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Mark C. Surprenant

Partner and Adams and Reese Pro Bono Paladin

Building relationships is an important part of what I do. I’m able to cross cultural divides and connect with people from many different backgrounds. I get to know people at a personal level because it allows me to help them by understanding their interests, family involvements, time commitments, and other components of their lives. Cases come and go, but it’s the experience with the people you serve that you remember the most.

The recipient of numerous awards and distinctions for both his litigation practice and community service work, Mark Surprenant takes the lead counsel role on several very significant, high-profile environmental toxic torts and products liability cases in a number of states. On a daily basis he deals with cutting-edge endocrine disruption issues and the intricate science behind it. His work in this practice area has enhanced the firm’s reputation on a regional and national level.

As Mark transitions into his new role as of counsel for the firm, he continues to share his deep knowledge with other lawyers and helps them develop business and cultivate client relationships. In concert with the firm’s strong commitment to pro bono work and community outreach, Mark serves as its Pro Bono Paladin and devotes a great deal of his time to providing no-cost legal services to those in need. Mark’s dedication to volunteerism and community service stretches back many years. 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.

Mark is the co-founder of SOLACE, Inc. (Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel All Concern Encouraged), a statewide volunteer organization with approximately 17,000 members in Louisiana, plus chapters in more than 25 states. SOLACE primarily reaches out to assist those in the legal community who have experienced some significant, potentially life-changing event in their lives.

Mark is also a member of both the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Access to Justice and Legal Services Committee and the Louisiana Access to Justice Commission. In both entities he was instrumental in starting a Distinguished Access to Justice Pro Bono Fellows Program. That program is for those judges and lawyers who have transitioned or are in the process of transitioning from their service on the bench or from their law practice to a point where they are interested in spending at least 20 hours per month in access to justice service to those in need.

A former adjunct law school professor for many years, Mark developed the habit of keeping up on issues to stay ahead of his law students. In addition to being a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, he is also a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and the International Association of Defense Counsel for which he published an article on significant environmental toxic tort and endocrine disruption issues.

I enjoy an excellent working relationship with my clients. I try to remain extremely sensitive to their needs both from a business and personal standpoint.

Education

  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, J.D., 1977
  • Fordham University, B.A., 1973

Bar Admissions

  • Louisiana
  • Texas

Areas of Practice

Acknowledgements

  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers® - Litigation - Environmental, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
  • Best Lawyers®, "Lawyer of the Year," Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, 2017
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers® - Personal Injury - Products: Defense
  • Leadership in Law - New Orleans CityBusiness, 2015 
  • New Orleans Bar Association Presidents' Award 2010
  • New Orleans Chapter Federal Bar Association Camille F. Gavel, Jr. Pro Bono Award 2008
  • Louisiana State Bar Association Leah Hipple McKay Memorial Award for Volunteerism 2008
  • Young Leadership Council of New Orleans Role Model of the Year 2008
  • East Jefferson Hospital - Great Gentleman 2007
  • New Orleans Pro Bono Project - Outstanding Volunteer
  • Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition® - Personal Injury Defense: Products
  • Friend of Pro Bono Award, The Pro Bono Project, 2011
  • Distinguished Donor Award, The Pro Bono Project, 2012
  • Pro Bono Award, Legal Services Corporation, 2013
  • Loving Cup Award, The Times-Picayune, 2013
  • William Reece Smith, Jr. Special Services Pro Bono Award, National Association of Pro Bono Professionals, 2013
  • "Glass Honoree Award," Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, 2014
  • David A. Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, Louisiana State Bar Association, 2014
  • "Leadership in Law" - New Orleans CityBusiness, 2015
  • Louisiana State Bar Association, Pro Bono Century Award, 2015, 2016
  • Louisiana State Bar Association President's Award, 1996 and 2016

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Access to Justice Committee, Gumpert Committee, Former Chair of Louisiana State Committee
  • LSBA Access to Justice Commission, Member
  • LSBA Community Action Committee, Member, Former Chair
  • LSBA Modest Means Committee, Chair
  • LSBA Access to Justice Developing Leadership Internship Committee, Chair
  • LSBA Re-Entry Committee, Chair
  • Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Vice President and Board of Directors
  • The New Orleans Pro Bono Project, Resource Development Committee, Former Board Chair
  • St. Andrew's Village, Board of Directors, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Dean's Advisory Committee, Visiting Committee (1994-present), Development Committee
  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Adjunct Professor, Environmental Toxic Torts, 2010-2014
  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Alumni, President, 1984-1985
  • Loyola University New Orleans Alumni Association, President, 1986-1987
  • Loyola University New Orleans College of Law President’s Council, 1991-1995
  • New Orleans Mission, Impact Committee
  • Louisiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, President and Chair
  • SOLACE, Inc., President
  • St. Vincent DePaul Society Good Shepard Parish, Board of Directors
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, President, 1986-1987
  • New Orleans Association of Defense Counsel, Chair 1988-1989
  • New Orleans Bar Association, President, 2013-2014
  • Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans and River Region, Education Committee Chair, 1979
  • Greater New Orleans Athletic League, President, 1984
  • Louisiana Access to Justice Commission 2018-19