Marianna Knister Downer and John Philip “J.P.” Graf Recognized as 2023 Top 40 Honorees by Louisiana State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division

LSBA Young Lawyers Division Top 40 2023

Gordon Arata congratulates associates Marianna Knister Downer and John Philip “J.P.” Graf for their recognition as Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) Young Lawyers Division 2023 Top 40 honorees. The award is presented to top young lawyers in Louisiana who have “made exceptional contributions to the legal profession.” Marianna and J.P. are among a distinguished group of young rising star lawyers across the state selected for their outstanding work. A full list of honorees can be found here. The LSBA distributed awards at the Young Lawyers Conference on April 12, which was held in New Orleans.

As a civil litigator and trial attorney, Marianna represents clients in a wide range of industries, including energy and environmental, construction, and insurance. Her practice extends to complex litigation, appeals, civil procedure, commercial litigation, and risk management. Marianna handles a variety of matters before state and federal courts and manages and coordinates teams of lawyers and staff for several multiparty lawsuits.

Marianna regularly writes and speaks on topics important to the energy industry in Louisiana, including legislative updates on carbon capture and sequestration, alternative energy, and pipeline development to name a few. She was selected as a 2024 Louisiana Rising Star by Super Lawyers.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Marianna is passionate about giving back to her community and is deeply involved with Boys Hope Girls Hope of New Orleans, Shuck Cancer New Orleans, and The Pro Bono Project New Orleans.

J.P. primarily represents energy clients in commercial disputes and litigation and has spoken on energy issues before various industry organizations, including legislative updates for the American Association of Professional Landmen.

Additionally, J.P. represents construction, banking, and other businesses in general commercial litigation. He has served as lead trial counsel and co-counsel, managing litigation matters from intake through trials and appeals, in state and federal courts throughout Louisiana.  Furthermore, J.P. utilizes his litigation experience to effectively represent and assist clients in the start-up, acquisition, and divestiture of their businesses.

J.P. has been recognized as a top young professional in the legal industry by his peers, including Louisiana Super Lawyers Rising Stars, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40, and Top Lawyers in Acadiana. He is active in the Young Lawyers Section of the Lafayette Bar Association (LBA), where he serves as a board member and participates in community outreach events such as Wills for Heroes and Holiday Giving Project. Because of his leadership in the organization and his professional achievements, he was named LBA’s Outstanding Young Lawyer in 2022.

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