PINEVILLE — Cleco Corporation associate general-counsel attorney Mark D. Pearce has been tapped as one of the latest members of the American Law Society board of directors with America’s Top Lawyers distinction.
The list is touted as a compilation of “well-rounded individuals representing a diverse cross-section of U.S. legal advocates,” according to a news release.
Pearce joined the Louisiana-based Cleco Corp. in 2002 as a senior attorney. Three years after coming on board at Cleco, he became associate general counsel and has been general counsel since 2013.
Before Cleco, he was a partner at Stafford, Stewart and Potter for a decade beginning in 1992. He earned his Juris Doctor from The Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University.
Mark D. Pearce
“It’s a tremendous honor, something I’ve worked my whole life and career to achieve,” Pearce, who primarily works in the areas of insurance defense and automobile and product-liability claims, told the Louisiana Record. “I’m very humbled by the honor.”
Pearce once considered his life’s work to be an entirely different discipline. He graduated magna cum laude from Louisiana Tech with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering in 1984, and spent a decade at Cleco working in engineering before returning to school to study law — a move even he still can’t fully explain why he made at such a critical time in his career.
“I’ve been asked the question of why a million times over the years, and I’m still not sure,” he said. “Some people have suggested it had to be a bump on the head of some sort, but I’m still not at all sure.”
In the end, Pearce surmises it could have had something to do with what he called his “dual personality.”
“The differences are vast,” he said of the two disciplines. “Engineering is an exact science, and law is quite the opposite. Working mostly in the areas of transactional and regulatory law, nowadays I get the best of both worlds.”
After working in private practice for 10 years, Pearce returned to Cleco in 2002 as one of the first hires of the company’s new law division.
“I haven’t looked back,” he said. “And I wouldn’t change a thing about the way my career has evolved.”
The American Law Society Board of Directors largely base their inclusion criteria on attorneys who have shown a long and consistent history of outstanding works. While Pearce has countless recollections, one segment of his career easily stands out most to him.
"My greatest memory is how everything has gone full circle at Cleco,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine things going any better than they have, especially in the face of all the constant change.”
As for the added distinction he now holds, Pearce claims he was surprised to even receive the invitation that he did.
“Someone contacted me a couple months ago about that, and soon after that I had a phone interview,” he said. “I had all but forgotten about everything when I got word around Christmastime that I was selected. That was quite a present.”