December 17, 2015
Rebecca Dietz (L ’02), a former litigator, started as New Orleans city attorney in November, leading a team of almost 50 lawyers.
Photo by Cheryl Gerber
Tulane Law graduate Rebecca Dietz (L ’02) is New Orleans’ new city attorney, taking the position just three years after joining the city’s legal team.
Dietz, a former King, Krebs and Jurgens partner who practiced oil and gas and environmental litigation, had worked as Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s executive counsel for the past year. She started with the city in 2012 as a deputy city attorney leading the Contracts Division. In 2014, she was general counsel and deputy director of legal affairs for the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
As city attorney, Dietz succeeds Sharonda Williams, who stepped down Nov. 1 to return to private practice.
Dietz said she transitioned to government service after a decade in private practice because “it was important to me to make a real contribution to New Orleans.”
Joining the city’s legal team, she said, “offered a dynamic opportunity for me to expand my career and engage in what I believe is very important civic service.”
As the mayor’s executive counsel, Dietz acted as in-house counsel for Landrieu and the city’s executive team. But as city attorney, she leads almost 50 attorneys who handle the gamut of legal affairs assignments: providing legal advice to the mayor, council and other city offices; managing litigation in which the city is a party or has an interest; preparing proposed ordinances requested by elected officials; and drafting, negotiating and reviewing all city contracts.
She oversees major assignments like these: Providing guidance on city codes as officials explored removing Confederate monuments from public land. Finalizing terms of a settlement with the firefighters union in litigation over pensions and benefits. Working with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office under the federal consent decree to improve jail conditions. Defending the city in a lawsuit over selections of Four Seasons to redevelop the vacant World Trade Center building.
Dietz also oversees attorneys who prosecute cases in municipal and traffic court and those who represent the city in code-compliance cases.
“This administration is effecting real change and growth in New Orleans — it is exciting to be a part of that,” she said. “Working on behalf of this great city is not always easy, but it is always rewarding.”
Dietz said that during her career she’s had valuable support from Tulanians including her former law partners, civic leaders and young attorneys working in her office. “I hope I can provide that same support to young lawyers and colleagues throughout the Tulane family,” she said.