Legal Leaders| Waitz & Downer

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Hunt Downer, Mary Waitz Riviere, Joseph Waitz III, Ellen Daigle Doskey


The law firm of Waitz & Downer focuses on helping injured persons and devastated families who have suffered a catastrophic loss in an oil field accident, maritime accident, auto or boating accident that resulted in serious personal injury or wrongful death. They are also skilled in handling Social Security and disability claims, as well as wills and successions. For over five decades, Waitz & Downer has represented Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region.

Founded by the late Joseph L. Waitz in 1971, attorneys at the firm include Hunt Downer and Mr. Waitz’s children: son Joe Waitz Jr, who is Terrebonne Parish District Attorney and of counsel, daughter Mary Waitz Riviere, his grandson Joseph Waitz III and rounding out the firm is Ellen Daigle Doskey, who also is an assistant district attorney.

The care with which clients are handled reflects the family-like atmosphere at the firm overall.

Hunt stated, “Our philosophy is when you are our client you are part of our extended family. Mr. Waitz instilled that into us. You are not a number; you are not a dollar sign; you are a person who has experienced a devastating loss. We are going to treat you as we would any member of our family.”

Each member of the firm brings a diverse and experienced background with them, allowing them to help their clients achieve success in the courtroom.

Hunt points to his life experiences as helpful to his practice of law, such as working as a roughneck and roustabout to driving a school bus among them, as benefitting his ability to help clients. His resume also includes the titles Major General (Retired), USA/LANG and Speaker, Louisiana House of Representatives. Hunt is a graduate of Nicholls State University, Loyola Law School, and Army War College.

Mary is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Tulane Law School. Following law school she clerked for both Judge Morey Sear and Judge Veronica Wicker, both district federal judges for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She brings to the firm 30 years of experience in a variety of complex serious personal injury cases. Having grown up on boats her entire life, she has a special love for maritime and offshore cases. Mary is an outspoken defender and advocate of victim’s rights and passionately represents her clients to ensure that justice is achieved in all of her cases.

Mary also focuses a portion of her time on Social Security Disability law. She also specializes in providing legal advice and counsel to the elderly in the forms of successions, wills and donations and estate planning.

Joseph is a graduate of Nicholls State University and Southern University Law Center. He joined the firm in 2014, focused primarily on personal injury. Prior to attending law school, Joseph served four years as a deputy for the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol Division, conducting search and rescue operations and patrolling the waters of Terrebonne Parish. He understands the marine oilfield industry and the dangers posed. He is also the Past President of the Terrebonne Bar Association.

Ellen has over 25 years of experience in the practice of law. Upon graduation from LSU School of Law, she clerked for the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Shreveport for three years before returning to her hometown of Houma. She is an Assistant District Attorney for Terrebonne Parish where she is the lead research and appellate attorney. Ellen specializes in wills, successions, trusts, estate planning, and elder law. She also has expertise in researching and writing of briefs, memos, and appeals.

The family of attorneys at Waitz and Downer stand ready to defend your rights. Contact the firm by visiting their website at or by calling 985-876-0870.