Board of Directors

Mark C. Surprenant, President

Mark C. Surprenant is a partner at Adams and Reese where he has practiced law since 1977. Mark is the partner in charge of all of the firm’s pro bono work throughout its 16 offices. He is the co-founder of SOLACE, Inc. (Support of Lawyers/Legal Personnel All Concern Encouraged). In 2013-2014, Mark was the President of the New Orleans Bar Association. He is a past chair of The Pro Bono Project. He is also the founder of his firm’s community action program (HUGS) and started its pro bono program (CA&RE). Among other community activities, he is presently the secretary-treasurer of Saint Andrew’s Village; a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Access to Justice and Community Action Committees; a member of The Pro Bono Project’s Resource Development and Nominating Committees and a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Access to Justice and Emil Gumpert Award Committees. Over the years, Mark has received numerous awards from many organizations for his volunteer work including the 2012 Times Picayune Loving Cup. www.adamsandreese.com/mark-c-surprenant/


George M. Pierson, Vice President

George Pierson is a native of Baton Rouge and 1976 graduate of Louisiana State University School of Law. He has practiced with a specialization in the field of real estate law and title insurance and currently is a sole practitioner operating under the name of Pierson Settlement & Title Services. From 1994 until 2000, he was Vice President and Regional Manager for The Security Title Guarantee Corporation of Baltimore for the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. He is a Past–President of the Louisiana Land Title Association and the recipient of the “Title Man of the Year” Award for 1999 and 2000. Now an inactive Rotarian, George was President of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge Sunrise.

George is a longstanding volunteer on the LSBA’s Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and has dedicated decades of direct service to JLAP by Monitoring individuals, organizing and maintaining local support groups for the benefit of JLAP participants in the Baton Rouge area, and by serving in various capacities on JLAP’s Boards and Committees.

Barry Grodsky, Treasurer

Barry Grodsky is a partner at the Taggart Morton law firm in New Orleans practicing primarily in the areas of creditor rights, property management law, banking law, bankruptcy and commercial litigation.  Barry received his business degree from the University of Texas in 1979 and his law degree from Tulane in 1982.  After internships with Congressman Billy Tauzin and U.S. District Judge Morey Sear and serving as a law clerk to State Judge Steven Plotkin he went into private practice.  After serving on several committees and as Secretary of the Louisiana State Bar Association Barry was elected President of the LSBA and will take office in June, 2018.  He has received various awards from the State Bar Association.  As a teacher at Tulane University Barry has received teaching awards and was a Faculty Fellow.  He is married to Cheri Grodsky, an attorney who is the Associate Executive Director of the Louisiana State Bar Association and they have one daughter, Caroline.

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Donald C. Massey – Secretary

Donald “Don” Massey is General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer for Delta SubSea, LLC, which specializes in deep-water, subsea construction and ROV operations. Based in the Conroe, TX area, Delta SubSea is a multinational group of companies, with operations spanning the globe, from Trinidad and the South Atlantic, to Canada, the Middle East, Africa, the Pacific Rim and China.  Don is based in New Orleans.

In addition, Don is Of Counsel with Couhig Partners, where he maintains an active business and litigation practice, focused on product liability, motor carrier and class action/ complex litigation.  Don is often First Chair for cases in multiple jurisdictions. He has a broad range of civil and criminal trial experience and has served as liaison counsel in multiple major class action/mass tort cases. He has also had appellate experience in all Louisiana appellate courts, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.  Also, Don has been called upon by Courts to serve in Special Master and Court Compliance Officer roles in class action and complex litigation

Don is a longtime volunteer and active contributor to efforts carried out by the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. He has been a Chairman of the LSBA’s Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and also chairman of LAP’s Board of Directors.  Presently, he serves on the JLAP Board of Directors and JLAP Operating Committee.


Ivan Lemelle

Senior Judge Lemelle, a native of Opelousas, La., came to New Orleans in 1967 to attend Xavier University of Louisiana.  He graduated with honors from Xavier in 1971 and Loyola University School of Law in 1974. During law school, he held law clerkships with Judge Robert F. Collins, New Orleans Legal Assistance Corp. (NOLAC), Thierry & Gerdes (successor to Tureaud & Morial firm), and Fifth Army Judge Advocate General Corps in San Antonio, TX.

After law school, Lemelle practiced as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, then as member of Douglas, Nabonne & Wilkerson law firm, and with additional service as Assistant City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. From October 3, 1984 to 1998, he was U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. That appointment made him the first African American United States Magistrate Judge in Louisiana federal courts and only the sixth in the Nation. In 1998, President Clinton appointed Lemelle to the position of United States District Judge.   He attained Senior Judge status in June 2015.

He has enjoyed service with numerous civic, fraternal and professional organizations; a sampling of that service includes the following:  First Vice-Chair  of the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc. as Class A Trustee (nonalcoholic);   Vice-Chair of Board for Alcoholics Anonymous Grapevine, Inc.;  Board of Trustees for Xavier University of Louisiana; President of District Judges Association for the U. S. Fifth Circuit; American Bar Association Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary; The Federal Judicial Center’s Advisory Committee for the Guide to Judicial Management of Cases in Alternate Dispute Resolution;  President of the Loyola College of Law-Thomas More Inn of Court;  Visiting Committee Board for Loyola College of Law;  Treasurer of Amistad Research Center’s Executive Board;  Federal Bar Association New Orleans Chapter Board of Directors; Trustee on the American Inns of Court Foundation Board;  Board of Reconcile New Orleans, Inc. d/b/a Café Reconcile-a nonprofit committed to addressing  generational poverty, violence and neglect in the New Orleans area, specifically “at risk” young adults; Federal Bar Association Bench Bar Committee; Sigma Pi Phi and Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternities. For his professional and community services, Senior Judge Lemelle has received numerous honors and awards too numerous to mention here.