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.

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.

Rachael D. Johnson

Rachael D. Johnson is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Law Offices of Julie E. Vaicius which serves as staff counsel in Louisiana for Hartford Insurance and its subsidiaries.  Prior to her current position, Rachael was an assistant City Attorney with the City of Riviera Beach, FL, where she advised the city and its various boards on a variety of matters.   Rachael began her legal career in 2005 as a law clerk for the Honorable Nadine Ramsey at Civil District Court in Orleans Parish.  In 2006, she became an associate at the Gary, Williams, Finney law firm in Stuart, Florida representing hundreds of plaintiffs in Vioxx litigation, personal injury and wrongful death cases.  She is a 2005 graduate of Tulane Law School where she was a member of the juvenile litigation law clinic and served on the Executive board of the Black Law Students Association.  Rachael attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where she received a B.A. in Psychology in 1998.  She also has a Masters in Social Work from Smith College.  Rachael practiced clinical and adoption social work in Atlanta, GA before returning to New Orleans for law school.

Rachael is active in numerous professional and civic organizations.  She is a past President of the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, a member of Louisiana State Bar Association Board of Governors, the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel, the New Orleans Bar Association and a member of the A. P. Tureaud Chapter of the Inns of Court and the National Bar Association.  She also serves on the executive board of the New Orleans Chapter of the Links, Inc. Rachael was born and raised in New of Orleans and is proud graduate of McDonogh #35 Senior High School.

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.

C.A. "Hap" Martin III

C.A. “Hap” Martin III

Clarence A. “Hap” Martin, III born Orlando, Florida, April 19, 1955; admitted to bar, 1980, Louisiana. Education: Louisiana Tech University (B.S. Civil Engineering, 1977); Louisiana State University (J.D., 1980). Phi Delta Phi.  Louisiana Section on Insurance, Negligence, Compensation and Admiralty Law (Member of Executive Council 1988 – Present, Chairperson 1991-1992); Mediation Training (Basic 1996, Advanced 1998); Arbitration Training (2002).  Member: Fourth Judicial District, Louisiana State and American Bar Associations; Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel; Judge Fred Fudickar Chapter of the American Inns of Court (Sec.-Treas. 1999-2003). Practice Areas: Civil Litigation; Trial Practice; Appellate Practice; Commercial Law; Contracts; Corporate Law; Creditor Bankruptcy; Employment Law; Products Liability; Personal Injury Law; Real Estate; Mediation; Arbitration.


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.

Joseph L. Shea, Jr.

Larry Shea, a founding member of the firm Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea, LLC , has been practicing law for over 35 years. His professional experience includes extensive litigation representing various businesses, numerous oil and gas producers and pipelines in matters ranging from environmental complaints to oil field operations to contract disputes to ownership issues. He also has considerable experience in non-litigation matters, including oil and gas leasing and operations, exploration and production joint ventures, and business operations, formations, and acquisitions. Mr. Shea has been a very active member of the Louisiana State Bar Association. Mr. Shea has served as the President of the LSBA for the year 2014 – 2015.