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Mark Surprenant has been elected to serve as president of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), effective February 13, 2019. SLLS is the largest provider of legal services for the poor in Louisiana and is part of the national Legal Services Corporation network, the largest funder of legal services in the United States.

SLLS provides free, civil legal aid to low-income people in 22 Louisiana parishes through its network of six offices in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Harvey, Houma and New Orleans.

“Guiding SLLS in its mission to ensure access to justice for all is an honor and a privilege for me as a lawyer who has been dedicated to these causes throughout my career,” said Surprenant.

“As lawyers, we have the power to transform lives and help the most vulnerable people in our communities. I look forward to working with our excellent staff, the Board of Directors and the entire legal community to further the mission of SLLS and make a difference in the lives of the clients whom SLLS serves.”

Every day, SLLS helps to protect victims of domestic violence, empower abused and neglected children by giving them a voice in the courtroom, preserve housing for hard-working families, work to end homelessness for veterans and people with disabilities, protect elderly consumers, remove barriers to access medical care and improve vulnerable people’s access to employment and education, among other challenges in the community.

The recipient of numerous awards and distinctions for both his litigation practice and community service work, Surprenant takes the lead counsel role on several significant, high-profile environmental toxic torts and products liability cases in a number of states. He serves as Adams and Reese’s Pro Bono Paladin and devotes a great deal of his time to providing no-cost legal services to those in need. In 1988, he created H.U.G.S. (Hope, Understanding, Giving, Support)—the firm’s corporate philanthropy program—and in 2000 he established Caring Adams & Reese Employees (CA&RE), the firm’s official pro bono program.

Of particular note is the fact that Surprenant was the recipient of the 2012 Loving Cup from the Times-Picayune and the 2014 David A. Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana State Bar Association for his “lifetime commitment, outstanding service, and dedication to Louisiana’s indigent.”