NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana State Bar Association has named white collar crime defense and corporate compliance attorney Mark A. Cunningham as the organization’s 75th president.
Cunningham, a partner at New Orleans-based defense firm Jones Walker, was installed as 2015-2016 LSBA president at the organization’s annual meeting on June 11.
“We can’t ignore that our profession is undergoing systemic changes as a result of advances in technology, changing demographics, increasing competition, and growing consumer demand for low-cost legal services. Many lawyers in Louisiana are struggling. We owe it to our members, particularly solo and small-firm practitioners, to provide them with the services and support that will help them succeed in both business and life,” Cunningham said.
In his time at the head of the LSBA Cunningham has vowed to improve and expand attorney training and education programs centered on assisting attorneys in managing their practices and finances with a particular focus on assassinating newly licensed attorneys with managing student loan debt and helping them access banking services.
“In the course of my bar work, I have met extraordinary men and women from across the state who are changing the communities they live in. Like me, these individuals were drawn to law school by the belief in the transformative power of the law. Some are focused on civil rights. Others are focused on economic development. They work for legal aid offices and nonprofits, but are just as likely to be solo or small-firm practitioners. Many dedicate their lives to public service by becoming career prosecutors or public defenders. Others work for big law firms. Some will spend their careers in a courtroom while others will never step foot in one. But they all share a common commitment to making this world a better place and are guided in their pursuit by the ethical standards we live by as officers of the court,” Cunningham said.
In addition, Cunningham said he would continue to defend the separation of powers as it pertains to the state’s judiciary.
“The LSBA has been and will continue to correct the record and stand behind our judges whenever interest groups attack the independence of our judicial system or its commitment to the rule of law,” Cunningham said.
William H. Hines, managing partner of Jones Walker, expressed the firm’s pride in having a Jones Walker partner selected to head the LSBA.
“As it has benefited our firm, Mark's proven leadership and vision will serve the Bar well as he continues to champion pro bono efforts along with programs that promote value and innovation in the delivery of legal services throughout the region,” Hines said.
In addition to his work at Jones Walker, Cunningham has been an adjunct professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law since 2001 specializing in the teaching of antitrust law. Cunningham also is on the board of directors of the New Orleans Bar Association, the Louisiana Center for Law and Civic Education and the New Orleans Regional Institute. Cunningham’s past posts include chairing The Pro Bono Project in New Orleans in 2009-10 for which he received the program’s 2009 Leadership Award and the 2007 and 2008 Distinguished Service Award. He was also appointed to the National Center for the State Court's Lawyers Committee and to the Louisiana Supreme Court's Post-Conviction Relief Ad Hoc Committee.
Prior to being installed as LSBA president Cunningham held several roles with the organization including president-elect, treasurer, secretary, Louisiana Bar Journal editor and Executive Committee member and also served on LSBA's Board of Governors, in the House of Delegates, as chair of the Lawyer Advertising Committee and on the Committee on the Profession and the Client Assistance Fund Committee.