Leah D. McDowell

Leah 20mcdowell

Leah Draayer McDowell offers trial and appellate representation to clients at all levels of state and federal court. A graduate of Vanderbilt Law School where she served as an editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review, Leah clerked for the Honorable Rhesa H. Barksdale of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit before entering private practice in 1993, where she spent nine years focusing on appellate litigation, product liability defense, federal practice, constitutional law, challenging and defending expert witnesses, eminent domain, and representing public officials. Leah has tried cases in state and federal court, appears as counsel of record in numerous published decisions, and has orally argued and authored numerous briefs in the Fifth Circuit. Leah is privileged to have assisted the late Honorable Charles Clark, former Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit, with several complex arbitrations through the American Arbitration Association. Leah recently returned to law practice after taking time to raise a family and is currently practicing in the field of constitutional litigation.

Significant Cases

  • Representing Louisiana state officials against constitutional challenges┬áto several statutes.
  • Representing North Carolina legislative leaders against constitutional challenges to statutes not defended by state attorney general or governor.
  • Served on trial team defending Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning in higher education desegregation litigation following remand from United States Supreme Court.
  • Wrote state supreme court brief and presented oral argument to trial court in case that successfully overturned Mississippi's quick-take eminent domain statutes on state constitutional grounds.
  • Defended prominent public official against charges of ethics violations.
  • Defended former Mississippi governor against state attorney general in case challenging governor's veto power.
  • Defended numerous catastrophic injury product liability cases on behalf of major manufacturers of automobiles, drugs and medical devices, heavy equipment, household appliances, and tires; served on trial team in several such cases including solo.
  • Defeated condominium development on behalf of group of Florida homeowners in challenge involving federal, state, and county land use and environmental regulations.
  • Orally argued disability coverage case on behalf of insured in Fifth Circuit.


  • Vanderbilt University Law School (J.D. 1992)

Vanderbilt Law Review, Editorial Board

Moot Court Competition Winner

  • The University of Texas at Austin (B.A. 1989)

Honors and Special Honors in Plan II


  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit


  • Mississippi Bar, 1993
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi
  • Mississippi Supreme Court

Cutting Edge Advocacy

Schaerr|Jaffe lawyers have handled and won cutting edge cases in state and federal courts around the country, including eight cases in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Client Focused

Clients who choose Schaerr|Jaffe receive the highest quality representation without the conflicts and inefficiencies inherent in big-firm law practice.