one billion dollars in the Civil District Court of New Orleans. Ron and his co-counsel brought the suit on behalf of landowners whose property was contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive material as a result of pipe cleaning operations. At an early age Ron, who continues to be an avid fisherman, understood the importance of our state’s natural resources and the livelihood of the many individuals who make a living fishing, shrimping and breeding oysters, as well as the critical need to restore the state’s eroding coast line. In 2003 Ron moved his office from downtown New Orleans to the West Bank where he continues to enjoy a successful practice today, primarily in the areas of personal injury and environmental litigation. He employs a number of diverse female attorneys, representing multiple ethnicities including white, Asian and Hispanic. Ron has successfully built one of the most prosperous minority owned law firms in Louisiana. He presently serves on the Board of Governors of Louisiana Association for Justice and is an adjunct professor at Tulane University.
Always finding the time to help others, Ron has done pro bono work enforcing the rights of developmentally delayed individuals and, for the last ten years, has provided children with the opportunity to attend summer camp through his sponsorship at the Kennedy Heights Playground in Avondale. He has also sponsored a number of AAU teams to travel the country providing them with the opportunity to develop their athletic skills.