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With national attention on the Gulf Coast of the United States, many attorneys are headed south.  Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama are gearing up for what’s sure to be a record number of class action lawsuits as a result of the BP oil catastrophe.  Many businesses, shrimpers and other fishermen are realizing they no longer have a way to earn a living, courtesy of the tragic and devastating BP Oil Spill. founder and lawyer A. Harrison Barnes agrees that this crisis has already eclipsed the Exxon Valdez crisis from two decades ago.

Lawyers are already tackling what will surely become a monumental effort, all in hopes of protecting the future of those most affected by the massive oil spill that’s devastating the Gulf of Mexico.

These attorneys, says Barnes, have a big mountain to climb.  Even though BP has stated that it will not fight “reasonable” lawsuits, there are no guarantees that what the company defines as reasonable and what those who will still be feeling the effects ten years from now will consider reasonable will be one in the same.   The faint odor of strong crude oil is already emanating along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and oil slicked beaches from the Florida Gulf Coast, including such popular vacation spots as Gulf Shores, Pensacola and Panama City will surely lose its annual tourist income. Alabama and Louisiana fishermen, who for generations have earned their livings courtesy of the rich seafood trade along the coast are now suddenly unemployed, even before the seasons begin.  In Mississippi, casinos and hotels are already reporting cancellations and the mayor of Biloxi has reported that it’s already at a “catastrophic state”.

There won’t be a shortage of clients who have been wronged in this event.  A. Harrison Barnes says these lawsuits could easily encompass the next decade as coastal residents attempt to first clean their beautiful shore lines and then recover from the financial disasters they’re each facing.

And, the founder says it’s not only coastal attorneys who are gearing up for big battles.  There are lawyers coming from many states as far away as New York, California and Utah, too.  So what does this for legal secretaries and paralegals who are looking for work? It’s time to update your resume, see who’s hiring on and break out the sunscreen and warmer weather clothes and head south.  If you have experience in class action lawsuits, consider yourself in demand.  As the Obama Administration gears up for a very long haul and the blame game has already begun, this is not going to be a problem that’s solved in a few months, say many environmental experts.  In fact, it will likely take years for the just the clean up efforts.  And as many who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina can attest to, it’s a very slow dance – with Mother Nature leading it.

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