AKD Law takes on the tough cases for injury victims across the region.
Over the 18 months he served in Baghdad, Iraq, Roderick “Rico” Alvendia worried about a lot of things.
He worried about his family. He worried about the proximity of a hostile, terrifying war. He worried about the case load of Judge Advocate General (JAG) work he was trying in the Iraqi courts. But the one thing he didn’t worry about was the thriving law firm he’d left behind in New Orleans under the capable care of his partner, J. Bart Kelly, and attorney Jeanne Demarest, who stepped in to serve in Alvendia’s absence.
“Bart and I share the same passion and values and I knew he would uphold that for our firm while I was gone,” says Alvendia. “We saw Jeanne as the perfect complement to our partnership. We’d seen her tenacity and proficiency in the courtroom. We were in awe of that and knew she was the right choice for what would eventually become AKD.”
AKD, or Alvendia, Kelly and Demarest Attorneys At Law, was incorporated just two weeks after Alvendia’s bittersweet return from Iraq. He arrived home in the wake of Hurricane Katrina with offices and his elderly parents’ home to repair. But he and his partners lost no time helping other locals repair, too.
As thousands of home owners and local businesses struggled to have their insurance companies honor their damage claims, AKD to stepped in to help correct the problem. They filed suit for residents, medical clinics, local well-known restaurants and more. Where unfair payouts were made, AKD was able to influence adjustments. They successfully recovered millions of dollars in trials and in settlements.
“At a time when everything was so difficult,” says Alvendia, “getting insurance payments meant getting your life back on track. It was an honor to be a part of that process for so many people who were suffering.” Kelly agrees. He says the experience was a launching pad for AKD, setting the tone for a commitment to fight hard for the rights and interests of their clients.
“In the decade since Katrina, we’ve been able to recover millions for our clients,” Kelly says. “Whether in landmark individual or class action cases, such as a $17 million verdict, or even in smaller settlements… it doesn’t matter the details or size of the case, our injured or wronged clients and their families know they are getting experienced, high-quality legal representation with AKD.” Not just quality, says Demarest. They pride themselves on being extremely aggressive.
“I think what sets AKD apart is that we stake our reputations on exploring every case detail for maximum compensation,” she says. “Sometimes that means taking on tough, complicated, time-consuming cases. We don’t hesitate. Not even against the largest national corporations. We are all in.” Don’t let the tough talk throw you off, though, says Alvendia. As attorneys go, he feels their team of three all have very big hearts.
“We are humans first, attorneys second,“ he laughs. “In all seriousness though, we understand how stressful injuries and liability cases can be. We are here to listen first and foremost so we can provide personalized, compassionate service to our clients. And then together, we can go fight.” If you call the firm and are put on hold, a soft voice says, “Because of the personal attention given every caller, you may experience a short delay.”
All three attorneys hustle all day, yet make themselves completely present for each individual they work for. “We are here and we care,” Alvendia says. “Bart, Jeanne and I see a long future for ourselves helping people in New Orleans, the state and even the region. We get up every morning feeling eager and happy to do whatever it takes to right the wrongs for our clients.”
Recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the US Army Reserve JAG Corps, the military is still near and dear to Alvendia’s heart. He and other combat veterans started Legion of Mars, the first Mardi Gras Krewe with the sole mission of honoring veterans and their families. Recently, the Krewe spent a sweltering day in Baton Rouge barbequing for troops working flood relief.
Alvendia’s military service informs his practice and exemplifies his heightened sense of honor, duty and justice.
“I might be retired from the military,” he says, “but I’ll never retire from fighting for what is right.”
Practicing serious personal injury law, business litigation, products liability, wrongful death and traumatic brain injury cases
909 Poydras St., Ste. 1625
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 200-0000 • akdwins.com or [email protected]