The Atlanta Lawyer — August/September 2012
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Building Communities
Lynn M. Roberson

Have just returned from the National Conference of Bar Presidents’ annual meeting in Chicago. Our immediate past president, Rita Sheffey, attended with me as she is now on the board of the Metropolitan Bar Caucus. It was a very productive meeting as I was able to gather ideas from other bar leaders from across the country. Bar associations really do attract the best lawyers! Everyone was more than willing to share their ideas and best practices.<br /> <br /> The Atlanta Bar Association conducted an electronic Bar Poll of all Active & Life Members on Friday, July 6, 2012 for contested judicial candidates for the judicial circuits of Atlanta, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Stone Mountain and Rockdale State and Superior Courts. The poll results were published in several news outlets and, we hope, provided some guidance to the electorate concerning the various candidates.We hope you will all participate in these polls in the future as they can be a valuable resource for our community.<br /> <br /> In this issue of The Atlanta Lawyer, you will learn of some of the many ways our members are contributing to our community and trying to make it a better place for everyone. Our Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program Committee has been rejuvenated. It has provided meaningful work experiences for those law students who have traditionally had difficulty finding clerkships. The Committee’s chairs, G. Wayne Hillis Jr., Curtis J. Martin II, W. seaborn Jones, and Charles T. Lester Jr., are to be congratulated for all their hard work and success.<br /> <br /> Similarly, our Summer Law Internship Program (“SLIP”) celebrated its twentieth year mentoring high school students and providing them insight into our legal community. The SLIP program also provides legal offices in the public sector helpful assistance which they could not afford otherwise, given our current economic circumstances. How can they accomplish this good work? They are able through strong fundraising efforts to provide stipends to these students.Many donors are our own bar sections, such as the Litigation section, which provided stipends for ten students this year. The Committee’s chairs, s. Wade Malone, Natasha Perdew silas, and Nekia s. Hackworth Jones, are to be congratulated for all their hard work and many years of success. They are building a pipeline for students interested in legal careers to move into the legal community. Several of the students who have passed through the slip program are now practicing attorneys in our community.<br /> <br /> Look through the winning essays submitted by SLIP students to see how much this program contributes to our community.(pages 10-13).<br /> <br /> Our Atlanta Council of Younger Lawyers (ACYL) held its annual kick off for its Associates’ Campaign to raise funds for various pro bono organizations including the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF), which provides legal assistance to those who do not qualify for Legal Aid, but who cannot otherwise afford legal services.ACYL pursues financial donations from associates in firms throughout Atlanta to contribute to this most meaningful work.<br /> <br /> Central Atlanta Progress advises us of the good work in which they have been engaged to help build our community (see page 6).<br /> <br /> We also see the reported successes achieved by our own Atlanta Police Department (see page 7). Keeping our community safe and secure is perhaps one of the most meaningful ways to build a sense of community. The APD works tirelessly to achieve that elusive goal with a sometimes minimal budget. We thank them for their efforts. Please join the Atlanta Bar Foundation at the Legal Runaround on September 1, 2012 at Piedmont Park for a 5k race and walk to support the Foundation’s police scholarship fund (see page 9).<br /> <br /> We recently welcomed a class of new lawyers at the mass swearing in ceremony downtown. Our Atlanta Bar Treasurer, Harold Franklin, personally gave the newest members of the profession our congratulations and invited them all to join us in making ours the best legal community in the Atlanta metro area.<br /> <br /> I joined many of our bar friends (on the hottest day in the history of Atlanta!) For a picnic and food fest in a Midtown park. The members of the Multi-Bar Leadership Council (MBLC) held the event and did a great job putting it on.<br /> <br /> I was also honored to attend the Glitter Gala of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys in July. Many members of the Atlanta Bar and MBLC community enjoyed an evening of food and fun together.<br /> <br /> Stay tuned for many more opportunities to participate and enjoy activities of your Atlanta Bar. If you want to become more actively involved, let me know. We will find a special place for you at the Atlanta Bar!