Adams and Reese New Orleans Partner Mark Surprenant received the 2014 Louisiana State Bar Association David A. Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual LSBA Pro Bono Awards Ceremony held at the Louisiana Supreme Court in New Orleans on May 20. Surprenant was also recognized at the ceremony with an LSBA Pro Bono Century Award for donating more than 100 hours of pro bono service in 2013.
Surprenant received the award at the ceremony from Chief Justice Bernette Joshua Johnson of the Louisiana Supreme Court, and Richard Leefe, President of the Louisiana State Bar.
The David A. Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award is given to a Louisiana attorney who demonstrates a commitment to the provision of legal services to the poor, has made significant contributions to enhance the pro bono movement in Louisiana over their lifetime, and has shown significant leadership and service on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised.
Surprenant was nominated for the award by Linton Carney, chief legal officer of The Pro Bono Project. Surprenant served as Chair of The Pro Bono Project’s Board of Directors; was on its Board for over 10 years and is currently a member of its Resource Development Committee. He consistently handles pro bono cases through The Project.
Surprenant currently serves as the President of the New Orleans Bar.
Surprenant’s Lifetime Achievement Award is one of several recognitions he has received for his pro bono work and commitment to the community. He received the Loving Cup Award from The Times-Picayune (2013); William Reece Smith, Jr. Special Services Pro Bono Award from the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals (2013); Pro Bono Award from the Legal Services Corporation (2013); the Distinguished Donor Award from The Pro Bono Project (2012); Friend of Pro Bono Award from The Pro Bono Project (2011); Presidents Award from the New Orleans Bar Association (2010); Camille F. Gavel, Jr. Pro Bono Award from the New Orleans Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (2008); the Leah Hipple McKay Memorial Award for Outstanding Volunteerism from the Louisiana State Bar Association (2008); “Role Model of the Year” by the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans and “Great Gentleman for 2007” by the East Jefferson General Hospital Auxiliary.
Since the beginning of his legal career, Surprenant has been dedicated to community service. In 1988, he created HUGS — the Adams and Reese corporate philanthropy program — and in 2000 he established CA&RE — the firm’s official pro bono program. He is also the Co-Founder of SOLACE, Inc. (Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel All Concern Encouraged). SOLACE is a statewide volunteer organization with more than 6,000 volunteers. It reaches out to assist those in the legal community who have experienced some significant, potentially life-changing event in their lives.
Surprenant joined Adams and Reese in 1977 as an Associate and is now the Partner with the longest tenure at the firm. He serves as Practice Team Leader of the Agricultural Chemicals team and as Liaison Partner of the Pro Bono Services Committee.