Attorney Lori Surmay doesn’t do anything without giving it her full attention. And in that way, she devotes her energy, passion and time to Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs). This is evidenced by her stories of past cases, her sought-after expertise as a speaker, and her unique interests in humanity, culture and spirituality. When she says she wants to make a difference in people’s lives, you can hear in her voice that she actually means it. Part of what makes this area of law so appealing to her is that it’s more than a lot of “lawyering.” It’s also a lot of educating, a lot of counseling, a lot of ministering, and a lot of listening. Building a family can be a time of excitement, but it can also be a time of anxiety. Lori listens attentively to your needs, making your family’s concerns her first priority and answering your questions thoroughly — directly and candidly, but compassionately.
She enjoys educating you about your numerous family-building options and then working together with you to develop a plan tailor-made for your situation, including attention to its financial impact. Family building requires a very narrow, very specific strategy, and Lori pairs her creativity and enthusiasm with diligence and attention to detail. She carefully manages all aspects of your case, problem-solving when needed, and leaving no loose ends. Lori is respected and liked within many diverse groups and communities, in part because she enjoys learning about others.
Lori became a partner upon the formation of what was at the time Claiborne, Outman & Surmay, P.C. in January 2001. After James B. Outman retired from the firm, Claiborne & Surmay, P.C. was established. In September 2013, Lori formed her own firm - The Law Office of Lori M. Surmay.
From 1993 to 1998, Lori served as staff attorney to the Honorable Hilton Fuller of the DeKalb County Superior Court, where she reviewed approximately 250 adoption cases. So in August 1998, Ruth brought Lori in as part of her practice. Before her time as a staff attorney, Lori concentrated her work on criminal defense, handling primarily federal appeals and death penalty cases. Lori now represents clients in all aspects of the adoption and reproductive technology practice.
Lori is a sought-after speaker on adoption and ARTs law at numerous seminars and forums; she has served as a faculty member of the “Adoption Law and Practice” seminars sponsored by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia since 1998. Lori also worked extensively with the Georgia Courts Automation Commission, which promotes automation of judicial processes in Georgia by planning and implementing pilot projects such as electronic courtrooms, real-time virtual testimony and electronic filing.
With a background in journalism, Lori brings special skills to helping you develop your communications skills as they apply to family building, whether drafting an adoption profile or matching with a gestational carrier. When it is time to finalize your case, Lori has particular insight into the workings of courts, clerks, judges and state and county agencies which she gained during her years of employment with the DeKalb County Superior Court. Using her varied experience, Lori integrates areas as diverse as advising you on finding your birth mother, pursuing your name change prior to finalizing your adoption, making decisions regarding sperm or egg donation, and choosing an appropriate surrogate.
Lori Surmay is an adjunct professor at her alma mater, the University of Georgia, teaching the course Human Sexuality and the Law. Lori received her A.B.J. in journalism in 1984, with a minor in English. She earned her J.D., also from the University of Georgia, in 1992. During law school, Lori was one of four students selected for the National Mock Trial team and one of twelve students selected by the faculty for the Lumpkin Inn of Court. Both faculty and students voted her Outstanding Third Year Woman Law Student, an award sponsored by the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers. She has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. Lori has served as a faculty member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy program teaching litigation skills to law students, judged law school trial and moot court competitions, and co-chaired Law Day for the DeKalb Bar Association. She is also called upon to speak to community organizations. After she worked with mental health experts during a notable criminal trial, a leading forensic psychiatrist invited her to speak on youth gang violence and the court system. Other groups, including the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, often ask Lori to give presentations regarding fertility and adoption options.
Lori is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, admitted to practice in all levels of state and federal courts in Georgia; DeKalb Bar Association; and the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers. She has served on the board of the Stonewall Bar Association for more than a decade, and in her time she has served as a president and then as an ex-officio.
© 2013 by The Law Office of Lori M. Surmay. All rights reserved.