With litigation, there is a cast of characters – the client(s), the attorneys, the Judge, their staff, our staff, third parties, and so on. Working through a complex litigation matter is always interesting because each “character” plays a role in the conflict and ultimate resolution. I enjoy putting a case together, investigating the evidence, figuring out “where the wheels fell off” and then developing a compelling case for my client.
Zelma Murray Frederick serves a diverse client base in all aspects of litigation with a focus on commercial, construction, complex commercial litigation, and collection disputes.
The core of Zelma’s practice consists of construction matters, including advising clients regarding front-end issues related to risks and contract negotiations, navigating bid disputes for public contracts; providing assistance and practical solutions as issues arise during ongoing construction, preserving and enforcing lien rights under the Public and Private Works Acts, and aggressively litigating cases in state and federal courts as well as in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. Zelma’s construction experience also includes litigation involving delay and defective construction claims, as well as termination of contracts for convenience and for default.
Zelma also routinely handles complex commercial litigation. This aspect of Zelma’s practice has allowed her to counsel business owners in a wide array of disputes, including “bet the farm” litigation. Zelma also handles governmental disputes, commercial and consumer collection matters, and litigation support in other areas, including general, education, and civil rights litigation.
A unique aspect of Zelma’s practice involves enforcement of the Louisiana Lease of Movables Act, which governs recovery of leased collateral located in Louisiana. Whether the item at issue is a consumer vehicle, construction equipment, or leased fleets, she has both an in-depth knowledge of the applicable statutes and a streamlined process for clients to exercise their recovery rights quickly and cost-effectively.
As a practitioner, Zelma approaches her cases from an eminently practical perspective. She is a gifted communicator who believes that even in the most contested disputes, not every issue is worth a fight; and that much of the work of resolving disputes is based on relationships with people, narrowing down the scope of the dispute to the crux of the issues, and importantly, checking everyone’s ego at the door.
By keeping the client’s goals and priorities at the forefront of her strategy, and always looking for workable avenues for resolving disputes, even one issue at a time, she excels at identifying practical ways to eliminate or whittle down any white noise so that the parties can focus on the real dispute. This requires adaptive and strategic thinking, as well as the ability to read and work with other parties, allowing her to present and implement solutions that lead to the best result.