AJMLS Law Journal Elects 2024-2025 Editorial Board for Volume XVIII

The 2023-2024 Law Journal Editorial Board and its Faculty Advisor Editor since 2015, Professor Van Detta, are pleased to announce the election of the seven new members of the Editorial Board of the Law Journal for 2024-2025. Be sure to visit the Law Journal site here to see all past publications.

Suzanne Fulcher Oldweiler

Editor-in-Chief

Suzanne Oldweiler, a 3L student in the full-time J.D. program, has been named to the Dean’s List and received the CALI Award for Criminal Law and the 1L Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. Ms. Oldweiler participated as a pupil in the Charles Longstreet Weltner Family Law Inn of Court, served on the Atlanta Bar Association’s Law School Outreach Committee, and launched the Coffee With a Family Lawyer Program for the AJMLS Family Law Society. In the 2024 summer, Ms. Oldweiler returns to a top family law firm as a Summer Associate.

As a John Marshall Law Journal staff editor during Ms. Oldweiler’s 2L year, she wrote her legislative summary on Senate Bill 114, the Buckhead cityhood bill, as well as a case note on Namdar-Yeganeh, a case addressing modification of existing grandparent visitation rights. As Editor-in-Chief working under the guidance of Law Journal Faculty Advisor and John E. Ryan Professor of Int’l Business & Workplace Law, Professor Jeffrey A. Van Detta, Ms. Oldweiler is inspired to team with the Vol. 18 Editorial Board to foster intellectual curiosity and highlight the thought leadership and legal talent within the AJMLS community. Further, Ms. Oldweiler seeks to support the continued development of legal writing and research skills for all Law Journal members. 

Before attending law school, Ms. Oldweiler spent nearly two decades in sales and business development roles at leading technology companies, most recently at GRAPHISOFT – a Nemetschek Group company – where she was promoted to lead the North American Key Accounts team. She has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate with Atlanta CASA, as a Coach with Partners in Change, held various roles assisting with local APS Elementary School initiatives, as a Board Member of the Georgia Tech Business Network, and as President of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association’s Atlanta Intown Network. Ms. Oldweiler is also a finisher of the New York and Miami marathons and 17 half-marathons.

Ms. Oldweiler holds a B.S. in Business Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and resides in Atlanta with her husband and two daughters.

Gloria Garcia

Executive Managing Editor

Gloria Garcia grew up in the small town of Bethlehem, Georgia. She is a full-time 3L student. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia in 2022. As an undergraduate, she worked as a legal assistant for a Social Security Disability firm. During her time at AJMLS, she has served as a Peer Mentor and Academic Chair for CHALLSA. She was also named to the Dean’s List and Outstanding Student of the Quarter during the Fall 2023.

As staff editor, Ms. Garcia wrote her legislative summary on House Bill 226, a bill seeking to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income persons with HIV. While writing this summary, Ms. Garcia had the opportunity to meet with the bill’s sponsor, Representative Sharon Cooper. Ms. Garcia also wrote on State of GA v. Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a case before the Georgia Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Heartbeat Bill.

Ms. Garcia is very excited to serve as Executive Managing Editor for the law journal’s Vol. 18 Editorial Board, where she hopes to provide future members with more publication opportunities.

Anthony Zahn

Co-Executive Legislative & Recent Case Summaries Editor

Mr. Zahn is a dedicated law student recently appointed to the Executive Board as Co-Executive Legislative & Recent Case Summaries Editor. Mr. Zahn  graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia Gwinnett College, earning a 4.0 GPA while majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Sociology. Mr. Zahn  has received CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in Torts II, Legal Writing and Research II, Real Property, and Evidence. Mr. Zahn  is actively involved as a Peer Mentor in Atlanta John Marshall Law School’s Peer Mentoring Program, a research assistant to Professor Suparna Malempati, and a John Marshall Law School Lexis Associate. Additionally, Mr. Zahn  interns at the Nagel Law Firm, focusing on personal injury cases. This fall, Mr. Zahn  will further his practical experience as a third-year student practitioner under the Student Practice Act with the Hall County Solicitor General’s Office.In Fall 2023, Mr. Zahn  wrote his Legislative Summary on Senate Bill 62. a bill aimed at compelling Georgia counties and cities to enforce certain outdoor camping policies, prohibiting the transfer of unhoused individuals from one locale to another, and establishing an audit of all federal funds coming into the state that have been spent on programs that are supposed to assist unhoused citizens. In Spring 2024, Mr. Zahn  wrote his case note on Elements Distribution, LLC v. State of Ga, a case that focused on the legality and classification of Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC infused products, specifically food products. Mr. Zahn  is thrilled to have been selected for the Executive Board of the Atlanta John Marshall Law Journal, where he looks forward to contributing to the publication’s success.

Morgan Knowles

Co-Executive Legislative & Recent Case Summaries Editor

Ms. Knowles was born and raised in McDonough, Georgia. She attended Kennesaw State University where she graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. During her time at KSU, Ms. Knowles served as team captain of the Model NATO team, served on the board for the Society for Global Diplomacy, and assisted students as a supplemental instructor for American Government. 

After graduating, Ms. Knowles worked as a paralegal for multiple law firms in Atlanta. After several years in the field, she chose to attend Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School – beginning the same day her daughter, Evie, began Kindergarten. 

Throughout law school, Ms. Knowles has served as a student bar association representative, received a CALI award for Contracts I, and has been named to the Dean’s List. During her first year serving on the Law Journal, Ms. Knowles wrote her legislative summary on H.B. 458, relating to the farming and sale of hemp products in Georgia. During the Spring of 2024, she wrote a case summary on Bowman v. State of Georgia, where the failure to administer a jury oath resulted in a reversal of the defendant’s purported convictions.  

During her free time, Ms. Knowles enjoys spending time with her daughter Evie, fiancé Dillon, and her animals. She is an avid believer in the “beach heals all,” and hopes one day she will retire on a warm, white, sandy beach. After graduation, Ms. Knowles hopes to return to her previous employer, Brooks Injury Law, where she can continue to assist and represent injured parties.

Elissa Codrea

Symposium Editor

Elissa Codrea is a full-time 3L student in the J.D. program.  While at John Marshall she has earned the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis I and II, and E-discovery.  Ms. Codrea is also a pupil with the Homer F. Drake Bankruptcy Inn of Court, as well as member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers. 

As a staff editor during her 2L year, Ms. Codrea wrote her legislative summary on Senate Bill 99, which aimed to provide exemptions to the current certificate of need requirements in order to provide rural Georgians with better access to health care by removing the barriers medical providers face when attempting to build new facilities or upgrade outdated medical equipment.  Continuing with the Journal, Ms. Codrea has been elected as Symposium Editor and is looking forward to executing an insightful and stimulating CLE program in Spring of 2025.

Prior to attending law school, Ms. Codrea graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Communications.  After moving to Scottsdale, Arizona, she spent 13 years with MedFinManager as a Senior Facilitator and Manager of the Mass Torts division, facilitating lien based medical care for third party liability cases.  During her tenure with MedFinManager she coordinated more than 750 orthopedic surgeries for uninsured and underinsured clients enabling them to return to their pre-accident lives as contributing members to society.  

Ms. Codrea is an avid bibliophile and equestrian, and when not reading or riding, can be found working on the family farm in Dahlonega and managing its 5-star rated VRBO rental property.

Hailey Tegeder

Internet and Online Presence Editor

Hailey Tegeder graduated from Kennesaw State University magna cum laude with a B.S. in Political Science. Ms. Tegeder was co-captain of KSU’s Mock Trial Team and worked for the University as a Supplemental Instruction Leader, where she conducted study sessions to assist students taking POLS 1101 (American Government) to deepen their understanding of course content and develop study strategies. 

While at John Marshall, Ms. Tegeder has earned the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis I, Contracts I, and Torts II. She has continued assisting students in their academic development by acting as a TA for Legal Writing, and has also externed for the Homeless Veterans Clinic where she represented homeless veterans charged with misdemeanor crimes. Ms. Tegeder’s work with the Clinic included achieving a dismissal for a veteran accused of stealing food, preventing a probation revocation that would have resulted in five years of jail time.
As a staff editor, Ms. Tegeder wrote a legislative summary on Senate Bill 222, which prohibits local governments from accepting donations for election administration, and a case note on Gates v. State, a Georgia Supreme Court Case that held it was a violation of the right to privacy for the police to use an ex-parte court order, rather than a warrant, to obtain a defendant’s medical records. Ms. Tegeder looks forward to her position on the Editorial Board, where she hopes to help the Journal flourish and contribute to the legal community.

Jesse Moore

Executive Research Editor

Jesse Moore is a 4L student in the part-time J.D. program. He earned a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from Armstrong State University, now known as Georgia Southern University.

Mr. Moore has been named to the Dean’s List and has received the CALI Awards for Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Death Penalty, American Constitutional History, Constitutional Law I, International Business Transactions, Legal Writing, Research, & Analysis I & II, Business Organizations, Contracts II, and Torts I. He is also a competitor on the AJMLS Mock Trial team. 

As a staff editor of the John Marshall Law Journal, Mr. Moore wrote his legislative summary on House Bill 120, a bill that expanded the issuance of driving permits for individuals previously adjudicated guilty of driving under the influence. Mr. Moore also wrote a case note on Green v. State of Georgia, a case in which the Georgia Supreme Court overruled decades of its own precedent by deciding that a criminal defendant’s guilty plea could stand despite the judge’s failure to advise the defendant of all the right waived when pleading guilty.

As Executive Research Editor working under the guidance of Law Journal Faculty Advisor, Professor Jeffrey A. Van Detta, Mr. Moore aims to collaborate closely with the Editorial Board to advance scholarly research and publication excellence within the Law Journal. Inspired by the achievements of his predecessors, Mr. Moore is dedicated to enhancing the journal’s impact through meticulous research, robust editorial support, and innovative digital presence initiatives, ensuring the growth of legal writing and research skills among all members.

Mr. Moore resides in Gwinnett with his wife, Carolina, and his son, Samuel.

AJMLS Honors Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert, Antonio Lee, and Vincent Phillips as 2024 Distinguished Alumni

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is delighted to announce the 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients: Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert (’12), Antonio Lee (’14), and Vincent Phillips (’96). The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to alumni who have obtained distinction in their professional careers. Those honored share the same characteristics of leadership, progressive thinking, high standards, uncompromising integrity, commitment, courage, and confidence. Their careers serve as models for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students and alumni. We will celebrate the 2024 honorees at the Alumni Awards Reception on Thursday, August 8, 2024. Click here to view past award recipients.

Congratulations!

Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert, Class of 2012

Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert is an accomplished attorney and the founder of Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group, a reputable personal injury firm with multiple locations throughout the Atlanta Metro. Jennifer and her team specialize in representing clients injured in auto accidents, trucking crashes, slip-and-fall incidents, wrongful death cases, and more. With a strong focus on maximizing case values and streamlining the legal process using technology and efficient communication, Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group has become known for its exceptional client service and results-driven approach.

Under Jennifer’s leadership, Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group has experienced exponential growth in cases, revenue, and employee size since its establishment in 2013. Jennifer’s dedication and expertise have also earned her numerous accolades, including Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2018-2024, Daily Report’s Award for Best Social Media, National Trial Lawyers Award for Best Social Media 2024, Avvo Clients’ Choice Award, the Avvo Top Personal Attorney Award, and The National Trial Lawyers’ Top 40 Under 40 Civil Plaintiff Lawyers Award, among others. Most recently, her firm was recognized on the Inc 5000 list of Fastest Growing Companies in the US in 2022 and 2023. Jennifer also was one of the co-authors of the book “Tiger Tactics CEO Edition” published in 2023. She has appeared in many news articles include USA Today, as well as podcasts, and stages speaking about her entrepreneurial legal journey.

In addition to her legal work, Jennifer is committed to giving back to her community by supporting local events, sponsoring scholarships for college students, and donating to the Backpack Project, which provides backpacks and school supplies to students in need. Jennifer also coaches personal injury attorneys and business owners on topics such as personal injury law, practice management, and business marketing. She currently serves as the Past President of the Alumni Association at Atlanta’s John Marshall, where she works to reinvigorate the alumni community and support the school’s mission. She is also the President of Georgia Association for Women Lawyer’s Foundation, which focuses on philanthropy by women lawyers in Georgia for the benefit of the community as well as, scholarships for women law students in Georgia.

Antonio Lee, Class of 2014

Antonio Lee is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana at the U.S. Department of Justice. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Lee was an Assistant State’s Attorney (ASA) at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he handled all aspects of defensive civil litigation for torts and civil rights cases in state, appellate, and federal court. Prior to his position as an ASA, Mr. Lee was selected into the prestigious U.S. Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, where he served as Attorney Advisor for then-Commissioner, now Chair Charlotte A. Burrows at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, dealing with complex employment discrimination issues on a national level. Through the PMF program, Mr. Lee also worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, and the U.S. Department of Justice – Community Relations Service. 

Mr. Lee holds several local and national leadership positions while tutoring law students to successfully pass state bar examinations. He currently serves as Vice President of the Cook County Bar Association, Board Member-at-Large for the National Bar Association (NBA), Chair of the NBA’s LGBTQ Division, Chief-of-staff for NBA’s President-elect Wiley Adams, Lead Coordinator for NBA’s Economic Empowerment national programming, member of the General Assembly for the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), member of ISBA’s Young Lawyers Division Section Council, and member of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s Advisory Council to eliminate bullying in the legal profession. 

Mr. Lee is a licensed attorney in Georgia, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. He graduated from Ball State University and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, cum laude.

Vincent Phillips, Class of 1996

Recognized nationally as one of the most influential attorneys in entertainment and culture, Vincent “Vince” Phillips is a trailblazing attorney, music executive, prolific business strategist, genre-transforming global brand creator, and social anthropologist.

With a career spanning more than two decades, Atlanta-native Vince Phillips is a Founding Partner at Arrington and Phillips, LLP, specializing in entertainment law. Acknowledged as a Billboard Magazine “Top Music Lawyer” for several years, A Variety magazine Top Entertainment Lawyer and is considered a pioneer of the music and entertainment presence in Atlanta, Vince is one of the entertainment industry’s most accomplished and sought-after attorneys, representing artists and producing cultural phenomena that changed the landscape of urban and global music. He currently represents several chart-topping, recording artists, labels and award-winning film and television actors and executives.

Vince is considered a pioneer for the Atlanta entertainment industry. Vince was a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BME Recordings, LLC, which he co-founded with multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning producer and artist Lil Jon. As one of the most successful independent hip hop record labels and publishers in America, BME created the “Crunk Music” sub-genre of hip hop that rocked and transformed a generation. 

A graduate of Georgia State University and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Vince is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Georgia State Bar Association, and sits on the board of the Black Entertainment and Sports Association. He is tireless in his work to end youth exploitation and human sex trafficking; serves on the Board of Directors of youthSpark, a nonprofit organization providing support services, interventions, and public policy advocacy for victims of abuse; and Meals on Wheels Atlanta (MOWA). Vince also serves as a strategic advisor to Beloved Villages, a start-up social enterprise focused on building, scaling, and replicating the beloved community of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.

Vince is an avid reader, father of two, and community servant with a passion for humanitarian and sustainability issues impacting the world.

Congratulations Brooke Gordon, 2024 Name Image & Likeness (NIL) Competition Winner

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulations Brooke Gordon, the 2024 winner of The Different STEM Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Competition. The Competition was held at the Law School March 22-23 and was a component of the Sports, Technology, Entertainment and Media (STEM) Conference. The Different STEM Conference featured subject matter experts from sports, technology, entertainment, media, business, and law.

The Name Image & Likeness (NIL) Competition was an interdisciplinary contest that intersected sports, entertainment, branding, marketing, business, and law. The event was designed to challenge various skills across the fluid landscape in which NIL, endorsement, and promotional deals exist. Participants used creative, analytical, critical thinking, persuasive, and presentation skills. The experience was designed to make participants develop skills which can be applied towards their professional and entrepreneurial pursuits, as well as network with current practitioners and develop new relationships.  

Brooke did an amazing job with her NIL pitches and zealously advocated for the proposed deals she crafted for her student-athlete clients. She demonstrated exemplary creativity in addressing the complex legal issues surrounding name, image, and likeness rights. Thank you to the other competitors: Natasha Torrence, Jordon Robinson, and Dwayne “DJ” Brown, for participating; they showcased legal acumen and analytical abilities. Each competitor demonstrated a high level of proficiency and dedication, and each submission and presentation was truly impressive.

Congratulations to Brooke Gordon for her outstanding achievement, and thank you to all the participants for their hard work and dedication.

Thank You For Your Contributions to the 2024 Public Interest Law Auction

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Office of Development and Alumni Relations is thrilled to celebrate the success of the annual Public Interest Law Auction. This event is a testament to our collective commitment to public interest initiatives, which garnered over $5,000.00 in support.

We express sincere appreciation to those who contributed to the success of the auction. From the dedication of our faculty, staff, and students to the unwavering support of our esteemed alumni, friends, and sponsors, your generosity fuels the ongoing advancement of public interest law within our community.

Exploring deeper into public interest law, this auction offered a multifaceted exploration of its diverse realms. We had the privilege of hosting distinguished speakers who shared their invaluable insights and experiences. Our guest speaker, Deputy Director Ashton Murphy of the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, offered profound perspectives on the power of serving in the Public Interest sector.

An additional heartfelt thank you extends to our special guests who lent their voices to this enriching dialogue: 

  • Nell Brimmer, U.S. Regional Manager – Pro Bono Services, Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Nina Gupta, Partner, Parker Poe
  • Dar’shun Kendrick, Georgia House of Representatives, Kairos Capital Legal Advisors 

Their expertise and passion exemplify the transformative power of public interest law in effecting positive change.

A special thank you, to Erik Provitt, Associate Director at Guidehouse, whose engaging presence as master of ceremonies enriched the auction. Also, a special appreciation to Carlton Lewis, Provisional Assistant District Attorney in Gwinnett County, whose auctioneering skills added an exciting flair to the live auction.

As we reflect on the success of the 2024 Public Interest Law Auction, we recognize the profound impact of your support. Together, we stand poised to uphold the principles of justice, equity, and opportunity inherent in public interest law. With appreciation and enthusiasm, we look forward to continuing this journey of advocacy and empowerment.

Warm regards,
Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

2024 Renata Turner Award Recipient

Kaliyah Chisolm (J.D. Candidate 2025)

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to complete my internship with the Juvenile division of the Public Defender’s Office without worrying about how I can meet my financial obligations over the summer. It is my dream to provide competent and affordable legal representation for underserved youth and the opportunity to learn this summer without financial worry is a blessing. Thank you so much for your support!

2024 Aspiring Public Defender Scholarship Recipient

Ashley Kreider (J.D. Candidate 2024)

I would like to extend my thanks to Attorney Eustice and all the donors who have made this scholarship possible. This scholarship has given me the financial freedom to continue pursuing my dream of working for the state to help indigent populations. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity the Aspiring Public Defender Scholarship has afforded me.

2024 Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsor

Blue & White Sponsor

Thank You to Our Event Host

Judge Renata Turner Returns to AJMLS for Fireside Chat with Dean Erika Walker-Cash

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) welcomed Judge Renata Turner, Chief Presiding Judge of Fulton County Juvenile Court, to engage in a fireside chat with AJMLS students alongside Dean Erika Walker-Cash.

Dean Walker-Cash’s Critical Race Theory class hosted the event on Monday, April 8. Judge Turner and Dean Walker-Cash discussed the racial demographics of the children who are involved in the Fulton County Juvenile Court system (children of color, particularly black children, are grossly overrepresented), the systemic challenges those children face, and the resources and community support that is needed to address those challenges. They also discussed the solution-focused strategies Judge Turner has spearheaded including the Fulton School-Justice Pathways Partnership and various local anti-gang summits.

Judge Turner’s career and leadership at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School began in 2007 and grew from Associate Professor to Director of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships to her last post as Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Experiential Learning. She was appointed to the Juvenile Court in April 2015 as an Associate Judge and was elevated to Presiding Judge in May 2017. As Chief Presiding Judge, Judge Turner oversees the administrative operations of Fulton County Juvenile Court, an institution that employs over 140 individuals. The Court provides critical judicial services to individuals under 18 facing dependency, Children in Need of Services cases, and those under 17 involved in delinquency or traffic violations within Fulton County. It is the largest juvenile court in Georgia and is among the most prominent in the Southeastern United States.

The Law School thanks Judge Turner for her time and continued friendship, it is always a pleasure to welcome her back to campus.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Judge Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Class of 1992, as Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Judge Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., Class of 1992, as the Law School’s 2024 commencement speaker. Commencement exercises are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2024. The ceremony will be held at the Rialto Center for the Arts, located at 80 Forsyth St., NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. The event will be live streamed at this link. Tickets are required for entry and have been distributed to graduates individually, additional tickets will not be available at the door. For general information you can visit our graduation page here and/or our logistics page here for further details.

“We are delighted that Judge Ramsey accepted our invitation to be this year’s commencement speaker. We have been celebrating our 90th anniversary this past academic year and his journey to the bench truly embodies what it means to leave a lasting legacy and inspire the next generation of legal professionals. We are proud of his success and look forward to welcoming him back.”

– Dean Jace C. Gatewood

“I am honored to have the opportunity to congratulate the commitment and resolve of those who have navigated the arduous, yet rewarding experience of law school and to impart some sage words to facilitate their journey into proficient, charitable and integrous legal careers.”

– Judge Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr.

About Judge Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr.

Judge Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr., is the immediate past Presiding Judge of Division –B and led the court through the recent world-wide pandemic by leading a team to develop technology innovations, including virtual proceedings and other platforms that will serve the court and citizens of DeKalb County for years to come. Judge Ramsey also successfully negotiated with county leadership for relocation and construction of a new State Court – Division B, courthouse with expected occupancy in early 2025. In 2021, Judge Ramsey was also instrumental and reshaping legislation to transform the governance and equity of the court. Judge Ramsey is the immediate past District Chair for the Council of State Court Judges, where he also served as Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee.

Ramsey began his professional career in Atlanta, with the National Labor Relations Board, a federal agency, after graduating with honors from North Carolina Central University in 1981. While working full-time as a federal investigator and hearing officer, Judge Ramsey enrolled as an evening student at John Marshall Law School. Immediately upon being admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1992, Judge Ramsey became a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) legal team for the ensuing two years. He also became a certified mediator during that period and remained a key member of the Justice Center of Atlanta’s mediation team for eighteen years.

Judge Ramsey left government service in 1994, to become the Southeast Regional Counsel for the Laborers International Union. During that period, he also served as an adjunct professor at John Marshall Law School. Three years later, Judge Ramsey became the Director of Labor Relations and Legal Affairs for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, where he served for nearly 2 years.

In 2000, the Honorable Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr. was appointed as the first African-American to serve as a Municipal Court Judge in the City of Stone Mountain, Georgia, where he served until 2007. While serving on the bench, Judge Ramsey engaged in the private practice of law in the areas of criminal defense, labor and employment, business and probate law. His mediation and arbitration services also comprised a significant portion of his practice.

In 2015, Ramsey resigned his nine-year tenure as Georgia State Senator and his ten-year tenure Chief Legal Officer for the DeKalb County School District to accept an appointment by Governor Nathan Deal as an Associate Judge on the DeKalb County State Court.

Judge Ramsey is a past Judicial Section Chair of the historic Gate City Bar Association. Judge Ramsey is also past District 4 Representative of the American Bar Association/ Judicial Division/ National Conference of Specialized Court Judges, where he was subsequently elected to the executive committee and ultimately served a successful term as Chair of the Conference. In 2022, Judge Ramsey was the second African American Judge appointed to serve as a Judicial Outreach Liaison for the American Bar Association/ Judicial Division. Most recently, in 2023, Judge Ramsey was elected to serve on the House of Delegates for the American Bar Association.

Judge Ramsey has been married to his wife, Doris, for over 38 years and they are the parents of two adults, both of whom are graduates of the University System of Georgia.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomed the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice on Their National Law School Tour

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) hosted Defending People, Families, and Communities, a day of events inspired by AJMLS’ selection as the final stop in a year-long national law school tour by the Department of Justice, Office for Access to Justice (ATJ). The purpose of the tour was to lift up legal careers serving those most denied access to justice. “ATJ Day” at AJMLS was the first public event hosted onsite after the grand opening of the Law School’s new lecture hall, student lounge, and study center. The expansion follows the completion of the upgraded Downtown Atlanta campus that opened in 2021.

The full-day of events began with opening remarks by Professor Jonathan Rapping, Director of the AJMLS Criminal Justice Certificate Program and Founder of Gideon’s Promise; additional opening remarks were heard by Ryan K. Buchanan, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Student leaders then engaged in a fireside chat with Rachel Rossi, Director of U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice.

“We are honored to have hosted Director Rossi and her team on their national law school tour,” said Jace C. Gatewood, Dean of AJMLS. “Our institution prides itself on empowering students to skillfully shape the criminal justice system. By providing an integrated, applied approach to legal education, AJMLS students graduate equipped with the necessary strategies to be ethical, professional, and moral lawyers in less than perfect systems. Our faculty and students fully immersed themselves in the day’s events and we believe the unique experience will be a lasting highlight of their law school careers.”

Attendees were invited to table talks with over 20 participating organizations, ranging from defender offices to non-profits, local to national. Seasoned practitioners led eight workshops tailored to both undergraduate and law students seeking careers in law and criminal justice. An inspiring keynote address was delivered by Director Rossi, who spoke passionately about joining the mission of public defense work while inspiring students to forge a new vision for justice.

“In their daily work, public defenders are tasked with the mighty responsibility of ensuring that the constitutional promises core to our justice system — innocent until proven guilty, speedy trial, due process, reasonable search and seizure — are realized,” said Office for Access to Justice Director Rachel Rossi. “In these ways, they make sure every part of our system is fairer, more equal, more just.”

Two panel discussions, Transformational Stories: Wisdom From Justice-Impacted Law Students and Connecting Advocacy in the Courtroom, Community, and Statehouse, offered attendees the experience of discussing topics seldom explored in a law school setting. The community experience at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is different in that these discussions are both welcomed and encouraged.

“Participating in Access to Justice Day was a unique opportunity to engage with practitioners of social justice, advocacy, and public service,” said Ricky Panayoty, Student Bar Association President and justice-impacted student panelist. “It allowed me to deepen my understanding of the legal needs of underserved communities and inspired me to work toward creating a more equitable and inclusive legal system. Additionally, Access to Justice Day allowed me to participate in sharing transformational stories that inspire others to consider a career in public service.”

Final thoughts were delivered by Professor Jonathan Rapping then all enjoyed an evening reception hosted at the Law School by the Barrister’s Society.

“It was an incredible honor for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School to be selected as the final stop of the Office for Access to Justice’s National Law School Tour focusing on the critical need for public defenders and elevating career opportunities in diverse environments,” said Professor Rapping. “That AJMLS was chosen as the culmination of a year of events celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright is a testament to the mission and values of our institution. It is also a testament to our amazing student body. Our graduates will disproportionately represent people in trial courts who otherwise would not have access to justice. This is a reflection of our commitment to shaping a generation of lawyers committed to improving the profession and, in turn, society.”

Prior to “ATJ Day” at the Law School, the Office for Access to Justice had commemorated National Public Defense Day on March 18 by announcing the launch of the Public Defense Resource Hub (PD Hub), a one-stop shop with comprehensive resources and materials to support individuals and organizations involved in public defense.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Celebrates the Grand Opening of Its New Lecture Hall, Student Lounge, and Study Center

On Monday, March 18, 2024, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) celebrated the grand opening of its new lecture hall, student lounge, and study center with all-day events.

“The addition of this new floor is a testament to our commitment to providing a supportive and enriching environment for all members of our community,” said Dean Jace C. Gatewood. “We believe that these new facilities will not only enhance the daily experience but also contribute significantly to academic and personal growth.”

With the acquisition of another floor in Marquis One Tower, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School now occupies floors 17-20 with floor to ceiling views of Downtown Atlanta at every turn. The build-out was an exhilarating surprise to students when they returned from spring break.

The new space includes:

  • An impressive 126-seat, state-of-the-art lecture hall named after longtime Chairman, Dr. Michael C. Markovitz.
  • A spacious student lounge: Designed for maximum comfort and convenience, the space has couches, chairs, tables, study rooms, and TV.
  • Glass-walled modern study areas: Conducive to solo or group studying, each room has a white board wall to get organized.
  • Student organization offices: The new offices provide a home base for all student organizations and the law journal.
  • A large kitchen area: Students have access to seating, refrigerators, microwaves, vending, and free coffee complimentary of their Student Bar Association.
  • Additional student-centered spaces: Students will have access to multiple printers, open study or lounge seating, and conference areas.

The Law School extends its heartfelt thanks to the facilities team for their dedicated planning and work that brought this campus expansion to fruition; as well as the many creative minds that made a huge space feel comfortable and inviting. Now complete, we look forward to welcoming the Department of Justice’s Access to Justice team as they conclude their National Law School tour at the Law School tomorrow. The new Markovitz Lecture Hall also kicks-off its opening week by hosting the Law Journal Symposium this Friday.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Information

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School follows the lead of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), as well as other local, state, and federal agencies to make sure we have the most up-to-date information available. Any changes will be promptly communicated by email and posted to this page.

Click here to review all COVID-19 relief funding: CARES Act (HEERF I), CRRSAA Act (HEERF II), ARP Act (HEERF III)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (updated 3/31/20)

March 8, 2024 COVID-19 Policies Suspended

Effective immediately, we will be suspending the COVID-related policies that have been in place at our institution. This means that there will no longer be requirements for COVID-19 testing or notifications of exposure within the Law School community. Additionally, the specific accommodations that were offered in relation to these policies will also be discontinued.

Please understand that these changes are being made in alignment with the updated recommendations from the CDC, and our priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We remain committed to monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to adjust our policies as necessary to respond to new developments.

It is important to note that the Law School reserves the right to reinstate any of these policies at our discretion, should the need arise. We will continue to keep you informed of any further changes or updates.

Thank you for your ongoing flexibility and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together.

AJMLS COVID Related Announcements, Archived

March 8, 2024 COVID-19 Policies Suspended

Effective immediately, we will be suspending the COVID-related policies that have been in place at our institution. This means that there will no longer be requirements for COVID-19 testing or notifications of exposure within the Law School community. Additionally, the specific accommodations that were offered in relation to these policies will also be discontinued.

Please understand that these changes are being made in alignment with the updated recommendations from the CDC, and our priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We remain committed to monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to adjust our policies as necessary to respond to new developments.

It is important to note that the Law School reserves the right to reinstate any of these policies at our discretion, should the need arise. We will continue to keep you informed of any further changes or updates.

Thank you for your ongoing flexibility and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together.

February 10, 2023 COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Discontinued

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has discontinued its COVID-19 vaccination policy for students and employees. Moving forward, the Fall 2023 entering class will not be required to provide proof of vaccination or submit negative test results to attend. The Law School, however, will continue its Campus COVID-19 Protocols that inform what to do if an individual tests positive and how to safely return to class. A heartfelt “thank you” to our community for its enthusiastic participation and support these past three years, we look forward to a healthier future together.

We follow the lead of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), as well as other local, state, and federal agencies to make sure we have the most up-to-date information available. Any changes will be promptly communicated by email and posted to this page.

September 2022, If a student tests positive…

Complete this form immediately: Positive COVID Test Submission Form

March 1, 2022 Updated Mask Policy

Dear Community:

On Friday, February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it is relaxing its mask guidance for communities where hospitals aren’t under high strain. Under the new guidance, nearly 70% of the U.S. population lives in an area considered to be low or medium risk, including the Atlanta Metropolitan area, and residents there are advised they can go indoors without masks. Following suit, the City of Atlanta Mayor announced Friday that the city’s indoor mask mandate has been lifted, but still requires masks at public meetings and programs in city facilities. Given this change in the CDC’s policy, the Law School is lifting the mask mandate. While all students, faculty, staff, and visitors within the Law School are strongly encouraged to wear a facial covering or mask over the mouth and nose at all times, the wearing of masks will be optional. However, in accordance with CDC recommendations, anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms should be tested and wear a mask until you receive negative test results. Please note that, while masks are not required generally, faculty and staff may require masks for in-person meetings or other face-to-face gatherings so you should still bring a mask with you to campus for that possibility.  

The Law School reserves the right to require masks at any time based upon new CDC guidance or COVID-19 Community Levels, including COVID-19 levels within the Law School community. The Law School also reserves the right to require masks in specific situations, such as during the final exam period or at large Law School functions, including graduation.

Thank you, Dean Gatewood

February 23, 2022 Policy Modification

The policy announced January 27, 2022, will be modified to allow vaccinated students to submit the results of a negative FDA- or DOH-authorized PCR, rapid PCR, or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) COVID-19 test collected within 24 hours of the start of an event to participate in any Law School or student-run programming, including the PILS Auction, Barristers’ Ball, Spring Picnic, or Graduation in lieu of a booster shot. Please note, however, that this modification is for the Spring 2022 semester only and shall not operate as an exemption to the booster requirement for the Summer 2022 or Fall 2022 registration. Until further notice, if you are fully vaccinated you will be required to submit evidence of a booster shot prior to summer and fall registration to be permitted to attend classes. Vaccinated individuals may seek a medical exemption only based upon such student’s reaction to the initial vaccinations. Such students must provide a written statement from a healthcare provider licensed to practice medicine in the United States stating that a specific immunization is medically contraindicated and giving the reasons for and duration of this contraindication for review.

Students who previously received an exemption during the Fall 2021 semester will continue to be exempt and must continue to provide on a weekly basis a negative COVID-19 test result to continue in the upcoming Summer or Fall semesters. 

Notwithstanding the above modification, each student is strongly encouraged to obtain a booster shot at their earliest convenience and not wait until summer or fall semester arrives.

January 27, 2022 Re: Booster Requirement

Dear Students:

As we begin the process of returning to campus and in-person instruction, it is extremely important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides real-world support for the effectiveness of boosters against both the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19. After reviewing this new information, talking with representatives at several other law schools and considering the actions of many other educational institutions, we have decided to require that each fully vaccinated student receive a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible, but in any event not later than Friday, March 4, 2022. We believe that this policy will best protect the health, safety and welfare of everyone on campus. If you have already received your booster vaccination, you must submit proof of the vaccination HERE as soon as possible but not later than Friday, March 4, 2022.

Any student who fails to meet this deadline will not be permitted to participate in any Law School or student-run programming, including the PILS Auction, Barrister’s Ball, Spring Picnic, or Graduation.

Students who received an exemption during the Fall 2021 semester must continue to provide on a weekly basis a negative COVID-19 test result. In addition to the weekly reporting requirement, to participate in any Law School or student-run event, each unvaccinated student with an exemption will be required to submit the results of a negative FDA- or DOH-authorized PCR, rapid PCR, or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) COVID-19 test collected within 24 hours of the event start. 

Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to make our community safe for all.

Dean Gatewood

January 24, 2022 Re: Return to Campus

We are excited to welcome everyone back to campus on Monday, January 31, 2022, when classes will resume entirely in person. As we return to the in-person format, we are committed to maintaining protocols protecting the health and safety of students, faculty and staff on campus. Prior to your return, please familiarize yourself with the CDC-based protocols below that will be in effect for the Spring 2022 semester. Any unvaccinated student will need to email to COVID19@johnmarshall.edu a copy of a negative COVID test result taken within 3 days of the start of class on Monday, January 31, 2022, to be permitted on campus. Failure to provide such a test will result in an absence for each day until submitted.

General protocols:

  • The mask policy will remain in full effect. While on campus, everyone is required to wear a mask that fully covers their nose and mouth.
  • To the extent possible, you should practice social distancing and keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and other people.
  • The Vaccination Policy, including its weekly reporting requirement for all unvaccinated individuals, will remain in full effect.

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and received a positive COVID-19 test result: complete this form immediately: Positive COVID Test Submission Form.
  • Those who test positive should follow the following CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines: 
  1. Stay home for 5 days.
  2. If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you may return to school with a negative COVID Test result. Negative test results should be sent to the Law School via email at COVID19@johmarshall.edu.
  3. Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
  4. If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves. You may return to school after a negative COVID Test result. Negative test results should be sent to the Law School via email at COVID19@johmarshall.edu.
  • Classes will be recorded as an accommodation for students who are absent due to a positive COVID-19 test and the required quarantine period.
  • When students report having a positive COVID-19 test and report that they attended class during their infectious period, the professor of the class will be contacted by an Associate Dean. The professor will be notified that a positive case has been identified in their class. The identity of the individual will not be revealed to the professor unless needed to identify close contacts. An Associate Dean will notify those students who are considered to have had a close contact consistent with the CDC definition of close contact.  

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Per CDC guidance, fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who have COVID-19 symptoms should be evaluated by a healthcare provider and get tested.
  • Students who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should closely monitor their health and get tested if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms.

Thank you, Dean Gatewood

December 30, 2021 Re: Omicron

Dear Students:

There has been a recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country and in Georgia. Accordingly, and in-line with other Georgia institutions, classes will begin on time for spring semester in a remote format only. Specifically, all classes will be conducted online from Monday, January 10, 2022 through Friday, January 28, 2022, with the intent to resume in-person learning on Monday, January 31, 2022, as health and safety conditions permit. During this time, the Law School will remain closed to students. No students will be permitted on campus during this time and all programming scheduled during this period should be done exclusively online. All students who have been fully vaccinated are strongly encouraged to receive a booster shot, and if you remain unvaccinated due to an exemption, you are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted at your earliest convenience.  Upon our return to in-person (or hybrid) learning, the Mask Policy and Vaccination Policy, including providing a weekly negative COVID test for those unvaccinated, will be strictly enforced. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation daily and announce any changes as necessary consistent with CDC guidelines. 

November 22, 2021 Re: Spring 2022

Based upon recent CDC statistics, COVID 19 cases have significantly decreased while those vaccinated have significantly increased. The result is that we have had far fewer incidences of COVID being reported this semester since resuming in-person instruction. With cases on the decline and vaccinations on the incline, it’s time that we get back to a sense of normalcy while maintaining safety protocols. Accordingly, to continue our efforts to enhance the educational experience, beginning January 3, 2022, we will discontinue the hybrid format of instruction and continue classes 100% in-person while adhering to CDC safety guidelines. Classes will no longer be conducted remotely via Zoom. To accommodate the in-person format and maintain safety protocols consistent with CDC guidance, the Vaccination Policy, including its weekly reporting requirement for all unvaccinated individuals, and Mask Policy shall remain in full effect. Any changes to these policies will be announced prior to the Spring 2022 semester.

Thank you and Happy Holidays, Dean Gatewood

October 4, 2021 Return to Campus Plan

Over the last several weeks, we have heard from many students who have expressed a strong desire to return to in-person learning because they have found it to be a more effective learning experience. We have also heard from students who have expressed concerns with regard to returning to in-person learning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The concerns on both fronts were confirmed in the student survey that was sent out this weekend. This survey revealed that 49.1% of students preferred some form of in-person learning (whether all in-person, or some hybrid form) while 50.9% of students preferred to remain online for the remainder of the semester. Based on comments made in the survey, many of those who preferred to remain online cited the failure of some individuals to abide by the school’s mandatory mask policy as a major consideration for their preference. 

In consultation with the faculty, and taking all student concerns into consideration, we have decided that the best educational model moving forward this semester is a hybrid option that will permit both in-person and remote classroom experiences. This option provides students the opportunity of receiving some level of in-person instruction for each course, while addressing COVID-related safety issues by having fewer students on campus at the same time and minimizing the interaction between cohorts. To further address safety concerns, the mandatory mask and vaccination policies will remain in effect and be strictly enforced during this period, and enhanced cleaning protocols have been arranged.

Accordingly, beginning October 11, 2021, the Law School will operate on a hybrid schedule that combines in-person learning with synchronous remote learning via Zoom. Under this schedule, courses that meet twice/week will have one in-person class and one synchronous remote class each week. Courses that meet once/week will be adjusted in a different manner. Associate Dean Scott Boone will be sending out a modified schedule course later this week indicating which classes will be held in-person and which classes will be held remotely. Under this modified schedule, class schedules and classroom assignments will remain largely the same, with only a few changes to enable the COVID-19 safety provisions noted above. Social distancing guidelines should be adhered to as much as practicable given the size of the class. Again, masks must be worn at all times while on campus.

The hybrid option will remain in effect for the remainder of the semester, subject to the discretion of the Law School. The Law School reserves the right to return to 100% in-person learning or 100% remote learning at any time at its absolute discretion if the Law School determines it is in the best interest of the entire community.

Thank you, Dean Gatewood

September 9, 2021 Midterms

In an effort to keep our positivity rate low, we have developed a plan that strives to balance the educational and safety concerns of all. Pursuant to this plan, we will be administering midterm exams on-campus during the midterm period from September 27, 2021 – October 8, 2021. This format will provide the best formative feedback on your progress and better prepare you for the final exams, which will also be administered on-campus. To permit the implementation of social distancing during the midterm period (which requires the use of multiple classrooms for each exam), and to permit us to exercise added caution prior to the midterm period, classes will remain in the online format through the end of midterms, October 8, 2021. The Vaccination Policy, Mask Mandate and other preventative measures will remain in effect during the midterm period (and for the foreseeable future). Students who are required to submit a weekly negative COVID test, will be required to submit a negative COVID test taken within 3 days prior to the start of midterms, Monday, September 27, 2021 (i.e., you must take the test between Friday, September 24 and Sunday, September 26, 2021, for submission by Monday, September 27, 2021, via covid19@johmarshall.edu) and weekly thereafter, with each subsequent test being taken between Friday and Sunday of that week for submission on Monday of the following week. Associate Dean Boone will distribute the midterm schedule in a separate email. Midterm testing policies will also be distributed separately.

Starting next week and continuing through the midterm period, access to the Law Library will be limited to appointment only. Students needing to access the library need to make an appointment at least 24 hours prior to the time they need to come in. Currently the library staff can accommodate appointments on Tuesday – Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Later appointments are available for evening students upon request and prior appointment. As a precautionary measure, no group meetings will be permitted. If you are required to submit a weekly negative COVID test, no appointments will be scheduled unless and until you have emailed your test results to covid19@johnmarshall.edu pursuant to the Vaccination Policy. Other than scheduled library appointments and midterm exams, the campus will be closed to student traffic.

Students can schedule a library appointment by emailing askthelibrarian@johnmarshall.edu. Library staff will attempt to accommodate late requests, but requests made less than 24 hours in advance may be declined and may require the student to instead request an appointment for the following business day. 

We are planning to resume in-person learning starting on Monday, October 11, 2021, utilizing a modified schedule that will limit the number of days students must be on campus and keep the total number of students in the building at any given time to a minimum. A separate email will be sent outlining the plan, which provides for alternating in-person and remote learning weekly by class and section, to give everyone an opportunity for in-person learning. There will be no occasion in which a class will be conducted both in-person and remotely simultaneously.  

In addition to the Vaccination Policy and Mask Mandate, other preventative measures will be in place for all in-person classes and exams including, but not limited to, hand sanitizers, cleaning cloths to sanitize seating areas and extra masks for anyone who needs an emergency replacement.

August 26, 2021 Temporary Shut Down

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

We have been informed that an additional five (5) students (beyond the two previously referenced) who attended classes last week have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. These students are in different sections, members of different class years, and consist of members of both the day and the evening programs. Some were fully vaccinated, and some were not, and this continues to illustrate the need for continued vigilance and mindful engagement with the school Mask policy and safety procedures. For the continued safety of everyone, if you attended school last week, or otherwise have any concerns or symptoms, you should consider being tested for COVID-19 this week, whether or not you have been fully vaccinated or are required to submit testing results to the school on a weekly basis. A list of classes that one or more of the students who tested positive for COVID-19 attended is included below so that you may determine whether you might have been in close contact with one of them.

Considering the new information regarding positive tests, and in an effort to proactively take measures to protect the health and safety of our community, the Law School has decided that from Monday, August 30, 2021, through Friday, September 10, 2021, all classes, both day and evening, will be conducted online via Zoom and Canvas to minimize the number of individuals in the Law School at any one time. The Law School will remain closed to students during this time to allow proper cleaning and disinfecting to take place, as well as to proactively engage in other protective measures.  All requirements of the Vaccination Policy and Mask Policy will still be in effect.  Staff and faculty who are required to submit weekly negative COVID-19 tests must continue doing so during the two-week period. Students who are required to submit a weekly negative COVID test, will not have to do so for the weeks of August 30 or September 6 while they are off campus, but must resume the submission of weekly COVID-19 tests within 3 days prior to return on the week of September 13, 2021 (i.e. You must take the test between Friday, September 10 and Sunday, September 12 for submission by Monday, September 13, 2021, via covid19@johmarshall.edu.) 

Thank you, Dean Gatewood

August 23, 2021 Campus Exposure FAQ

What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

Students who test positive for COVID-19, are required to notify Associate Dean Barger (jbarger@johnmarshall.edu) and stay home until:

–  He or she has had no fever for at least three (3) days without taking medication to reduce fever during that time; AND

–  Any respiratory symptoms (cough and shortness of breath) have improved; AND

–  At least ten (10) days if vaccinated or fourteen (14) days if unvaccinated have passed since the symptoms began; AND

–  He or she provides a negative COVID test within three days prior to returning to school.

We will make every effort to record classes during the period of any quarantine. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that students contact their professors and arrange virtual meetings during the quarantine period to remain on-track with the course materials.

What do I do if I have COVID-related symptoms?

Students who experience COVID-related symptoms (see below) should be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming on campus. Students who test positive for COVID-19 are required to notify Dean Barger immediately and follow the instructions for a positive COVID-19 test (noted above). Students who test negative may come to campus.

What do I do if I have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

Students who have had close personal contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after the exposure, even if not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. If a positive COVID-19 test result is returned, the student is required to notify Associate Dean Barger immediately and follow the instructions for a positive test (noted above). Students should also, consistent with the AJMLS Mask Policy, continue to wear a mask at all times while on campus. “Close contact” is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period of time (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

Students who have a sick family member or roommate at home with COVID-19 should notify Associate Dean Barger (jbarger@johnmarshall.edu) and seek further direction, even if they are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. 

Known symptoms COVID-19 may include the following:

·         Fever or chills

·         Cough

·         Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

·         Fatigue

·         Muscle or body aches

·         Headache

·         New loss of taste or smell

·         Sore throat

·         Congestion or runny nose

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         Diarrhea

August 3, 2021 Mask Policy

Mask Policy (You must be logged into your AJMLS account to access this link)

July 29, 2021 Mask Policy

Dear Law School Community:

As you know, the CDC recently issued its recommendation that all Americans regardless of vaccination status wear masks in indoor public places in regions where the coronavirus and especially the Delta variant are spreading rapidly, which would include Georgia. Yesterday, the City of Atlanta issued a mandatory mask mandate that masks must be worn in all indoor places. Accordingly, the Law School will now require that everyone wear a mask while in public settings within the Law School or while in the presence of others. This is a mandatory requirement for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.  

Thank you, Dean Gatewood

July 8, 2021 Vaccination Reminder

As you have been notified, there is a Vaccination Requirement in order to attend school for all students. There are three exemptions you can apply for (Religious, Medical (including Pregnancy), or by Agreement), each of which requires you to agree to submit and upload a weekly negative COVID test in order to attend class in any given week. Failure to comply will result in a student being sent home and marked absent from the class until a negative COVID test is presented. You must upload a valid Vaccination Card, apply for an exemption, and/or execute an agreement to submit a weekly negative COVID test by August 2, 2021 by clicking the link at the top of this page. If you fail to meet this timeframe, you will be unregistered for all classes which may prevent you from attending school in the fall. These matters are serious and should be taken as such.

Students who are planning to get the vaccination or have not been fully vaccinated by the time school starts will be required to submit and upload a weekly negative COVID test and sign an agreement to that effect until such time as a valid vaccination card is uploaded showing you have been fully vaccinated. Applying for an exemption does not relieve you of the obligation to agree to and submit a weekly negative COVID test. 

June 9, 2021 Vaccination Update

Dear Students:

I hope this email finds you well and that you are preparing for a terrific summer. With final exams behind us, we are in the midst of planning for relocating and for re-opening in the fall at our new facility, One Marquise Tower. The recent data from the CDC and other local governments, and recent actions by the Governor, have been influential in allowing us to develop a plan for the fall semester. Based upon the latest CDC guidance regarding fully vaccinated individuals, and after conferring with the Board of Directors, and the Deans of many independent law schools like ours, we are planning to return to normal operations in August. In doing so, we will implement a vaccination requirement (with medical and religious exemptions, including pregnancy) for all faculty, staff, and students. Please refer to the Policy regarding requests for exemptions or to provide proof of vaccination.

Students with exemptions will be accommodated consistent with student accommodations afforded students who need accommodations due to illness or other afflictions that prevent them from attending class. In no event shall accommodations include hybrid, online, remote or distance education options.

Any student that refuses to be vaccinated and does not otherwise qualify for an exemption will be treated similar to those with exemptions. Students needing accommodations should contact Associate Dean Barger (jbarger@johnmarshall.edu) for further details.

July 1, 2020 Fall 2020 Update

Dear Students:

First, I hope you and your families are all well and safe.  As I am sure you are aware, the trajectory of the pandemic is of increasing concern, statewide and nationally. And I know that you, like many across the globe, are feeling the impacts in your personal and professional lives. In light of this, I write to share important news about the coming Fall semester. 

After careful consideration and continued evaluation of the current Coronavirus situation, I have decided that the entire Fall 2020 semester will be taught remotely. This decision was not an easy one, but it was one that needed to be made now to give everyone some level of certainty and to provide ample opportunity to adjust your schedules and prepare for the fall. Our paramount responsibility during this time is the health and safety of our entire Law School community.

While courses will be taught remotely, the Law School will be open and there may be a time in which you may need to visit the campus to access the Library or other services, or for limited face-to-face meetings with faculty, staff, or administrators. In these cases, the Law School has developed a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan applicable to the entire Law School Community. Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) guidelines, federal OSHA standards related to COVID-19 and Executive Order 20-48.

Below is a list of pertinent provisions applicable to students while visiting the Law School so long as the Plan is in effect:

  • Students are encouraged to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Students are required to execute and return the COVID-19 Acknowledgement (see email from Dean Gatewood), acknowledging the that they are aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and commit to self-monitor and report any symptoms to an Associate Dean before entering the Law School. Students who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are required to notify an Associate Dean and stay home until they are free of fever (100.4°F or greater using an oral thermometer), have no signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Students who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify an Associate Dean and seek further direction. Students will have access to a touch-less forehead/ temporal artery thermometer to self-check their temperature if they should become ill or sick while at the Law School. Any student who reports a fever (100.4°F or greater) shall be sent home and shall not be allowed to return to the Law School until: 
  • He or she has had no fever for at least three (3) days without taking medication to reduce fever during that time; AND
  • Any respiratory symptoms (cough and shortness of breath) have improved; AND
  • At least fourteen (14) days have passed since the symptoms began.
  • A student may return to school earlier if a doctor confirms the cause of a student’s fever or other symptoms is not COVID-19 and releases the student to return to school in writing.
  • Basic infection prevention measures will be implemented at the Law School at all times. Students shall wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day. All students will be required to wash or sanitize their hands prior to or immediately upon entering the Law School. Hand-sanitizer dispensers (that use sanitizers of greater than 60% alcohol) will be placed at the entrance and throughout the Law School so it can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water.
  • All students shall be required to wear a mask while in common areas of the Law School, including classrooms, library, hallways, stairwells, elevators, and restrooms. 
  • Social distancing of six feet will be implemented and maintained between employees, students, and visitors in the school, including the library and classrooms whenever possible.

Until the start of school, on August 10, 2020, the Law School will remain closed to students except by a prior scheduled appointment with a faculty member, staff member, or administrator. However, the Library will reopen Monday, July 6, 2020 exclusively for recent graduates who will be taking the September bar exam. The hours of the Library will be Monday-Thursday, 10:00am to 4:00pm. You must make an appointment with a member of the Library staff, either AJ Doucett (ajdoucett@johnmarshall.edu) or Mary Wilson (mewilson@johnmarshall.edu) to visit the Library. 

Although this Plan provides a level of certainty regarding Fall 2020 instruction, I realize that the changes I am announcing will be welcome news to some and disappointing to others. I spoke at length with the senior leadership team, and we wrestled with the issues and conflicting interests inherent in this situation. Our decision affirms prioritizing the health and safety of our students and other community members.

Dean Boone and the Registrar’s Office will follow up with additional information about instruction, registration, grading, and exams. For now, please note the Law School will return to traditional grading scales. As Dean Boone will explain, Fall 2020 exams will be either online or take‐home, as designated by your professor, though we may adopt remote‐proctoring software that supports closed‐book exams for some classes, including bar classes, if available.

We will not reduce tuition, despite the switch to all‐remote courses this fall. The cost of providing an outstanding legal education for our students is essentially the same, whether it is delivered in person or online. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, our faculty and staff will provide students with an innovative and engaging educational experience—one that builds community and fully prepares students for a successful professional career.

I want to thank you for your patience and wish you well as you plan for the year ahead. I look forward to seeing many of you on campus in the fall, even if classes are remote. I remain hopeful that the spring will bring solid ground on which to build more in‐person instructional choices. You have all shown great patience, resilience, and fortitude, which lives up to the School’s hashtag #JohnMarshallProud. 

Dean Gatewood

April 17, 2020 Georgia Bar Exam Update

The Georgia Supreme Court has made the important decision to postpone the July 2020 Georgia Bar Exam. Please read the full post and read the executive order here.

April 2, 2020 Law School Update

Yesterday, the Governor of the State of Georgia issued a statewide shelter-in-place order effective Friday, April 3, 2020, until April 13, 2020. As such, the Law School building will be closed until April 13, 2020. Distance learning is not impacted by this physical closure. Please check your email frequently for updates.

March 18, 2020 Law School Update

Based upon the most recent recommendations from the CDC, and local and national governmental officials, the best course during this time is for everyone to stay home. Effective immediately, the building will be closed to all students and visitors (other than deliveries) except by previous appointment. Students wishing to use the library or other resources, such as the computer lab or Zoom rooms, must make an appointment with AJ Doucett or Mary Wilson for library services, or Dean Boone or Dean Barger for other services or needs, or your professor. No student should come to the building without having made a previous appointment with someone who will be present on campus and available to you. When present on campus, students should practice “social distancing” and vacate the building as soon as your business on campus has been concluded. Most meetings that might have otherwise happened face-to-face will be held by telephone or Zoom video conference until further notice.

Faculty and Staff will still have access to the building to conduct essential work. Students should use email to communicate with the various departments in which they have business. 

Of course, any face-to-face meeting or events that were scheduled during this time are canceled. As members of the community, we must all exercise caution for the betterment of society. This is bigger and more important than all of us, but if we do our small part, we become a part of the solution and not the problem.

Please continue to review your email and social media sites for continuous updates.

March 18, 2020 Course Delivery Update

The Law School will begin offering all courses through virtual learning principally through Zoom technology, beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. However, some professors may choose another form of online teaching, such as TWEN live chat or recorded lectures uploaded to TWEN, Google Drive, or sent via email. Courses that were already online will continue using the same format. Each Professor will notify you as to how they intend to conduct their particular class. Unless otherwise advised by your professor, classes will be conducted on the same days and times as your normal class schedule. We will be operating in the virtual format for the remainder of the semester and through final exams. Please monitor your emails and TWEN site frequently for updates from your professor regarding your course.

Most Professors will opt to use Zoom Technology. A Zoom account isn’t required to attend a meeting. Users do need a Zoom account to host a meeting, but anyone can join a meeting by clicking on the zoom link sent to you by your professor. When you join a zoom meeting for the first time, the necessary zoom app will download into your device automatically. You also may manually download the necessary apps by clicking on the following link: https://zoom.us/download. If you don’t have a computer, you may access the zoom app through a mobile app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for Android users or Apple Store for Apple users.

To ensure a pleasant experience with your first Zoom Meeting, we highly encourage students to download and install the Zoom Application beforehand. 

To download and install the Zoom Application:

  • Go to https://zoom.us/download and from the Download Center, click on the Downloadbutton under “Zoom Client For Meetings”.
    • This application will automatically download when you start your first Zoom Meeting.
  • Once the download is complete, proceed with installing the Zoom application onto your computer or mobile device.

Below is a link of Zoom Video Tutorials that you may find useful as you navigate our new virtual reality for the remainder of the semester. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Professors if you have any additional questions regarding your particular course.

https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials

March 12, 2020 Library Update

Please see following Library Hours for remainder of the week and next week (Spring Break):

Thursday, March 12 through Friday, March 13: Library staff will respond to the doorbell from noon until 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 15: Closed

Monday, March 16 through Thursday, March 19: Library staff will respond to the doorbell from noon until 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22: Closed

Monday, March 23: To be announced, depending on class schedule and building closing times.

March 12, 2020 Law School Update

Dear Law School Community:

We are fortunate to have no known cases of COVID-19 within our community. Though we continue to believe the risk of transmission on our campus is currently low, we know that community spread is happening in parts of the United States and the World Health Organization has officially declared the outbreak a pandemic. While much remains unknown about COVID-19’s epidemiology and impact, we know the best time to put policies in place to effectively slow the spread of the virus is now rather than later—even when there are no cases on our campus of which we are aware. Our goal is not to react to fear in the midst of this complex time, but to be proactive in the preventative measures we can take as an institution.  Accordingly, we take the following steps towards that goal:

SPRING BREAK

After much thoughtful consideration, we have decided to extend Spring Break effective today, March 12, 2020, through Sunday, March 22, 2020. All classes scheduled for today, March 12, 2020, and tomorrow, March 13, 2020, are canceled. The Law School will remain open.

ONLINE COURSE DELIVERY

Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, the Law School will transition to online delivery of all classroom content via Zoom or other distance learning technology for up to the remainder of the semester. Your Professors in each course will notify you as to the platform they will utilize to deliver their online content. The online classes will be conducted at the same time and on same days as your normal in-class schedules unless otherwise directed by your Professor. Zoom technology can be accessed through your computer or other internet-based device or by downloading the free Zoom app on your phone through Apple Store or Google’s Play Store. If your professor prefers TWEN, TWEN is accessed using your normal TWEN account. Please be prepared to resume classes online beginning March 23, 2020 until further notice.

EVENTS

In order to reduce the risk of exposure to and transmission of the virus, all events, including but not limited to, the Barrister’s Ball, are canceled until further notice. This decision is based on the CDC’s recommendation of “social distancing,” i.e., decreasing the number of instances that require community members to gather in large groups or spend extended periods of time in close proximity with each other.

Please know that these decisions were not made lightly. We understand these measures will cause a level of disruption to our law school community, but we strongly believe that by being proactive now, we have the greatest chance of decreasing our risk. The potential consequences of not acting far outweigh these short-term disruptions as these are indeed unprecedented times that call for unprecedented measures.

I would like to thank the members of our staff and faculty who have been working on these issues daily. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated, knowledgeable, and committed professionals here to help us navigate this complex situation. We will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to address the impacts of COVID-19 to plan accordingly. 

I ask all of you to join in supporting these policies. John Marshall is an extraordinary community of care and concern, especially in trying situations, and now is a time to exercise generosity and support for each other. Acting in that spirit, I have every confidence we will meet the challenge before us and come out of this stronger and more resilient.

Dean Gatewood

March 11, 2020 Law School Update

The decision of whether to move to online course delivery will be made during the Reading Period/Spring Break. Please monitor your email during the break and be prepared if the school decides to deliver classes online after the break. Thank you for your ongoing support.

March 6, 2020 Law School Update

At this time, there does not appear to be a basis for canceling classes or law school activities. In consultation with the faculty, Dean Gatewood has implemented the following policy:

  1. We will continue to hold classes and other events until advised otherwise.
  2. In the event it becomes necessary, we will endeavor to record/Zoom all classes to the extent we have the capacity to do so. Our IT Department will work with individual professors to devise the best instructional approach for each class. We are immediately embarking to train all instructors in the use of Zoom, which will allow instructors to teach their students remotely. Classes will continue to meet in regular fashion unless advised otherwise.
  3. Although students are strongly encouraged to attend classes, we, of course, do not want students to feel any pressure to come to school if they are feeling ill or in a high-risk category. We recognize that law school classes are inherently interactive and something is lost when an in-person class is transformed into a distance learning class by the use of recording or streaming technology. But under these extraordinary circumstances, we ask every professor to be flexible with regard to attendance requirements during this time. Nevertheless, professors will be instructed to continue to record attendance and students may be asked to provide a doctor’s note or other documentation in the event they are sick or in a high-risk category.
  4. In the event it becomes necessary, professors are being asked to create some capacity during office hours to be available by phone or some other technology, such as Zoom.

Thank you for your patience, this situation is unprecedented and poses many challenges for all involved. This is a time when our community will work together to support and assist each other. As always, please wash your hands.

Spring 2024 Development and Alumni Relations Scholarship Recipients

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Development and Alumni Relations Office is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities each semester. Our donors give generously to AJMLS and the John Marshall Law School Foundation, Inc. to help students cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and educational expenses. AJMLS offers merit-based, need-based, and service-based scholarships. Applications were carefully reviewed by the scholarship committee and we thank the committee for their time.

All inquiries related to the Development and Alumni Relations scholarships below should be directed to Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer, at waina@johnmarshall.edu.

If you are a donor and would like to contribute to the scholarships, please visit our Giving pages or contact Wendy Aina directly.

Georgia Bar Success Award

Nathan Azarowicz

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I am deeply grateful for the Georgia Bar Success Endowed Award. This Award will have a major impact in assisting me in my final semester of law school and in my preparation for the Georgia Bar. I would like to thank Dr. Markovitz and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law school for this award. I will be able to use this award better prepare for the Bar and alleviate much of the stress felt in the bar application process.”

Georgia Bar Success Award

Joshua Redmond

J.D. Candidate 2024

“Dear Dr. Michael Markovitz and the Scholarship Committee, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for selecting me as the recipient of the Georgia Bar Success Endowed Award. This generous scholarship significantly alleviates the financial burden associated with the Bar exam, allowing me to pursue my passion for law with dedication and focus. I am truly honored to have been chosen and am motivated to excel in my legal career, contributing meaningfully to the field. Thank you once again for this invaluable opportunity.”

Georgia Bar Success Award

Maria P Velasco

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I am sincerely grateful for the Georgia Bar Success Award. This recognition means a lot to me, and I appreciate the support from the legal community. It inspires me to continue my dedication to the field.”

John E. Ryan Scholarship

Madeline Deye

J.D. Candidate 2025

“I appreciate the generosity of this scholarship, it will make a huge financial impact for me. Thank you for your decision to move forward with me as the recipient, I am honored to receive this award.”

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

Jordan Robinson

J.D. Candidate 2024

“Words cannot express my gratitude in receiving the Merchant & Gould Scholarship. To know that my journey and hard work received the attention of this firm is heartwarming. This scholarship will definitely help ease financial difficulties associated with bar expenses as well as law school attendance and help me on my journey to becoming an Attorney. I’d like to give thanks to Wendy Aina for working as hard as she does to make these opportunities available to us law students and I would again like to thank Merchant and Gould for making the scholarship available.”

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

Alexis Burnett

J.D. Candidate 2024

“Receiving the Merchant & Gould Scholarship is a profound honor as I embark on my final semester of law school. This scholarship will help alleviate some of the financial challenges as I complete my legal education, and I am deeply grateful for this valuable assistance. My aspiration is to one day be in a position to pay it forward, creating opportunities for future law students and paving the way for their success. I am committed to using my influence to diversify the field of Intellectual Property law and contribute to a more inclusive and innovative legal landscape.”

Gorinshteyn & Watkins LLC Law Journal Fellowship

Jacob Belcastro

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the Gorinshteyn & Watkins LLC Law Journal Fellowship. This fellowship will not only aid me drastically in covering the costs for tuition and textbooks, but will also help the Law Journal in covering various expenses throughout the year. Specifically, much of this funding will be designated towards the annual Symposium to assure a venue, amenities, and payment for alumni CLE credit fulfillment.

The impact of this funding is more than can be put into words, and on behalf of both myself as well as the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal- thank you very much.”

Melissa Hamrick Scholarship

Devin Eady

J.D. Candidate 2025

“Thank you so much for this generous award. I am currently an evening student who works several jobs during the day to make ends meet and this is a huge weight off my shoulders in light of rising transportation costs. I genuinely appreciate your generosity and your help with my academic career.”

AJMLS Ranked Top School for Criminal Law by PreLaw Magazine for 5th Year

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to report its most recent “A-” ranking as a top school for criminal law by preLaw Magazine. The 2023 top ranking marks the fifth year in a row receiving the distinguished nod.

Since 2011, AJMLS has proudly offered a specialized curriculum to students interested in the field of criminal law. The curriculum prepares graduates to practice criminal law, whether as a prosecutor or a defender. The Criminal Justice Certificate Program is led by Professor Jonathan Rapping, Professor of Law, MacArthur Genius Fellow, and Founder of Gideon’s Promise. 

Students may decide to pursue the Criminal Justice Certificate upon completion of their second year, after having the benefit of taking Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Students working towards the Criminal Justice Certificate would take the remainder of the required coursework during their 3L year along with a mandatory Criminal Justice Workshop. Interested students could also begin fulfilling their 300 hours of approved field work requirement during the summer between their 2L and 3L year.

Students graduate equipped with strategies to allow them to shape the criminal justice arena rather than simply being shaped by it. The Criminal Justice Certificate Program provides an integrated, applied approach to legal education that equips students with the necessary strategies to be ethical, professional, and moral lawyers in less than perfect systems.

This spring, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students have the honor of attending and hosting the Department of Justice’s Access to Justice team on their National Law School Tour. AJMLS was chosen as the Georgia school and will cancel classes for a day of learning, discussion, and networking.

preLaw Magazine grades law schools based on the breadth of their curricular offerings. The scores were weighted as follows: 30% for a concentration, 24% for a clinic, 12% for a center, 12% for an externship, 9% for a journal, 8% for a student group, 5% for a certificate and added value for other offerings.

AJMLS Welcomes the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice: National Law School Tour

Click here to view the live stream during the event

[J]ustice demands more than good prosecutors and good judges. It demands meaningful access to counsel for the accused, including those who cannot afford attorneys. To provide that access, and to reaffirm the kind of faith in law upon which our democracy depends, public defender offices need more resources. Our nation needs more lawyers to answer the call of public service by providing criminal defense for those who cannot afford it.

Rachel Rossi, Director, Office for Access to Justice, U.S. Department of Justice

President Joseph R. Biden and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the appointment of Rachel Rossi as Director of the Office for Access to Justice in May 2022. Prior to her appointment, Director Rossi served as Deputy Associate Attorney General in the Office of the Associate Attorney General, Vanita Gupta. In that role, she also served as the inaugural Anti-Hate Coordinator for the Justice Department. Director Rossi began her career as a public defender in Los Angeles for almost a decade. She practiced in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office, and the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California, where she vigorously defended hundreds of low-income clients in state and federal courts. Director Rossi then served as Counsel to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Richard J. Durbin (Illinois), where she was the lead staffer on the First Step Acta major U.S. federal criminal justice reform billsigned into law in 2018 that created comprehensive sentencing and prison reforms. She then transitioned to the role of Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, working for then Crime Subcommittee Chair Karen Bass (CA-37). In 2020, Director Rossi was the first former public defender to run for the nonpartisan seat of District Attorney of Los Angeles County, where she was only five points shy of qualifying for the runoff election, receiving almost half a million votes. She then served as the Legal Director for the REFORM Alliance, where she launched the development of a litigation program for direct representation in criminal cases and in civil litigation matters surrounding issues of probation, parole, supervised release, and community supervision. Director Rossi received her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law, where she won the International Moot Court Competition, in Grays Inn, London, and served as Student Articles Editor for the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal. She received the Pepperdine University School of Law Larry D. Kimmons Racial and Social Justice Award, was named one of the National Bar Association’s Top 40 Under 40 Lawyers, and was recognized as an Influential Capitol Hill Staffer by Lawyers of Color. Director Rossi grew up in Los Angeles, California.  She is the daughter of immigrant parents born in the Dominican Republic and Greece.

Participating Organizations

LIUu
Opportunities available for graduating law studentsOpportunities available for 1L and 2L studentsOpportunities available for graduating college studentsSummer opportunities available for college students
Atlanta Community Support Project
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (Atlanta, GA)
Black Public Defender Association (BPDA) (National)l
Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender (Columbus, GA)L, I
City of Atlanta Office of the Public Defender (Atlanta, GA)L, I
Defender Association of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA)L, I, u
The Law Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender (Decatur, GA)L, I
Flint Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender (McDonough, GA)L, l, u
Georgia Justice Project (Atlanta, GA)L, l, u
Gideon’s Promise (Atlanta, GA)l, u
Gideon’s Promise (National)
Gila River Indian Community: Defense Services Office (Phoenix, AZ)L, l, U, u
Griffin Judicial Circuit Office of the Public Defender (Griffin, GA)L,l
Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (Kentucky)L, I
Law Offices of the Public Defender, Second Judicial Circuit of Florida (Tallahassee, FL)L, I, U
Macon Circuit Public Defender (Macon, GA) L, I
Maryland Office of the Public Defender (Offices throughout Maryland)L, I
North Carolina Indigent Defense Services (North Carolina)L, l, U
Public Defender for Metropolitan Nashville & Davidson Counties (Nashville, TN)L, l, u
Rehabilitation Enables Dreams (Atlanta, GA)
Robeson County Public Defender Office (Lumberton, NC)L
Southern Center for Human Rights (Atlanta, GA)L, I
Stern Law, LLC (Criminal Law and Immigration) (Atlanta, GA)

Panel Discussion – Transformational Stories: Wisdom From Justice-Impacted Law Students

Panelists:Travis Andrews
Richeda Sinclair
Luci Harrell
Ricky Panayoty
Moderator:David Lee Windecher, Founder, Rehabilitation Enables Dreams (RED)

Panel Discussion – Connecting Advocacy in the Courtroom, Community, and Statehouse

Panelists:Sara Becker, Sara Stewart Law & Legislative Chair, Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Zanele Ngubeni, Executive Director, Gideon’s Promise
Tiffany Roberts, Public Policy Director, Southern Center For Human Rights
Natasha Silas, Federal Defender, Inc & Dean, National Criminal Defense College
Sam Starks, Cochran Firm, Founder of The Barristers Society
Moderator:Professor Jonathan Rapping

Networking Opportunities for Law Students and College Students

Students will have opportunities to meet legal professionals and learn of employment opportunities at morning and afternoon table talk sessions, a networking lunch, and an evening reception.

Workshops

Throughout the day a variety of workshops led by seasoned practitioners will be available for law students and college students.

WORKSHOP SERIES 1 (11:05 – 11:55 a.m.) – concurrent with table talks

  • Writing to Courts and Other Audiences: Effective Arguments, Motions, and Briefs (Patick Mulvaney, Southern Center for Human Rights)
  • Making a Good Impression in an Interview (Georgia Sims, Nashville Public Defender & Atteeyah Hollie, Southern Center for Human Rights)

WORKSHOP SERIES 2 (2:35 – 3:25 p.m.) – concurrent with table talks

  • Client Interviews and Developing Client Relationships (Professor Michael Mears, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School)
  • Telling Stories Through Trial Advocacy: Using Games with Blocks to Teach Trial Skills (Zanele Ngubeni, Gideon’s Promise)

WORKSHOP SERIES 3 (3:35 – 4:25 p.m.)

  • Professionalism: Look, Think, and Act Like a Lawyer (Sam Starks, Torris Butterfield & Lauren Dillingham, The Barristers Society)
  • I Object!: Introduction to the Art & Techniques of Making & Meeting Objections in Court (Professor Suparna Malempati, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School)
  • Full Disclosure: Constitutional and Ethical Discovery Requirements in Criminal Cases (Professor Judith Barger, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School)
  • So You Want to Go to Law School?: Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Information Session for College Students (AJMLS Office of Admissions)

An evening reception sponsored by The Barristers Society

The evening reception is open to the public. Details forthcoming.

Are you a student interested in participating? Register here

All students, whether law students, undergraduates, or any other program, are welcome to register.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumni are invited to participate.

If you would like to attend but are not affiliated with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School or are not a collegiate or graduate student, please reach out to Professor Jonathan Rapping or Associate Dean Sheryl Harrison.

Are you a public defender organization or legal service provider who serves justice impacted communities interested in participating? Let us know here

Are you considering attending? Review the event brochure here

Introducing the 2023-2024 Cohort of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Student Ambassadors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is thrilled to announce the 2023-2024 dynamic team – the Student Ambassadors at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School! A 15+ year tradition, these outstanding individuals have been selected to represent the student body as ambassadors.

The mission of an AJMLS Student Ambassador is to strive to improve the quality of the law school through professionalism, dedicated service, and a direct partnership with the Office of Admissions. These individuals play a vital role by sharing their AJMLS experience to prospective students as well as representing AJMLS throughout the academic year.

Bernell J. Alexander III

Hometown: 

Shreveport, Louisiana

College/University:

The Southern University Agricultural And Mechanical College

Program (FT/PT): PT

Year: 4L

Zodiac Sign: Libra

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The best thing about AJMLS in my opinion would have to be the opportunity it gives non-traditional students to be prepared to practice law. Secondly, I would have to say the great location and the networking opportunities that come from such great proximity, and professors who have practice experience.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

The Mercedes Benz stadium on a Sunday when the Falcons are playing, Rise Up!!

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Personal Injury, Criminal defense and Real Estate.

Favorite quote?

If you want to do what people aren’t doing, you have to do what people aren’t doing.

Tymya Bullard

Hometown: 

Hinesville, Georgia

College/University:

Albany State University

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 2025

Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The diversity in staff and students!

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

The Battery

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Undecided

Favorite quote?

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle

Jena Carr

Hometown:

Austin, Texas

College/University:

University of Utah

Program (FT/PT): Full time

Year: 2025

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The small, close community created within classes.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Piedmont Park

Which area of law do you plan to practice?

Criminal Law

Favorite quote?

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” Gloria Steinem

Madeline Deye

Hometown: 

Covington Kentucky

College/University:

University of South Carolina

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 2L (2025 graduation year)

What do you like most about AJMLS?

Student body diversity and the professors.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Aquarium

Favorite quote?

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.” Albus Dumbledore

Emma Gibson

Hometown: 

Syracuse, New York

College/University:

Loyola Marymount University

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 2L

Zodiac Sign: Aquarius  

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The professors!

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Piedmont Park

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Public Defense

Favorite quote?

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.”  — Bryan Stevenson

Grace C. Rispoli-Gomez

Hometown: 

Westchester County, NY

College/University:

Stony Brook University (SUNY)

Program (FT/PT): PT Evening

Year: 2024

Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

What do you like most about AJMLS?

I like how effortless it is to build a strong community here. Also, everyone is very welcoming, from the students to the staff, and willing to listen to your concerns and provide helpful feedback.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

My favorite place to visit in Atlanta is Plaza Fiesta on Buford Highway. They have great food and shops – I can spend like 3 hours there on any given day.

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

I want to do appellate work, or family law. I’m not 100% sure, but I do know that I want to litigate in trial or appellate courts.

Favorite quote?

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Madesen Grant

Hometown:

Buffalo, New York

College/University:

Spelman College

Program: Part Time Day

Year: 2L

Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

What I like most about AJMLS is the close knit community, and how everyone is always willing to help you. Coming from a private undergrad institution, I immediately felt the similar feeling of community prior to student orientation. Not only did the current students make you feel welcome as you prepared to start your law school journey, but the professors did so as well. I love that
the professors here have an open door policy, and are always willing to lend a helping hand when needed. Whether it is explaining a concept from class in their office hours, to a recommendation letter, or just needing words of encouragement/advice, the professors here
always ensure that they can stand in the gap.

My favorite place to visit in Atlanta is the Aquarium, not only because I am a water sign, but because my favorite animal is a dolphin! They have an amazing dolphin show where they also get volunteers from the audience. I can spend hours at the Aquarium, like it is my first time
visiting.

The area of law I plan to practice is Entertainment Law, specifically TV/Film and Music.

My favorite quote is:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say “I used everything you gave me”. – Erma Bomback

Gabriella Henriquez Chavez

Hometown:

Hampton, Georgia

College/University:

Kennesaw State University

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 2L

Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The availability of Law School/Bar Prep Resources included in our tuition.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Atlantic Station

Which area of law do you plan to practice?

Immigration and Personal Injury

Favorite quote?

My attitude is gratitude.

Katie Jett

Hometown: 

Dallas, Georgia

College/University:

Georgia Southern University

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: May 2024

Zodiac Sign: Pieces

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The professors are helpful and accessible.

The resources that are available such as AABS.

The atmosphere is nice. You never have to leave the building to access food, green spaces, or the parking deck.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Georgia Aquarium

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Real Estate

Favorite quote?

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

Marquez Jones

Hometown: 

Atlanta, Georgia

College/University:

Clayton State University

Program (FT/PT): PT

Year: 4L

Zodiac Sign: Virgo

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The community. In my first year, we formed a study group. We named ourselves the A-TEAM. Since then, we have been inseparable. We never miss a birthday celebration and even welcome a new born baby girl name Parker the group. We are lifelong friends and without John Marshall I would not have this friendship.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

My mother’s home. Being a native of Atlanta it is always a pleasure to go home to the place where I grew up in.

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Criminal Law

Favorite quote?

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Nefertiri Jade Lashley

Hometown: 

Brooklyn, New York

College/University:

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Program (FT/PT): Part Time

Year: 2024

Zodiac Sign: Taurus

What do you like most about AJMLS?

What I like most is the small community it fosters and the diversity. It is welcoming to all students.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

The airport. I love to travel.

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

My interest primarily is in the public sector. I would like to continue to work in government.

Favorite quote?

No one can take away what is meant for you.

Jesse Moore

Hometown: 

Dallas, Texas

College/University:

Armstrong Atlantic State University

Program (FT/PT): PT

Year: 3L (2025)

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The administration and faculty are always accessible and supportive; it really shows a deeply-rooted commitment to the success of AJMLS students.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Red Phone Booth

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Criminal Defense / Public Interest

Favorite quote?

Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done -Bryan Stevenson

Jair Paredes-Novella

Hometown: 

Atlanta, Georgia

College/University:

Georgia State University

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 3L

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The diverse student body and unique combination of ideas

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Piedmont Park

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Criminal and Civil litigation

Favorite quote?

“It doesn’t matter as long as you get where you’re going”

Anjali Patel

Hometown: 

Birmingham, Alabama

College/University:

University of the South and University of Alabama in Birmingham School of Optometry

Program (FT/PT): PT

Year: 2026

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

What do you like most about AJMLS?

Close community among peers and professors. In addition, professors are always available and make accommodations to assist students.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Piedmont Park

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Healthcare law, Contracts, or Wills and
Estates

Favorite quote?

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” -Diane Ackerman

Jordan Robinson

Hometown:

Sandersville, Georgia

College/University:

University of Georgia

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 3L

Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

What do you like most about AJMLS?

I actually like the size of the student body and how it makes for more personalized lectures and more conducive for developing professional as well as personal relationships.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Atlantic Station

Which area of law do you plan to practice?

I would like to ultimately end up practicing sports and entertainment law.

Favorite quote?

“It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

Yakira M. Sadler

Hometown: 

Savannah, Georgia

College/University:

Georgia State University

Program (FT/PT): Part-time Evening

Year: 3L

Zodiac Sign: Libra

What do you like most about AJMLS?

I like the accessibility to professors and resources throughout the semester that makes me a better student in the end. Professors are willing to meet with you and discuss issues and concerns and that you may have to get a better understanding of the material and how it relates to practice in the real world.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

The Botanical Gardens

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Healthcare Law and Real Estate Law.

Favorite quote?

My Mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou

Anna Lee Stone

Hometown: Winder, Georgia

College/University:

Piedmont University and The University of Georgia

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 2L

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The community of the student body.

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Amalfi Pizza

Which area of law do you plan to practice?

Family Law

Favorite quote?

The Man in the area – Theadore Roosevelt

Blake A. Whitsell

Hometown: 

Broomfield, Colorado

College/University:

South Dakota State University (2 years) & Colorado State University (2 years)

Program (FT/PT): FT

Year: 3L

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

What do you like most about AJMLS?

The community, I have made a few amazing friends in my time here

Favorite place to visit in Atlanta?

Passion City Church

Which area of law do you plan to practice? 

Public Policy / Legislation

Favorite quote?

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me” Psalm 23:4

Congratulations to Our Ambassadors!

Let’s give a warm welcome to these exceptional individuals who are ready to make a positive impact on the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School community. We can’t wait to see the great things they’ll accomplish together!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Announces New Chairman, Adam Malone, Class of 2000

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) has named its next chairman. With the recent retirement of longtime chairman and champion, Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, the AJMLS Board of Directors thoughtfully elected fellow board member and AJMLS alumnus, Adam Malone.

Malone is a respected catastrophic personal injury attorney and owner of Malone Law, AJMLS Alumni Association Past President, and current AJMLS board member. From Student Bar Association President to valedictorian of the Class of 2000, Distinguished Alumni Award recipient to record-breaking scholarship endowment donor, Malone has time and again chosen to better his alma mater through his time and generosity. Malone is no stranger to service in the legal community as he is currently serving as Immediate Past President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. He is a past president of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, past president of the Melvin M. Belli Society, past chairperson for the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice, past chairperson for the Professional Negligence Section of the American Association for Justice, and past chairperson of the General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Malone served for many years on the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee for the American Association for Justice (AAJ) – the nation’s largest and most effective organization for lawyers representing injured people and their families. He has served as an officer and on the board of the AAJ Trucking Litigation Group, the AAJ Professional Negligence Section, and the AAJ Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group. He is also an honorary board member of the Special Olympics of Georgia and a Board Member of for the Foundation Board of the Shepherd Center, one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation hospitals for survivors of brain and spinal cord injury.

On his selection as chairman, Malone said he was truly honored. “The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Board of Directors is not only a group of leaders that I respect professionally, but peers with whom I am honored to serve. I want to thank them for trusting me to lead as we continue to grow and set ambitious goals for our beloved school.”

“I have had the pleasure of serving with my distinguished predecessor, Dr. Markovitz, for the last 15 years. No one can match his level of leadership, calm guidance, or dispute what he accomplished for AJMLS and the opportunity for legal education. The thriving institution we know today would not exist without his vision and clarity of purpose over the past 25 years. I am thankful for his dedication and decades-long mission to see the organization, its faculty, and its students succeed.” 

When speaking about the AJMLS mission and providing the opportunity for legal education to both traditional and non-traditional students, Malone was firm in maintaining the institution’s values and fidelity to its core mission. “Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and its graduates are invaluable to the Georgia legal community and I am confident in our resolve and long term direction. We are dedicated to preparing highly skilled, ethical, and practice-ready lawyers who possess a strong social conscience and commitment to service with a sense of keeping the door of opportunity open for future generations.”

Having walked the halls of AJMLS as a student, Malone remarked what a privilege it is to guide the institution into its next 90 years. “I look forward to this next chapter and all that is to come for our legal community and the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School family.”

Triumph in Legal Writing: AJMLS 3L and SBA President, Ricky Panayoty, Secures Second Place in BESLA NIL Writing Competition

At Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS), success stories unfold, and SBA President and part-time 3L student, Ricky Panayoty, recently added a remarkable achievement to the school’s legacy. Ricky secured the second-place position in the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) Name Image and Likeness (NIL) Writing Competition and accepted the honor at the BESLA 2023 Conference that was held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The BESLA NIL Writing Competition: A Platform for Legal Brilliance

The BESLA NIL Writing Competition is a prestigious event that invites law students to showcase their legal prowess by delving into the complex and evolving landscape of Name, Image, and Likeness rights. This competition, hosted by the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, seeks to recognize and reward exceptional legal writing on issues related to NIL in the realms of entertainment and sports.

Ricky Panayoty’s Winning Contribution

Ricky Panayoty, a dedicated part-time 3L student at AJMLS, rose to the challenge and presented an insightful and well-researched essay that captured the attention of the BESLA judges. His work demonstrated a keen understanding of the legal intricacies surrounding NIL rights, particularly in the context of the entertainment and sports industries.

AJMLS: Nurturing Legal Excellence

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School takes pride in fostering an environment where students like Ricky can thrive and excel in their legal pursuits. The part-time program at AJMLS allows students to balance their academic commitments with other responsibilities, making it an ideal choice for those with diverse schedules.

Ricky Panayoty’s Journey at AJMLS

As a part-time 3L student, Ricky has exemplified dedication and perseverance throughout his academic journey at AJMLS. His success in the BESLA NIL Writing Competition is a testament to the quality of education and support that AJMLS provides to its students.

Celebrating Achievement and Looking Ahead

Ricky’s achievement in the BESLA NIL Writing Competition is not only a personal triumph but also a source of pride for the entire AJMLS community. It highlights the caliber of students at our institution and reinforces our commitment to producing legal professionals who can make a significant impact in their respective fields.

As Ricky Panayoty continues his legal education journey at AJMLS, we look forward to witnessing more milestones and successes from him and our other outstanding students. Congratulations, Ricky, on this well-deserved accomplishment!

To learn more about the BESLA NIL Writing Competition and Ricky Panayoty’s impressive achievement, visit BESLA’s official page.

Stay tuned for more updates on the remarkable journeys of AJMLS students, shaping the future of law one achievement at a time.

Introducing the 2023-2024 Advocacy Board Executive Council

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Advocacy Board is a student-run academic organization dedicated to promoting the art of written and oral advocacy in moot court and mock trial competitions. The Board is governed by its Executive Council.

Executive Council

Carolina Melguizo, President

Carolina Melguizo was born in Medellin, Colombia, and moved to the United States at the age of 15. With a passion for learning, Carolina earned a B.S. in history and political science from Georgia State University and a Paralegal Certificate from the University of Georgia. Carolina is currently a part-time student expected to graduate in May 2024. She currently balances her part-time student schedule with a full-time job, demonstrating her dedication to both her education and professional responsibilities. In her first year of law school, Carolina earned the CALI award in LWRA I and was invited to join the Advocacy Board. During her second year, she took on the role of SBA representative and showcased her legal acumen in the NAAC Moot Court Competition. During her third year, Carolina’s dedication to the Advocacy Board reached new heights as she was voted President of the organization. Under her leadership, the board’s presence in competitions reached new heights. Members actively participated in three moot court competitions and one mock trial competition during the academic year, marking a significant achievement in the promotion of written and oral advocacy for AJMLS. Additionally, Carolina joined CHALLSA as Co-President in the Spring of 2023 and she has served as a peer mentor since 2021. Carolina is deeply honored to lead the Advocacy Board as its President for the second consecutive year. Her goal is to ensure that the board’s members have an exceptional experience during competitions while continuing to elevate the board’s presence in both moot court and mock trial competitions.

Reddlene Lamour, Director of Operations and Finance

Reddlene Lamour was born in Miami Florida and raised in Orlando, Florida. She is currently a full-time student with an expected graduation date of May 2024. She attended thee illustrious Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee Florida, the number one public HBCU in the country, where she earned a degree in political science with a minor in economics. Prior to law school, Reddlene dedicated her time to serving her community through dance outreach programs centered around giving students in underfunded districts opportunities to get involved and build leadership skills. Reddlene is a part of a National dance team and hopes to merge her passion for dance and the law in a way that can positively influence minority groups that are interested in the legal profession and the arts. She is thrilled to serve as this year’s director of operations and finance and is also excited to showcase the brilliant competitors for this year’s competitions.

Sandy Miller, Director of Moot Court

Sandy Miller is a part-time 3L student and serves as the Director of Moot Court and as a member of the Peer Mentor Program. She represented AJMLS at the National Jeffrey G. Miller Environmental Law Moot Court Competition where she received a top oralist distinction.

In addition to her law school focus, Sandy works as a paralegal for a personal injury attorney.

When not at work or school, you can often find her at the baseball field with her husband watching their son play or at Truist Park cheering on the Braves.

Wide Thomas, Director of Communications

Wide Thomas, a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, relocated to the United States in 2016, embarking on a journey to restart her college education, while simultaneously learning English. At Lynn University in Boca Raton, she successfully earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in American Law. Passionate about community service and dedicated to empowering youth, Wide serves as a voice and advocate for higher education within the Haitian community. With a goal-oriented mindset, she achieved recognition as the Best Oralist in LWRA, leading to an invitation to join the moot court team. Wide further demonstrated her legal wit by competing in the McGee Civil Rights Moot Court Competition in Spring 2023. Her contributions led to an offer to serve as the Director of Communication for the Advocacy Board, a role she enthusiastically embraces.

2023 Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Alumni On the Move

It was an incredible year for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumni. Each month in the alumni newsletter, top attorneys are recognized for their achievements, honors, and exciting announcements. If you or someone you know have earned a spot in our Alumni on the Move series, please submit the information here. Below are our 2023 alumni highlights. Our hometown Atlanta law school has been educating Atlanta, Georgia, regional, national and international legal professionals for 90+ years and it is our pleasure to celebrate their achievements.

If you would like to update your information to receive the alumni newsletter, please email Director of Alumni Relations, AJ Doucett, at adoucett@johnmarshall.edu.

January 2023

Lisanne Edelman (’17), Meaghan Eustice (’15), Randy Fry (’99), Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert (’12), Fernanda Hottle (’10), Shilpa Jadwani (’12), Megan McClinton (’13), Calina Plotkey (’12), Mary-Anne Uzoka (’14) — Congratulations to these nine alumni for being sworn into the Supreme Court of the United States Bar during our annual trip!

Matthew Momtahan (’09) — Congratulations to Matthew for being selected by the Newspapers of West Georgia as one of the 40 Under 40, West Georgia’s Rising Stars!

Ginger Arnold (’11) — Congratulations to Ginger as she joins the firm of Deming, Parker, Hoffman, Campbell, & Daly, LLC, as Associate Attorney where she will focus on estate planning!

Lauren Boone (’11) — Congratulations to Lauren on her appointment as a Judge to the Cobb County Magistrate Court Bench! Lauren will serve part-time on the bench while still continuing with her corporate practice.

Gulliana Goehring (’21) — Congratulations to Gulliana on being named partner at The Fry Law Firm! The firm will now be known as Fry | Goehring!

February 2023

Steven V. Bennett (’94) — Congratulations to Judge Bennett for being sworn in on January 3, 2023, as only the third ever “elected” juvenile court judge in the state of Georgia. Floyd County is unique as being the only county in the State that allows citizens to choose their juvenile court judge.

Timothy White (’98) — Congratulations to Timothy on celebrating his 25th year of private practice in Jasper, GA.

Wes McDaniel (’10) — Congratulations to Wes on his recent promotion to equity partner at The Hansford Law Firm. The firm will now be known as Hansford McDaniel, LLC, and will continue to exclusively represent injured workers throughout Georgia and Alabama.

Nick Schnyder (’11) — Congratulations to Nick and his firm, Nick Schnyder Law Firm, on opening their 4th location in Buckhead.

David Windecher (’12) — Congratulations to David for being awarded the very first NFL Inspire Change – Changemaker Award for his work with his non-profit Rehabilitation Enables Dreams (RED). David was presented the award at the annual Falcons Community Honors Dinner, surrounded by his RED staff, board members, and even a few former participants.

Raina Spencer (’16) — Congratulations to Raina and her new firm the Law Office of Raina Spencer, LLC. Her firm’s primary practice area is personal injury representing clients who are involved in car accidents, slip & falls, wrongful death, and catastrophic accidents.

Narissa Juitt-Jackson (’13) — Congratulations to Narissa and her firm, Juitt-Jackson Law Firm, for being named the 2022 Best in Georgia Family Law Firm by the Georgia Business Journal.

Alexandros Cornejo (’17) — Congratulations to Alexandros and his firm, The Cornejo Law Firm, on opening their 4th location in Newnan, GA. Alexandros is excited about this location because it is “literally home and it is an honor and a privilege to help my community in this part of town”.

Shiela Guider (’18) — Congratulations to Shiela on her promotion to Assistant Attorney General at the Georgia Department of Law, representing State Licensing Boards. She previously worked in the areas of Elections, Education, and Local Government as a paralegal for over 17 years.

March 2023

Adam Malone (’99) — Congratulations to Adam for being ranked as #1 in the 2023 Georgia Super Lawyer’s list. Additionally, Adam was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America 2023 for his work in Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Alpa Amin (’10) — Congratulations to Alpa on being awarded the Unsung Devotion to Those Most in Need awarded by the Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) for her work as Executive Director of Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network.

Jenna Fowler (’13) — Congratulations to Jenna Fowler on being named partner at Wood, Smith, Henning and Berman. Jenna works at the Atlanta office of the firm, where she focuses on complex civil litigation.

Bryan Dayton (’19) — Congratulations to Bryan Dayton on joining the firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP on February 23, 2023, as an associate attorney. Wilson Elser is a preeminent defense litigation firm in the United States.

Maria McCoy (’19) — Congratulations to Maria for being selected as a 2023 Georgia Super Lawyer’s Rising Star and for making the Best of Georgia’s list in family law.

Renee Richardson (’21) — Congratulations to Renee for being selected as a 2023 Georgia Super Lawyer’s Rising Star. Renee works for the Manely Firm, P.C. where she focuses on family law.

April 2023

Randy Fry (’99) — Congratulations to Randy for being selected as a 2023 Georgia Super Lawyer, his fourth straight year in a row!

Jason Shepherd (’10) — Congratulations to Jason Shepherd on his appointment to the Board of the Development Authority of Cobb County by District 1 Commissioner Kelli Gambrill. He was approved by a 5-0 vote by the full County Commission on February 28, 2023, and began his four-year term on March 14, 2023.

Mariette Clardy-Davis (’13) — Congratulations to Mariette on joining the home office of Primerica as the Assistant Vice President, Assistant General Counsel where she provides strategic guidance to support their overall securities business including their broker-dealer and registered investment advisor.

Tom Kirkbride (’19) — Congratulations to Tom B. Kirkbride on his appointment as Municipal Court Judge for the City of Morrow, GA. Judge Kirkbride was sworn in during the Marrow City Council session on March 14, 2023.

May 2023

Jenna Melton Fowler (’13) — We extend a huge congratulations to Jenna for being named partner at Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP.

Billy Collins (’17) — Congratulations to Billy on embarking on a new journey as an attorney at Morgan & Morgan, P.A.

Jessica Melgarejo Devins (’20) — Congratulations to Jenna on joining The Manely Firm, as a new associate attorney.

Brittany Larcart (’21) — Congratulations to Brittany for becoming the newest personal injury attorney at Schnyder Law Firm.

July 2023

Zach H. French (’12) — Congratulations to Zach for starting a new position as Vice President at SeedTrust Escrow.

Jennifer B. Gore-Cuthbert (’12) — Congratulations to Jennifer and her law firm, Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group, as they celebrate their 10-year anniversary.

Joshua H. Elbaz (’22) — Congratulations to Zach for opening the new law firm of Elbaz & Stimpson, LLC.

Nicole A. Rizza (’22) — Congratulations to Nicole on being appointed as a Board of Directors Member for the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia as well as launching the Nicole A. Rizza, PC, law firm.

August 2023

Ashley S. Murphy (’12) — Congratulations to Ashton as she becomes the new Deputy Director of the Judicial Qualifications Commission of Georgia.

Delenia A. King (’21) — Congratulations to Delenia for starting her new position as Civil Litigation Associate Attorney at Hall Booth Smith, P.C

Jason R. Warren (’22) — Congratulations to Jason for starting his new position as Associate Attorney at The Dennis Law Firm, LLC.

Corey Washington (’22) — Congratulations to Corey as he starts his new firm The Washington Process Law Firm where he will specialize in criminal defense and personal injury.

September 2023

Kenneth J. Lewis (’11) — Congratulations to Kenneth on receiving recognition from the Supreme Court of Georgia for his noteworthy amicus curiae brief, which contributed to their deliberations in their case. (See Footnote 1: Hamon v. Connell).

La’Porscha T. Smalls (’18) — Congratulations to La’Porscha on her new position as litigation associate at State Farm.

Whitnie C. Riden (’21) — Congratulations to Whitnie on launching her new firm, The Riden Firm. Whitnie is the managing partner and specializes in Intellectual Property, Sports/Entertainment and Estate Planning.

Eddis W. Freeman (’23) — Congratulations to Eddis on joining the Georgia Public Defender’s Council as an Assistant Public Defender I in Clayton County.

October 2023

LaToya A. Hutchinson (’11) — Congratulations to LaToya on starting her new position as Assistant District Attorney at Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office. Serving Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Morgan, and Putnam Counties in Child Support Cases.

Fallon E. Brink (’17) — Congratulations to Fallon on joining the Georgia Secretary of State Securities & Charities Division as an Enforcement Attorney.

Andrienne K. McKay (’19) — Congratulations to Andrienne on her recent admission to both the Court of Appeals of Georgia and Supreme Court of Georgia.

Dallas L. Hawkins (’20) — Congratulations to Dallas on joining Garson Johnson LLC as a Civil Litigation Attorney where she is excited to join a team commitment to client success, professional excellence, and personal well-being.

Gulliana L. Goehring (’21) — Congratulations to Gulliana, on winning the 2023 Excellence Award in the Professionals category from TUMI-USA! The Tumi Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of Peruvian immigrants in solidarity, dedication, professionalism, and community service.

November 2023

James R. Haug (’09) — Congratulations to James and his firm, Haug Barron Law Group, on winning a $30 Million verdict for a family in a wrongful death case. One of the top ten largest medical malpractice cases in Georgia history.

William “Bill” J. Black, III (’18) — Congratulations to Bill on having his op-ed published in James Magazine Georgia, where he discusses the legal needs of homeless veterans and highlights the AJMLS Homeless Veterans Clinic.

Gandara G. Gallishaw (’23) — Congratulations to Gandara on her promotion to Assistant District Attorney at Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, where she previously served as a legal intern and apprentice prosecutor.

Victor J. Gordon (’23) — Congratulations to Victor on the creation of his new firm The Law Office of Victor Gordon. We wish you and your firm all the best of luck.

Congratulations to all of our alumni who recently passed the July 2023 bar!
Katie Adams, Estibaliz Afanador, Allyssia Andrews, Lauren Briggs, Hanna Canavan, Lance Carruth, Kyra Clark, Keith Collins, Danyelle Davis, Brittany Davis, Mercedes Dickerson, James Dixon, Shane Downard, Beverly Fratto, Donsherrhea Frison, Myah Fuqua, Gandara Gallishaw, Victor Gordon, Chauncey Graham, Jacob Gregory, Sharon Hansrote, Brooke Harrison, MarQuita Jones, Raford Kelly, Bethany Keyes, Esther Ko, Sabrina Leverette, Elizabeth Marra, Daniela Martinez, Katie McClelland, Richard Mejia, Dean Moore, Amy Morris, Austin O’Neill, Russell Preston, Jessica Regalado, Grant Schrantz, Joan Smoot, Lauren Spencer, Tishana Springer, Ashley Starnes, Melanie Stepho, Michael Stewart, Samantha Taylor, Kendall Taylor, Javion Thomas, Clint Tyler, Rochelle Walker, Kya Williams, Shaugnassy Williams-Bryant, and Kris Wright.

December 2023

Dorna J. Taylor (’98) — Congratulations to Dorna on her book, Do What You Know How to Do: Lessons on Loss, Love, and Life. Through her memoir and guide, she offers a heartfelt account of resilience and triumph over adversity, inspiring readers to find strength in the face of life’s challenges.

Jennifer B. Gore-Cuthbert (’12) — Congratulations to Jennifer for her book, Tiger Tactics CEO Edition: From ZERO to Law Firm CEO a collaborative book offering readers an inside look into the minds of 13 influential law firm CEOs.

Kevin O. Fogle (’16) — Congratulations to Kevin on being named to the 2023 Lawyers of Color Hotlist and for his inclusion in the fourth edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch for his expertise in Corporate Law and Mergers and Acquisitions Law!

Mahham Syed (’21) — Congratulations to Mahham on joining The Law Offices of Julianne M. Holt as an Assistant Public Defender!

Sharon F. Hansrote (’23) — Congratulations to Sharon on joining the Sarah Cornejo Law, LLC as their newest criminal defense attorney!

Austin M. O’Neill (’23) — Congratulations to Austin on joining the Law Office of Tim L. Holman where he will focus on Contract Law, Intellectual Property Law, Business Law, and Estate Planning!

Tishana Springer (’23) — Congratulations to Tishana on joining Samuel Johnson and Associates as their new Personal Injury Attorney and the Head of Litigation!

November 2023 Outstanding Student of the Quarter

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the names of the students who were selected for the Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. This award is designed to recognize the contributions and efforts of students who excel in and/or out of the classroom and are dedicated to enriching the law school and greater communities.

1L Class

Rachel Avrunin

Rachel Avrunin is a first-year law student at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, a licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) in the State of Georgia and a certified Crime Victim Advocate (NACP). Rachel believes that an outstanding law student displays humility and learns from her peers in addition to her professors. Rachel is interested in becoming a trial attorney, and representing plaintiffs harmed by negligent institutions. Rachel believes that too often the criminal justice system fails to hold negligent religious institutions accountable for their failure to safeguard children. She is an advocate for reforming the statute of limitations and removing ecclesiastical privilege. To that end, she has volunteered with SNAP and assisted numerous adult victims of child sexual abuse by clergy in obtaining legal counsel to pursue justice in the civil area. Rachel loves the outdoors and lives in Decatur, Georgia with her husband, four teenagers, and a menagerie of pets.

Kyle Cobb

Kyle W Cobb is a Commercial Community Banking Analyst of Truist’s Not-For-Profit and government Banking Division, which covers the state of Georgia. Kyle assists the team with identifying client opportunities, constructing pitch materials, supporting the ongoing servicing of clients, and creating sales materials for existing and prospective clients. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Kyle earned his B.B.A. in finance from Morehouse College. At this time, Kyle is also pursuing his juris doctorate at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where he proudly serves as Vice President of the Criminal Law Society. Under Kyle’s leadership, the Criminal Law Society has been able to serve the youth of the community through education via their Know Your Rights workshops and by crafting letters to the children and youth incarcerated in detention centers and state homes around the nation. Additionally, Kyle and other members of the Criminal Law Society will be launching an anti-gang cognitive youth outreach program to deter children in low-income communities from joining gangs. Kyle believes an outstanding law student transcends the classroom in constant pursuit of ways to advocate for those who are in the little-known corners of the world. An active community volunteer, Kyle serves as a brand ambassador for Life Link of Georgia, a career coach at Gilgal Inc., and an active volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and the Salvation Army. 

Kyle is also a proud member of the Leadership Buckhead Class of 2023. Currently, Kyle serves as a steering committee member for the American Jewish Committee (ACCESS Atlanta), the executive committee for Camp Twin Lakes located in both Rutledge and Winder, GA, and the board of directors for the Carl E. Sanders YMCA located on Moores Mill Road in Atlanta, Georgia. Kyle has a passion for helping those who have experienced a plight in life that is similar to his.

2L Class

Gloria Garcia

Gloria Garcia is a full-time 2L student, serves as academic chair for CHALLSA, and is a peer mentor. She has helped organize three study sessions this semester geared towards helping 1L students succeed. She also helped CHALLSA’s co-presidents establish CHALLSA, a recently formed student organization that has been one of the most visible and active organizations at the law school this year. Gloria hopes to help as many 1L students as possible through her work with CHALLSA and the Peer Mentoring Program. 

Gloria aspires to become a criminal defense or entertainment attorney. She believes an outstanding law student is one who never gives up even when it seems like the world is falling around them. An outstanding student continuously works towards their end goal, knows that it’ll be worth it in the end, uplifts their community and helps in any way they can.

Krystal Robledo

Krystal Robledo is a 2L and an aspiring civil rights attorney from Chicago, IL. She founded a gun violence prevention organization in 2015, which strengthened her passion for community activism and social justice and made her realize the need for affordable and accessible legal representation for underrepresented communities. After moving to Georgia to begin law school at AJMLS, Krystal immediately became involved in her local community, participating in the Georgia Latino Law Foundation’s Leadership Academy and founding The Caribbean, Hispanic, and Latino Law Students Association at AJMLS. Despite the adjustment of moving to a new state for the first time in her life while raising three daughters, Krystal performed in the top 20% of her 1L class and has become a leader on campus. Her definition of an outstanding law student is one who realizes the need not only for academic excellence but also for community involvement and advocating for people who cannot advocate for themselves. Krystal aims to become an esteemed civil rights attorney representing marginalized communities, primarily focusing on educational advocacy and students with disabilities.

Jodi–Ann Salters

Jodi-Ann Salters is a 2L and Professional Development and Wellness Director of the AJMLS Peer Mentoring Program. She is a UGA alumnae and non-traditional student with over twelve years of leadership and management experience. Jodi-Ann believes in a balanced lifestyle and encourages her peers to do the same. She also values mentorship, as she mentors two 1Ls through the Peer Mentoring Program and many 1Ls and 2Ls informally. Recently, she produced AJMLS’s first fashion show, “Dress For the Bar: A Legal Professional Fashion Showcase,” with student models, a panel of four attorneys, and a professor. Students gained invaluable insights into the importance of dressing professionally in the legal landscape and the opportunity to network with attorneys.

Beyond studying and preparing for classes, Jodi-Ann enjoys spending quality time with her husband, children, and friends. Every Saturday, it’s “Go Dawgs,” and every Sunday, it’s “Go Browns!” Because of her passion for sports, she is the secretary of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society and a law clerk for the NIL (Name Image and Likeness) Law Group. Jodi-Ann is interested in becoming a Civil Litigator, is a Staff editor of the AJMLS Law Journal, and is working tirelessly to expand her professional network. She is also an active member of CERLS (Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society), CHALLSA (Caribbean, Hispanic and Latino Law Students Association), GABWA, and the Gate City Bar Association. Jodi-Ann’s definition of an outstanding law student is a student who is supportive, ethical, scholarly, charitable, and well-balanced. Outstanding law students motivate and encourage those around them to do their best. Law School is challenging but fun, tiring but purposeful, and sometimes depressing but rewarding. She believes the relationships she builds are as meaningful as the new language she is learning. Most importantly, she is forever grateful for the community of future lawyers she has at AJMLS.

Anthony Zahn

Anthony Zahn is a full-time 2L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, and he is proud to be recognized as the Outstanding Student of the Quarter. With a background in education, specializing in English and US History, Anthony has seamlessly transitioned into the world of law. Anthony’s dedication to mentorship is evident as he serves as a peer mentor to five students, and shares his knowledge and passion for learning.

Anthony’s academic journey includes a position as a research assistant to Professor Suparna Malempati and a recent selection to the Law Journal, highlighting his commitment to legal scholarship and research. Additionally, Anthony has received CALI awards in Legal Writing and Research and Torts II. His vision for the future involves making a mark in the Civil Law field, particularly in personal injury cases.

Anthony is enthusiastic about actively engaging in networking opportunities to expand his professional connections. Additionally, he is committed to dedicating a portion of his time and expertise to public service, with the goal of giving back to the community and upholding the values of the legal profession by promoting justice and serving those in need.

Anthony’s definition of an outstanding law student is “someone who combines exceptional academic achievements with a deep understanding of the practical implications of the law, using their knowledge to bring about positive change.”

3Ls and 4L Classes

Tylore Bell

Tylore Bell is a full-time 3L student who wants to become a criminal defense attorney and practice in DC. She currently serves as the president of Black Law Students Association, a peer mentor, and Resource Director for the Peer Mentoring Program. She is from California, but came to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School for a fresh start and to reconnect with her Southern family. Under Tylore’s leadership, BLSA has hosted their first Homecoming Week, and created academic study sessions for 1Ls to help increase the retention rate for black law students and to increase the percentage of black attorneys in the United States, which is currently 5%. Tylore’s definition of an outstanding student is someone who is approachable, able to communicate with everyone, works hard not only for herself but also others, and consistently backs up her principles, both in words and actions. 

Tiara Clemmons

As a full-time 3L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Tiara exemplifies the qualities of an outstanding law student. She has received three CALI Awards for academic excellence and three Outstanding Student of the Quarter accolades, consistently demonstrating exceptional scholarship and a deep commitment to the legal profession.

A dedicated member of the Black Law Students Association and a Line Editor for the school’s prestigious Law Journal, Tiara actively contributes to the enrichment of the school’s academic environment. Her leadership extends beyond editorial duties as she mentors first-year law students, guiding them through the challenges and rewards of law school as part of the Peer Mentoring Program.

Tiara’s passion for the law is matched by her ambition in the field of transactional corporate law. A testament to this ambition is the invaluable experience she gained during a summer internship with the in-house legal department of a leading manufacturer of electrical transmission and distribution materials. Furthermore, Tiara is a proud member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), where she continues to expand her professional network and contribute to the community.

Tiara defines an outstanding law student as one who embodies hard work, resilience, and kindness. These virtues reflect her commitment not only to personal success but also to the uplifting of peers and the betterment of the legal community.

Denisha Johnson

Denisha Johnson is honored to be recognized as the Outstanding Student of the Quarter. Denisha is currently a 3L part-time evening student, and she takes great pride in being the founding president of the Health Law Society during its inaugural year. This semester, Denisha was selected as a Staff Editor for the Law Journal, a distinction she holds with immense gratitude. During her time at AJMLS, her dedication to academics has been paralleled by her passion for community service. As a volunteer in AJMLS’s Landlord/Tenant Clinic and in the Georgia State Families Office, Denisha has actively pursued social justice and strived to make a positive impact on those in need. She aspires to become a health law attorney and to work with the Innocence Project to aid those wrongfully convicted. In her view, an outstanding law student embodies qualities of leadership, continuous education, community engagement, and advocacy. She believes these qualities are the cornerstones of a successful attorney, and she is committed to excelling in these areas. Denisha is enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue contributing meaningfully to both her academic pursuits and the community at large.

Wendi Lucas

Wendi Lucas is a 4L part-time student at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. As a first generation college student, Wendi attended Kennesaw State University where she graduated cum laude and received a bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in legal studies. As a 1L, Wendi served as an SBA class representative. She is an active member of the Advocacy Board and served in an executive board position her 3L year. Wendi has been a peer mentor since 2022 and enjoys helping incoming students adjust to the demands of law school. Wendi was awarded the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Georgia Practice and Procedure.

Wendi has worked as a paralegal in the personal injury field since 2014 and hopes to continue her work as a personal injury attorney upon graduation and passing the Georgia Bar Exam. Wendi is a mother of three children, and her youngest child was born during her 3L year. She has continued to be involved with her family and volunteers as team parent for her son’s football team. Wendi believes hard work, dedication, and empathy for others are the keys to success. Wendi’s definition of an outstanding law student is one who “acknowledges the privilege and responsibility of becoming a member of the legal profession, strives to encourage and be a resource for others, and demonstrates professionalism, respect, and kindness in all areas.” 

Jacob Sperber

Jacob Sperber is a 3L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Prior to attending law school, Jacob attended the University of Oregon, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business. During his time at AJMLS, Jacob has earned CALI awards in Torts I & II, Legal Writing I & II, and Evidence. Jacob is also a member of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Moot Court team, Criminal Law Society, and Corporate and Business Law Society. He is also a peer mentor to 1L students. 

Jacob is also on the editorial board of AJMLS’s Law Journal and is writing a comment on the use of rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials. Jacob’s definition of an outstanding law student is a student “who empowers and supports their fellow classmates, is willing to learn and expand their knowledge, and tries to make a positive impact on their community and school above all else.”   

Matthew Tans

Matthew “Max” Tans is a 3L, dad, and husband who serves in the Navy Reserve and volunteers with Team Rubicon, a disaster relief organization. In addition to his volunteer work outside of school, Max volunteers through the school’s Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic with the Warrior Alliance, is a peer mentor in school, and mentors other law students who are also veterans.

Max said, “I’m continuously surprised and delighted at how a small bit of help can have a drastically positive impact on people during a time of need. Part of being an outstanding student means finding additional ways to serve, learn, and discover the balance between studying the law as a profession and applying it through volunteer work. I’m honored to be recognized!” 

Donte Watkins

Donte’ Watkins is a 3L part-time student at AJMLS and is currently pursuing a certificate in Criminal Justice. Donte’ is a two-time Dean’s List recipient, is President of the Criminal Law Society, and serves as a peer mentor. Under Donte’s leadership, the Criminal Law Society has hosted/co-sponsored/supported several enrichment opportunities across the school and in the greater community. These events include hosting a “Law School Edge” panel, sharing firsthand insight on working in a prosecutor’s office and a defense firm, hosting an opportunity to visit a local adult detention facility, connecting with local Boys & Girls Club youth, and more. Donte’ further distinguished himself by being selected to represent the school and student body on the Access to Justice Day planning committee, a team of students, faculty, administrators, and DOJ staff that is coordinating a two-day event that will feature the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice, various public defender offices, and other advocacy groups and organizations that do adjacent work. 

Outside of AJMLS, Donte’ serves as a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force Reserve and is assigned to Dobbins ARB, GA, where he serves as an Aviation Maintenance Technician and supports a special assignment. Donte’ leads 110 local high school-aged youth and advises them in the areas of leadership, life skills, health and wellness, government, logistics and supply chain management, and IT basics. In this role, he volunteers approximately 10-15 hours per week. 

Donte’ is interested in serving in the civilian Criminal Law field and has his sights on potentially becoming a Judge Advocate General for the US Air Force. His definition of an outstanding law student is one “who exemplifies integrity, service, and excellence, evidenced by representing oneself, the law school, and the legal profession with good values, using knowledge and experience to serve others within the law school community and greater community, and performing in a spirit of excellence in everything that one takes part in.”

Fall 2023 Development and Alumni Relations Scholarship Recipients

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Development and Alumni Relations Office is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities each semester. Our donors give generously to AJMLS and the John Marshall Law School Foundation, Inc. to help students cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and educational expenses. AJMLS offers merit-based, need-based, and service-based scholarships. Applications were carefully reviewed by the scholarship committee, and we thank the committee for their time.

All inquiries related to the Development and Alumni Relations scholarships below should be directed to Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer, at waina@johnmarshall.edu.

If you are interested in creating a scholarship to support our law students please visit our Giving pages or contact Wendy Aina directly.

American Cancer Society Scholarship

Timecca Cordero

J.D. Candidate 2026

“It is with great appreciation to accept the American Cancer Society and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School scholarship. This scholarship not only helps me financially but also provides encouragement that I will achieve my goals. Thank you for the opportunity to be apart of the ACS mission.”

American Cancer Society Scholarship

Regina Sampson

J.D. Candidate 2025

“Thank you so very much for considering me for this scholarship and for awarding it to me. It is such a major honor to me to have been selected for this, as I know that the competition among students is high for this most prestigious scholarship.

I plan to use this scholarship to further my education and eventually start my own practice. I am committed to using the scholarship to its fullest potential and achieving success in my future endeavors.

Once again, thank you for awarding me this scholarship. Your generosity has made a huge impact on my life.”

Andy Crawford Scholarship

Anthony Zahn

J.D. Candidate 2024

“Dear Ms. Crawford and supporters,

I am deeply grateful to be awarded the Fall 2023 Andy Crawford Scholarship! This award not only eases my financial burden but also serves as a touching tribute to Andy Crawford, a young man who aspired to help others through his legal career. I am truly honored to carry Andy’s legacy by dedicating myself to making a positive impact in the lives of those in need, and I will strive to work diligently to achieve my academic and professional goals.

Thank you sincerely for this meaningful scholarship, which further motivates me to make an indelible mark on the world. With heartfelt appreciation.”

Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship

Tiara Clemmons

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I am honored and grateful to accept the Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship. With the help of this scholarship, I am one step closer to achieving my goals and making a positive impact in the field of law.”

Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship

Reddlene Lamour

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I am deeply grateful to be a recipient of the Bobby Lee Cook scholarship. This investment in my education has not only lightened my financial burden but also has Inspired me to work diligently towards academic goals as well goals to give back to the community. I am fully committed to upholding the standards of excellence that this scholarship represents.”

Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship

Joshua Redmond

J.D. Candidate 2024

“This scholarship will undoubtedly make a significant difference in my academic journey, and I promise to use it prudently and efficiently. I am confident that I will continue to embody the pillars of the Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship through my legal journey. Your belief in me has inspired me to work even harder towards achieving my goals.”

Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship

Maria Velasco

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I am deeply grateful and privileged to have been awarded the Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship. This incredible opportunity brings me closer to realizing my aspirations in the field of law and allows me to work towards making a meaningful contribution.”

John Marshall Law School Foundation Scholarship

Tiara Clemmons

J.D. Candidate 2024 “I am delighted to accept the John Marshall Law School Scholarship. This scholarship is a tremendous honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity it provides to further my legal education.”

John Marshall Law School Foundation Scholarship

Reddlene Lamour

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the privilege of being selected as a recipient of the John Marshall Law School Foundation Scholarship. Your generosity and commitment to supporting academic achievement have profoundly impacted my educational journey.”

McCloud Law Firm Scholarship

Tylore Bell

J.D. Candidate 2024

“Thank you to Attorney Pam McCloud and the McCloud Law Firm for this scholarship. Securing this scholarship means so much to me because it validates my hard work is paying off and it gives me more confidence as I prepare for the bar exam. Just knowing that I have support not only for my family and friends, but from everyone motivates me even more to succeed.”

S. Bradley Houck Memorial Scholarship

Nathan Azarowicz

J.D. Candidate 2024

“Dear Mr. Malone, Family, and Friends of S. Bradley Houck,

I am honored to be chosen to receive the S. Bradley Houck Memorial Scholarship.  This scholarship will help me drastically going into my 3L year of law school by focusing on my classes, bar prep, as well as searching for a job without having to worry about how I am going to pay for school.  My goal for law school is to graduate on time and be prepared for the bar next year.  This scholarship has helped me to focus more on my studies and not on whether I can afford my tuition, fees, and the extra cost of bar prep. 

This award not only eases my financial burden but also serves as a poignant reminder of S. Bradley Houck, a remarkable individual who aspired to help others through his legal career. I am truly honored to carry his legacy by dedicating myself to making a positive impact in the lives of those in need, and I will strive to work diligently to achieve my academic and professional goals.  I am truly thankful for this scholarship.”

S. Bradley Houck Memorial Scholarship

Shanae Hall

J.D. Candidate 2024

“Dear Mr. Malone, Family, and Friends of S. Bradley Houck,

I feel so blessed and truly grateful to be the recipient of the S. Bradley Houck Memorial scholarship. This scholarship will help cover some of my tuition and fees which means that I will have money to pay for my books and other school supplies outright. Thank you so much for gracing me with this blessing. I can’t say thank you enough.”

Tawnie Adams Scholarship

Jodi-Ann Salters

J.D. Candidate 2025

“I am incredibly honored and grateful to receive the Tawnie Adams Scholarship award, which will alleviate the tuition and expenses of law school, allowing me to fully immerse myself in my studies without worrying about financial strain. With this scholarship, I can continue to focus on honing my legal skills, engaging in meaningful experiences, and contributing positively to the academic community while still fulfilling my responsibilities as a mother. Thank you for believing in my potential and providing this invaluable opportunity.”

Op-Ed: Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Battles Veteran Homelessness

William J. Black, III, is a Georgia lawyer and veteran who graduated from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where he was Editor in Chief of the Law Journal and was a 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games Athlete.

Bill Black, AJMLS Alumnus, Veteran

In the heart of Atlanta, where skyscrapers abound and urban life buzzes, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s 90th Anniversary celebration this year commemorates a rich history of legal education while looking forward to continued excellence, innovation, and impact in the legal community, particularly while also fighting for one of our most underserved groups in Georgia: homeless veterans.

That’s why there’s a battle being fought not only in the streets but also in the corridors of the law school. The soldiers in this battle are not in uniform anymore, but their service to the nation is indelible in their spirits and the stories they carry. America’s veterans, who once defended our country, can swiftly find themselves on the front lines of a different struggle: the fight against homelessness, poverty, and the legal skirmishes that often exacerbate them.

Enter the Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS), a beacon of hope for Georgia’s veterans. Skillfully operating without backing for the past seven years, Dr. Bridgett Ortega of AJMLS and Thindwia Cabiness of the VA built the framework for the program’s success today. With its recent funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the legal clinic stands as a vanguard in the battle against veteran homelessness, offering more statewide pro bono legal services to those who’ve served. Monumental in securing the new funding were the efforts of Dr. J.L. Wyatt-Keyton, Angela Sumpter, and Wendy Aina. With the latest grant, the clinic is offering services in 11 counties around the metro area. This is expected to grow. But this isn’t just about more legal counsel; it’s about restoring dignity, providing a second chance, and breaking the chains of circumstances that too often ensnare veterans in a cycle of poverty and homelessness.

At the helm of this life-changing initiative is Douglasville attorney Corey Martin, a man whose service to his country didn’t end after his eight-year stint in the military. Martin, a distinguished alumnus of AJMLS and a beacon in the legal community, guides the clinic with the kind of leadership that only someone who has walked in similar shoes can provide to fellow veterans. His accolades, including the 2020 State Bar of Georgia’s William B. Spann Jr. Award, pale in comparison to the impact he’s having on the lives of countless veterans, helping them navigate through legal thickets that range from misdemeanor charges to outstanding warrants.

Why does all this matter? Because for a veteran sleeping on the streets, a charge as trivial as loitering or trespassing can mean the difference between securing a job or perpetual unemployment, between an apartment to call home and another night on the sidewalk. These minor legal hurdles can morph into insurmountable walls, barring re-entry into a society they once swore to protect.

The clinic, under Martin’s seasoned guidance, specializes in these cases, acknowledging that to tackle veteran homelessness, they must first address its roots. Issues like drug-related charges, simple battery, DUIs, and even failure to appear in court are handled with the utmost professionalism and empathy. Fellow alumna and attorney, Gulliana Goehring, has been instrumental in offering her time and support to the clinic pro bono, contributing expert legal care and student guidance.

The goal? To clear the path, making way for these veterans to rebuild their lives one step at a time. Non-profit organizations who serve homeless veterans would be well suited to direct potential clients to the clinic, as well would other veterans service organizations (VSO) who partner with the Warrior Alliance, Georgia’s Military Legal Assistance Program, and the Georgia Legal Services Project. Nathan Azarowicz, AJMLS student and clinic staff, joined the team to aid in making these connections and bringing awareness of the clinic to community veterans.

In a world that never stops moving, the AJMLS Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic offers a respite, a moment for these veterans to catch their breath and find their footing again. Their doors are open during specific walk-in hours, and their presence is just a call or email away, ready to serve those who’ve served us.

As Georgians go about their days, remember that amongst us are heroes in plain clothes, seeking a lifeline. The AJMLS Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic is a lifeline within a wider support network and a testament to the law school community’s enduring commitment to those who’ve sacrificed so much. The clinic isn’t just about legal representation; it’s about reclaiming lives one case at a time. Every veteran deserves the honor of a home, and the first step to that often starts with a helping hand in a legal battle. To request assistance from the clinic, or to schedule an appointment, contact them directly via phone (679) 916-2645 or email vetclinic@johnmarshall.edu. A link to their online screening form can be found here.

Chairman, Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Announces Retirement After 25 Years at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

After over 25 years of distinguished service and leadership, Dr. Michael C. Markovitz has announced his retirement as Chairman from the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Board of Directors.

A lifelong champion of education, Dr. Michael C. Markovitz was the founder of the American School of Professional Psychology (formerly Illinois School of Professional Psychology), the founding Chairman of Argosy Education Group, and served as the Chairman of Yorkville University Board of Governors. He is a member and past Chairman of the Visiting Committee to the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and a retired member of the Board of Trustees of Eckerd College in Florida.

Upon reflection of Dr. Markovitz’s time at AJMLS, Dean Jace C. Gatewood said, “In a career exemplified by visionary leadership, unwavering commitment, and an enduring passion for legal education, Dr. Markovitz has been the bedrock upon which many of the school’s successes have been built. His impact reaches far beyond the walls of our institution. Under his guidance, the school has attained new heights in educational excellence, community involvement, and academic reputation.”

He went on to say, “His accomplishments are innumerable, but perhaps most notable among them is his role in steering our institution toward becoming an inclusive, student-centered, and socially responsible hub of learning. Dr. Markovitz has been a beacon of integrity and a stalwart champion of justice and opportunity for all.”

As the first Dean under Dr. Markovitz’s leadership in the late ’90s, Dean Robert D’Agostino remembered with pride, “In 1996, only two people thought John Marshall Law School could not only survive but flourish. Dr. Markovitz proceeded to put the full resources available to him, including substantial funds, behind his determination to see JMLS survive and become an important addition to legal education. Without Dr. Markovitz’s commitment, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School would not exist today.”

Serving as Dean from 2006 to 2014, Dean Richardson R. Lynn said, “I enjoyed working with Dr. Markowitz because he is smart, generous, has a good sense of humor, and asks questions that lead to better results. He was frequently skeptical of academic traditions and faculty prerequisites, but only if he didn’t see how they resulted in better teaching or promoting the law school’s mission. Michael made it possible for us to win ABA accreditation and recruited an outstanding Board. I wish him the best with all his projects in retirement.”

Dean Malcolm L. Morris, immediate past Dean and current AJMLS Board member, recalled “It has been my good fortune to work with many people in legal education over the last 45 years. Some stand out from others based upon their view that the best interests of students must be served above all else. Dr. Markovitz sits atop that list. His commitment to that principle has served many of our alumni well. He can take pride in all of the lawyers and the people they have helped because of his leadership at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.”

A note from Dr. Markovitz: 

“As my 50 year career in higher education comes to close, as all careers eventually must, I will say I am most proud of what we all together have accomplished in Atlanta. All together, because there are many fingerprints on the law school’s success. We have come from an unaccredited place where our very continued existence was in doubt, to a place where we now have a respectable bar passage rate and good relationship with the American Bar Association (ABA) as a fully approved and thriving law school. The very first time I represented myself in court was when I went to see Justice Leah Sears in 2001 to ask for her agreement to allow the law school more time before the Georgia Court forced the law school to close. She said, “Atlanta needs John Marshall Law School, but John Marshall Law School needs to be better.” 

“Justice Sears, I can report we have made it better.”

Dr. Markovitz received his Bachelor of Science degree from the City College of the City University of New York (CCNY), and earned both his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Biological Psychology from the University of Chicago. 

We express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Michael C. Markovitz for his 25 years of exemplary leadership, mentorship, and unceasing dedication to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. We look forward to celebrating his legacy in the coming weeks and wish him the most fulfilling and rewarding journey ahead.

Criminal Law and RICO Expert, Professor Michael Mears, Interviewed by New York Times, CNN, Australian Radio, Canadian Radio, Russian Television International and Others

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor and criminal law expert, Michael Mears, has become an international go-to authority on RICO charges in Georgia. Interviewed by outlets in the United States, Canada, and Australia, his storied career lends powerful insight to the ongoing RICO cases involving former President Donald Trump, and separately, the Atlanta Cop City protestors.

Most recently, Professor Mears was interviewed this past week by Russian Television International (RTVI). RTVI, based in New York and not associated with RT, is a privately owned news organization that targets Russians living abroad as its audience, including Russians living in the United States. He talked about the Georgia RICO statute, the Cop City case, and the Donald Trump case. The show was conducted in the Russian Language with an interpreter. Little known fact: Professor Mears speaks Russian.

Also in November, Professor Mears was interviewed by CBC/Radio-Canada, which airs across Canada on their flagship nightly newscast and also in many countries throughout Europe and Africa via the TV5 network, which is available as well in the US. He was interviewed about Donald Trump’s advisers who pleaded guilty in Georgia. 

In late September, Professor Mears was interviewed by ABC Radio National in Australia. The subject of the interview was the RICO prosecution of former president Donald Trump, et al. and they discussed the Georgia RICO statute and the process of a RICO trial. 

RICO Acts have brought down mafia bosses, corporate criminals, and stockbrokers now ones being used against former US President Donald Trump

Earlier this fall, Law360 interviewed multiple local law professors, including Mears, to discuss former president Donald Trump and his Fulton County case in Georgia.

He’s In Real Jeopardy’: Ga. Law Profs Weigh New Trump Case

This past August, Professor Mears was quoted in the New York Times. He was asked to discuss the use of the RICO statute in Donald Trump’s indictment. 

His quote was, “It’s a powerful law enforcement tool. The Georgia RICO statute allows prosecutors to bundle together what may seem to be unrelated crimes committed by a host of different people if those crimes are perceived to be in support of a common objective.”“It allows a prosecutor to go after the head of an organization, loosely defined, without having to prove that that head directly engaged in a conspiracy or any acts that violated state law,” Michael Mears, a law professor at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta. “If you are a prosecutor, it’s a gold mine. If you are a defense attorney, it’s a nightmare.”

Shortly after his quote posted in the New York times, CNN reached out to him to elaborate on air and was interviewed by Fredricka Whitfield in-studio.

Fredricka Whitfield interview, CNN

Michael Mears teaches Evidence, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Ethics. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees from Mississippi State University. Michael is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law (Class of 1977). Michael served as the Mayor of the City of Decatur, Georgia from 1985 to 1993.

Michael was awarded the Elbert P. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Southeast Regional Anti-Defamation League, February, 2009; He was awarded the Liberty Bell Award by the Atlanta Bar Association 2008; and was named named as a Georgia Super Lawyer for the years 2004, 2005, and 2006 by Atlanta Magazine. In 2003, Michael was selected to be the founding Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council after serving for over ten years as the Director of the Multi-County County Public Defender Office, a state-wide death penalty public defender service funded by the State of Georgia. He retired from that position in 2007 and has been an Associate Professor of Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School since his retirement from the Public Defender Standards Council. In addition to his teaching duties, Michael has also served as the Associate Dean of the Law School for Academic Affairs. Michael has also been selected as a visiting scholar at Bahcesehir University Law School in Istanbul, Turkey.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Kevin Cieply, Ed.D., to the Board of Directors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Cieply, Ed.D., Founder of Cieply Law and Partner at RAMA International Inc., to the Board of Directors. The appointment occurred late September 2023 and is a celebrated homecoming as the new Board member was a former Associate Dean at AJMLS.

Cieply is the former President and Dean of Ave Maria School of Law (2014 – 2021), and former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (2008-2014).

Recently, Cieply received a Master of Law degree from Texas A&M in Wealth Management (2023), and a doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Vanderbilt University (2022). In 1985, Cieply received his B.S. degree from Northern Kentucky University. His Juris Doctorate is from Notre Dame (1993), and he received a Master of Law degree from the Army Judge Advocate Generals’ School in 1997 (Honor Graduate). In 2006, Cieply was a Senior Military Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. 

Before his career in legal academia, Cieply served over 22 years in the Army and Army National Guard as a helicopter pilot, company commander, and JAG Officer. Cieply graduated from the Army’s Airborne School, Air Assault School, and Flight School. In flight school, Cieply graduated as the Distinguished Honor Graduate. He was rated in the UH-1, OH-58, and AH-1 helicopters. He was also a school-trained Aero-Scout and Maintenance Test Pilot. 

Cieply served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (District of Arizona) prosecuting major procurement fraud for the Department of Defense and as the full-time Senior Legal Advisor on all military matters to the Wyoming Army National Guard. Cieply’s last military assignment was as the Chief, of Land Operations Law, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), concentrating on counterterrorism and Defense Support of Civilian Authorities. He retired from the military in 2008 with the rank of Colonel.

Cieply is admitted to practice law in Arizona (Active), Colorado, Florida (Active), Georgia, and Wyoming (Active), as well as the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court. Cieply resides with his wife in Naples, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona. They have three adult children and seven grandchildren.

Members

Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Ph.D.
Chairman, Board of Directors

Kevin Cieply, Ed.D.
Founder, Cieply Law and Partner, RAMA International Inc.

Kwaku C. George (KC)
Director, National Development Council

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein
Former Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Malone
Partner, Malone Law

Teri P. McClure
Former General Counsel and Chief Human Resources Officer, Senior Vice President of Labor Relations and Communications, United Parcel Service of America, Inc.

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker
County Attorney, Fulton County, Georgia

Kevin Ross
President, Kevin Ross Public Affairs Group LLC

Dr. Lawrence B. Schlachter
DDS, MD, JD, Schlachter Law Firm

Dean James P. White
Consultant Emeritus, Section on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar, American Bar Association

Advisor

Linda A. Klein
Shareholder, Baker Donelson

AJMLS Law Journal Elects 2023-2024 Editorial Board for Volume XVII

The 2022-2023 Law Journal Editorial Board and its Faculty Advisor Editor since 2015, Professor Van Detta, are pleased to announce the election of the six new members of the Editorial Board of the Law Journal for 2023-2024. Be sure to visit the Law Journal site here to see all past publications.

Editor in Chief – Jacob Belcastro

Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jacob Belcastro is a 2020 graduate of Kennesaw State University in Georgia where he studied political science, legal studies, and music and entertainment business.  

Prior to joining Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Jacob had worked underneath various prominent entertainment and business attorneys within Atlanta. These mentors gave him the confidence and knowledge that he needed to begin his law school journey. During his time at Atlanta’s John Marshall, Jacob has held positions at entertainment, criminal defense, and personal injury law firms. In addition to joining the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal after his first year, Jacob has also received the honors of Dean’s List, Student of the Quarter, and having his work published in various law school journals. 

During his first year as a staff member on the AJMLS Law Journal, Jacob wrote and published his legislative summary on Senate Bill 135 which amends the Georgia Constitution to allow for legalized gambling within the state. During his second year in Law Journal, as Editor-in-Chief, Jacob will be writing about the Maryland Digital Advertising Gross Revenues Tax- which allows for taxation upon individuals or corporations that digitally advertise within Maryland, regardless of where they reside or are domiciled within the United States. 

Currently, Jacob is a rising 3L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. He sought the positon of Editor-in-Chief of the Law Journal to continue to refine his legal writing and research skills, develop his collaborative ability, and hone a competent and effective leadership style. He aims to use his strong organizational, leadership, and communication skills to maintain and propel the momentum of the Law Journal. 

Executive Managing Editor – Shinnay Richards

Shinnay Richards is a 3L student at AJMLS. She is a native of the beautiful island of Jamaica and immigrated to the United States seventeen years ago.

Shinnay is a first-generation law student and graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. Traveling extensively at an early age exposed her to various cultures and languages, culminating into a study abroad experience as a part of her undergraduate learning. As a result of both her family background and experiences gained from traveling abroad, she has a passion for bringing families together and plans to work in immigration law to continue to change the lives of those coming to the United States in search of a better life. Over the course of her law school career, Shinnay has had the honor of interning with law firms such as the Saunders Firm and Terry Herron Family Law Firm. She was also the recipient of various awards such as the Outstanding Student of the Quarter award in Spring 2022, CALI awards in Legal Research and Writing I, Legal Research and Writing II, and Criminal Procedure. Shinnay also serves as a co-director for the Peer Mentor Program Professionalism and Wellness Committee and a student representative for the State Bar of Georgia Committee on Professionalism.

As a staff editor, Shinnay wrote her legislative summary on H.B. 458, a bill attempting to combat the lack of transparency, disciplinary actions, and educational training for medical professionals who violate their duty of loyalty and trust by engaging in sexual misconduct. The Bill became effective on July 01, 2021. 

Shinnay is elated to be joining the 2023-2024 Editorial Board for the AJMLS Law Journal. She desired to be a part of the legacy that the previous boards have created, and amongst the future leaders who will make decisions to strengthen and diversify the voices of academic achievements. She plans to work alongside her fellow board members and the current/future Editors to add to a foundation that many will stand on for decades to come. 

Executive Legislative Editor – Nathan C. Azarowicz 

Nathan is full-time 3L at John Marshall Law School and is the Executive Legislative Editor for the Law Journal.  Nathan has lived in Georgia most of his life and graduated from the University of West Georgia with a bachelor’s degree majoring in Philosophy with a minor in Political Science.  Nathan is also a part of the Peer Mentor Program at Atlanta’s John Marshall.   Nathan also serves as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps reserve where he has served for 9 years.  Nathan wants to run for a local or state office later in his career.

Online Access & Internet Presence Editor – Wendy Carlyle

Wendy is a part-time 4L law student who graduated from Georgia State University in 2017, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics with a focus in finance. Wendy is currently the Corporate and Litigation Paralegal at Forward Air, Inc. Wendy became immersed in the legal field at an early age, becoming a paralegal at the age of seventeen. She has experience in various areas of the law and has worked as a paralegal in both Atlanta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee.  

Among her accomplishments in law school, Wendy has received CALI Awards for Educational Excellence in Torts II, Civil Procedure I and Insurance Law. Despite her busy schedule, Wendy also serves as the Treasurer for the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers as well as a peer mentor for the law school.  Wendy became a staff editor for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal in 2022 and wrote her legislative summary on HB 413, which relates to vaccination status as a condition to engage in certain activities, such as employment. Wendy had one goal when she first started law school, which was to be invited to join law review, and accomplishing this goal is what led her to join the editorial board as the Online Access and Internet Presence Editor.  

Annual Symposium Editor – Jacob Sperber

Jacob Sperber is a 3L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Prior to attending law school, Jacob attended the University of Oregon where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business. During his time at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Jacob has earned CALI awards in Torts I & II, Legal Writing I & II, and Evidence. Jacob is also a member of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Moot Court, Criminal Law Society, Corporate and Business Law Society, and a peer mentor to 1L students, 

Jacob has worked for a boutique law firm which handles civil and criminal cases since the summer after his 1L year. Working with the same firm throughout law school has allowed him to continuously apply what he is learning in class to his duties at work.  After law school, Jacob hopes to practice corporate or transactional law in the Pacific North West. 

As a staff editor, Jacob wrote his legislative summary on Senate Bill 142, Lottery for Education; Lottery Game of Sports Wagering in This State. The Bill looked to legalize sports betting in Georgia as well as specify the distribution of capital earned through taxes and fees. Jacob sought a position on the Law Journal Editorial Board as he felt he could help the organization and wanted to make an impact on the school. 

Executive Research Editor – Nikou Ahmad-Khosravi

Nikki Khosravi is a 3L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. As a native of Georgia, Nikki earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Kennesaw State University. After graduating, she gained experience as a paralegal at Greene Legal Group LLC before pursuing her legal education. While in law school, Nikki interned at Ducos Law Firm, LLC, and serves as a research associate for Professor Jeffery Van Detta. She is currently focusing on her internship at State Farm.

During her first year in the law journal as a Staff Editor, she wrote a legislative summary concerning House Bill 738, which proposed amendments to various sections of the O.C.G.A., including Chapter 11 of Title 2, Chapter 12 of Title 16, Article 1 of Chapter 2A of Title 31, and Chapter 1 of Title 51. The bill attempted to authorize the use, production, manufacturing, and dispensing of medical marijuana. Nikki found this topic timely and compelling, as the legalization of medical marijuana has been a hotly debated issue in recent years.

Appointed as the Executive Research Editor for the Law Journal, Nikki is passionate about legal research and writing and believes that publishing insightful and thought-provoking articles on legal issues is crucial to furthering the legal community’s knowledge.

Employee of the Month

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) began its Employee of the Month Program in 2021. AJMLS appreciates the efforts of its employees who strive to achieve goals and fulfill the vision of the law school, especially during the unprecedented times of COVID-19. Outstanding employees deserve to be recognized both as a reward for exceptional performance and as a model to others. The program seeks to recognize hard work and achievement in the workplace and is a peer-to-peer recognition program. Congratulations to all the honorees!

September 2023

Michael Gatewood, Evening Security and Front Desk Receptionist

Mike joined the AJMLS family in 2020 as the Facilities Assistant. He made his transition to his current role in 2021. Mike is an outstanding employee at the front desk and security detail for the law school. He has the knowledge, skills, and abilities for his position and is very helpful to everyone.

August 2023

Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer

Wendy joined the AJMLS family in January of 2021. Wendy’s exceptional achievements as the Chief Development Officer have significantly impacted the AJMLS community and beyond. Her commitment to empowering students through scholarships, her ability to foster fruitful partnerships, and her invaluable contributions to our events make her a truly deserving candidate for the Employee of the Month award.  She consistently demonstrates a high degree of excellence, professionalism, and integrity in the performance of her duties and routinely shows a willingness to extend herself to help others at AJMLS.

May 2023

Cynthia Crawford, Director of Human Resources & Rachelle Eyma, Faculty Coordinator

Cynthia is an outstanding employee at AJMLS. She has excellent leadership and management knowledge, skills, and abilities. Cynthia provides excellent work ethic and inspiration to employees at AJMLS. She is indispensable for graduation! Ms. Crawford executed a well choreographed, polished, and professional commencement program for the graduates, their family and friends.

Rachelle is a large part of the reason this semester ran as smoothly as it did. Her work to ensure finals are administered, graded anonymously, and processed correctly helps keep the school afloat. She’s a super hard worker that is always available to provide support or assistance where she can. She’s always there with a smile and an invaluable member of the school; one of which the faculty would be lost without.

April 2023

Steven Jaudon, Lead Faculty Coordinator

Steven joined the AJMLS family in 2017 as a Faculty Coordinator and was later promoted into his current role. His efforts to facilitate exams, grades, feedback, proctors, and more every single exam period make the whole process possible. Steven consistently goes above and beyond, ensuring that all of the necessary processes and events take place in order to make the academic year and exams successful. “Without him, we would be lost, and he deserves this”.

October 2022

AJ Doucett, Director of Alumni Relations

AJ graduated from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and joined the AJMLS family in 2005! For several years, he worked as the Law School’s Reference Librarian. After receiving his J.D. and passing the Georgia Bar Exam, he continued working for AJMLS and has provided dedicated hard work towards the success of our commencement ceremonies. In 2020, he was promoted to the role of Director of Alumni Relations, where he is currently serving. He has embraced his new position and continues to jump into more involvement, above and beyond what he is required. AJ is such a kind and outgoing team player who is genuinely invested in the success of his alma mater! His work in bringing the alumni base back together is invaluable to our institution’s long-term success and he is doing a great job.

September 2022

Meaghan Eustice, Office of Admissions

Meaghan is not only an alumna, but has also contributed to our admissions team for several years. Meaghan is a team player! Most recently, she provided her assistance in the Financial Aid and Bursar’s Office when they were in need. She’s always willing to contribute and she handles her business consistently and efficiently.

August 2022

Michelle Cooper, Director of Financial Aid

Michelle, affectionately known as “Coop”, rejoined the AJMLS family in April of 2018 and has tirelessly worked as a department of one in Financial Aid. “Coop” consistently demonstrates a high degree of excellence, drive, professionalism, and integrity in the performance of her duties and routinely shows a willingness to extend herself to help others at AJMLS.

July 2022

Rebecca Milter, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Recruitment

Rebecca joined the AJMLS family in 2010 and has moved through the ranks from Admissions Counselor to our Assistant Dean of Admissions and Recruitment. She has dedicated her time and passion to the law school and has been committed to its growth. Rebecca goes above and beyond with every single department and the school and always extends herself, no matter the time. She is always helpful and willing to take on extra work for orientation and other school-wide events!

June 2022

Erika Murray, Executive Assistant to the Dean

Erika joined the AJMLS family in 2012, as a Faculty Coordinator and is now the law school’s Executive Assistant to the Dean. Erika is a team player. She assists with projects upon request and always demonstrates a pleasant attitude. She is organized and timely, and is always sure to provide needed and requested information.

Paul Wilson, Career Services and Professional Development Coordinator

Paul joined our team in 2017, as the Assistant Director of Career Development and is now the Administrator of Career Services and Professional Development. Paul is an amazing colleague. He is always willing to assist all students, alumni, staff, and faculty. He is the epitome of over and above the call of duty. When out on military duty, he checks in and assists when he can. He wears multiple hats within the Career Services and Experiential Learning department and has done so with a smile and at your service demeanor. 

April 2022

Jae Wyatt-Keyton, Ph.D., Director of Career Services

Jae joined the AJMLS family during the pandemic, last year in February. She has embraced her new position and continues to jump into more involvement, above and beyond what she is required to do. Jae has done an outstanding job with the completion of the ABA Graduate Employment Survey, setting up an alumni mentorship program, and hosting several employer events that have resulted in internship and job offers for our students.

March 2022

Nicholas Smith, Academic Support Professional

Nick joined the AJMLS family during the pandemic in June of 2021. Nick goes above and beyond to make sure the students feel heard and supported. He is the consummate team player. No matter the situation, time, or place. Nick always has a pleasant demeanor, and is willing to assist the Law School community. His positivity is contagious and is a pleasure to work with!

February 2022

Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer

Wendy joined the AJMLS family during the pandemic last year in January and has literally hit the ground running! She would be found in 1422 when no one else was there! She is an exemplary employee who arrives early in the morning and is most likely the last to leave. Wendy will be in her office diligently working on her tasks as others come in! She collaborates with other departments and her ability to take detailed notes and manage projects from beginning to end is nothing short of amazing. Her commitment to the elevation of AJMLS is undeniable and to top it off, she is pleasant, her energy is contagious, she demonstrates a positive attitude and is always eager to help.

January 2022

Hermelda Branford, Front Desk Receptionist

Hermelda began working for us on a part-time basis in 2012. During that time, she provided service to various departments on an as-needed basis. In 2021, she joined our team on a  permanent basis as the school’s Front Desk Receptionist at our new location! Hermelda is personable, and with good energy during the slowest of days! Hermelda lights up the room with her enthusiasm and charisma. She fits her role of receptionist, perfectly! Hermelda actively tries to help those that come to her. If she doesn’t know the answer to your question, she will find out!

Marc Reece, Director of Recruitment and Outreach

Marc is no stranger to AJMLS! He also started with us in 2012 and rejoined our team in 2020 as our Director of Recruitment and Outreach! Peers have said, “Marc is our Hall of Famer! Not only is he an asset to the Office of Admissions, he is an asset to the school and profession. He helps make AJMLS a better experience for the entire law school community.”

November 2021

Sophie Campbell, Catalogue Assistant

Sophie joined the AJMLS family in 2009. If you’ve ever crossed paths with her, you would notice that she is friendly and very soft spoken. Sophie always shows a willingness to extend herself to help others here at the school and abroad. Sophie recently spearheaded a campaign to send discarded furniture from our 1422 location, to Africa to assist with furnishing schools in need! This was an enormous task that stemmed straight from her heart that she tackled successfully and without placing any focus on herself!

October 2021

AJ Doucett, Director of Alumni Relations

AJ is an AJMLS alumnus who joined the AJMLS family in 2005! For several years, he worked as the law school’s Reference Librarian. After receiving his law school degree, he continued working for the law school and has provided dedicated hard work towards the success of our commencement ceremonies. In 2020, he was promoted to the role of Director of Alumni Relations, where he is currently serving. He has embraced his new position and continues to jump into more involvement, above and beyond what he is required. AJ is such a kind and outgoing team player who is genuinely invested in the success of his alma mater! AJ is well known and liked by faculty, staff, students, and alumni!

September 2021

Steven Jaudon, Lead Faculty Coordinator

Steven joined the AJMLS family in 2017 as a Faculty Coordinator and was later promoted into his current role. Steven has always demonstrated a high degree of excellence, professionalism and integrity in his job performance and continues to provide an exceptional level of support to faculty and instructors. He is always prepared to do his best and to take one for the team!

August 2021

Hal Morgan, Enterprise Systems Administrator

Hal joined the AJMLS family in March of 2015. As described by one of his co-workers, “Hal has been exemplary and a model for demonstrated zeal, conviction, and determination to provide great customer care.” Hal’s patience and kindness are ever present, even when he is in a time crunch, he will acknowledge you and make an effort to find a solution to help you. He is highly appreciated by students, faculty, and staff alike.

July 2021

Cynthia Crawford, Director of Human Resources

Cynthia joined the AJMLS family in 2008 and has moved through the ranks from HR Assist to our now Director of Human Resources! As you know, Cynthia wears many hats, from office manager, to counselor, to graduation coordinator, and is more than Director of Human Resources. Whenever we need a helping hand, Cynthia is there to assist.

June 2021

Mike Gatewood, Facilities Assistant

Mike joined the AJMLS family in 2020, shortly before the pandemic began and he has been actively working at the school nearly every day since! Mike has been described as always nice and works with a smile! Mike operates with a high degree of excellence , professionalism and customer service! 

May 2021

Scot Goins, Director of Academic Achievement and Bar Success

Scot joined the AJMLS family during the pandemic, last year in September. He has embraced his new position and continues to jump into more involvement, above and beyond what he is required. Scot consistently demonstrates a high degree of excellence, professionalism and integrity in the performance of his duties and routinely shows a willingness to extend himself to help others at AJMLS.

April 2021

Hilary Waldo, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications

Hilary joined the AJMLS family in 2012 as the Director of Meeting and Conference Services. She made her transition to Marketing in 2013. Hilary is an awesome member of the team! She is positive, flexible, always makes herself available, and has strong communication skills!

March 2021

Hermelda Branford, Departmental Assistant

Hermelda began working for the law school on a part-time basis in 20212. She has provided assistance to multiple departments (Registrar, Financial Aid, etc.) She has been described as “collegial” and consistently dedicated to being present, almost daily, even during these unprecedented times. She greets you with a smile and is always willing to assist in any capacity that she can.

Rebecca Milter, Executive Director of Admissions

Rebecca joined the AJMLS family in 2010 as the Admissions Coordinator. She has advanced through the years in the Admissions Department and is now our Executive Director of Admissions. Rebecca goes above and beyond, ensuring that our admitted students are excited and connected! She is dedicated not just to the incoming class, but to the school as a whole. She has remained dedicated and determined to bring in an even better class, even during a pandemic! She is pleasant to work with and willing to help in other areas!

February 2021

Angela Sumpter, Career Services and Professional Development Coordinator

Angela joined the AJMLS family in 2016 as the Blackburn Conference Center Manager. She made her transition to the Career Services Department last year in 2020. Angela has been described as “Top Notch” and has received excellent feedback from her peers! She continues to avail herself whenever and wherever needed, even while being faced with pressing personal matters.

January 2021

Doug Bieber, Chief Facilities Engineer

Doug has been with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School for several years, prior to joining the law school on a full-time basis in 2019. He has definitely hit the ground running since becoming a part of our team and has been a vital contributor during the school’s transitioning phase. He is quick to respond and is always willing to assist wherever needed. He gets excellent feedback from his peers and we are very happy to have him on our team!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Hosts U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) hosted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at the Law School on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 for oral arguments. Federal courts of appeals across the country conduct special sittings at law schools to provide law students with real-life exposure to sitting panels of judges, oral arguments by lawyers, and the briefing in real cases.

Scheduled:

Allgenesis Biotherapeutics Inc. v. Cloudbreak Therapeutics, LLC
Miller Mendel, Inc. v. Cly of Anna, Texas
Chewy, Inc. v. IBM
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited v. Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) lnc.
Hawthorne v. Seaeta,y of the Army

At the conclusion of the oral arguments, students engaged in a question and answer period with the law clerks and judges.

Thank you to the Court for providing our community with the incredible opportunity to learn through your visit. Thank you to the entire student body, faculty, and staff who attended and supported the event in various capacities – whether it was by asking insightful questions, helping with logistics, or simply being there to witness the moment – your presence added to the significance of the occasion.

FRE 106: The Rule of Completeness, Now Even More Complete!

Written by: Scot Goins, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement and Bar Success and Associate Professor of Legal Practice

Future bar exam takers take heed! The Federal Rules of Evidence (‘FRE’) will receive three significant updates at the end of 2023. These updates will impact FRE 106, FRE 615, and FRE 702. As all of these are fair game to be tested on the bar exam in the future, it is important to be aware of these amendments (NOTE: The NCBE has provided guidance and insight regarding the three-year development process for questions, and it is difficult to determine exactly when these changes will be reflected in either the current or NextGen bar exam questions, but it is important to be aware of these changes nonetheless.)

These changes were recommended by the Advisory Committee on Federal Rules to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure on May 15, 2022, after being unanimously approved. These amendments, after being approved by the United States Supreme Court, were submitted to Congress on April 24, 2023. Congress took no action to the contrary, and the new rules will go into effect on December 1, 2023.

The first part of this three-part series on the changes will address FRE 106.

Current title of FRE 106: Remainder of or Related Writings or Recorded Statements

The current language of FRE 106, colloquially and affectionately known as the “Rule of Completeness” reads:

If a party introduces all or part of a writing or recorded statement, an adverse party may require the introduction, at that time, of any other part — or any other writing or recorded statement — that in fairness ought to be considered at the same time.

The amended language, effective December 1, 2023, will read as follows:

Amended title of FRE 106: Remainder of or Related Statements

If a party introduces all or part of a statement, an adverse party may require the introduction, at that time, of any other part—or any other statement—that in fairness ought to be considered at the same time. The adverse party may do so over a hearsay objection.

So, what changed?

For starters, the name of the rule changed. As you undoubtedly noticed, amended FRE 106 will have a bit of a title shift. This reflects the changes made after public comment that specifically address the fact that the rule now covers all statements, including oral statements that have not been recorded, and statements made through conduct and sign language. In addition, the rule now explicitly states that there can be no hearsay objection to admitting the remainder of a statement or a related statement if in fairness, such statements ought to be considered. This change was made because “courts have been in conflict over whether completing evidence properly required for completion under FRE 106 can be admitted over a hearsay objection.” FRE 106 removes any potential conflict between courts in applying FRE 106 moving forward. See, Committee Notes to Rule 106 Proposed Amendment. See also, Hardly a Fait Accompli: Federal Rule 106 (elaborating on the previous court conflicts).

Remember, that despite the changes to both the title and the substance of the rule, a party “seeking completion with an unrecorded statement would of course need to provide admissible evidence that the statement was made. Otherwise, there would be no showing that the original statement is misleading, and the request for completion should be denied. In some cases, the court may find that the difficulty in proving the completing statement substantially outweighs its probative value—in which case exclusion is possible under Rule 403.” See, Committee Notes to Rule 106 Proposed Amendment.

What does it all mean?

The confusion surrounding the current version of FRE 106, considered a “partial codification” of common law, has led to uncertainty in courts and among practitioners. However, these amendments aim to definitively displace the common law, aligning FRE 106 with other FRE components. These changes address the admissibility of out-of-court statements, stipulating that introducing part of a statement misleadingly forfeits the right to prevent admission of the necessary remainder. Courts may decide whether the remainder serves a hearsay or non-hearsay purpose. Additionally, the amendment simplifies the handling of unrecorded oral statements under FRE 106, providing clarity and avoiding pitfalls. Importantly, the core rule remains unchanged, focusing solely on instances where a party creates a misimpression about a statement, and the opposing party offers a correcting completion. Mere probative value or contradiction alone does not warrant FRE 106 application. Id.

These changes to FRE 106 should limit potential conflict, avoid confusion, and provide clarification around the “Rule of Completeness,” making it now, in my humble opinion, “even more complete.” If tested on this material, the general gist is that we are simply not going to allow one party to mislead the court by introducing partial statements without allowing the other side to introduce other pertinent parts.

Part Two of this series will examine the changes to FRE 615 and Part Three will examine the changes to FRE 702.

AJMLS Corporate and Business Law Society Hosts The Delta Connection

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Corporate and Business Law Society (CBLS) hosted The Delta Connection on Friday, September 15, 2023 at the Law School. The exclusive in-person event and networking opportunity was brought together by Delta Air Lines, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Career Services and Professional Development, Student Affairs, and CBLS.

The day was specifically designed to give AJMLS students insight and perspective into the demands, lifestyle, obstacles, and opportunities that corporate lawyers embrace. Corporate attorneys from Delta gave the AJMLS community an intimate real-world picture regarding the nexus between law and aviation. 

A special “thank you” to the panelists: Jessica Anderson, Gary Bunce, Lynee Campos, Chris Guthrie, Erin Harris, Allison Sidbury, and Reggie Williamson for lending AJMLS students their time, wisdom, and expertise. 

AJMLS Announces the Retirement of Professor Anthony Baker

After 13 years of distinguished service at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS), Professor Anthony Baker has announced his retirement from teaching at the end of July 2023. With a career spanning decades, Professor Baker has left an indelible mark on the legal community, both in the United States and Canada.

Throughout his career, Professor Baker explored “the American Story” and “the idea of America”, having been fascinated by the intertwining of the American Civil War, The United States Supreme Court, and the decisions of Marbury v. Madison and the Dred Scott case. His compelling journey even influenced the curriculum of his own research mentor and is still ongoing as his last chapters are near completion.

Professor Baker worked in Canada in the areas of criminal and constitutional law research, alternative dispute resolution, and pastoral ministry for many years before returning to the United States in 1995 for additional graduate education. His dedication to the study of law is evident through his impressive tenure as a Professor of Law at multiple esteemed institutions, including Campbell University School of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, University of Maine School of Law, and University of Wisconsin Law School. 

At AJMLS, Professor Baker taught a wide range of courses on topics such as criminal law, American legal history, remedies, professional responsibility, and jurisprudence. When asked about his time at AJMLS, he remarked, “My goal has been to move the study from the “what…” of law to its “why…” – why do you want to be a lawyer?” His unique approach to legal education and exceptional teaching skills have made him a beloved professor among students, colleagues, and peers.

As Professor Baker embarks on a well-deserved retirement, we extend our deepest gratitude for his remarkable contributions to our school and the legal profession at large. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors and hope that his retirement years are filled with joy, relaxation, and fulfillment. Thank you, Professor Baker, for your impact on our scholars. 

Professor Burch Wins in Both the FSM Supreme Court and the ROP Supreme Court

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Kathleen Burch, whose work in Micronesia has spanned more than 20 years, won cases in the Appellate Division of both the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Palau (ROP), the highest courts of those countries. In Paul v. Lambert, Professor Burch represented Senator Esmond Moses, the Real Party in Interest, defending his FSM citizenship and qualifications to be elected to the FSM Congress. Thirty days before the election, the FSM Supreme Court Appellate Division issued its opinion adopting the arguments made by Professor Burch that the citizenship provisions of the FSM Constitution must be interpreted according to FSM law and that Senator Moses had fulfilled the citizenship requirements of the FSM Constitution. Not only did Senator Moses’ name remain on the ballot, he won the election, has been seated in the FSM Congress, and recently was elected Speaker of the 23rd FSM Congress.

Professor Burch represented the Republic of Palau in Republic of Palau v. Ngatpang State Public Lands Authority and Estate of Myla Mira v. Republic of Palau. In both cases, the ROP Supreme Court Appellate Division held that sovereign immunity barred the claims brought against the Republic of Palau. These cases contribute to the needed and now growing jurisprudence of the Republic of Palau.

Professor Burch joined the AJMLS faculty in 2003, and in addition to guiding students through the Micronesian Externship Program, she has taught courses such as Civil Liberties Seminar; Civil Procedure I and II; Constitutional Law I and II; Education Law; Legal Drafting; Legislation; Micronesian Externship Program; Trial Advocacy; Art of Advocacy; The Making of the Constitution; and Law and Religion.

AJMLS Participates in 16th Annual Youth and the Law Summit

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) was a proud sponsor and participant in the 16th annual Youth and the Law Summit on April 15, 2023 at the State Bar of Georgia. This event, organized in partnership with Fulton County Juvenile Court, Gate City Bar Association, Youth Spark, and Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP, brought together over 60 teenagers and 20+ parents under the theme of “The Courage to be Uncommon.” The summit was hosted by Fulton County Juvenile Court Judge Renata Turner, a former AJMLS administrator. and co-chaired by Darrick McDuffie, Senior Counsel at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP, and Dr. J.L Wyatt-Keyton, Executive Director of Career Services and Professional Development at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

The event aimed to create an open dialogue for teens and parents to learn about their legal rights, access community resources, discuss solutions, and exchange information on what they need to be successful. The summit featured a panel discussion with Gary L. Davis, Sr. of Next Level Boys Academy, Young Dro with It Still Takes A Village, along with parent Wykehlia Stanley, and attorney Will Arnold. Also at this year’s summit were the esteemed C.J. Stewart, Julious George, Marlo Prioleau, Lisa Thomas, and Lashawnda Woods-Roberts.

The annual Youth and the Law Summit is an essential platform for empowering young people and parents to access the resources they need to succeed. With the support of organizations like AJMLS, this event serves as a bridge between youth and legal tools that they can use to create brighter futures. The school is proud to be a part of this fantastic group and remains committed to empowering the next generation of leaders.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Judge Dustin W. Hightower, Class of 2008, as 2023 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Judge Dustin W. Hightower, Class of 2008, as the Law School’s 2023 commencement speaker. Commencement exercises are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on May 21, 2023 at the Rialto Center for the Arts – 80 Forsyth St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30303. A live stream of the ceremony will be made available at www.johnmarshall.edu.

“We are delighted that Judge Hightower accepted our invitation to be this year’s commencement speaker. His journey to the bench, public service, and philanthropic endeavors are an excellent representation of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s graduates. We are proud of his success and look forward to welcoming him back.”

– Dean Jace C. Gatewood

About Judge Dustin W. Hightower

Judge Hightower was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal and sworn in as a Superior Court Judge of the Coweta Judicial Circuit on May 26, 2016. Judge Hightower was then elected to serve as a Superior Court Judge by the citizens of the Coweta Judicial Circuit in 2018 and 2022. 

Judge Hightower grew up in Carroll County, Georgia where he graduated from Central High School. He then went on to attend the University of West Georgia earning his bachelor’s degree in business management, and graduated cum laude. Judge Hightower followed that by attending Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate. While in law school, he was selected to serve as Notes and Comments Editor on John Marshall’s inaugural law review journal, John Marshall Law Journal, and he was honored by having his comment, Student Searches and Seizures: Georgia’s Current Approach and Recommended Change, chosen to be published in the journal. 

From 2008 through 2016 Judge Hightower practiced law in his home area of Carroll and Douglas County with his former law firm, Miller & Hightower, Attorneys at Law. The firm focused their practice on personal injury cases, criminal defense, and divorce cases. Further, for over six years during this time, Judge Hightower also served as the city prosecutor for both the City of Mt. Zion and the City of Buchanan.  

In January 2012, Judge Hightower was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives where he represented the 68th House District. During his legislative tenure, he received the “Defender of Liberty Award” from the American Conservative Union, and based on his efforts to fight against family violence, the Georgia Commission on Family Violence selected him to receive their “Legislative Leadership Award”. Further, in 2015 he was recognized as “Legislator of the Year” for both the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and Service Providers Association for Developmental Disabilities (SPADD).

In an effort to give back to his community, Judge Hightower has served on the following boards: Carroll County Child Advocacy Center Board, Carrollton Main Street Board, the University of West Georgia’s National Alumni Board, and the University of West Georgia’s Athletic Foundation Board. In 2012, the University of West Georgia selected Judge Hightower to receive the 2012 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. Further, in early 2013 he was recognized as a Top 10 Young Professional in Douglas County.

Judge Hightower is married to Christina Camp Hightower. Christina is a high school math teacher. They have two children together, Stella June and Waylon.

Tickets are not required for entry. For general information you can visit our graduation page here and/or our logistics page here for further details.

2023 3L and 4L Week: Class Superlatives

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) celebrated 3L/4L week alongside the ABA, who hosted a series of recorded and live webinars themed around preparing for graduation, the bar exam, and life after law school. Over the past few years, law students have faced unprecedented challenges attending law school during a global pandemic and we believe these resilient students deserve to be recognized. 

In celebration of 3L/4L week, the Office of Students Affairs served doughnuts and coffee, spotlighted several graduating students, and gave away gift cards and AJMLS merchandise. The Class of 2023 also had the opportunity to vote for their class superlatives, announced below.

Most Professional

Monique Cherry

Monique Cherry is a full-time 3L and will graduate in May 2023. She has received CALI awards in Criminal Law, Legal Writing, Research & Analysis II, Domestic Relations, and Negotiations. She has served as a Teaching Assistant for Professor Dalton’s Legal Writing, Research & Analysis I & II courses since the Fall 2021. She is also an Academic Peer Advisor for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. In this role, she assists students in navigating course requirements, selecting electives, and understanding graduation credits and the other graduation requirements. She currently serves as the Managing Editor of the Law Journal, and has been a member since 2021, after being invited to join the Journal because she was ranked in the top 10% of her class. Outside of class, Monique works for an immigration law firm in Washington, DC. While she is unsure of the area of law in which she will practice upon graduating, her ultimate goal is to break into the world of space law. But, for now, her focus is on graduating and preparing to sit for the July 2023 bar!

Most Hardworking

Katie Adams

Katie Adams is a 3L in the full-time program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Before attending AJMLS, Katie attended the University of North Georgia (UNG), where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. After graduating from UNG, Katie worked at the Hall County District Attorney’s Office as a Victim Witness Advocate. Katie worked at the DA’s office until she began law school in 2020. While in law school, Katie has worked as a Student Associate with the Wakhisi-Douglas Law Firm in Atlanta, externed with the McCall Law Firm in Gainesville, and received CALI awards in Legal Writing, Research & Analysis, Criminal Justice Lawyering, and Professional Responsibility. After law school, Katie hopes to pass the bar in July and begin working in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains as a family law attorney. Katie is the mother of two daughters, ages three years old and four months old, and is a pastor’s wife. When she is not at school or studying, Katie enjoys spending time with her family in the mountains and attending church. Katie is grateful to be a part of the AJMLS Class of 2023 and is honored to have been selected for the Most Hardworking Superlative by her classmates.

Most Collegial, Most Effective Leader, and Biggest AJMLS Advocate

Keith Collins

Keith Collins is a native of Newport News, Virginia. He prides himself on how he was raised and believes in the power of kindness, respect, and professionalism. A proud graduate of

Norfolk State University, he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with an emphasis on Theater Performance. Before attending AJMLS, Keith worked in Television Production in Los

Angeles, California. Keith is a 3L and will be elated to graduate with the Criminal Justice Certificate on May 21, 2023. As a student, Keith has experienced the reward of hard work. He has received recognition as Outstanding Student of the Quarter and has been on the Dean’s List. Additionally, this year he represented AJMLS as a competitor in the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, served as the Vice Chair of the Southern Region of the National Black Law Students Association, and received the AJMLS Georgia Bar Success Endowed Award. Chief among his success as a law student, Keith believes the reward of leadership is service and is honored to serve the entirety of the AJMLS Community as president of the Student Bar Association.

Most Collegial

Mercedes Dickerson

Mercedes Dickerson is an upcoming graduate of the 2023 class and was raised in Fortson, Georgia. Mercedes attended Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, where she studied Political Science and Spanish. Mercedes is interested in criminal law, specifically criminal defense, but she is open to many fields of law.

Mercedes has served as an SBA officer for the past three years at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, and she currently holds the position of SBA Vice President. Because of her leadership role, she always tries to be friendly and professional with her classmates. Mercedes is very grateful to receive this superlative as recognition of her efforts, especially before her upcoming graduation.

Most Collegial

Rose Love

Rose Love is a 3L student from Metro Atlanta. She came to AJMLS with a background in marketing and communications. While at AJMLS, Rose has found a passion for immigration law and plans to pursue employment in that practice area upon graduating this spring. Rose currently sits on the executive board of both C.E.R.L.S. (Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society) and GAWL (Georgia Association of Women Lawyers), women-led and women-focused organizations on campus. She also serves as a peer mentor and a “big sister.” Her goal at AJMLS, like her life goal, is to leave it better than she found it. 

Most Service-Oriented and Best Advocate

Brooke Harrison

Brooke would like to thank her classmates and colleagues for the support and for seeing her for who she truly is: an advocate. Brooke stated that her “time at AJMLS has been a pleasure” and she is honored to start her career with a strong network and legal foundation that have equipped her to work with the tools and resources necessary to continue to serve her community.

Most Likely to Earn the Highest Score on an Exam (including the Bar exam)

Jacob Gregory

Jacob Gregory is a 4L in the part-time evening program and is from Atlanta, Georgia. Jacob has received over 20 CALI Awards during his time at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School as well as the Best Oralist Award in his LWRA III class. He currently serves as the Executive Legislative Editor for the school’s Law Journal and wrote his Legislative Summary on Senate Bill 241, a Bill creating newfound implications for Absentee Voting in the state of Georgia. Jacob has served as a Legal Writing Teaching Fellow, assisting in all things Legal Writing. In the future, he seeks to work in the areas of Civil Rights and Capital Defense.

Most Likely to Earn the Highest Score on an Exam (including the Bar exam)

Raford Kelly

Raford Kelly is a full-time 3L student and will graduate in May 2023. He has received CALI awards in Legal Writing, Research & Analysis I, Criminal Law, Real Property I, Evidence, Business Organizations, and Criminal Procedure. He has also received the Best Oralist Award in his Legal Writing, Research & Analysis class. He has served as a teaching assistant for Professor Dalton’s Legal Writing, Research & Analysis I and II courses since Fall 2022. He is currently a Line Editor of the Law Journal, where he has been a member since 2021. Raford was invited to join the Journal because he was ranked in the top 10% of his class. Raford has been on the Dean’s List every semester since Spring 2021. He believes that it is imperative to point out that the magnitude of his success in law school would not have been attainable if it was not for the help and support that he received from a multitude of his peers. For that, he will always be extremely thankful.

Best Networker

Lloyd Jean

Lloyd Jean is a Haitian American with a rich and diverse background. He has served in the military and is a first-generation law school student.  Lloyd firmly believes he would not have been able to achieve all that he has without the help of others and the power of networking.

Growing up in a Haitian household instilled in Lloyd a deep appreciation for hard work and determination. He took these values with him when he joined the military, and served with honor and pride. After leaving the military, Lloyd decided to pursue a career in law because he was driven by a desire to help others and make a positive impact on his community.

As a first-generation law student, Lloyd understands the challenges that come with breaking into a new field. However, Lloyd is also aware of the opportunities that come from networking and building relationships. Lloyd has been fortunate to have people in his life who have helped him along the way, and he is committed to paying it forward by paving the way for others.

Lloyd’s experiences have taught him the importance of community and supporting others. He believes we all have a role to play and he is eager to do his part.

Most Ethical

Chauncey Graham

Chauncey Graham is a 3L in the full-time program. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal for Volume XVI, 2022-23. He is also a member of the fundraising committee for the Black Law Students Association and is a member of the Public Interest Law Society. Chauncey plans to pursue a career in the area of ethics, compliance, and professional responsibility, with his sights set on employment with the Georgia Bar or within the public sector.

Thank you for your contributions to PILS Auction 2023

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Public Interest Law Society (PILS) hosted its annual “PILS Auction” on February 17, 2023 at The Puppetry Arts Center. The fundraising event raised over $22,000 for the Renata Turner Award for Public Interest Law. The Award recognizes students who have made an extraordinary contribution to our community through public interest work and who have demonstrated an interest to continue that commitment.

A heartfelt “thank you” to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and event sponsors that made this year’s event one to remember. See you next year at PILS Auction 2024!

From the PILS Society President

Dear Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Community,

This is the second year of PILS since it was reactivated in the Fall of 2021 by former President Cal Lewis. I am so impressed and grateful to see the enormous support from our AJMLS community. The 2023 PILS Auction raised over $22,000! This incredible amount was all due to the contributions and support from you. 

This year, we also had a newly added scholarship for students interested in becoming public defenders. The Aspiring Public Defender Scholarship. Meaghan Eustice (’15) established this scholarship for law students interested in pursuing a career as a public defender. Attorney Eustice is a former public defender and is now a Senior Staff Attorney with the Fulton County Government. She believes that working as a public defender is one of the highest callings in the legal profession. We are so grateful for her support and guidance.

The Public Interest Law Scholarships are extremely valuable to AJMLS  students who are passionate about Public Interest Law. Since most public interest law internships are unpaid, these scholarships provide students with support for their service to others and therefore encourages our students to seek public interest internships and it serves as a pathway of service to the community. 

We know that if one is truly called to serve the public, no matter the cost, we will pursue that calling with our passionate hearts! On behalf of PILS, we want to thank you for supporting our mission and passion for serving those in need. I’m excited for the future of PILS and I know that the passion of PILS will continue to go above and beyond. 

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Esther Ko
President, Public Interest Law Society

2023 Renata Turner Award Recipients

Victor Gordon (J.D. Candidate 2023)

First and foremost, I would like to thank the Honorable Judge Renata D. Turner, the Public Interest Law Society, Alumni Relations, and the countless donors for making this scholarship possible — I am truly grateful to each and every one of you for this great distinction. I will use the generosity of the scholarship’s benefactors to fund my continued pro bono work with Atlanta Legal Aid.  Atlanta Legal Aid is a non-profit law firm that provides free civil legal services to indigent Atlanta Metropolitan residents dealing with landlord-tenant matters, contested child custody cases, public benefits denials, family violence, immigration crises, bankruptcies, probate issues, amongst other problems. This scholarship will make an impact on the number of people Atlanta Legal Aid can reach, given the organization’s limited resources. Again, thank you for helping me — help them. 

Ashley Kreider (J.D. Candidate 2024)

I would like to extend my thanks to all of the donors that have made this scholarship possible. This scholarship has given me financial freedom to continue pursuing my dream of working for the state to help indigent populations. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Renata Turner Scholarship has afforded me. 

2023 Aspiring Public Defender Scholarship Recipients

Melanie Stepho (J.D. Candidate 2023)

I am extremely grateful and honored to be a recipient of this scholarship and plan to utilize this money to assist me in alleviating the financial stressors associated with the bar exam while completing the last stretch of my 14-year long dream of becoming a public defender. 

Brooke Harrison (J.D. Candidate 2023)

It is with great honor that I accept the Aspiring Public Defender Scholarship. The right to counsel is one of the most important rights granted to each and every person through the U. S. Constitution. I am thrilled to have found such tremendous support in my John Marshall Community as I work to uphold and protect that right and improve indigent defense systems across the nation. 

2023 Sponsors

March 2023 Outstanding Student of the Quarter

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the names of the students who were selected for the Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. This award is designed to recognize the contributions and efforts of students who excel in and/or out of the classroom and are dedicated to enriching the law school and greater communities.

1L Class

Gabriel Williams

Gabriel Williams is a 1L at AJMLS. Prior to attending AJMLS, Gabriel received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Georgia State University and worked as a legal assistant at the Porter Law Group. In his first semester at AJMLS, Gabriel earned CALI awards in Contracts, Torts, and Legal Writing. Gabriel is an active member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, the Black Law Student Association, and the Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society. He is interested in Real Estate Law, Corporate Litigation, and Intellectual Property Law. Outside of school, Gabriel enjoys playing basketball, trying new restaurants, and spending time with his three younger brothers. Gabriel’s definition of an outstanding student is “a student who is hard-working, highly motivated, and eager to learn. An outstanding law student strives for excellence in everything that they do and encourages others around them to do the same.”

2L Class

Nathan Azarowicz

Nathan Azarowicz is a 2L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. He is on the Dean’s List for the Fall 2022 semester. He is a staff editor on the Law Journal and a 2L representative in the Corporate and Business Law Society. He regularly volunteers with the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and participates in river and lake cleanups.  Nathan is interested in becoming more involved and knowledgeable about the business world and wants to pursue a career in business or corporate law. Nathan is currently serving his ninth year in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, where he has earned awards for his leadership and work ethic. Nathan’s definition of an outstanding law student is one “who works hard in and out of the classroom to be prepared for class and doesn’t make excuses when that work gets tough.”  

Katherine Collins

Katherine Collins is a 2L evening student. She has received CALI awards in Contracts, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure; is secretary of the Student Bar Association; is treasurer of the Public Interest Law Society; and is utilizing her Student Practice Act Certificate to take on pro bono work from Cobb Legal Aid. In the 2021-2022 school year, Katherine spearheaded and organized the SBA’s Spring Picnic, and has been an integral part of the SBA throughout her time at AJMLS. Katherine recently started working for a family law firm in Atlanta, and hopes to continue to gain insight and knowledge from her position to one day be a leading voice amongst family law attorneys. Katherine’s definition of an outstanding law student is one “who has position themselves to be an advocate for others and commits to bettering themselves daily.”

Shanae Hall

Shanae Hall is a 2L and aspires to become a Criminal Defense attorney. She founded the Georgia-based non-profit organization, New Beginnings-Total Rehabilitation Assistance Program. Shanae’s non-profit offers scholarship assistance to help single moms pay for after-school programs and provides yearly scholarships to HBCU students. Not only is Shanae a community activist who works with other non-profits such as Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, and Clippers and Cops, but she is also an avid traveler. Last summer, she studied International Entertainment Law and Drafting International Contracts in London. This summer, she will study South African Criminal Law in Cape Town, South Africa. Her studies abroad have inspired other students to follow in her footsteps. Shanae’s ultimate goal is to either run for Governor and/or become a Superior Court Judge. She is a member of the Georgia State Bar, the AJMLS Advocacy Board, and the Atlanta Bar Association. Throughout her time in Atlanta, she has earned the respect of prominent community leaders and politicians. Shanae’s definition of an outstanding law school student is “one who is willing to put community first. Being a good person should always be your first priority: after that, everything else will fall into place.”

Gavin Kohler

Gavin Kohler is a 2L part-time evening student at AJMLS. He is currently working for a mid-sized law firm in Atlanta as a title examiner for the commercial division. Prior to law school, he volunteered as a delivery driver for Hall County Meals on Wheels. When not at his studies or at work, he is a husband and father to four active children. He coaches his youngest son’s T-Ball team and watches his older children in competition cheer, lacrosse, and football. Gavin’s definition of an outstanding law student is one willing to engage in the depths and facets of the law, able to extrapolate the key elements and find a way to apply those towards the betterment of the community at large. “We as law students must step out of our comfort zones to prepare for the responsibility that we gain as we become better students and future stewards of the law.”

Chayenne Rodriguez

Chayenne Rodriguez is a 2L part-time evening student and a full-time Manager of Communications and Engagement for Technology and Operations at Warner Bros. Discovery. In addition to the work that she does in the classroom and the studios, Chay has taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in the AJMLS Peer Mentoring Program as a peer mentor to incoming 1L students; and has had the privilege to contribute to the mission of increasing the 2% of Black Female Attorneys in this country by taking a leadership position within the Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society or CERLS. She has also competed in the SRBLSA Thurgood Marshall Moot Court Competition on behalf of AJMLS. Chayenne holds a B.S. in Marketing from Rutgers University and an M.S. in Global Fashion Enterprise from Philadelphia University. Chayenne’s definition of an outstanding law student is “someone who is always open to learning, a student who remains curious despite the outcomes of exam results or case holdings, and someone who understands their purpose for pursuing the law may change, but it is always worth it and bigger than what they can imagine.”

3L Class

Brooke Harrison

Brooke Harrison is a 3L in the Criminal Justice Certificate Program. She currently serves as the Director of Community Service for the Southern Region of the Black Law Student Association, the Secretary for the AJMLS Chapter, and regularly volunteers with various organizations in the community. Brooke is a recipient of the John Marshall Law School Scholarship and the Aspiring Public Defender Scholarship. Brooke is interested in Civil Rights, Public Interest, and Criminal Law and plans to forge a path serving communities where these practice areas intersect. Brooke is a member of various bar association sections, and is working tirelessly to expand her professional network. Brooke’s definition of an outstanding law student is “one who is focused on their studies and achieving academic excellence, while also cultivating a safe and close-knit professional network, and committing themselves to serving the needs of the community.”

Lindsey Roberts

Lindsey Roberts is a full-time 3L and will be graduating this May. She has received CALI awards in Legal Writing and Law and Religion, is Vice President of the AJMLS chapter of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (GAWL), a Staff Editor of the Law Journal, a Peer Mentor, a Peer Victim’s Advocate, and serves on the Moot Court Advocacy Board. This year, Lindsey has been instrumental in GAWL’s programs to benefit students, including helping to launch the AJMLS Dream Closet, hosting a Halloween costume contest, providing students with snacks for exams, and placing sanitary products and toiletries in school restrooms. She is delighted to have a fantastic group of mentees whom she enjoys watching excel! For the past year, Lindsey has been an extern with Banks, Stubbs & McFarland. Upon graduation and passing the Georgia Bar exam, Lindsey is interested in working in Domestic Relations and Civil Litigation. Lindsey’s definition of an outstanding law student is one “who demonstrates professionalism, and personal responsibility, and fosters relationships across the student body, all while maintaining a sense of humor!”  

Raford Kelly

Raford Kelly is a full-time 3L student and will graduate in May 2023. He has received CALI awards in Legal Writing, Research & Analysis I, Criminal Law, Real Property I, Evidence, Business Organizations, and Criminal Procedure. He has also received the Best Oralist Award in his Legal Writing, Research & Analysis II class. He has served as a teaching assistant for Professor Dalton’s Legal Writing, Research & Analysis I and II courses since Fall 2022. He is currently a Line Editor of the Law Journal, where he has been a member since 2021. Raford was invited to join the Journal because he was ranked in the top 10% of his class. Raford has been on the Dean’s List every semester since Spring 2021.

While he is not fully certain of which area of law he will practice, Raford plans to practice in Georgia and has interests in Real Estate, Intellectual Property, and Personal Injury law. Radford’s definition of an outstanding student is “one who realizes the importance of academic excellence and also the power of networking and establishing a reliable community of friends while in law school.”

Carolina Melguizo

Carolina Melguizo is currently a 3L part-time student at AJMLS. In her first year, Carolina earned the CALI award in Legal Writing I and was invited to join the Advocacy Board. During her second year, Carolina served as SBA representative for the 2L evening division, and she has served as a Peer Mentor since 2021. 

Carolina currently leads the Advocacy Board: Moot Court and Mock Trial as its Chair. Under Carolina’s leadership, the Advocacy Board has increased its presence in moot court and mock trial competitions around the nation. Additionally, she is setting the foundation for a strong network with professors, alumni, attorneys and judges that can coach and prepare the teams for competitions. Carolina also serves as Co-President for the Caribbean, Hispanic, and Latino Law Student Association.

Carolina’s definition of outstanding student is one “who works hard towards high academic performance, motivates others, is an ambitious learner, pays attention to details, and is devoted to their profession.”

Carolina is interested in expanding her professional network and is proud to be an AJMLS student.  

4L Class

Beverly Fratto

Beverly Fratto is a part-time 4L graduating in May. She has served as President of Christian Legal Society and has volunteered to teach Yoga classes for John Marshall students and members of the Atlanta Bar Association. Beverly has two sons who are graduating from Georgia Tech in May, and has continued to be involved with her family, church, and local community while attending law school. She has recently accepted a position as a prosecutor in Peoria, Illinois and is very much looking forward to beginning her new career in their Juvenile Delinquency Court this August. Beverly’s definition of an outstanding law student is one “who does their best work each day, rarely misses class, shows up prepared and on time, stays positive, gives others grace when appropriate, shows respect to fellow students and professors, and takes care of their own personal health and well-being.”

AJMLS 1L Writing Classes Tour Supreme Court of Georgia

While the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumni were sitting for the February Bar Exam, the first year writing program students were touring the Supreme Court of Georgia and engaging in a mock oral argument experience.

The legal writing program trains all students in the structure of the U.S. legal system, hierarchy of legal authority, legal analysis, legal research, and legal citation. Students also receive training in critical reading, critical thinking, classical logic, the structure of legal writing, and objective legal writing. Consecutive complimentary coursework continues to build on the skills learned the first semester with assignments requiring more sophisticated legal analysis. Focus is on persuasive legal writing and training in computer assisted legal research.  

The new campus in Downtown Atlanta makes hands-on learning experiences at the Supreme Court of Georgia attainable and convenient.

Thank you to the Court for hosting us!

PreLaw Magazine Ranks Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School #12 Most Diverse Law School

The winter preLaw Magazine celebrates Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) with an A+ grade and #12 ranking on their Most Diverse Law Schools list. This recognition marks the seventh year in a row of the same designation from preLaw Magazine and National Jurist.

The Fall 2022 entering class represented 21 states, 15 birth countries, seven native languages spoken, and 69% minority representation. Providing a diverse learning environment for students is important to the faculty and administration at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. While this diversity enriches the academic environment, it also challenges the law school to meet the educational needs of all students, many of whom are either returning to the rigors of an academic experience, or are simply seeking a supportive environment for the study of law.

We are proud of our community and thank preLaw Magazine for another year of recognition.

*preLaw Magazine grades are based on how well each school matches with the U.S. average for each minority population. All data evaluated is from the American Bar Association.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Chief Judge Ural Glanville to the Board of Directors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Judge Ural Glanville, Chief Judge of the Superior Court of Fulton County, to the Board of Directors.

After eight years as a magistrate judge and 17 years on the superior court bench, Judge Glanville became chief judge of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit in 2022. He earned an associate degree from Brevard College in 1982; a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia in 1984 and a juris doctor, also from the University of Georgia, in 1987. He earned a master’s in strategic studies at the U.S. Army War College in 2008. He served 35 years in the Army retiring in 2019 as a Brigadier General.

His professional experience includes: Commanding General, US Army Reserve Legal Command; Brigadier General, Chief Judge (IMA) United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals; Commanding General, NATO Rule of Law Support Mission/Rule of Law Field Force-Afghanistan; Adjunct Professor, Georgia State University School of Law; Private Practice, Ural Glanville, P.C.; Litigation Associate, Arrington & Hollowell; Senior Trial Prosecutor, Solicitor’s Office of DeKalb County, Georgia; Senior Prosecutor, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate; Defense Attorney, United States Army Trial Defense Service; Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland & City Colleges of Chicago, European Divisions; Prosecutor, Solicitor’s Office of Fulton County, Georgia; Probation Officer, Georgia Department of Corrections, Fulton County; and Graduate of Leadership Atlanta.

The Law School and its stakeholders look forward to working with and learning from such an accomplished leader with depth of knowledge of our legal community.

Judge Glanville joins the following members and advisor of the Board of Directors:

Members

Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Ph.D.
Chairman, Board of Directors

Dean Frank T. Read
Vice Chairman, Board of Directors
President & Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law

Kwaku C. George (KC)
Director, National Development Council

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein
Former Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Malone
Partner, Malone Law

Teri P. McClure
Former General Counsel and Chief Human Resources Officer, Senior Vice President of Labor Relations and Communications, United Parcel Service of America, Inc.

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker
County Attorney, Fulton County, Georgia

Kevin Ross
President, Kevin Ross Public Affairs Group LLC

Dr. Lawrence B. Schlachter
DDS, MD, JD, Schlachter Law Firm

Dean James P. White
Consultant Emeritus, Section on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar, American Bar Association

Advisor

Linda A. Klein
Shareholder, Baker Donelson

Statement About the Murder of Tyre Nichols

On February 1, 2023, Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man was laid to rest in his hometown of Memphis. He died from injuries sustained during a violent encounter with the Memphis police which has shocked the U.S. conscience. So much so that even the Memphis chief of police admitted that the officers’ behavior was “heinous, reckless, and inhumane.” Several police officers have subsequently been charged with murder, kidnapping, assault, and misconduct for their actions and discharged from their posts. We hope that the judicial system will take its course and hold each of them accountable.

We know that the consistent reports of violence towards citizens by police cannot be sustained. We support the words of Tyre Nichols’ mother Row Vaughn Wells, when she said at his funeral “We need to take some action because there should be no other child that should suffer the way my son – and all the other parents here that lost their children” have.

We pray for Mr. Nichols’ mother, family and friends. We recognize that there are members of our law school community themselves who may fear that engagements with the police could end in violence. As the national perspective bends towards increased accountability for police misconduct, we join the chorus of voices demanding that violence towards citizens immediately stop. Those who are expected to protect and serve the public must be held to a standard that prohibits unjust harm and killings.

Protests in support of Mr. Nichols’ family and against the police officers whose violence resulted in his death have passed by the doors of our law school. As a law school in Atlanta, where the nation fixed its gaze a couple of weeks ago to celebrate the birth of Atlanta’s native son, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we are keenly aware of Memphis as the site of where he was murdered. This juxtaposition helps frame the decades-long fight for social justice and civil rights work to end police violence against citizens as necessary, but incomplete.

As importantly, we have students, faculty, staff and alumni in our community that are from the State of Tennessee and Memphis in particular. For those members of our community, please know we are here to support you and recognize the pain you may be going through.

We must rally together to support all those in our community affected by Mr. Nichols’s death, and one another in general. We know that Tyre Nichols, Mya Hall, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Miriam Carey, Trayvon Martin, Aiyana Jones, Tamir Rice and many others have lost their lives far too soon. We want to make sure their lived experiences continue to inform our own pursuit for a more fair and just society.

For our students, we want to encourage them to please continue to be mindful of your mental health. Please take advantage of resources provided by the law school, should you need them.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Morris Brown College Partner to Improve Educational Opportunities in Legal Education

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and Morris Brown College have engaged in a new partnership, facilitating a counseled track to attending law school for eligible applicants.

The partnership, a first of its kind with a historically black college for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, creates favorable space for Morris Brown students to seek application guidance from the Office of Admissions at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School; and for eligible applicants who meet the standard admissions criteria, to receive priority law school admission. AJMLS is dedicated to providing the opportunity for legal education to both traditional and non-traditional students who show promise of making positive contributions to the profession, legal system, or society. Complimentary to that mission, Morris Brown College prepares their graduates to live meaningful and rewarding lives, thereby enabling them to make socially constructive and culturally relevant contributions to society. 

“The partnership between Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Morris Brown College will open doors for many students from underserved communities that show promise of succeeding in law school,” said Jace C. Gatewood, Dean and CEO of AJMLS. “This partnership signals a change in the future of legal education where institutions work together to improve the educational opportunities for all students.” 

Of the announcement, Morris Brown College President, Dr. Kevin James, said, “We are ecstatic to partner with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Morris Brown students now have an official pathway and opportunity to earn a Juris Doctorate degree once they earn their degree from Atlanta’s most affordable accredited HBCU.”

Both institutions are invested in the goal of improving educational opportunities in legal education, and look forward to working together through this historic partnership.

Spring 2023 Development and Alumni Relations Scholarship Recipients

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Development and Alumni Relations Office is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities each semester. Our donors give generously to AJMLS and the John Marshall Law School Foundation, Inc. to help students cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and educational expenses. AJMLS offers merit-based, need-based, and service-based scholarships. Applications were carefully reviewed by the scholarship committee and we thank the committee for their time.

All inquiries related to the Development and Alumni Relations scholarships below should be directed to Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer, at waina@johnmarshall.edu.

If you are a donor and would like to contribute to the scholarships, please visit our Giving pages or contact Wendy Aina directly.

The Fry|Goehring Law Firm Scholarship

Shinnay Richards

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I would like to extend a warm thank you to Attorney Fry, Attorney Goehring, and the scholarship committee for creating the Fry|Goehring Law Firm Scholarship. It is an honor to be selected as the recipient of this scholarship. The honor goes beyond financial assistance and speaks to the core understanding that our voices and journey through life can open many doors. I plan to use this scholarship to assist with paying my tuition, and I vow to one day give others the same support that our outstanding and continuously present alums have given me.”

Georgia Bar Success Endowed Award Scholarship

Keith Collins

J.D. Candidate 2023

“The gift of this award is immeasurable. I feel humbled, motivated, and so incredibly grateful; thank you! Your donation has provided me with a tangible means to secure my academic success and has allowed me to recognize the strength of my own worthiness.”

Georgia Bar Success Endowed Award Scholarship

Daniela Martinez

J.D. Candidate 2023

“I would like to thank Dr. Michael Markovitz, AJMLS, and everyone else who made this incredible opportunity possible. Finances have been a big hindrance for me reaching my full potential in law school. This scholarship will allow me to focus on studying for the bar, without worrying as much about the expenses of it all. I am beyond grateful!”

John E. Ryan Endowed Scholarship

Ashley Darling–Feuer

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I would like to extend my thanks to all of the donors that have made this scholarship possible. This scholarship has given me financial freedom to continue pursuing my dream of working for the state to help indigent populations. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that the John E. Ryan Scholarship has afforded me.”

John E. Ryan Endowed Scholarship

Maria Velasco

J.D. Candidate 2024

“I want to thank the John E. Ryan Endowed Scholarship committee. This scholarship is an opportunity to further my legal education and continue to pursue my goal of becoming a lawyer in my second language.”

Melissa Hamrick Scholarship

Elizabeth Harding

J.D. Candidate 2026

“I am thrilled to be a recipient of the Spring 2023 Melissa Hamrick Scholarship and extremely appreciative of Melissa’s classmate, Attorney Henderson (Class of 2010) for organizing this scholarship in her memory. Being a part time student, it is always difficult to balance work, family, and school. Receiving this scholarship will ease the financial pressure on me during the Spring semester so that I can focus more attention on my studies.”

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

Lamone Graham

J.D. Candidate 2025

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

Lloyd Jean

J.D. Candidate 2023

“I want to say thank you for your generosity and choosing me as the recipient for the Merchant & Gould Scholarship. I was extremely happy and appreciative to learn that I was chosen out of all the students who applied for it. By awarding me this scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden allowing to me to put more focus into my educations.”

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

Dean Moore

J.D. Candidate 2023

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

Jennifer Wilson-Walker

J.D. Candidate 2023

“I admire Merchant and Gould’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the practice of IP law.  To be awarded this scholarship confirms that my dreams are valid, and that there is space in the field of IP for women who look like me.  I look forward to boldly advocating for and protecting the work of creatives, innovators, and change-makers as an intellectual property and entertainment attorney.”

Winter preLaw Magazine Ranks Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School #10 Best Law School for Black or African Americans

As we celebrate our 90th anniversary this year, our core values have remained true in serving all students. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) being ranked the 10th Best Law School for Black or African Americans by preLaw Magazine is truly a recognition we are proud of.

Providing a diverse learning environment for students is important to the faculty and administration at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. While this diversity enriches the academic environment, it also challenges the law school to meet the educational needs of all students, many of whom are either returning to the rigors of an academic experience, or are simply seeking a supportive environment for the study of law. Therefore, it is a great honor for preLaw Magazine and National Jurist Magazine to name Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School one of their Best Law Schools for Diversity the past six years.

The 2022-2023 student enrollment is 65% female and 69% minority and the 2022 entering class is 69% female and 69% minority. The entering class also boasts scholars who represent 15 birth countries.

We thank preLaw Magazine and National Jurist for their ongoing recognition and are incredibly proud of our diverse and welcoming community. 

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School – different on purpose.

Nine AJMLS Alumni Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States Bar

On December 7, 2022, Director of Alumni Relations, A.J. Doucett, moved for nine Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumni to become members of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Bar. To be sworn into the Court, an attorney must have been sworn into the highest court in the state in which they are licensed for at least three years and be in good standing with that court. Those who were sworn in were: Lisanne Edelman (’17), Meaghan Eustice (’15), Randy Fry (’99), Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert (’12), Fernanda Hottle (’10), Shilpa Jadwani (’12), Megan McClinton (’13), Calina Plotkey (’12), Mary-Anne Uzoka (’14).

The applicants arrived at the SCOTUS with their guests and were escorted to the Natalie Cornell Rehnquist Dining Room, where they had a chance to mingle with each other and have their photos taken. Applicants and guests were escorted in shortly before the Court was gaveled into session. Doucett was called to the rostrum where he moved for the applicants to become members of the SCOTUS Bar, the applicants arose as they were called, and took the oath administered by the Clerk of the Court. After being sworn in, the newly admitted attorneys and guests remained in the courtroom to hear the case of Moore v. Harper. This case will have major implications on the States’ Legislatures’ power to determine the “time, place, and manner” of elections and the States’ Supreme Courts’ oversight.

Later that evening, the new bar members and their guests met at The Old Ebbitt Grille for appetizers and a celebratory toast to their accomplishment. Despite rain clouds throughout the day, everyone raved about this once-in-a-lifetime experience. AJMLS will continue to offer this trip annually to the alumni of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School in late fall/early winter. Registration information will be announced in the alumni newsletter and will be first come first served once the application period opens. If you are not receiving the newsletter, please notify A.J. Doucett by email to be included in the distribution.

AJMLS Ranked Top School for Criminal Law by preLaw Magazine for 4th Year

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to report its most recent “A” ranking as a top school for criminal law by preLaw Magazine. The 2022 top ranking marks the fourth year in a row receiving the distinguished nod.

Since 2011, AJMLS has proudly offered a specialized curriculum to students interested in the field of criminal law. The curriculum prepares graduates to practice criminal law, whether as a prosecutor or a defender. The Criminal Justice Certificate Program is led by Professor Jonathan Rapping, Professor of Law, MacArthur Genius Fellow, and Founder of Gideon’s Promise. 

Students may decide to pursue the Criminal Justice Certificate upon completion of their second year, after having the benefit of taking Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Students working towards the Criminal Justice Certificate would take the remainder of the required coursework during their 3L year along with a mandatory Criminal Justice Workshop. Interested students could also begin fulfilling their 300 hours of approved field work requirement during the summer between their 2L and 3L year.

Students graduate equipped with strategies to allow them to shape the criminal justice arena rather than simply being shaped by it. The Criminal Justice Certificate Program provides an integrated, applied approach to legal education that equips students with the necessary strategies to be ethical, professional, and moral lawyers in less than perfect systems.

preLaw Magazine grades law schools based on the breadth of their curricular offerings. The scores were weighted as follows: 30% for a concentration, 24% for a clinic, 12% for a center, 12% for an externship, 9% for a journal, 8% for a student group, 5% for a certificate and added value for other offerings.

1999 Alumnus, Adam Malone, Establishes Memorial Scholarship Honoring Classmate, S. Bradley Houck

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is honored to announce that Adam Malone, Class of 1999, has established the S. Bradley Houck Memorial Scholarship honoring his friend and classmate. Houck, Class of 1997, succumbed to complications related to an extended illness in the fall of 2021. The gift establishing the memorial scholarship is the largest in the Law School’s nearly 90-year history.

S. Bradley “Brad” Houck was born and raised in a small coal-mining town in Mullens, West Virginia. He attended Marshall University and graduated with honors in 1993 earning a BA degree in Criminal Justice. Brad attended Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School graduating with the highest honor and Valedictorian of his class in 1997. After law school, Brad worked with attorneys Tommy Malone and Adam Malone, handling catastrophic personal injury cases, and serving as second chair at trial for both Malones. After starting his law firm in 2003, Brad served as lead counsel in dozens of cases involving personal injury and medical malpractice. Brad is survived by his lovely wife and two children.

The S. Bradley Houck Memorial Scholarship was created by Malone with support from Senetha Houck, and Wes Jordan, Class of 1997. The scholarship seeks to honor Brad and continue his legacy of excellence in academics and service to the community.

“I am proud to announce the endowment of the S. Bradley Houck Memorial Scholarship. While he was taken from us too soon, his spirit is with us always in his work and the good that he inspired. He always spoke of his time at John Marshall and the positive way it shaped his life and career. Now, we will have the opportunity to give many future lawyers a chance to experience the same,” said Adam Malone, owner of Malone Law.

Adam Malone is a longtime supporter of his alma mater, having served as a past president of the Alumni Board and now as a current member of the Board of Directors. He was the Class of 1999 Valedictorian and has also been honored as a Distinguished Alumni in 2008. Thank you, Adam, for honoring Brad’s life and establishing the memorial scholarship in his name. 

Inquiries related to establishing named scholarship funds may be directed to Chief Development Officer, Wendy Aina.

2004 Alumna, Sonja Brown, Elected Cobb County Superior Court Judge

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates 2004 alumna, Sonja Brown, who was recently sworn in as a Cobb County Superior Court Judge after winning a runoff election this past summer. Judge Brown was honored by AJMLS as a Distinguished Alumni recipient in 2009.

Prior to her election win in Cobb County, Judge Brown had served as a Cobb County magistrate judge, Fulton County Assistant District Attorney, Director of Offender Re-Entry Services with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, and as Staff Counsel at Convergent Media Systems Corporation. 

Outside the courtroom, Judge Brown is the past president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), member of the State Bar of Georgia, Corporate Counsel for Women of Color, and served on the Board of the Restorative Justice Center of the Atlanta Community Court Division (Atlanta Municipal Court), and the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Foundation. In 2006, she co-wrote “Fueled by Greatness – 10 Cutting Edge Strategies for Accelerating Your Destiny Now.”

While at AJMLS, Judge Brown was the Student Bar Association President and won the Aspen Book Award for Remedies, Civil Procedure I, and Civil Procedure II.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to celebrate alongside Judge Brown and wishes her much success as she takes the bench.

November 2022 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the names of the students who were selected for the Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. This award is designed to recognize the contributions and efforts of students who excel in and/or out of the classroom and are dedicated to enriching the law school and greater communities.

1L Class

Timecca Cordero

Timecca Cordero is a 1L student who is a Student Representative of the SBA, and serves on the SBA’s Academic Advisory Committee. Timecca is also a member of the Charlotte E. Ray Law Society (CERLS). She devotes her time to working pro bono at the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and believes an outstanding law student is “one who has drive to achieve academically by accessing all of AJMLS’s academic resources and being an AJMLS resource!”

Rubi Garcia-Manzo

Rubi Garcia-Manzo is a 1L at AJMLS. Before moving to Georgia in 2019, Rubi held many different leadership positions in college, from student government representative to Vice President of the Mexican American Student Association. In 2018, Rubi found an interest in leadership after interning at the York County Economic Alliance, where she and several other interns created the “YoCo Bloom” Micro-Grant. This grant serves as a stepping stone for organizations and businesses and has created lasting change for the beneficiaries in her hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

During the summer of 2019, Rubi interned in the Office of Governor Tom Wolf, where she assisted with public outreach. After moving to Georgia to pursue a law degree, Rubi received the role of policy co-chair with HYPE (the Hispanic Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs). While Rubi was the policy co-chair of HYPE, her team was able to raise more than ten thousand dollars in funding. One of the most memorable events during her two-year tenure was “pups and politics”, an event that would later be featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rubi has also served as the Leyendas chair for the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials and was selected to participate in GALEO’s Georgia Institute of Leadership. Rubi’s definition of an outstanding law student is “one who never gives up on their dreams and aspirations and one who takes error and uses it as a mechanism for growth. An outstanding student is one who looks fear and anxiety in the face and says, ‘I will not let you win’, even if that means getting up and trying again tomorrow.”

Suzanne Oldweiler

Suzanne Oldweiler, a 1L in the full-time program, is an Ann Kimsey and John Marshall Scholarship recipient and holds a B.S. in Business Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Suzanne advocates for children in foster care, and she volunteers as a coach for Partners in Change. Suzanne spent four years on Morningside Elementary’s Family Science Night Planning Committee and has volunteered with the Suzuki School, the American Red Cross, and First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. Suzanne served as a Board Member for the Georgia Tech Business Network and as President of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association’s Intown Atlanta Network. Currently, Suzanne holds student memberships with the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia.

Prior to law school, Suzanne was promoted to Key Accounts Sales Manager at GRAPHISOFT, a global company providing industry-leading Building Information Modeling software solutions for architecture and design. Suzanne led key account strategy and development in support of business objectives and revenue goals, while launching initiatives such as the Annual Business Review program and the DEI Council. After nearly two decades in the AEC industry, Suzanne brings extensive client advocacy, technology sales, and professional leadership experience to the AJMLS community. In addition, Suzanne is a finisher of the New York and Miami marathons, as well as 17 half-marathons. Suzanne believes that “growth, grit, and curiosity are key traits of outstanding law students. In addition to demonstrating humility and professionalism, such students foster a growth mindset, recognize strengths and blind spots are solution-focused, and stay true to their values. Outstanding law students pair their purpose in law with an unwavering commitment to progress and service.” Suzanne resides in Atlanta with her husband, two daughters, and adopted Chihuahua.

Jodi–Ann Salters

Jodi-Ann Salters is a 1L Student Bar Association Student Representative for Section B. She is a non-traditional student and a UGA alumnae with more than twelve years of leadership and management experience. Jodi-Ann believes in a balanced lifestyle and encourages her peers to do the same. With this in mind, she planned a Section B group study session and a social event to foster inclusivity and team building. Beyond studying and preparing for classes, Jodi-Ann enjoys spending quality time with her husband, children, and friends. Every Saturday, it’s “go Dawgs,” and every Sunday, it’s “go Browns!” Jodi-Ann is interested in becoming an entertainment and immigration lawyer, is a member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, and is working tirelessly to expand her professional network. She is also an active member of C.E.R.L.S. (Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society) and BLSA (Black Law Students Association). Jodi-Ann’s definition of an outstanding law student is “a student who is supportive, ethical, scholarly, charitable, and well-balanced. Outstanding law students motivate and encourage those around them to do their best. Law school is challenging but fun, tiring but purposeful, and sometimes depressing but rewarding.” Jodi-Ann believes “the relationships she builds are as meaningful as the new language she is learning.” She is thankful for the collective effort in section B, the team they have assembled, and the honor of representing them.

2L Class

Tiara Clemmons

Tiara L. Clemmons is a 2L student at AJMLS. Tiara currently serves as a Staff Editor for the Law Journal. She has earned CALI awards for both Civil Procedure and Criminal Law and has also received two Outstanding Student of the Quarter Awards. She serves on the Induction Committee for Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society and as a peer mentor, working to bridge the gap between Black women and the legal profession. She is also an active member of the Black Law Students Association. Tiara is passionate about uplifting others and regularly seeks out opportunities to make a positive impact in her community. She volunteered as a student contributor on the fourth edition of “Home for Good: Overcoming Legal Barriers to Reentry in Georgia.” She worked diligently with her colleagues to draft a comprehensive guide aimed at answering practical, legal questions to help those recently released from prison or jail remain in their community. Tiara’s definition of an outstanding law student is one who is “kind, respectful, professional, and always willing to lend a helping hand.”

3L Class

Taylor Blumenthal

Taylor Blumenthal is a 3L in the part-time program. She has received CALI awards in Legal Writing and Civil Procedure, and she recently joined Law Journal as a Staff Editor. Taylor juggles part-time classes, a full-time job as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm, a busy family life, which includes a seven-year-old daughter, two dogs, a cat, and three horses. Before deciding to pursue a legal career, Taylor worked on staff for the Georgia General Assembly. Being immersed in the political world opened her eyes to the important role attorneys play in our everyday lives. Currently, Taylor is undecided about her desired practice area, but she was surprised to find she has an interest in criminal law during a recent judicial clerkship. For now, she plans to continue exploring different options, while working towards graduation in the Spring of 2024. Taylor describes an outstanding law student as, “someone who manages the challenges of law school with integrity, hard work, and intellectual curiosity, showing that they will be a positive force in the world after gaining the power that comes with a law degree.”

Monique Cherry

Monique Cherry is a full-time 3L student and will graduate in May 2023. She has received CALI awards in Criminal Law, Legal Writing, Research & Analysis II, Domestic Relations, and Negotiations. She has served as a teaching assistant for Professor Dalton’s Legal Writing, Research & Analysis I and II courses since the Fall of 2021. Monique is also an academic peer advisor for the Law School, and assists students in navigating course requirements, selecting electives, understanding the requirements for graduation, and finding general course information. She currently serves as the Managing Editor of the Law Journal, where she has been a member since 2021. Monique was invited to join the Journal because she was ranked in the top 10% of her class.

Outside of class, Monique works for two law firms (one in Washington, DC and another in Atlanta, GA). Her work focuses primarily on immigration and criminal litigation. While she is unsure of the area of law in which she will practice upon graduating, her ultimate goal is to break into the world of space law! Monique’s definition of an outstanding student is “someone who is not only dedicated to their schooling and excelling in their courses, but who also demonstrates a commitment to their law school community and student development.” Recognizing that every student at AJMLS is undergoing stress and uncertainty, Monique aims to be a helping hand and voice of encouragement.

Grace Gomez

Grace C. Gomez is a 3L part-time evening program student. Despite working full time as a paralegal and attending AJMLS part time in the evening, she has found the time to be a student ambassador, a staff editor on Law Journal, and a vice-chair of the Advocacy Board. Grace holds a B.A. in Psychology, with a concentration in Sociology, from SUNY Stony Brook University, and an ABA-approved Paralegal Certificate from Marist College. In the 2022 National Appellate Advocacy Competition, she placed in the region’s top 10 oral advocates; that event confirmed that she is interested in litigation, specifically family law and in appellate work. Grace’s definition of an outstanding law student is “someone who tries their best in and out of the classroom, excels academically, and exemplifies the ideals of the profession.”

Chauncey Graham

Chauncey Graham is a 3L in the full-time program. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the John Marshall Law Journal for Volume XVI, 2022-2023. He is also a member of the Black Law Students Association, BLSA’s Fundraising Committee, and the Public Interest Law Society. Chauncey’s definition of an outstanding law student is one “who not only exhibits a passion for learning, but who also is well-rounded and committed to fostering an environment where all students are encouraged to thrive.”

MarQuita Jones

MarQuita Danielle “Danni” Jones is a 3L at AJMLS. She has received a CALI award in Legal Writing, is a member of the John Marshall Law School Law Journal, and has served as a peer mentor. Danielle is also a member of the executive board of the DeKalb Bar Association.

For the past 11 years, Danielle has worked as the Litigation Paralegal and Trial Assistant for Attorney Joe A. Weeks, an alumnus of AJMLS, and she provides mentorship to paralegals at other law firms. Danielle wants to become a trial lawyer, and has a passion for speaking on behalf of those who are unable to speak for themselves. Although Danielle loves civil litigation, her heart and passion are centered around changing lives and helping to restore hope, faith, and trust in our judicial system. Danielle believes that an outstanding law student is “not a perfect student, but a student who works diligently in her academic performance; someone who demonstrates sincere respect and concern for her fellow classmates and her professors; someone who displays a commitment to service within her community and abroad; someone with strong ethics and morals; and someone who, despite obstacles, has a positive attitude, while maintaining integrity and respect for the legal profession.”

Rose Love

Rose Love is a New Jersey-born Georgia Peach and is a 3L student with a background in marketing. She has a desire to bridge the education and wealth gap between black Americans and their counterparts from other racial and ethnic groups. Rose is the founder and Chief Justice of the Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society, and it is the largest organization on campus. Along with the executive board, Rose works diligently to increase the 1L retention rate among black female law students. Rose also serves as a peer mentor and a member of the President’s Corner. Rose also sits on the AJMLS chapter of GAWL’s executive board and is a student mentor for the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers (Big GAWL). This year, Rose was chosen out of thousands of applicants to be 1 of 100 female law students to attend the “Ms. JD” Women in Law Conference in Malibu, California. Moreover, Rose is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Order of Eastern Star P.H.A.

During her tenure at AJMLS, Rose interned at Immigration Hope Atlanta, where she worked on cases
regarding VAWA (Violence Against Women Act). At Immigration Hope Atlanta, Rose helped women of color who were victims of abuse obtain their green cards and a path to legal citizenship. Rose has also had the opportunity to intern at BAJI (Black Alliance for Just Immigration), the country’s largest non-profit organization that caters specifically to black immigrants. It led her to advocate for the injustices inside the immigration camps that house mostly black and brown people, and she has worked on projects involving the murder of George Floyd and its protest. Rose has also done work and research regarding the mutilation of black women’s bodies in Africa. She currently works as a legal redress agent for the NAACP, where she is advocating for criminal justice reform and to correct the inhumane conditions in Georgia’s prison system.

In addition to her many other obligations, Rose also works as an associate at Martin and Associates and has her 3L practice certificate. Rose has already been the first chair in two cases and argued in court, and she settled and won her first case in November. Rose credits Jesus, her parents, and her ancestors for her many accomplishments and is pursuing a law degree in their honor. She believes that an outstanding law student “understands that failure is not final, and that it is the courage to get up and continue that matters”.

Diamond Nimene

Diamond Nimene is a 3L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She has received a CALI award in Legal Writing and Research II, and is vice-president of both the Black Law Students Association and the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. Additionally, Diamond serves as a Student Ambassador for the school, the Secretary for the Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society, and a student representative for LexisNexis. She also regularly volunteers her time and efforts to mentor some of her younger classmates, while finding a balance between life and school.

Diamond is interested in becoming a transactional entertainment lawyer (although she has been told she has a knack for litigation). Diamond is a member of many Bar Associations, including the Atlanta Bar, Georgia Bar, Gate City, and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyer Association. She is working tirelessly to expand her professional network while reaching down to ensure others are able to advance similarly. Diamond’s definition of an outstanding law student is one “who has faced adversity but still journeys forward with humility, ensuring that those experiences instill a commitment to service and devotion to the highest ideals of this wonderful profession.” Diamond is grateful for this honor!

Grant Schrantz

Grant Schrantz is a full-time 3L who serves as the Executive Student Director of the Peer Mentoring Program and the SBA Treasurer.

Under Grant’s leadership, the Peer Mentoring Program has significantly expanded its operations to include taking a larger role in 1L Orientation and setting up a booth at the student organization fair, partnering with the SBA for a Fall Community Service Event with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, producing a PMP Impact video, taking part in producing a promotional video for the PMP/SBA/GAWL/OSA Dream Closet Initiative, starting a PMP Newsletter, and creating a PMP Instagram account for greater 1L and AJMLS awareness of the PMP’s contribution to the AJMLS community.

Under Grant’s leadership, the SBA Treasury has decreased the processing time for Student Organization funds requests, created a routine purchasing schedule for restocking the student lounge through the Beautify AJMLS Committee, and has several more plans for the future, as it is still early in Grant’s tenure.

Grant wants to practice corporate law after passing the bar. He is interested in business transactions and litigation because he prefers to gain a broad base of knowledge.

Grant’s definition of an outstanding student is “a student who goes above and beyond to benefit the AJMLS community through service and leadership.”

4L Class

Jacob Gregory

Jacob Gregory is a 4L in the part-time evening program and is from Atlanta, Georgia. Jacob has received over 20 CALI awards during his time at AJMLS and also has received the Best Oralist Award in his LWRA III class. He currently serves as the Executive Legislative Editor for the school’s Law Journal and wrote his Legislative Summary on Senate Bill 241, a Bill creating implications for Absentee Voting in the state of Georgia. Jacob serves as a Legal Writing Teaching Fellow, assisting in all things Legal Writing. In the future, he seeks to be a civil rights lawyer. Jacob’s definition of an outstanding law student is “one who can explain the law simply.”

Bethany Keyes

Bethany Keyes is a part-time 4L day student. Bethany works part time as a student associate at a local Atlanta law firm. When Bethany is not in school, studying, or working, she enjoys cooking, shopping, and spending time with her significant other, family, and friends. On any given day, you can typically find Bethany with an iced coffee in hand and a smile on her face. One of Bethany’s most recent accomplishments was having an opinion published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Bethany’s definition of an outstanding law student is “one who demonstrates the desire to learn, one who is kind and helpful, and one who is always willing to engage in debate to expand their horizon of knowledge.”

Joseph Maggiano

Joseph Maggiano is a 4L at AJMLS and has achieved Dean’s List three times throughout his law school career. He is a recipient of various awards. Joseph also works as a law clerk for a personal injury firm in the New York/New Jersey area. Joseph is a father of three, and is happily married to his teenage sweetheart, Yralka Maggiano. He proudly says that without her love and support, he could not have embarked on his law school career. Joseph’s goal is to become barred in New York, New Jersey, and Georgia, and to achieve civil trial certification.

Joseph believes that “outstanding students, like outstanding trial lawyers, learn and benefit from their mistakes. A wise man said, ‘there are no lessons in victory, but 1,000 lessons learned from defeat.’ Understanding that we are all imperfect, we learn from our mistakes and move on. We, as students, should not coast on a successful grade or sulk on a bad one. Every day matters in a law student’s career. It is important to start each day with optimism and close with the confident feeling that you gave the day your best effort.”

Introducing the 2022-2023 SBA Class Representatives

Originally introduced in the October 2022 AJMLS Dispatch, an SBA publication, we are pleased to introduce the 2022-2023 SBA Class Representatives.

3L SBA CLASS REPRESENTATIVE (DAY)

BROOKE HARRISON

I’m a Louisiana native who has developed a passion for justice and law through life experiences and social activism. My plans are to use my law degree to forge a career in civil rights and public interest law. As a class representative, I will ensure that all of our concerns regarding school-sponsored events are heard, that class offerings and course curriculums are decided with our concerns in mind, and that our events are executed smoothly and professionally. My goal with the Student Bar Association this year is simple: to make sure the voice of the people is heard and their needs are addressed.

NIKITA PATEL

I’m originally from Los Angeles, California and attended Louisiana State University for undergrad. Currently, I am living in Atlanta to attend law school. I plan on taking the Florida Bar and envision myself practicing in the corporate law sector. My goal for SBA is to be a voice for people who don’t feel comfortable speaking out for themselves. I also want to encourage more networking events. I think students put a lot of pressure on themselves when it comes to getting perfect grades. However, it is also important to make connections and network because knowing the right people makes a difference when it comes to getting various job opportunities.

2L SBA CLASS REPRESENTATIVE (PT)

JADE GREEN

My name is Jade Green, and I am a part-time evening 2L. I studied criminal justice at Dalton State and became the first person in my family to graduate from college. I am interested in becoming a criminal defense attorney and hope to one day work for the Innocence Project. I intend to serve as class representative to the best of my abilities and provide the 2L evening students with answers to their questions and ensure they have access to the resources they need to be successful. I hope to represent my class as well as the previous representatives did before me and appreciate this opportunity to do so!

JASMINE KNIGHT

I was born in Burlington, NJ and went to The University of Alabama for undergrad where I received a B.A. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. Later, I obtained my paralegal certificate from the University of Richmond. At AJMLS, I have immersed myself in various student organizations: Criminal Law Society, Student Advisory Board for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society, Peer Mentoring Program, and the Advocacy Board. After passing the Bar, I plan to work as a prosecutor in Fulton County, Georgia. My goal is to make a difference in the lives of domestic violence survivors and loved ones of those who have been lost in the fight against domestic violence.

2L SBA CLASS REPRESENTATIVE (DAY)

TAHIRAH SCOTT

My name is Tahirah I. Scott and I was born and raised in Somerset, NJ. I graduated from the State University of New Jersey, Rutgers University, with a dual degree in Criminal Justice and Women & Gender Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing. Currently, I am very interested in intellectual property law, entertainment law, and sports law. As an SBA representative, it is my goal to make sure that not only students’ concerns are heard, but that there are also some solutions being offered as well.

TYLORE BELL

My name is Tylore Bell, I am the oldest of three girls, and you know what they say about the oldest daughters. Being from the west coast, I am a true California girl! I went to Cal State Dominguez Hills, where I also played basketball. I am currently interested in criminal defense, but as one of my favorite professors told me to do, I am keeping my options open. My goals for SBA are to create a safe space for social events for students to relax and de-stress while making connections, create better relationships among the student body, and help create a better environment for students to feel confident as we all work to pass the bar and become amazing lawyers.

1L SBA CLASS REPRESENTATIVE (PT – EVENING)

TIMECCA CORDERO

My name is Timecca Cordero and I’m a community advocate. I strive to enhance the lives of others through awareness by working together with other community representatives and officials. I aspire to further my initiatives of advocating for the vulnerable population, which includes those that are economically disadvantaged, people with disabilities, and children, by becoming their legal resource. It’s my desire to be a part of the greatness AJMLS has to offer its students by being a great Student Bar Association representative. As an SBA representative, my goal is to ensure each student has an exceptional learning experience by receiving the adequate learning resources within AJMLS’s excellent learning environment.

PARIESE LEWIS

My name is Pariese J. Lewis and I am from Phoenix, AZ. I have a background in Biology, Management and have worked in pharmaceutical research for over 12 years. With my passion in law, my goal is to use my legal degree in conjunction with my pharmaceutical experience to work on clinical research contracts. As an SBA representative, my goal is to be a voice for the evening students. As evening students, we face particular issues that may not be faced by the larger body and it is important that these be brought to light, especially safety. I look forward to the journey ahead and working together as a team. We are stronger together!

1L SBA CLASS REPRESENTATIVE (PT- DAY)

GIZELLE LAMASTUS

My name is Gizelle Lamastus and I am a 1L part-time day time student. Before attending AJMLS, I graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Psychology. It was through an experience during an undergraduate study abroad program in Morocco that I decided to change paths and become a lawyer with a focus on family law! I have a passion for people and want to ensure that people are confident that they are being advocated for. This passion for people that led me towards law school has now led me to the SBA. I will make it a priority to be consistent and effective in addressing your concerns. I am excited to experience the AJMLS community as one of your SBA representatives. We will have the opportunity to get to know one another throughout our years here, but until then, here is a bit about me! I enjoy dancing (not very well I might add), thrift shopping (always here for a good bargain), and hiking/traveling. Remember, we are all in law school and although challenging, it is something we should be proud of!

1L SBA CLASS REPRESENTATIVES (FT – SECTION B)

JODI-ANN SALTERS

I am a proud wife and mother to three adorable children. I was born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, New York. In 2006 I moved to Georgia, and in 2012 received my BBA in Management at UGA. I am at AJMLS to continue my journey leading and serving my community as an attorney at law. I am interested in serving immigrant clients as well as entertainers. As an SBA representative, I will continue to bridge the gap for all students. My promise is to represent all students’ viewpoints to faculty and staff. I will continue this effort by maintaining open and transparent communication with students while clearly and consistently communicating our views to faculty and staff. The work we do today will impact future students and the community alike.

GABRIELLA HENRIQUEZ CHAVEZ

¡Hola, que tal! My name is Gabriella Henriquez Chavez, and I am a first-generation American, undergraduate, and now law student. My mother is from Guatemala, my father was from Chile and my husband is from Mexico. My background, as well as my experience in various immigration law firms, inspire me to find and be a voice for the community of immigrants who are living in the shadows. I have a strong interest in immigration law, but while in law school I am exploring the criminal, public interest, and civil law fields. My goal as your SBA representative is to ensure 1L students have a voice and are #AJMLSProud. My top priorities right now are to (1) help beautify the student lounge, (2) start a student safety blog, and (3) promote your workshop and fundraising ideas.

1L SBA CLASS REPRESENTATIVES (FT – SECTION A)

LEAH ROBERTSON

My name is Leah Robertson. I was born and raised in Suwanee, Georgia, which is about 40 minutes outside of the city (shoutout to the Northside Hospital Atlanta babies!). I graduated from Kennesaw State University in Fall 2020 with my BS in Communications (Hooty Hoo!). My areas of interest include family law and intellectual property. My goal is to explore both areas as I have an interest in helping families as well as artists, writers, and designers when it comes to protecting the rights to their intellectual property. My goal for SBA is to get as many concerns/questions/issues raised by students resolved or answered by the end of 2022-2023 school year. We have many opportunities to improve our school community and I am excited to be a part of it!

WHITNEY DREW

Hello all! My name is Whitney Ariana Drew, and I was born and raised in Georgia. Learning languages is one of my favorite activities, so I earned an MA in French last May from Georgia State, while I was teaching French I. Some of my hobbies include writing, playing flute, and stargazing. Regarding law, my area of interest is corporate law. I’ve wanted to be a corporate lawyer for as long as I can remember. My goal for SBA is to help create more student success events. As one of the 1L representatives for Section A, I’ve already heard great ideas that I’d love to see implemented. Thank you for letting me represent you!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Teri P. McClure to the Board of Directors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Teri P. McClure, Former General Counsel and Chief Human Resources Officer, Senior Vice President of Labor Relations and Communications for United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS), to the Board of Directors. Before retiring in 2019, McClure had responsibility globally for Legal and Compliance, Human Resources, Employee Communications, and Labor Relations for UPS and its 500,000 employees worldwide. She was a member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team responsible for setting strategy, profit, and operating plans for UPS worldwide operations.

Prior to McClure’s history-making 24 year career at UPS, she practiced employment and labor law at Troutman Sanders Atlanta. Her 2006 appointment to the UPS Executive Leadership Team changed history, becoming the first female African American senior vice president at the company, one of the world’s largest shipping couriers. She received her B.A. in marketing and economics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and earned her J.D. from Emory University School of Law.

As an experienced corporate director for publicly traded companies, Lennar, GMS, JetBlue, and Flour, as well as board member for privately held Board Prospects and Accelya, and board chair for the Task Force for Global Health, McClure’s leadership experience is comprehensive and diverse. She remarked about her appointment with AJMLS, “I look forward to the contributions I can bring to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s growing organization and established team of leaders.” Her board expertise includes governance, strategic human capital and culture, executive compensation, strategic planning, performance management, and succession, global legal and regulatory compliance, government affairs, and crisis management. 

McClure joins the following members and advisor of the Board of Directors:

Members

Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Ph.D.
Chairman, Board of Directors

Dean Frank T. Read
Vice Chairman, Board of Directors
President & Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law

Kwaku C. George (KC)
Director, National Development Council

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein
Former Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Malone
Partner, Malone Law

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker
County Attorney, Fulton County, Georgia

Kevin Ross
President, Kevin Ross Public Affairs Group LLC
Dr. Lawrence B. Schlachter
DDS, MD, JD, Schlachter Law Firm

Dean James P. White
Consultant Emeritus, Section on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar, American Bar Association

Advisor

Linda A. Klein
Shareholder, Baker Donelson

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Partners with Grady Gives Thanksgiving Turkey Drive

On Saturday, November 19, 2022, the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) community, comprised of staff, students, and alumni, partnered with Avalon Sports, the Office of Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman, District 6, the Cobb Justice Foundation Legal Aid’s Office, the Grady Gives Foundation, and many more to provide turkeys, hens, hams, Thanksgiving fixings, and fresh produce to single moms in need during this holiday season.

A special thanks to our student leaders of the Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society for assisting in planning and recruiting AJMLS volunteers for this event.

We were excited and thankful to partner with Grady Gives in support of their mission of “transforming and impacting lives one by one” and giving back to the community.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Hosts 12th Annual KSU Owl Classic Invitational Mock Trial Tournament

On Saturday, October 29, 2022, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) was pleased to host the 12th Annual Owl Classic Invitation Mock Trial Tournament for Kennesaw State University (KSU). The competition welcomed Lee University, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), University of South Florida (USF), University of West Florida (UWF), Auburn University, Mercer University, Georgia State University (GSU), Samford University, University of North Carolina- Charlotte (UNC- Charlotte), and Georgia College and State University (GCSU) to AJMLS’s campus in Downtown Atlanta.

Thank you to this year’s coordinators: Dr. Elizabeth Gordon, Jessica Turner, Jazmine King, and AJMLS Director of Recruitment and Outreach, Marc Reece. It was a pleasure to work with you and host the tournament.

Congratulations to the top trial teams at the Owl Classic Invitational

1st Place: Auburn University (Team Ghouls)

2nd Place: Middle Tennessee State University (Team Goblins)

3rd Place: University of South Florida (Team Werewolves)

Honorable Mention Teams: Georgia State University (Team Skeletons), Lee University (Team Zombies)

Congratulations to individual award winners at the Owl Classic Invitational!

In the 2-round tournament, it took a minimum of 9 ranks to earn a witness award and a minimum of 9 ranks to earn an attorney award.

Outstanding witnesses with 10 ranks: Abby Bauer (KSU); Alaysha Lamb (GSU); Anna McFadden (UNC-Charlotte); and Katelynn Pricer (MTSU).

Special shout out to Anna Sweet (Auburn) who earned 10 ranks as a witness on BOTH sides of the case!

Outstanding witnesses with 9 ranks: Eli Askren (MTSU); Mary Chascsa (MTSU); Sydney Fant (Lee); Manasi Giridharan (Mercer); Connor Hilly (GCSU); Olivia Kilpatrick (MTSU); Liz Medina (Samford); and Emily Wyche (GCSU).

Outstanding attorneys with 10 ranks: Lisa Calvert (GCSU); Mary Chascsa (MTSU); Zachary Ouellette (MTSU); Molley Petty (Lee); and Brayden Tompkins (UWF).

Special shout outs to the double threats: Jaida Kelley of KSU, who earned 10 ranks on BOTH sides of the case; and Caroline Deale of Auburn, who earned 10 ranks on Defense and 9 ranks on Prosecution.

Outstanding attorneys with 9 ranks: Paul Atherton (Lee); Tamia Campbell (GSU); Milla Magyar (GSU); Stelios Spirou (GCSU); and Isabella Terry (MTSU).

Pro Bono Month 2022

Eligible hours must be completed between October 1st and October 31st

Welcome to October AJMLS, 

There are several ways to develop the professional identities of law students and new attorneys, however, none-more impactful than pro bono service.

Especially now, in this time of economic turmoil, practice by way of service provides essential representation and resources to those who need it most. During the wake of the pandemic, the rate of Americans in need of critical civil legal service grew, further widening the justice gap (Flagg, 2022). Populations including Veterans, senior citizens, and individuals from low-income households face legal issues around access to safe housing, health care, employment, and more, often without representation. To put this into perspective, in 2021, legal aid organizations across the U.S. received almost 1.9 million requests for assistance from low-income individuals. In 2022, low-income Americans were without assistance for more than 90% of their substantial legal issues. lack of representation results in further widening the justice gap and increasing costs for individuals who are already financially burdened. In addition to legal representation, pro bono services such as providing legal education, volunteering to improve voting rights, and assisting with local government issues are all meaningful ways to serve for the public good. 

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi

While each day presents an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to society at large, the month of October represents a time to showcase a renewed spirit of service through legal stewardship. As we enter into this season of pro-bono, let us demonstrate a commitment to serving the very community that has served our law school for more than 80 years.  With the law school’s close proximity to more than 100 public interest and government organizations, pro bono opportunities are boundless, and assistance is greatly needed. By participating in pro bono activities and encouraging law students to follow suit, we contribute to their development as compassionate practitioners, we build on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law school legacy, we provide critical services to individuals who may not otherwise have the means to afford them, and we demonstrate our dedication to “preparing highly skilled, ethical, and professional lawyers who possess a strong social conscience” (AJMLS Mission, 2022).

Students are eligible for the following pro bono awards,

1.    The Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears Pro Bono Award

2.    Excellence In Pro Bono Service Award

3.    Pro Bono Distinction Award

For detailed information on pro bono programs,

·  Join Us here to reach our goal of 500 pro bono hours during the month of October.

·  For a list of organizations and pro bono opportunities click here.

·  Instructions to log your pro bono hours in 12Twenty can be found here

Have a great month!

All the Best,

J.L. Wyatt-Keyton, PhD

Executive Director of Career Services and Professional Development

The Community Needs YOU!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) has a strong pro bono culture. We recognize the growing severity of unmet legal needs of the poor and disadvantaged in the state of Georgia. As such we encourage and support the participation of our students, faculty, alumni, and staff in pro bono activities. AJMLS provides a broad range of pro bono opportunities to ensure that our law school community can participate in pro bono activities.  

October is Pro Bono Month

Fundraising Thermometer - CouponBirds Seedling Project

Professor Michael Mears Appointed to Serve on SEALS Global Outreach Committee

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Michael Mears, has been appointed to serve on the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Global Outreach Committee for this coming year. SEALS is a regional association of law schools that provides annual opportunities for faculty to present and receive feedback on their ongoing research at their annual meeting, and offers legal educators panels and discussion groups to enhance their classroom teaching and scholarly works.

The International Committee has three core missions:

1)      Develop and Sustain Strong International Partnerships

SEALS is historically and still primarily focused on law schools in the Southeastern United States. However, we recognize that building good relationships with colleagues around the world is a worthy and important goal. We seek to encourage and facilitate participation in SEALS by law faculty who live and work beyond the U.S. borders.

2)     Encourage global & comparative perspectives on the law and legal education

While international and comparative law are core pillars of legal practice and legal education in most of the world, they have not attained such prominence in the United States. The A.B.A. has recognized this as an area for improvement and this committee agrees. We will propose programs, panels and events that prioritize a more global focus and/or comparative analysis.

3)     Provide international opportunities for SEALS members

This committee is very proud of the professors at our member schools and wants to showcase them to the world. Our goal is to seek out international publication, speaking and teaching opportunities and publish these to the member schools.

Thank you, Professor Mears, for your ongoing contributions to the legal community and legal education. 

Introducing the 2022-2023 Advocacy Board Executive Council

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Advocacy Board is a student-run academic organization dedicated to promoting the art of written and oral advocacy in moot court and mock trial competitions. The Board is governed by its Executive Council.

Professor Loren Pratt, Faculty Advisor

Executive Council

Carolina Melguizo, Chair

Carolina Melguizo was born in Medellin, Colombia, and moved to the United States at the age of 15. With a passion for learning, Carolina earned a B.S. in history and political science from Georgia State University and is currently a part-time student.

In her first year of law school, Carolina earned the CALI award in LWRA I and was invited to join the Advocacy Board. During her second year, Carolina served as SBA representative and competed in the NAAC Moot Court Competition. She has served as a peer mentor since 2021.  

Carolina is honored to lead the Advocacy Board as its Chair. She looks forward to increasing the Board’s presence in moot court and mock trial competitions. She is excited to be a part of an academic organization that celebrates practical written and oral advocacy.

Grace Gomez, Vice Chair

Grace C. Gomez is the daughter of immigrants, originally from Peru, and the first in her family to attend law school. She moved to Atlanta from Westchester County, New York in 2017 and is a part-time evening student expected to graduate in 2024. She earned her B.A. in Psychology, with a concentration in Sociology, from SUNY Stony Brook University in 2015 and earned her ABA-approved Paralegal Certificate from Marist College a few months before moving to Atlanta in 2017.

Working full-time and going to school part-time has not been an easy feat, however, having a strong support system has allowed Grace to thrive. After completing her 2L year, she accepted an invite to join Atlanta’s John Marshall’s Law Journal as a Staff Editor and was elected to Advocacy Board’s Executive Council as a Vice Chair. She has also been a Student Ambassador for the last year.

She is excited about the opportunity to help create an organization where our members can grow professionally in their written, oral, and legal research skills.

Marquez Jones, Vice Chair

Marquez Jones is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and is currently a part-time student with an expected graduation date of May 2024. He has a degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies with a focus in Broadcast/Journalism. 

Prior to law school, Marquez worked in entertainment as a tour manager and agent for artists in the entertainment industry. 

Accepting a  position as a Vice Chair was a no brainer due to Marquez’s strong desire for trial advocacy and appellate court work.

Wendi Lucas, Vice Chair

Wendi Lucas was born and raised in Rome, Georgia where she graduated with honors from Pepperell High School. Wendi attended Kennesaw State University where she graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Political Science with a minor in legal studies. In addition to academic pursuits, Wendi has worked as a paralegal handling countless complex personal injury cases since 2017. Wendi served as SBA class representative her 1L year and currently serves as a peer mentor as a 3L. Wendi accepted the position as a Vice Chair in hopes of furthering Advocacy Board competition opportunities and growing the organization.

In addition to her academic and professional pursuits, Wendi enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

The AJMLS Alumni Association Announces its 2022 Board of Directors and Officers

On August 1, 2022, the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Alumni Association welcomed its new Board of Directors and Officers. The Officers will serve in their roles for the 2022-2023 year.

During the July 2022 Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting, six new members were selected to join the Board. It is an honor to present the newest members of the Board. You can see the returning members here.

Keren Barrios, Class of 2013

Where were you raised?

I was raised in Guatemala until I was 10 years old and then moved to Georgia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education?

Georgia State University (Criminal Justice Legal Path)

Tell us where you currently work, title, and what you do there/area of practice?

Owner/Founder of Barrios Virguez Attorneys, specializing in personal injury and immigration.

What do you do in your free time?

Spend as much time with my husband and two boys.

Why did you join the AJMLS Alumni Board?

To mentor and help AJMLS students in any way possible so they can succeed in their careers.

What do you want the AJMLS alumni and current students to know about you?

Anything is possible with dedication and determination.

Tianna M. Bias, Class of 2018, Savannah Law School

Where were you raised?

Augusta, GA

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education

Paine College

Tell us where you currently work, title, and what you do there/area of practice?

Criminal Defense Attorney – Hawk Law Group

What do you do in your free time?

Play with my sons; try new restaurants and travel

Why did you join the AJMLS Alumni Board?

To advocate for and assist in the inclusion of the talented alumni from Savannah Law School

What do you want the AJMLS alumni and current students to know about you?

I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference. Many people assumed that attending smaller institutions for undergrad and law school put me at a disadvantage but these schools opened the doors for opportunities beyond my wildest dreams.

D. Wesley “Wes” Jordan, Class of 1997

Where were you raised?

Atlanta, GA

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education?

University of Georgia

Tell us where you currently work, title, and what you do there/area of practice?

Law Office of D. Wesley Jordan, P.C. — Self-employed attorney with a focus on Residential Real Estate Closings. Currently in my 25th year of practice.

What do you do in your free time?

My hobby outside of my practice is aviation. I received my pilot’s license a few years ago and am currently working on my instrument rating at McCollum Airport in Marietta. In Addition to the Real Estate Section of the Bar, I am also a member of the Aviation Section. I am an active member of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, along with my parents who I also take care of.

Why did you join the AJMLS Alumni Board?

I recently received an invitation to do so, and I am honored to join. It was last year about this time that I lost my good friend S. Bradley Houck (1997 Valedictorian) and as a result become re-acquainted with several AJMLS folks when I suggested a scholarship fund be set up in Brad’s Memory.

What do you want the AJMLS alumni and current students to know about you?

Citing the above, and as I stated in an impromptu speech at the AJMLS Open House last October… you never know where the relationships you make in law school will take you. The friendship you make along the way is a large part of the journey in shaping your path in life and the direction it will eventually take.

Kayla Kudratt, Class of 2018

Where were you raised?

Lithonia, Ga.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education?

Georgia Southern University

Tell us where you currently work, title, and what you do there/area of practice?

Assistant District Attorney assigned to the Crimes Against Women and Children/ Domestic Violence Unit in the Henry County District Attorney’s Office

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy traveling the world, volunteering with the youth in my community, exercising, and running Stone Mountain.

Why did you join the AJMLS Alumni Board?

I joined the AJMLS Alumni Board because I love Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and I am forever grateful for the opportunities offered to me.

As a student, I was very involved in the AJMLS community, and serving on the Alumni Board will allow me to continue my engagement with the Law School.

What do you want the AJMLS alumni and current students to know about you?

I want the alumni and current students to know that AJMLS is near and dear to my heart as this community encouraged and supported me in law school and in my career, so it is my duty and pleasure to give back. I will proudly serve on the Alumni Board to ensure current students are afforded the same opportunities I enjoyed as a student.

Emily Napier, Class of 2016

Where were you raised?

I’m a military brat so I had the gift of getting to call several places my home during my childhood. Some include Florida, New Hampshire, and now Georgia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education?

Georgia State University, Bachelor of Business Administration Finance

Tell us where you currently work, title, and what you do there/area of practice?

I am the Owner and Founder of Napier Law Firm LLC. Our areas of practice include Estate Planning and Probate.

What do you do in your free time?

Spend time with my family, bake, travel, work out, and plan parties for family and friends.

Why did you join the AJMLS Alumni Board?

Having run multiple businesses and now being the founding attorney of Napier Law Firm I understand the importance of networking and having a strong presence in the community. I want to share my experiences and be a resource for students.

What do you want the AJMLS alumni and current students to know about you?

I believe that anything is possible. Sometimes the current situation might seem like it is insurmountable, but I’ve found that you just have to focus on what is in front of you today and put one foot forward.

Michael Urbina, Class of 2011

Where were you raised?

Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education?

Georgia State University

Tell us where you currently work, title, and what you do there/area of practice?

Urbina Law Firm, Managing Attorney, Immigration Law

What do you do in your free time?

I love to spend time with my wife and 3 daughters, we travel a lot, especially to Disney World. I like to read, watch movies, find ways to improve myself and my firm, watch NBA and MLB games, and like to play basketball.

Why did you join the AJMLS Alumni Board?

I joined because I always felt the AJMLS community has been a welcoming community and I love the opportunity to help in any way I can. I feel our alumni are very successful and have the opportunity to help current students and other alumni to connect and help each other out. The power of community is one I have been a part of since I was in high school and have seen the potential of what engaged individuals can do together. I see a lot of potential for all AJMLS alumni and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be involved.

What do you want the AJMLS alumni and current students to know about you?

My favorite quote is “Adapt of Die” and I think that in our industry, we must constantly look for ways to improve not just our legal knowledge, but also how to be efficient and innovative in our everyday practice. I love finding ways to improve my personal and work life to find new levels.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Dr. Lawrence Schlachter to the Board of Directors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Lawrence Schlachter, attorney and board-certified Neurological Surgeon, to the Board of Directors. Dr. Schlachter is a 2004 graduate of AJMLS and owns The Schlachter Law Firm.

Dr. Schlachter is one of the few attorneys in the United States who has a unique background combining dentistry, neurosurgery, and law, with licenses to practice in each profession. Attorneys across the United States regularly call upon Dr. Schlachter for his expertise as a neurosurgeon and lawyer. During Dr. Schlachter’s neurosurgical practice, he performed over 10,000 surgical procedures on the brain and spine. He was also the neurosurgeon on call for the President of the United States for the Atlanta area.

The proud alumnus remarked, “I have always had a special place in my heart for AJMLS as it was the place that opened doors for me and many others to advance our professional careers and to use our law degrees to improve the lives of others. The professors and staff at AJMLS were always available, supportive, kind, yet demanding of the students. I hope that my contributions to the school will continue that kind of supportive environment.”

Dr. Schlachter graduated from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1969. He received a Doctor of Dental Surgery Degree in 1973 and a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1976 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also served as a resident in general surgery for two years and in neurological surgery for five years at Emory University and affiliated hospitals from 1976 to 1983.

After retiring from active medical practice following a hand injury in 1999, Dr. Schlachter attended Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, graduating with a J.D. degree in 2004. He is an active member of the Georgia Bar, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine, and is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

Dr. Schlachter joins the following members and advisor of the Board of Directors:

Members

Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Ph.D.

Chairman, Board of Directors

Dean Frank T. Read

Vice Chairman, Board of Directors
President & Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law

Kwaku C. George (KC)

Director, National Development Council

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein

Former Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Malone

Partner, Malone Law

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker

County Attorney, Fulton County, Georgia

Kevin Ross

President, Kevin Ross Public Affairs Group LLC

Dean James P. White

Consultant Emeritus, Section on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar, American Bar Association

Advisor

Linda A. Klein

Shareholder, Baker Donelson

The American Law Institute Elects Professor Jonathan Rapping as New Member

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates and celebrates Professor Jonathan Rapping, Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, for his recent election to The American Law Institute (ALI). The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law.

As stated by the ALI, “Our membership consists of eminent judges, lawyers, and law professors from all areas of the United States and from many foreign countries, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law.

To further its work, the Institute elects individuals who reflect the excellence and diversity of today’s legal profession. Membership in The American Law Institute is a distinct professional honor, and the number of elected members is limited.”

Professor Rapping is one of sixty new members elected this summer. He shared, “It is a great honor to be elected as a member of the American Law Institute. I look forward to bringing my experience as a Law Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, my work as a criminal justice reformer through Gideon’s Promise, and my scholarship and expertise in the areas of public defense and criminal justice to this organization.”

In addition to leading the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Professor Rapping has taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Criminal Justice Lawyering at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Congratulations, Professor!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Honors American Cancer Society with Scholarship

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) moved into its new Downtown Atlanta campus in 2021. In connection with its move, the Law School received its largest in-kind donation from the American Cancer Society (ACS) of premium office furniture. The Atlanta nonprofit donated enough furniture to furnish every office, conference room, and common area in the new facility.

On July 28, 2022, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School welcomed friends and community supporters to its Open House, where guests toured the new facility and helped the Law School honor the American Cancer Society for its support and donation. The grand staircase was unveiled to be named after the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Scholarship was introduced. 

Ms. Mo Ivory, ACS Managing Counsel of Corporate Real Estate, attended the event and spoke for the Atlanta nonprofit. “On behalf of the American Cancer Society, it is my honor to be a part of the donation to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Providing the faculty, staff and especially students a comfortable environment to study and learn and become a part of the thriving law community in Atlanta.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School thanks its community supporters for the work they are doing to support our students and alumni through networking, hiring, and financial support. All inquiries related to giving and scholarship creation should be directed to Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer, at waina@johnmarshall.edu. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our Giving page.

About the American Cancer Society Scholarship

American Cancer Society’s mission is to eliminate cancer as a major health provider by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from the disease, through research, education, advocacy, and service. Families who are faced with cancer undergo severe physical, psychological, and financial strain. Many graduate students who are fighting cancer must often interrupt their education and cannot work to save money for school or participate in extracurricular activities. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can be extremely debilitating, requiring extensive rehabilitation. Cancer survivors and caretakers face so many challenges both emotionally and financially.

Graduate students who struggle with or succeed in their fight against cancer deserve assistance in their pursuit of a law education. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 8 million Americans have a history of cancer. Ambitious students who attend law school despite their health setbacks display impressive resolve. In an effort to acknowledge the wonderful generosity from the American Cancer Society to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, a scholarship has been created to provide additional assistance to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students who are battling or have battled cancer at any point in their life. This includes those students who have a parent, sibling, or immediate family member that has battled cancer or is currently fighting cancer.

Recipients will be selected by the scholarship committee based on a brief application process which will be based on the applicants’ personal hardship and financial need. The $1,500 scholarship will be awarded to two students annually, applied to tuition and fees only. Full-time and part-time 2L, 3L, and 4L students are eligible to apply.

Fall 2022 Development and Alumni Relations Scholarship Recipients

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Development and Alumni Relations Office is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities each semester. Our donors give generously to AJMLS and the John Marshall Law School Foundation, Inc. to help students cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and educational expenses. AJMLS offers merit-based, need-based, and service-based scholarships. Applications were carefully reviewed by the scholarship committee and we thank the committee for their time.

All inquiries related to the Development and Alumni Relations scholarships below should be directed to Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer, at waina@johnmarshall.edu. If you are a donor and would like to contribute to the scholarships, please visit our Giving pages or contact Wendy Aina directly.

Congratulations to the Fall 2022 scholarship recipients!

Alumni and Donor Scholarship

Griffin Hill

J.D. Candidate, 2025

Alumni and Donor Scholarship

Gavin Johnston

J.D. Candidate, 2025

Alumni and Donor Scholarship

Anna Stone

J.D. Candidate, 2026

Alumni and Donor Scholarship

Chloe Strickland

J.D. Candidate, 2026

Alumni and Donor Scholarship

Brandon Witt

J.D. Candidate, 2025

Andy Crawford Scholarship

Jesse Moore

J.D. Candidate, 2024

Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship

Esther Ko

J.D. Candidate, 2023

Bobby Lee Cook Scholarship

Melanie Stepho

J.D. Candidate, 2023

John Marshall Law School Foundation Scholarship

Monique A. Cherry

J.D. Candidate, 2023

John Marshall Law School Foundation Scholarship

Brooke Harrison

J.D. Candidate, 2023

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Volunteers Help Meet Unmet Need for Legal Services Among Homeless Veterans

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) has teamed up with the Atlanta VA Health Care System to provide legal services at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. The Homeless Veteran’s Clinic is a pro bono project of the Law School that originally started as an externship. Due to COVID-19, services at the hospital were scaled back for safety reasons. AJMLS is proud to restart this program as a pro bono program until full services are restored.

The Homeless Veterans Clinic is run by distinguished alumni, Mr. Corey Martin (Class of 2009) of Martin and Associates, Ms. Gulliana Goehring (Class of 2021) of the Fry Law Firm, and student volunteers of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. As a Veteran himself, Mr. Martin notes that this is very personal to him, “I understand the sacrifices that my fellow Veterans have given and continue to give daily to keep us all safe. I didn’t think twice about my participation as the Supervising Attorney in the Clinic.”

The Office of Career Services and Professional Development, who is responsible for the Pro Bono Program at AJMLS, administers the clinic. The Clinic is open every second Friday of the month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and is open to homeless Veterans receiving services at the Atlanta VA Health Care Center. The services provided are for veterans with legal problems, which may include but are not limited to misdemeanors, that adversely affect the stability of the homeless Veterans.

Mr. Martin further details, “My vision is a great but attainable one. I envision AJMLS being the leader throughout the US when it comes to helping veterans navigate the criminal justice system and getting quantifiable, sustainable, and positive results. My goal is to help as many Veterans as possible to get back to a life of hope and positivity, and to help ensure that their criminal history does not prevent them from getting a job, getting a home, or reuniting with their family. I want my battle buddies to know, we are in this together.”

Currently, eight students are supporting the program and they work on a rotating basis depending on how many Veteran cases are scheduled. Students assist with client interviewing, facilitating warrant recalls, legal research, and many other tasks, under the supervision of the attorneys. Should the attorneys decide to keep the case pro bono, the students can assist with the case through completion.

Students who would like more information about the Homeless Veteran’s Clinic Pro Bono Project should contact Dr. Jymmyca Wyatt-Keyton, jwyatt@johnmarshall.edu or Ms. Angela Sumpter at asumpter@johnmarshall.edu.

Veterans with legal problems who would like to participate in the Homeless Veteran’s Legal Clinic should reach out to Ms. Thwindia Cabiness, at the Justice Program Office of the Atlanta VA Health Care System to make an appointment.

Thindwia Cabiness-Moore, LCSW

Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Specialist

Atlanta VA Health Care System

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Email: Thindwia.Cabiness@va.gov

(404) 747-2725

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation Partner to Launch Landlord Tenant Hybrid Clinic

Effective the Fall 2022 Semester, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) in partnership with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) is kick-starting a new Landlord Tenant Hybrid Clinic to address the housing crisis in Atlanta. The inaugural cohort of six AJMLS students will be working with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation‘s Safe and Stable Homes Project and the Stand with Our Neighbors Initiative which helps to fight evictions and stabilize housing for families. AVLF has been a leading provider of pro bono services to Atlanta residents for over 40 years. By leveraging partnerships with the top law firms in Atlanta, AVLF has provided superior legal representation to low-income tenants to prevent illegal evictions and improve poor housing conditions.

“Thousands of Atlanta tenants have to tolerate unacceptable housing conditions and the looming threat of displacement. Addressing this crisis requires developing alternative community-based approaches,” said Michael Lucas, AVLF Executive Director, “we are excited to partner with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and help develop the next generation of attorneys who want to be part of the solution.”

The AJMLS Landlord Tenant Hybrid Clinic combines traditional academic learning with practical, real world law practice experience. The goal is to help students learn specific subject matter concepts and then apply them to assist Atlanta residents obtain better outcomes when conflicts arise with landlords. Participating students will become better problem-solvers, flexible thinkers, develop applicable professional skills, and explore pro bono work on a deep and concrete level.

Under the supervision of a licensed attorney, the students will put into practice basic litigation skills such as client interviews, document reviews, issue spotting, drafting pleadings, negotiation with adverse parties, and bench trial preparation for eviction clients represented in Fulton County Magistrate Court. 

The course counts for 4 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters, and will be taught by attorney and Adjunct Professor, Ayanna Jones-Lightsy, Co-Director of AVLF’s Safe and Stable Homes Project, beginning the Fall 2022 semester. Students interested in participating in the Landlord Tenant Hybrid Clinic should contact Mr. Paul Wilson at pwilson@johnmarshall.edu or Dr. Jymmyca Wyatt-Keyton at jwyatt@johnmarshall.edu. Applications can be found on the AJMLS 12Twenty platform.

Dr. Bridgett Ortega Honored at ACLU Annual Meeting

Courtesy, ACLU of GA

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) joins the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia in celebrating Dr. Bridgett Ortega, Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, for her 12 years of service and leadership. After 11 years at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Dr. Ortega is closing out her last month as a full-time administrator and will return this fall as an Adjunct Professor in her retirement.

Joined by her family and AJMLS team members, Dr. Ortega attended the 2022 Annual Membership Meeting for the ACLU of Georgia on June 29, 2022 at the Atlanta History Center. At the event, she was celebrated by her peers and thanked for her long term service and contributions. 

The ACLU shared at the event, “The current ACLU of Georgia you helped build is one that brings a complex, expert, and passionate approach to the considerable civil rights and civil liberties challenges of our times. In your role as the Equity Officer, you have guided our organization to integrate Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging into all aspects of our work, and the increasingly diverse staff and Board are reflections of this.”

Dr. Ortega served the ACLU of Georgia Board of Directors as the Equity Officer from 2011-2022 and co-chairs the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at AJMLS since its inception.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the ACLU. I am just one of many voices for liberty and justice who work for and with the ACLU. I will continue my journey with them but as a ground soldier now.” said Dr. Ortega.

AJMLS acknowledges the incredible contributions that Dr. Ortega has made at the Law School and in our community, and we applaud her ongoing service to the ACLU.

Congratulations to Our 2022 Graduates and Award Recipients

The Law School is incredibly proud of its graduates. Your perseverance and resilience during this challenging time is a testament to your professionalism and work ethic. We look forward to following your careers and championing all your future successes.

Valedictorians

This award is given to the valedictorian from each of the school’s divisions (full-time and part-time).

Mats Rosén, full-time program

Undergraduate institution:

Colorado State University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

One of my most favorite memories from AJMLS is competing in the Regional portion of the 2022 National Appellate Advocacy Competition hosted by the ABA and beating one of the teams that ended up making it to the National portion of the competition.

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I hope to secure a position as a Judicial Clerk or some comparable position with one of the State or Federal courts in Georgia. Upon completion of such a position I aspire to become a civil litigator with a large firm in the metro Atlanta area. 

Lauren Boffill, part-time program

Outstanding Graduate Awards

This award is given annually to one graduate in each of the school’s divisions (part-time and full-time) who best demonstrates standards of competence and professionalism, a strong social conscience, high ethical standards, and a commitment to the improvement of the legal system and society, as determined by the Faculty on recommendation of the Honors and Awards Committee.

Joseph Everette Bush

Undergraduate institution:

University of South Carolina, Upstate

Favorite AJMLS memory:

There are too many good memories. I thrived on the camaraderie and shared experience of law school. It is easier to slog through when you know you aren’t alone. Of all my memories of John Marshall, I will cherish my friendships the most. I couldn’t have done it without my colleagues. 

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I hope to be given the opportunity to serve as a judicial clerk. Should that opportunity not arise, I look forward to serving the people of Georgia, either in public service or private practice. Further down the road I hope to sit on the bench at some level.  

Joshua Harris Elbaz

Undergraduate institution:

Georgia Gwinnett College

Favorite AJMLS memory:

My favorite memory at AJMLS was the orientation week before 1L year. 

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

My plans and dream after the bar is to work as an ADA for the district attorneys office in Gwinnett County and then eventually become a criminal defense attorney. 

Shombraya Eulaijah Goodman

Undergraduate institution:

The Ohio State University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

My fondest memory at AJMLS was the Barristers’ Ball. After being remote and not able to connect with my peers, it was refreshing to party with the students and faculty. It was a night to remember.

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

After the bar exam I plan to be a business law associate. I’m interested in corporate securities, venture capitalist, and mergers and acquisitions. Hopefully, I can combine the law with my mathematical background. 

Mats Donald Rosén

Undergraduate institution:

Colorado State University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

One of my most favorite memories from AJMLS is competing in the Regional portion of the 2022 National Appellate Advocacy Competition hosted by the ABA and beating one of the teams that ended up making it to the National portion of the competition.

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I hope to secure a position as a Judicial Clerk or some comparable position with one of the State or Federal courts in Georgia. Upon completion of such a position I aspire to become a civil litigator with a large firm in the metro Atlanta area. 

Kamali C. Thompson

Lauren Boffill

Excellence In Appellate Advocacy

This award is given to the outstanding student participant on a John Marshall Law School moot court competition team.

Mats Donald Rosén

Undergraduate institution:

Colorado State University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

One of my most favorite memories from AJMLS is competing in the Regional portion of the 2022 National Appellate Advocacy Competition hosted by the ABA and beating one of the teams that ended up making it to the National portion of the competition.

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I hope to secure a position as a Judicial Clerk or some comparable position with one of the State or Federal courts in Georgia. Upon completion of such a position I aspire to become a civil litigator with a large firm in the metro Atlanta area. 

Excellence In Pro Bono

This award is given to those students whose pro bono hours are among the top 10% earned in the graduating class. This award is not merit-based.

Joshua Harris Elbaz

Undergraduate institution:

Georgia Gwinnett College

Favorite AJMLS memory:

My favorite memory at AJMLS was the orientation week before 1L year. 

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

My plans and dream after the bar is to work as an ADA for the district attorneys office in Gwinnett County and then eventually become a criminal defense attorney. 

Nicole Alexandria Rizza

Undergraduate institution:

Georgia State University

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

Will be a family law associate at Meriwether & Tharp.

Timothy Orange

Undergraduate institution:

North Greenville University, Kaplan University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

Graduation was for sure my best memory of AJMLS.

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I am currently working as a pre-bar associate with Atlanta Divorce Law Group. Once I pass the bar, I will become an Associate Attorney here. The goal is to be here as long as possible gaining as much experience as I can under Retired Judge John Sumner, Esq. At some point, I hope to open up my own firm in North Georgia and then grow and build that firm to expand into South Carolina and potentially Florida. I plan to sit for the Bar in South Carolina in February 2023, after passing the Georgia Bar in July 2022. I plan to advocate strongly for good fathers and help all clients through one of the hardest times in their lives. 

Edward J. Henning Award For Excellence In Dispute Resolution

This award is given to an outstanding ADR student at each of the state’s five ABA-accredited law schools. These awards are given in memory of Ed Henning, one of the “founding fathers” of mediation in Georgia.

Andreas Mettler

Undergraduate institution:

Kennesaw State University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

My favorite memories have to be meeting, working, and learning from each of my professors and fellow classmates. 

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

Working, learning, and someday maybe even starting my own firm. 

American Bankruptcy Institute Medal Of Excellence

This award is presented to the student with the highest grade in a bankruptcy course or other area of bankruptcy scholarship.

Antonio Ali Pishvai

Undergraduate institution:

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Favorite AJMLS memory:

My favorite memory from attending Atlanta’s John Marshall Law As a part-time evening student, my favorite memories from AJMLS were meeting other working professionals who also decided to finally give their dreams a chance and go for their law degree, and making lifelong friendships with those in my cohort.

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

Upon passing the bar exam, I hope to work as a solo practitioner or in a small firm in the greater Atlanta area.

The Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears Pro Bono Award

The Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears Pro Bono Award is given to the graduate whose pro bono work has demonstrated outstanding commitment to legal services for underserved communities and their work was impactful.

Derek Andrew Law

Undergraduate institution:

Georgia State University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

My favorite memory from attending Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was representing the school as a coach in a national moot court competition. My team members Grace Gomez and Carolina Melguizo were wonderful advocates, and being able to work with these two was a highlight of my law school career. 

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I aim to work in South Atlanta as a criminal defense attorney with the firm I interned with all through law school, Sexton and Moody, P.C. 

I wish the founder the founder of Sexton and Moody, P.C., the notorious Lee Sexton, was able to see this accomplishment. He unfortunately passed last fall. I would like to thank the wonderful attorneys that were my role models through this process: Lee Sexton, Brad Moody, James Boles, and Joanna Hobgood. 

I also could not have achieved such an accomplishment without my family and friends that played a pivotal role as my support team. 

Carolina Arias-Cediel

Order Of Quill

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Order of the Quill (“Order”) is an honor society that recognizes significant academic achievement in designated required doctrinal courses (“Quill” courses). Students who achieve the required cumulative grade point average in the Quill courses will be eligible for admission into the Order. Members of the Order shall receive certificates of membership and be recognized at graduation.

Lauren Boffill, Scholar

Joseph Everette Bush, Scholar

Undergraduate institution:

University of South Carolina, Upstate

Favorite AJMLS memory:

There are too many good memories. I thrived on the camaraderie and shared experience of law school. It is easier to slog through when you know you aren’t alone. Of all my memories of John Marshall, I will cherish my friendships the most. I couldn’t have done it without my colleagues. 

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I hope to be given the opportunity to serve as a judicial clerk. Should that opportunity not arise, I look forward to serving the people of Georgia, either in public service or private practice. Further down the road I hope to sit on the bench at some level.  

Mats Donald Rosén, Honor Scholars and Marshall of the Order

Undergraduate institution:

Colorado State University

Favorite AJMLS memory:

One of my most favorite memories from AJMLS is competing in the Regional portion of the 2022 National Appellate Advocacy Competition hosted by the ABA and beating one of the teams that ended up making it to the National portion of the competition.

Plans/dreams after the bar exam:

I hope to secure a position as a Judicial Clerk or some comparable position with one of the State or Federal courts in Georgia. Upon completion of such a position I aspire to become a civil litigator with a large firm in the metro Atlanta area. 

December 2021 Graduates

May 2022 Graduates

Remembering Real Covenants: PINT + Wings

Written by: Scot Goins, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement and Bar Success

When it comes to preparing for the bar exam, one of the hardest concepts for students is the dreaded ‘covenants running with the land.’ The terms ‘real covenant’ and ‘equitable servitude’ conjure up almost as much dread as the acronym ‘RAP,’ but the reality is that identifying and understanding these concepts to do well on the bar exam isn’t so bad if you have ever been to your local Wild Wings or Applebee’s, and you remember, ‘Pint + Wings.’

PINT + Wings

Although I do love wings, the picture above isn’t meant to make your tastebuds water, but rather to provide you a quick and easy mnemonic to remember the requirements for real covenants. PINT + Wings is an easy way to memorize the requirements for covenants running with the land, as follows:

P:Privity (Horizontal and Vertical)
I:Intent
N:Notice (burden only)
T:Touch and Concern
+
Wings:      Writing

As a starting point, remember that real covenants (and equitable servitudes) generally either restrict the right to use real property or, alternatively, impose obligations on the owners of real property. In a fact pattern, if you see someone seeking damages to enforce a covenant, that should be a tip-off that the covenant will be a real covenant. Alternatively, if an injunction is sought to enforce a covenant, then that will be an equitable servitude.

AJMLS Law Journal Elects 2022-2023 Editorial Board for Volume 16

The 2021-2022 Law Journal Editorial Board and its Faculty Advisor Editor since 2015, Professor Van Detta, are pleased to announce the election of the six new members of the Editorial Board of the Law Journal for 2022-2023. Be sure to visit the Law Journal site here to see all past publications.

Editor-in-Chief, Chauncey Graham

A Florida native, Chauncey Graham is a graduate of the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr. School of the Arts (Music Performance) in West Palm Beach and Florida Atlantic University where he studied history and political science.

Prior to relocating to Georgia to pursue his law degree at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Chauncey served as an outreach director for South Florida’s agricultural community, responsible for connecting Palm Beach County’s diverse population to its agricultural history and importance.  He began his professional life in state government as a staffer in the Florida House of Representatives working on a wide range of legislative research and policy initiatives.  At the end of his legislative career, he served as Chief Legislative Aide to former Senator Jeff Clemens, rounding out more than a decade in the Florida Legislature, employed in various capacities in both the House and Senate. 

Chauncey has an extensive and varied community involvement history that has included serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC); volunteering as a program mentor for Take Stock in Children; and chairing the Civic Engagement and Advocacy Committee of the Urban League of Palm Beach County’s Young Professionals Network. He was also selected as a member of the Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality by Mayor Keith James, City of West Palm Beach; as a fellow of Leadership Florida’s Connect Class 11; and a 2018 Fellow of New Leaders Council Palm Beach.

Currently, Chauncey is a rising 3L at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. He sought the position of Editor-in-Chief of the Law Journal to continue to refine his legal writing and research skills, develop his collaborative ability, and hone a competent and effective leadership style. He aims to use his strong organizational, leadership, and consensus building skills to maintain, and propel, the momentum of the Law Journal. As a staff editor, Chauncey wrote a legislative summary on Georgia House Bill 18. Sponsored by Representative Sandra Scott and cited as the Police Accountability Act, House Bill 18 was filed as a part of a criminal justice reform package to address police conduct. If enacted, House Bill 18 would require specific procedures to be followed by law enforcement officers when interacting with members of the community and the use of body-worn cameras, revise use of force standards, and create a statewide reporting database for use of force incidents. To date, there has been no movement on House Bill 18 in the Georgia Assembly and it has not been assigned to any committees.

Executive Managing Editor, Monique Cherry

Monique is a rising 3L law student at AJMLS. A Washington D.C. native, Monique journeyed to Atlanta to start her legal education and to be closer to her cousins and siblings who all happened to live in the Atlanta area. Prior to coming to AJMLS, Monique worked in D.C. for a boutique immigration law firm. It was her work in immigration that inspired her to take the leap to becoming an attorney. Of course, since starting law school she has discovered several new passions and areas of interest. Her dream career now would be to get into space law – specifically,  working with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. 

During her first year as a staff member on the AJMLS Law Journal, Monique wrote her legislative summary on House Bill 534 which amends Article 2 of Chapter 11 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A., relating to offenses for illegal drag racing and laying drag. Drag racing in the metropolitan area of Atlanta has become of increasing concern to the general public, as well as law enforcement and legislatures. In addition to the destruction of streets, road signs, and electrical posts, drag racing has caused several unnecessary deaths and injuries. As a result, Governor Kemp amended the old O.C.G.A statute to now include penalties for those who organize the drag race, not just the drivers. This is done in the hopes of reducing the illegal drag activity in the city, to better ensure the safety of Atlanta citizens. 

Monique is overjoyed to be joining the 2022-2023 Editorial Board for the AJMLS Law Journal as its newest Executive Managing Editor. Inspired by her interaction with the current board members, Monique wanted to join the editorial board to better support the journal and implement her ideas to streamline the various projects and assignments. Her goal for next year is to facilitate more a community feel amongst the journal members. 

Executive Legislative Editor, Jacob Gregory

Jacob Gregory is a 3L in the Part-Time Evening Division and is from Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Gregory holds a degree in Automotive Technology from Southern Crescent Technical College as well as a Bachelors of Science from Clayton State University. Additionally, he has a Film Production Certificate from the Georgia Film Academy and was the Editor-in-Chief for Clayton State’s Bent Tree News. He sought out the position of Executive Legislative Editor because of his adoration for writing and passion for the law as well as to help draw the path of his new career. Moreover, he wrote his Legislative Summary on Senate Bill 241, a Bill creating newfound implications for Absentee Voting in the State of Georgia.

Online Access & Internet Presence Editor, Austin O’Neill

Austin O’Neill was born August 9th, 1995, in Snellville, GA. He graduated from the University of North Georgia in 2018 with degrees in Criminal Justice and Chinese Language and Literature. During that time, he worked as part of a research group that studied the prison GED programs and their barriers to completion. Austin wrote onto Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal in the summer of 2021. He sought a position on the Editorial Board because he wanted to use his prior experience with the editorial process to aid in the publication of the law journal. The bill that he chose to write his legislative summary on is HB 290. This bill was introduced to address visitation rights of patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities. The sponsors’ goal was to ensure that patients had visitation rights for their legal representatives even when a pandemic would restrict that right.

Co-Annual Symposium Editor, Richard Mejia

Richard Mejia is a rising 3L in the full-time day program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Before attending AJMLS, Richard attended Troy University where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2017. Since enrolling at AJMLS, Richard has received numerous awards, including being named Outstanding Student of the Quarter in Fall 2021, Outstanding Peer Mentor for 2022, as well as earning CALI awards in Contracts I, Legal Research and Writing II, Administrative Law, and Evidence. During the Summer between his 1L and 2L years, Richard worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Judge Walter Johnson, Federal Magistrate for The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Outside of his law school responsibilities, Richard spends his time playing soccer as semi-professional soccer player for Atlanta Rovers F.C. in the U.P.S.L.

As an associate staff editor for the Journal, Richard wrote a legislative summary on S.B. 202, The Election Integrity Act of 2021. He chose to write about this bill because he is passionate about the democratic electoral process and ensuring that all citizens are afforded equal access to the polls. Richard sought a position on the Law Journal Editorial Board because he saw the opportunity as a chance to build a more prominent reputation for the Journal and to leave a legacy after graduation.

Co-Annual Symposium Editor, Ashley Starnes

Ashley Starnes is a rising 3L at AJMLS who graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) with a bachelor’s degree in Business Strategy and Innovation in 2019. During her first two years at law school, Ashley clerked for two Superior Court Judges and received CALI awards in Torts II, Property I, and Property II. As a Canton, Georgia native, the rich culture of Atlanta has shaped her into the person she is today. Her dream is to “hang her own shingle” or open her own law firm in the city. In her free time, Ashley enjoys gardening, long walks with her Frenchie and boyfriend, and trying new things with her family.

As a junior member of the law journal, Ashley wrote her legislative summary on H.B. 485, a bill attempting to repeal the death penalty in Georgia. Focusing on the political and ideological divide under The Gold Dome with regards to the death penalty, the summary also highlights the existing inequities in the application of capital punishment, including racial biases and the impossible standard of proof for mental disability. Ashley is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be the 2022-2023 Symposium editor alongside all the unique talents on the journal. She wanted to join the board after having a transformative experience learning from Professor Van Detta and after being inspired by the hard work of the 2021-2022 editorial board. She hopes to continue growing the AJMLS Law Journal by producing one of the best Symposium programs AJMLS has ever seen in February of 2023.

May 2022 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the names of the students who were selected for the Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. This award is designed to recognize the contributions and efforts of students who excel in and/or out of the classroom and are dedicated to enriching the law school and greater communities.

The following students won the 2022 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award for the fourth quarter:

Full-Time Division:

Allyssia Andrews

Jade Green

Dean Moore

Shinnay Richards

Part-Time Division:

Wendy Carlyle

Wendi Lucas

The Selection Committee was impressed by all of the students whose names were submitted for the award. We look forward to continuing to hear about the hard work of our students in and out of the classroom. We are #AJMLSproud!

Law School Graduation: Appreciate the Moment

Written by: Scot Goins, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement and Bar Success

Law school graduation is an easy thing to overlook. For the past years, you have been stressing about arriving at this point in your life, and yet now that final exams are over the entire world seems to be encouraging you to solely focus on the bar exam and your preparation process. And, in full transparency, I am one of those people who will be pushing you to put your time, effort, and energy into making the bar exam a successful experience. My belief in your abilities and my desire for your success mean that I will constantly push you to do more, to do better, and to achieve.

However, that said, I wanted to take a moment and encourage you to take time this weekend to reflect on all that you have accomplished to get to this point, all of the successes you have experienced along the way, and the amount of time and energy you have invested in becoming a law school graduate. Right now, your Juris Doctor status to be conferred on Saturday puts you in the top percentage of educated people in the United States, and that in and of itself is something to be proud of and appreciate. No matter how well anyone knows you, there are things that you have overcome, moments that you have experienced, and challenges that you have faced that no one else knows, and yet here you are, graduating. You absolutely should take time to be proud and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

I also want to encourage you to take time, prior to getting fully immersed in the world of bar preparation, to take time to thank your significant other, your family, your friends, your co-workers, professors, staff members, and/or anyone else that has been part of your journey. It is all too easy to get focused on the “next big thing” and to forget to stop and appreciate the moment and the people that are a part of it. Graduation is a big deal, and I want you to see it as such.

I share these thoughts with you because time is the most important and precious resource we have, and this week marks the passing of my own father, who died shortly after I graduated and passed the bar exam. One of the most painful moments in my life was attending my own law school graduation and knowing that I was there, alone, and that my father was too sick to attend and unlikely to survive much longer. My mom could not attend because she was taking care of him, and a combination of other family factors meant that I walked across the stage, was hooded, received my diploma, and walked off alone. My friends and peers were there, but I remember watching with envious eyes and a lonely heart as others celebrated with family. All I was thinking then was how much I wished that my family could be there to see all of their hard work in providing me opportunities pay off beyond their dreams. It was a tough day, but it made me realize the importance of taking time to appreciate every single day, and more importantly, taking the time to appreciate those around you who are part of your journey.

The bar exam is a big deal and it is important for your career, but life is about balance. This weekend, regardless of where you are at in the beginning stages of your bar exam process, I highly encourage you to focus on the moment. Express your gratitude, show your love, and be proud of yourself for all that you have accomplished in getting to this point in your life. No one walks alone in this journey of life, and although the next milestone of the bar exam is important, do not forget to stop and appreciate the milestone you are achieving this weekend. I’m very excited for you, your family, and your friends as you move forward. I have no doubt that your graduation will inspire others to walk paths beyond what you can imagine.

Congratulations!

Warmest regards,

Dean Goins

Spring 2022 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award

The Office of Student Affairs is proud to award the Spring 2022 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society (CERLS), and the Public Interest Law Society (PILS). This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester. Included below are some of the events that the organizations featured this semester:

Black Law Students Association (BLSA)

Civil Rights Museum Outing, Community Service Events (5), Black History Month Trivia Night, Speed Networking Event, Study Hall Event, Ice Cream Social, Monthly Fitness Challenge, and BLSA Scholarship (Creation and Fund-Raising)

Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society (CERLS)

Round Table Discussion with Houston 19 (19 judges were invited and participated in the virtual event for law students), Speed Networking Event, Mentoring Program, and CERLS Night In

Public Interest Law Society (PILS)

PILS Auction ($12,000 raised for scholarships), Legal Aid Run, and Legacy Museum Trip 

The Selection Committee was impressed by the effort and hard work of BLSA, CERLS and PILS- congratulations on being chosen as the Spring 2022 Outstanding Student Organizations. The Office of Student Affairs would also like to give an honorable mention to the Student Bar Association (SBA) for quality programming this semester to include the: SBA Headshot Event, Black History Month Museum Tour, Barrister’s Ball, Spring Picnic, and SBA Care Packages. The Office of Student Affairs is proud of all of the student leaders’ hard work, quality programming and positivity. We look forward to continuing to work with all students to make the law school and the community better!

We are AJMLS Proud!

Meet the Atlanta’s John Marshall 2022-2023 SBA Executive Board

Keith Collins, President

Where were you raised: I was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I am an incredibly proud graduate of Norfolk State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College or University). Behold!

What are your future career plans: My immediate interests are split somewhere between Criminal Law and Entertainment and Production Law. However, my ultimate career goal is still to become a Supreme Court Justice.

What do you look forward to as the President: There is so much to look forward to at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. As President, I am eager to see the growth of our law school community as we continue to define the standard of our law school experience and encounter the legal profession.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: There are several goals I wish to accomplish this academic year. I plan to lead with kindness, respect, and professionalism. Above all, I am excited to see an even greater display of student involvement and I want all AJMLS students to experience and recognize the remarkable value that our law school community has to offer. 

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I want my classmates to know that while it is my distinct honor to serve as SBA President, I am a student first, and that makes me no different from any one of them. Reach out to me. I’m accessible and I look forward to this journey.

Mercedes Dickerson, Vice President

Where were you raised: I was raised in Fortson, Georgia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I went to Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, and I studied Political Science and Spanish.

What are your future career plans: I want to be a criminal defense attorney, but I am open to many fields of law, including family law and environmental law.

What do you look forward to as the Vice President: I am looking forward to supporting the SBA President to lead our executive board and to guide class representatives in their task to advocate for their classmates. I am also excited about collaborating with student organizations to plan school events to increase camaraderie and networking opportunities.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My primary goal is to implement a unique system of communication between SBA and the student body to ensure students’ needs are met effectively and consistently. Another goal of mine is to collaborate with the AJMLS faculty and staff to educate students about on-campus and off-campus resources, so they can be more successful.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I want my classmates to know they can always approach me if they need someone to talk to. If I do not readily have an answer, I will contact someone who can help. I care about my classmates and will continue to advocate for them.

Grant Schrantz, Treasurer

Where were you raised: I was raised in Sarasota, FL.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: Saint Leo University.

What are your future career plans: To work in corporate law. I want to do litigation and transactional work. I’m interested in business litigation, contract drafting, and sales & secured transactions, to name a few specific areas of law. 

What do you look forward to as the Treasurer: Simplifying the funds requesting process for student organizations. Communicating and collaborating with them to make this a great school year.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My goal is for student organizations to see requesting funds and staying on budget as easy tasks by the end of my tenure as treasurer.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: My door is always open. Reach out if you have any questions or concerns regarding your treasury needs.

Katherine Collins, Secretary

Where were you raised: I was raised in Gainesville, Georgia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I received my Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in Sociology from Kennesaw State University. I also previously received my A.A. in Social Work from the University of North Georgia.

What are your future career plans: I am keeping all my options open as I journey through law school, but my passion lies in family law. As a previous foster parent, I also would love to work with juveniles in the foster care system as well as building legislation to fix the issues I have personally seen within the system.

What do you look forward to as the SBA Secretary: I look forward to working on the SBA Newsletter – the Dispatch, and I want to really focus on using communication like that to the best of our abilities to ensure everyone is “in the know.”

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My aim is to build off the momentum we have made in the previous year in ensuring open access to information, clear open lines of communication, and finding new ways to build transparency and openness between the students and the various student organizations to ensure we are all able to get involved and help build the community we desire at AJMLS.  

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I understand how hard it is to juggle everything — as a part-time, evening student with a full-time job and the added load of children at home, I understand that we are all juggling a lot, and if there is ever something I can do within my role to help ensure our communications are done in such a way that helps you keep it all organized, never hesitate to reach out!

Lamone Graham, Parliamentarian

Where were you raised: I was raised in Atlanta, Georgia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: Kennesaw State University

What are your future career plans: In the future, I plan to be a business owner and a practicing attorney. The business plans are under wraps for now but in terms of law, I am currently interested in four areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, Employment, and Entertainment. It may sound like a lot of different things but I am excited, open to learning, and going to go where God leads me.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: As Parliamentarian, my goals are to promote an orderly environment for the SBA and to help my peers feel heard and supported. Law school is not without its own challenges; so having a safe space where student concerns and needs can be shared in hopes of finding lasting solutions, is something I strive to create.

AJMLS Participates in 15th Annual Youth and the Law Summit

On Saturday, April 23, 2022, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) sponsored and participated in the 15th annual Youth and the Law Summit. Each year, Fulton County Juvenile Court has partnered with the Gate City Bar Association; AJMLS; and Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP. 

Hosted by former AJMLS administrator and current Fulton County Juvenile Court Judge, Renata Turner, this year’s summit was titled “Straight Talk… No Cap” and welcomed more than 100 teenagers. Dr. Bridgett Ortega, AJMLS Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, served as a co-chair to the annual event. The event fostered open dialogue for teens to communicate the challenges they face, brainstorm and discuss solutions, and exchange information on what they need to be successful. This year’s presenters included Hank Stewart, President of The Stewart Foundation; Aakeem Woodard, author and certified speaker, coach, and trainer for The John Maxwell Team; Lisa Thomas, Certified Resilience Coach with Dovetail Learning; Coty Martin, founder and President of Adversity University and Executive Director of the MBK Foundation; Reginald Emanuel, Year Up Atlanta; and Julious Khalid, founder of The Young Generation Movement.

The Annual Youth and the Law Summit is held every year during the month of April and continues to be a bridge between our youth and tools they can use to pursue brighter futures. Many organizations helped support this effort and AJMLS is proud to be a part of such a great group. 

AJMLS Announces the Retirement of Professor Robert D’Agostino

After over 28 years of distinguished service, Professor D’Agostino, “Dag”, has announced his retirement from teaching at the end of May 2022. He will continue to serve as Dean Emeritus for an additional academic year to complete various projects and publications.

It is with mixed feelings that we announce the retirement of Professor Robert D’Agostino. It is difficult if not impossible to sum up all of his achievements over 28 years of dedicated service.

Professor D’Agostino began his career at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 1995. Prior to joining the Law School and after practicing law for some 15 years, Professor D’Agostino was a tenured professor at what is now Widener Law School in Delaware. From 1981 to 1982, he took a two year leave of absence from Widener to serve as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan, where he served as an Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights. Professor D’Agostino also served as Dean of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School from 1996 to 2000, during some tumultuous times for the Law School. He is responsible for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in how it operates today.

Professor D’Agostino has authored more than 30 publications prior to and during his tenure in academia. His publications deal with topics related to bankruptcy, civil rights, and constitutional law. In addition, over the course of his career, Professor D’Agostino has also participated in several U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs dealing with bankruptcy issues. Professor D’Agostino is a graduate of Columbia University, and he received his J.D. from Emory University.

Please join us in congratulating Professor D’Agostino on his impressive career, and wishing him a long and healthy retirement with his family.

Dean Jace C. Gatewood

Thank you for your contributions to PILS Auction 2022

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Public Interest Law Society (PILS) hosted its annual “PILS Auction” on March 11, 2022 at Atlanta Tech Village. The event was a success with more than 100 people in attendance and over 65 live and silent auction items. Notable auction items included an Atlanta United Jersey signed by many members of the team, stay-cations at The Candler Hotel and the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, and a Royal Caribbean Cruise. The fundraising event raised $11,817 for the Renata Turner Award for Public Interest Law. The Award recognizes students who have made an extraordinary contribution to our community through public interest work and who have demonstrated an interest to continue that commitment.

A heartfelt “thank you” to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and event sponsors that made this year’s event one to remember. See you next year at PILS Auction 2023!

From the PILS Society President

Our Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Community,

The Year of The Phoenix! The name that I have given this year for the Public Interest Law Society (PILS). As a reactivated student organization that was dormant for a number of years, the Board and I had our work cut out for us. Not only were we working to establish ourselves as a respected presence on campus, but we also had to make students aware that we were back and ready to be of service. The difficulty of gaining awareness was compounded by us having to return to remote learning for several weeks, shortly after the academic year began.

Nonetheless, the Board and I refused to lower our initial goals and expectations. We knew that our law school community missed PILS. We also knew it was necessary to get the organization back up and going. Public service was needed.

PILS ended the year with over 25 active members. In addition, our social media had significant engagement; one of our videos arguably may be considered to have gone “viral” as the views and comments came in abundance almost immediately after publicly posting it.

Further, our big, culminating event was the 2022 PILS Auction. The AJMLS community, both past and present students, faculty, and administrators, attended in person and showed their support. These groups showed up to the auction in the spirit of the “Masquerade” theme or quickly got into it as soon as they arrived by adorning complimentary masquerade masks. Those who were not able to attend the event donated and sent words of encouragement. The support was massive! We raised almost $12,000 for the next recipients of the 2023 Renata Turner Award!

On behalf of PILS, we want to thank you for your enthusiastic support and belief in our organization and its mission. Our minds are already dancing with thoughts and ideas to make a bigger and better impact next year, as well as how we may host an auction that will have the uphill challenge of topping the most recent one.

PILS is back! Rising from its ashes like the phoenix. Now, PILS is well-positioned to be here to stay! This accomplishment is because of you.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Carlton ‘Cal’ Lewis

President, Public Interest Law Society

2022 Renata Turner Award Recipients

Allyssia Andrews

Our healthcare system is extremely broken and so many people are being victimized by an institution that is necessary for a healthy life, thus my interest in helping others through health care law came about and I am currently pursuing internships in this field. Being awarded this scholarship has blessed me with the opportunity to be able to fully engage in my public interest work this summer. If we want to see true change in this system we have to do everything we can to fix it, and this scholarship will allow me to continue my journey as an advocate for others.

I want to thank everyone who made this scholarship possible. I am so grateful for this support and will do everything in my power to ensure that others will also benefit from it through my service this summer. 

Esther Ko

I plan to use the Renata Turner Scholarship to fund my unpaid summer internship at Georgia Legal Services Program in Gainesville. This scholarship will help with my transportation to and from the office as well as giving me a hopeful assurance of being free from financial constraints. I want to personally give a gracious thank you to all the donors who made this possible. Funding for students pursuing a career in Public Interest Law is not easy to obtain, but because of all the wonderful donors of the Renata Turner Scholarship, I am able to adamantly pursue my career in Public Interest Law.

2021-2022 Public Interest Law Society Officers

President – Carlton ‘Cal’ Lewis
Vice President / Treasurer – Allyssia Andrews
Secretary – Tishana Springer
Historian / Special Events Chairwoman – Esther Ko
Engagement, Recruitment/Retention Director – Daniela Martinez
Outreach Committee Chairman – Darryl Ford II
Academic Chair – Dean Moore

Faculty Advisory: Dr. Bridgett Ortega

2021-2022 Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Officers

President – Sharon Hansrote
VP – Ashley Starnes
Treasurer – Wendy Carlyle

2022 Sponsors

Gold Level
Foxit PDFEditor


Silver Level
AJMLS Alumni Association


Silver Level
Pride Electric

Blue & White Level
David Windecher (’12)


Blue & White Level
Danielle Whittaker (’18)

Blue & White Level
Sharif Fulcher (’18)

Blue & White Level
The Fry Law Firm


Blue & White Level
Green  Line Brewery


AJMLS Announces the Retirement of Dr. Bridgett Ortega, Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development

After 11 years of distinguished service, Dr. Ortega has announced her retirement at the end of July 2022.

Dean Jace C. Gatewood stated, “Dr. Ortega has been a steadfast colleague and friend to all who have worked with her. I personally consider her my mentor and have appreciated her guidance and counsel during my time as Dean. It has been my absolute privilege working with her.”

Dr. Bridgett Ortega, a veteran of the United States Air Force, is the Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She has been a key administrator since joining the team in early 2011 and is also a Sr. organizational consultant and trainer for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, American University’s Justice Program Office and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. She is a lawyer, researcher, and the Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center in Washington, D.C. She is also currently the Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU.

As the Law School has evolved, so has Dr. Ortega, having earned her master’s and doctorate degrees while also serving in roles such as Assistant Dean of Externship and Pro Bono Services and Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning. She has also managed department programs such as Street Law, Re-entry Forum, and Youth and the Law Summit. As a teaching administrator, Dr. Ortega developed and teaches the Learning from Practice course which includes modules on Cultural Competency, Equity and Inclusion, and Navigating Cultural Difference. 

Dr. Ortega has spent over 30 years advocating for criminal and juvenile justice reform. She is a passionate advocate for the incarcerated and their children with an emphasis on compassionate practice in the justice system. She is a National Trainer on subjects dealing with Juvenile and Adult Drug Courts, Compassionate Practice in Problem Solving Courts, Compassionate Communication, Compassionate Family Engagement, Domestic Violence, Equity and Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Improving Outcomes for Children of the Incarcerated and all things Juvenile Justice. Dr. Ortega is the former Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures Initiative, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening in the lives of young people with substance disorders and other issues that bring them into the justice system.

She has been featured in the ABC Nightline “Kids in Court” series and the Frontline Juvenile Justice documentary. Dr. Ortega is the recipient of the ABA Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for outstanding advocacy in juvenile justice, the NAACP Freedom Fund Civil and Human Rights Award and in December of 2018 she was recognized by the National Juvenile Defender Center as a champion for juvenile justice for her work in defending youth rights. She co-founded the Santa Clara County California Juvenile Drug Treatment Court with the Honorable Judge Thomas Edwards for which she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for invaluable service to the community. Dr. Ortega holds a Master of Arts degree, Juris Doctorate and a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership. Her published research dissertation is entitled, Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ortega on her incredibly impactful career, and wishing her a long and healthy retirement with her beloved family.

AJMLS Awards Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to Louise Thornton Hornsby, Class of 1965

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) established the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022 and named its inaugural honoree from the Class of 1965, Louise Thornton Hornsby. The purpose of this award is to recognize a graduate of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School who has attained more than 50 years of extraordinary distinction and success in their field of endeavor, and whose achievements have brought credit to the Law School and benefited their fellow citizens.

Louise Thornton Hornsby

Born on May 2, 1937, Louise Thornton Hornsby is a true Atlanta native. She graduated from David T. Howard High School in 1954 and attended Spelman College. After graduation, she attended an apprenticeship program at Matthews School of Law – In the 1960s, students could earn a law degree through apprenticeship programs. Unfortunately, Hornsby attempted the bar exam for the first time and was not successful.

Later in the 1960s, when previously segregated schools were opened for African American students to attend, she enrolled at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School to prepare for the bar exam. She graduated in 1965, passed the Georgia Bar Exam in 1966, and was one of the first Black alumni to receive an education at AJMLS. Louise was also the sixth Black woman to pass the bar in the State of Georgia.

After law school, she worked in the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office and also served as a part-time judge for the City of Atlanta Traffic Court. She was appointed by former Mayor Andrew Young as the Solicitor General for the City of Atlanta where she served for a few years before deciding to run for public office.

Louise opened her private practice, The Hornsby Law Firm, LLC in 1996, where she practiced until her retirement in 2022.

Through more than 56 years as a practicing attorney, she has received numerous recognitions, awards, and accolades, and held positions such as: member of the State Bar of Georgia (1966); founder of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program in the City of Atlanta traffic court; recognition for Georgia Bar for civil rights work, and 50 years of practicing law (by National Bar Association); recipient of the R. Prudence Herndon Award; President and Founder of Pyramid Recovery Center (women’s recovery center); President of the Georgia Women’s Political Caucus; member of Leadership Atlanta; member of the Governor’s Georgia Juvenile Master Plan Committee; member of the Revising Atlanta City Chapter; former owner and operator of Entertainment Corporation of America; CEO of DHMRF Foundation, Inc.

Louise is a mother of five children, including Class of 2012 graduate, Kristie Hornsby Battle, and grandmother to ten. She still lives in the Atlanta area, and at 85 years old, is active in her community.

It is the pleasure of the Law School to recognize Louise and her outstanding career at the upcoming graduation ceremony this May.

AJMLS Honors Judge Ashley Drake and Judge Rhonda Kreuziger as 2022 Distinguished Alumni

On Saturday, May 21, 2022, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) will present The Distinguished Alumni Award to two incredible alumni at the 2022 commencement ceremony. This year’s honorees are Judge Ashley Drake, Class of 2011, and Judge Rhonda Kreuziger, Class of 2001. The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to alumni who have obtained distinction in their professional careers. Those honored share the same characteristics of leadership, progressive thinking, high standards, uncompromising integrity, commitment, courage, and confidence. Their careers serve as models for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students and alumni. Click here to view past award recipients.

Honorable Ashley Drake

Judge Ashley Drake was born in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Journalism. She graduated in the top 15 of her class at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and was a member of the moot court team where she competed nationally. She served on the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal where her legislative summary was published in 2011 and was the student founder of the Law School’s mentorship program. She also received the CALI Award for Immigration Law and received academic scholarships from Just the Beginning Foundation and the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Foundation.

Judge Drake began her legal career as a prosecuting attorney for the Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office and eventually transitioned to prosecuting felonies for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. As a criminal prosecutor, she gained a significant amount of trial experience and helped thousands of crime victims.

After years of criminal prosecution, Judge Drake left the criminal arena and entered a new area of practice: civil litigation. She started her civil practice career at Bey & Associates, LLC as an Associate Attorney in the litigation section, handling various personal injury matters. She eventually worked her way to becoming the lead associate on the partner’s team, representing victims and their families in medical malpractice, wrongful death, and trucking litigation cases. During this time, she flew to Washington, D.C. twice to lobby Congress on both sides of the aisle regarding the unconstitutionality of mandatory arbitration clauses in civil practice, in hopes of preserving and protecting our 6th amendment right to a trial by jury in civil cases. She successfully completed the prestigious ATLA Ultimate Trial Advocacy Course: Art of Persuasion at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA and was a featured panelist at the American Association for Justice Women’s Caucus in Denver Colorado.

In 2020, Judge Drake joined two of her best friends from law school at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers where she served as a Captain overseeing other Personal Injury Attorneys. She was appointed to the bench as a full-time Magistrate Judge in May 2020 by Fulton County Magistrate Court Chief Judge Cassandra Kirk. She presides over criminal and civil cases in Georgia’s most populated county and is the first female judge of Persian heritage in Georgia.

Judge Drake is a group leader for her local Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (GAWL) mentoring circle and serves on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Bar Association Women in the Profession Section. She also serves on the Technology Committee for the Fulton County Magistrate Court and is co-chair of the Awards Committee for the Georgia Council of Magistrate Court Judges. She also serves as a mentor for law students, including her nominator, Mr. Carlton Lewis.

Judge Drake resides in Atlanta with her husband and dog. She keeps a copy of the Georgia Bar Association General Aspirational Ideals on her desk and lives by the ideal that: “The dignity and the integrity of our profession is an inheritance that must be maintained by each successive generation of lawyers.”

Honorable Rhonda Kreuziger

Rhonda Bender Kreuziger is a Superior Court Judge in the Griffin Judicial Circuit which covers Fayette, Pike, Spalding, and Upson Counties. She received a law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in December of 2000, and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Northwestern State University in Louisiana in May of 1991. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked as a Forensic Serologist with the North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory, in Shreveport, Louisiana, and as a Forensic Toxicologist for SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories in Dallas, Texas. During her last semester of law school, she completed an externship in the Special Prosecution Division for the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Georgia.

After law school, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Griffin Judicial Circuit where she prosecuted felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile matters for Fayette, Pike, Spalding, and Upson Counties from approximately 2002 until 2006.

In 2006, she left the District Attorney’s Office to start her private practice, The Kreuziger Law Firm, P.C. During this time, she also served as Solicitor for the City of Senoia, Solicitor for the Town of Tyrone, and subsequently as a conflict defense attorney for the Georgia Public Defender’s Council in the Griffin Judicial Circuit. In her private practice she represented litigants in the following matters: Criminal Law – both felonies and misdemeanors in Superior, State, Juvenile, Magistrate, and Municipal Courts throughout the State of Georgia and handled matters pro hac vice in Florida; Family Law/Domestic Relations matters, including but not limited to, divorces, child custody, child support, legitimations, contempt actions, temporary protective orders, and, modifications; Personal Injury related cases; Landlord/Tenant matters; Breach of Contract cases; and Criminal and Civil Appeals to both the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court.

She was appointed as Interim Judge for the City of Fayetteville Municipal Court from July 2018 until December 2018 and subsequently appointed to the position of Chief Judge for the City of Fayetteville Municipal Court on January 2019 and served in this capacity until August 2020, when she was appointed by the Griffin Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judges and the Presiding Juvenile Court Judge to be the full-time Associate Juvenile Court Judge.

In July of 2021, Governor Brian Kemp appointed her to the Superior Court for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, and she was sworn in on August 17, 2021. Judge Kreuziger is the first woman and first person of color to serve on the Superior Court bench for the Griffin Judicial Circuit. She is a member of the Fayette County Bar Association; Spalding County Bar Association; Georgia Council of Superior Court Judges (CSCJ); Georgia Association of Women Lawyers; Federalist Society; Gate City Bar Association – Judicial Section; Atlanta Lawyer’s Club; State Bar of Georgia; State Bar of Wisconsin; and, Save R Kids, International, Board of Directors (2017 – 2020). She is also a former member of Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges (CJCJ) and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

She has also served as a presenter to the Fayette County Bar Association – “Preamble – A Great Place to Start! (Preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct)” (February 2022); Thomaston-Upson County Civic Center 1st Annual Black History Month Honoree (2022); recognized by the Mayor of Fayetteville and City Council for “Exceptional Service to the City of Fayetteville” (2020); Leadership Academy for the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, 2009; Guest Instructor for the DUI Case Preparation and Courtroom Presentation at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (2009 – 2011); CLE presenter – “How to Try a Case in a Conservative Jurisdiction – The Importance of Understanding Venue” (2010); CLE presenter – “Preparation and Investigation of a Criminal Case” (2011); Judge for the NCFCA Speech and Debate Competition (2012); State Bar of Georgia Transition into Law Practice Program, Mentor (2010 – 2011); Youth Challenge Academy – Mentor (2013 -2014); AV Pride Career Exploration Program Internship Program – Mentor (2013 – 2014); Regional Mock Trial Competition Judge (2015 and 2022); and, The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Award for Outstanding Service to School and Community Recipient (2001).

Forensic Scientist to Superior Court Judge, AJMLS Welcomes Judge Rhonda Kreuziger, Class of 2001, as 2022 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Judge Rhonda Kreuziger, Class of 2001, as the Law School’s 2022 commencement speaker. Commencement exercises are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on May 21, 2022 at the Georgia World Congress Center Sidney Marcus Auditorium located at 285 Andrew Young International Blvd, Atlanta, Georgia 30313. A live stream of the ceremony will be made available at www.johnmarshall.edu.

“On a year that we honor one of the first African American women to graduate Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, it is befitting to honor another history-making graduate, who is the first woman and the first African American to serve on the Griffin Judicial Circuit Superior Court bench. I am proud to welcome back Judge Kreuziger as both our commencement speaker and a 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.”

Dean Jace C. Gatewood

About Judge Rhonda Kreuziger

Rhonda Bender Kreuziger is a Superior Court Judge in the Griffin Judicial Circuit which covers Fayette, Pike, Spalding, and Upson Counties. She received a law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in December of 2000, and a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Northwestern State University in Louisiana in May of 1991. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked as a Forensic Serologist with the North Louisiana Criminalistics Laboratory, in Shreveport, Louisiana, and as a Forensic Toxicologist for SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories in Dallas, Texas. During her last semester of law school, she completed an externship in the Special Prosecution Division for the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Georgia.

After law school, she worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the Griffin Judicial Circuit where she prosecuted felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile matters for Fayette, Pike, Spalding, and Upson Counties from approximately 2002 until 2006.

In 2006, she left the District Attorney’s Office to start her private practice, The Kreuziger Law Firm, P.C. During this time, she also served as Solicitor for the City of Senoia, Solicitor for the Town of Tyrone, and subsequently as a conflict defense attorney for the Georgia Public Defender’s Council in the Griffin Judicial Circuit. In her private practice she represented litigants in the following matters: Criminal Law – both felonies and misdemeanors in Superior, State, Juvenile, Magistrate, and Municipal Courts throughout the State of Georgia and handled matters pro hac vice in Florida; Family Law/Domestic Relations matters, including but not limited to, divorces, child custody, child support, legitimations, contempt actions, temporary protective orders, and, modifications; Personal Injury related cases; Landlord/Tenant matters; Breach of Contract cases; and Criminal and Civil Appeals to both the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court.

She was appointed as Interim Judge for the City of Fayetteville Municipal Court from July 2018 until December 2018 and subsequently appointed to the position of Chief Judge for the City of Fayetteville Municipal Court on January 2019 and served in this capacity until August 2020, when she was appointed by the Griffin Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judges and the Presiding Juvenile Court Judge to be the full-time Associate Juvenile Court Judge.

In July of 2021, Governor Brian Kemp appointed her to the Superior Court for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, and she was sworn in on August 17, 2021. Judge Kreuziger is the first woman and first person of color to serve on the Superior Court bench for the Griffin Judicial Circuit. She is a member of the Fayette County Bar Association; Spalding County Bar Association; Georgia Council of Superior Court Judges (CSCJ); Georgia Association of Women Lawyers; Federalist Society; Gate City Bar Association – Judicial Section; Atlanta Lawyer’s Club; State Bar of Georgia; State Bar of Wisconsin; and, Save R Kids, International, Board of Directors (2017 – 2020). She is also a former member of Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges (CJCJ) and National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

She has also served as a presenter to the Fayette County Bar Association – “Preamble – A Great Place to Start! (Preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct)” (February 2022); Thomaston-Upson County Civic Center 1st Annual Black History Month Honoree (2022); recognized by the Mayor of Fayetteville and City Council for “Exceptional Service to the City of Fayetteville” (2020); Leadership Academy for the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, 2009; Guest Instructor for the DUI Case Preparation and Courtroom Presentation at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center (2009 – 2011); CLE presenter – “How to Try a Case in a Conservative Jurisdiction – The Importance of Understanding Venue” (2010); CLE presenter – “Preparation and Investigation of a Criminal Case” (2011); Judge for the NCFCA Speech and Debate Competition (2012); State Bar of Georgia Transition into Law Practice Program, Mentor (2010 – 2011); Youth Challenge Academy – Mentor (2013 -2014); AV Pride Career Exploration Program Internship Program – Mentor (2013 – 2014); Regional Mock Trial Competition Judge (2015 and 2022); and, The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Award for Outstanding Service to School and Community Recipient (2001).

Tickets are not required for entry and the event will be live streamed. For general information you can visit our graduation page here and/or our logistics page here for further details.

Dean Jace C. Gatewood Signs Letter to Support Supreme Court Justice Nominee

On March 2, 2022, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Dean and CEO, Jace C. Gatewood, signed his support for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic nomination, which was sent to Senate Leadership and the Committee on the Judiciary. Dean Gatewood was one of 38 Black Law Deans that submit the letter of support.

The letter begins,

“We, the Black Deans of U.S. Law schools, write to express our strong and unequivocal support for the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States. As leaders in the American legal academy, we believe this confirmation would represent a triumph for this nation. By confirming this honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, who has participated in civil cases at the highest levels and has also represented indigent criminal defendants, the Senate will not only add a supremely qualified justice to the Supreme Court, but will also ensure that people from all communities across our nation enjoy the promise emblazoned over the Court architrave that declares “Equal Justice Under Law.””

After a summary of the Judge’s credentials, the Deans conclude with,

“We, the undersigned Black Law Deans, are leaders of the legal academy educating the next generation of lawyers who will serve on our courts, in our legislatures, and in other roles in our justice system. We have signed this letter in our individual capacities, noting our institutional affiliation for identification purposes only. Yet, we are unified in our conviction that Judge Jackson is exceptionally well qualified and well prepared to serve on this nation’s highest Court.”

Click here to read the full letter

Spring 2022 Development and Alumni Relations Scholarship Recipients

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Development and Alumni Relations Office is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities each semester. Our donors give generously to AJMLS and the John Marshall Law School Foundation, Inc. to help students cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and educational expenses. AJMLS offers merit-based, need-based, and service-based scholarships. Applications were carefully reviewed by the scholarship committee and we thank the committee for their time.

All inquiries related to the Development and Alumni Relations scholarships below should be directed to Wendy Aina, Chief Development Officer, at waina@johnmarshall.edu. If you are a donor and would like to contribute to the scholarships, please visit our Giving pages or contact Wendy Aina directly.

Congratulations to the Spring 2022 scholarship recipients!

John E. Ryan Endowed Scholarship

Shombraya Goodman

J.D. Candidate, 2022

Judge G. Alan Blackburn Scholarship

Maria Velasco

J.D. Candidate, 2024

Melissa Hamrick Scholarship

Katherine Collins

J.D. Candidate, 2024

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

L. Graham

J.D. Candidate, 2025

Merchant & Gould Scholarship

Dean Moore

J.D. Candidate, 2023

February 2022 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the names of the students who were selected for the Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. This award is designed to recognize the contributions and efforts of students who excel in and/or out of the classroom and are dedicated to enriching the law school and greater communities.

The following students won the 2022 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award for the third quarter:

Full-Time Division:

Jacob Belcastro

Lance Carruth

Derek Fernandes

Brooke Harrison

Esther Ko

Part-Time Division:

Carolina Melguizo

Chayenne Rodriguez

Rochelle Walker

The Selection Committee was impressed by all of the students whose names were submitted for the award. We look forward to continuing to hear about the hard work of our students in and out of the classroom. We are #AJMLSproud!

AJMLS 2L, Rhea Frison, Honored by the White House and Department of Justice for COVID Eviction Crisis Work

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) joins the White House and Department of Justice in honoring 2L, Rhea Frison, for her volunteer work with the Georgia Legal Services Program’s (GLSP) Rent Assistance Program, addressing the housing and eviction crisis exasperated by COVID-19 in our communities.

On Friday, January 28, 2022, the White House and Department of Justice hosted a virtual event celebrating the work of the legal community and law students in response to the Attorney General’s Call to Action to the Legal Profession, issued on August 30, 2021, to address the housing and eviction crisis. The Call to Action asked lawyers and law students to take immediate action to help their communities through Emergency Rental Assistance application support, volunteering with legal aid providers, helping courts implement eviction diversion programs, among other initiatives aimed at increasing housing stability and access to justice. 

Of the 2,100+ law students that dedicated over 81,000 hours serving over 10,000 households, AJMLS 2L Rhea Frison was one of only three students asked to present her volunteer experience at the event. Senior officials in attendance were Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Vanita Gupta (Associate Attorney General of the United States), Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, and Gene Sperling (Senior Advisor to the President, American Rescue Plan Coordinator).

Ms. Frison answered the AJMLS “call for pro bono heroes” during October’s Pro Bono Month where she first volunteered at the Georgia Free Legal Answers Help-A-Thon event assisting the attorneys research and answer inquiries. Through that experience she was introduced to the Rental Assistance Program that GLSP was working on and expressed to leadership that she was ready for more work. She then began serving as a student volunteer at the Rental Assistance Program in October 2021 where she interviewed rental assistance applicants to help complete applications for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, aided high risk evictions in receiving legal help and preventing evictions or utility disconnections, and informed applicants on program incentives and necessary documents to complete applications. Working alongside other Atlanta-area law students, the student volunteers assisted over 350 tenants and obtained more than $2.5 million for clients in need across 100 cities in Georgia.

When asked of her plans for the future, Ms. Frison noted,

“My plans were to go into trans-national or international business law, however, it seems I keep being redirected to public service.” Immediately following her volunteer work she accepted an internship to work with the Council of Superior Court Judges this legislative session, tracking and summarizing bills. “It seems here is where my career is headed towards, but we will see what the future brings.”

The Law School is proud of Ms. Frison’s initiative in answering the Attorney General’s Call to Action and of how she is continuing to serve her community. We look forward to following her journey as she completes her study at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

AJMLS students seeking pro bono opportunities should connect with the Office of Experiential Learning and Pro Bono Programs for additional information.

AJMLS Director of Recruitment and Outreach, Marc Reece, Appointed to SAPLA Board as Diversity Outreach Coordinator

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Marc Reece, Director of Recruitment and Outreach, for his recent appointment to the Southern Association of Pre-Law Advisors (SAPLA) Board of Directors as the Diversity Outreach Coordinator. SAPLA brings together pre-law advisors and law school admissions staff in an effort to provide everyone in the law school admissions process with up-to-date information and expert guidance. Deciding to go to law school, preparing for the application process, deciding where to send applications, and selecting which law school to attend, are all difficult and important decisions and they believe everyone considering a career in the law can benefit from expert pre-law advising. 

Reece joined the AJMLS admissions team a decade ago in 2012 as the College Relations Manager. During his time at the Law School he has earned a number of honors, including his induction into the Southern Polytechnic State University’s Athletics Hall of Fame, acquiring his Master’s in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University, and serving as a former Secretary/Treasurer of the Southern Poly Athletic Association. Reece is a frequent panelist and speaker at pre-law events, most recently in 2021 as a panelist at the National Black Law Student Associations Workshop, guest speaker at the Georgia Latino Law Day, featured panelist at the HBCU Pre-Law Summit, panelist at the Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark-Atlanta Law School Panel, Admissions Advisor for the Ronald H. Prep Program, and the Featured Law School representative at Oakwood University’s Virtual Law Week. He will be kicking-off his 2022 serving as the Featured Admissions Representative for the upcoming Road To Law School Workshop hosted by Albany State University on February 12.

We look forward to supporting and following Marc’s journey as he contributes to the mission of the SAPLA Board and it’s goals. 

December 2021 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the names of the students who were selected for the Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. This award is designed to recognize the contributions and efforts of students who excel in and/or out of the classroom and are dedicated to enriching the law school and greater communities.

The following students won the 2021 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award for this quarter:

Full-Time Division

Tiara Clemmons

Keith Collins

Mercedes Dickerson

Daniela Martinez

Part-Time Division

Beverly Fratto

Lamone Graham

Marquez Jones

The Selection Committee was impressed by all of the students whose names were submitted for the award. We look forward to continuing to hear about the hard work of our students in and out of the classroom. We are #AJMLSproud!

Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Named Outstanding Student Organization of Fall 2021

The Office of Student Affairs is proud to award the Fall 2021 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester.

Included below are some of the events that the Black Law Students Association sponsored this semester:

  • Flying Into Success Event
  • Breast Cancer Virtual Walk
  • Tailored Tuesdays
  • Black Law Students Association Mixer and Brunch
  • Positivi-Tea *This event was co-sponsored with the Charlotte E. Ray Legal Society, Christian Legal Society, Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, Student Bar Association, and the Student Trial Lawyers Association. 

The Selection Committee was impressed by the effort and hard work of the Black Law Students Association. Congratulations, Black Law Students Association, on being chosen as the Fall 2021 Outstanding Student Organization.

The Office of Student Affairs would also like to recognize the Student Bar Association for all of the leaders’ hard work, quality programming and positivity. We look forward to continuing to work with all students to make the law school and the community better! We are John Marshall Proud!

October 2021 Employee of the Month, AJ Doucett

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) established its Employee of the Month Program in 2021 to recognize hard working employees, especially as we navigate uncharted times in legal education during COVID-19. AJMLS appreciates the efforts of its employees who strive to achieve goals and fulfill the vision of Atlanta’s John Marshall. Outstanding employees deserve to be recognized both as a reward for exceptional performance and as a model to others. The program seeks to recognize hard work and achievement in the workplace and is a peer-to-peer recognition program.

The October 2021 Employee of the Month recipient is AJ Doucett, Director of Alumni Relations.

AJ is a proud alumnus of AJMLS, who began his journey as a student in 2004. After successful completion of the Georgia bar exam, he worked as the Law School’s Reference Librarian and got to know so many students who came in to print or study. Now, he says, the best part of his job as the Alumni Director is reconnecting with all those students who are now alumni.

When asked of his work, his coworkers commented, “He has embraced his new position and continues to jump into more involvement, above and beyond what he is required” and “AJ is such a kind and outgoing team player who is genuinely invested in the success of his alma mater!”

AJ enjoys hiking, reading, and cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs. His passion for volunteering with youth began when he was in college. He has volunteered with the Buckhead Church High School ministry since 2009 and with kids at the Atlanta Mission since 2014. One of his favorite quotes that drives him to volunteer with kids is “Be the person you needed when you were young.”

AJ is well-known and liked by faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and we are thankful to have him on our team.

AJMLS Welcomed Sam Mullman, Chair of Southeastern Intellectual Property Job Fair

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Office of Career Services welcomed Sam Mullman, intellectual property expert, to speak to AJMLS students on October 19, 2021.

Sam is an attorney at Wellborn & Wallace, LLC specializing in intellectual property, corporate, and business litigation. In 2020, Sam was a recipient of Georgia State University, 40 under 40 award. Sam currently serves as the Chair of the Southeastern Intellectual Property Job Fair, the largest IP job fair in the Southeast and the second largest IP job fair nationally.

Sam discussed with students, faculty, and staff his journey into the practice of IP Law, the distinctions between common terms such as copyright vs. trademark, and how the area of IP Law touches so many other practice areas.

This guest speaker event was a collaboration among many departments at the Law School, and the AJMLS community thanks Sam Mullman for his time, and for sharing his expertise with our students.

October 2021 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award

The Office of Student Affairs is pleased to announce the names of the students who were selected for the Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award. This award is designed to recognize the contributions and efforts of students who excel in and/or out of the classroom and are dedicated to enriching the law school and greater communities.

The following students won the 2021 Outstanding Student of the Quarter Award for this quarter:

Full-Time Division

Nina Fisher

Carlton Lewis

Richard Mejia

Mats Rosen

Part-Time Division

Katherine Collins

Edward Hardrick

Rose Love

Tierra Monteiro

September 2021 Employee of the Month, Steven Jaudon

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) established its Employee of the Month Program in 2021 to recognize hard working employees, especially as we navigate uncharted times in legal education. AJMLS appreciates the efforts of its employees who strive to achieve goals and fulfill the vision of Atlanta’s John Marshall. Outstanding employees deserve to be recognized both as a reward for exceptional performance and as a model to others. The program seeks to recognize hard work and achievement in the workplace and is a peer-to-peer recognition program.

The September 2021 Employee of the Month recipient is Steven Jaudon, Lead Faculty Coordinator.

Steven joined the AJMLS family in 2017 as a Faculty Coordinator and was later promoted into his current role. Steven has always demonstrated a high degree of excellence, professionalism, and integrity in his job performance and continues to provide an exceptional level of support to faculty and instructors. He is always prepared to do his best and to take one for the team.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Steven flew south one winter and never looked back! His hobbies include taking road trips, writing poetry, reading comic books, and discovering new restaurants.

We are very fortunate to have Steven on our team and are so glad he made that trip to Atlanta.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Hosts 11th Annual KSU Owl Classic Invitational Mock Trial Tournament

On Saturday, October 16, 2021, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) was pleased to host the 11th Annual Owl Classic Invitation Mock Trial Tournament for Kennesaw State University (KSU). After a one year pause due to COVID-19, the competition welcomed nine teams to the new AJMLS campus in Downtown Atlanta.

Thank you to this year’s coordinators: Dr. Elizabeth Gordon, Callie Christian, and Marc Reece, it was a pleasure to work with you and host the tournament.

Participating Schools

Eastern Kentucky University

Georgia State University

Georgia Tech

Kennesaw State University

Lee University

1st Place

Eastern Kentucky University (Team 1)

2nd Place

Georgia State University 

3rd Place

Eastern Kentucky University (Team 2)

Outstanding Witness Award Winners

Rebecca Onwuzuroha (Georgia State), Cristian Gonzalez (Kennesaw State), Uros Ciric (Georgia State), Andrew Dychdala (Georgia Tech), Paul Atherton (Lee University), Carly Frost (Eastern Kentucky), and Ishaa Hope (Georgia State).

Outstanding Attorney Award Winners

Harrison Melton (Georgia Tech), Uros Ciric (Georgia State), Nichole Stringer (Georgia State), Paul Atherton (Lee University), Abby Birch (Eastern Kentucky), Graham Stewart (Lee University), Jabari McCrae (Georgia State), Binayak Pandey (Georgia State), and Ethan Fowlie (Eastern Kentucky). Special recognition for Danielle Underwood (Eastern Kentucky) for earning top attorney ranks on both sides of the case.

AJMLS Alumni Association Hosts Inaugural Homecoming Event

Click here to view the full image gallery on Facebook

AJMLS Alumni Board

On Friday, October 15, 2021, the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Alumni Association hosted the inaugural Alumni Homecoming Open House at the Law School.

The event welcomed all AJMLS alumni to the new Downtown Atlanta campus, located in Marquis One Tower in Peachtree Center. Alumni were able to take tours of the new space, mingle with their classmates, meet the 1L class and engage in panel discussions with the new students.

The Law School would like to thank it’s event sponsors: Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group – Gore LLC, a personal injury firm based in Roswell, Georgia; and The Fry Law Group, a personal injury firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, a special thank you to this year’s Event Chairman, Tavis Knighten.

The AJMLS Alumni Association looks forward to many future successful events, we’ll see you soon!

Director of Alumni Relations, AJ Doucett, with Event Chairman, Tavis Knighten
Event Sponsor, Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert of Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group – Gore LLC
Event Sponsor, Randy Fry, of The Fry Law Firm with Gulliana Goehring (The Fry Law Firm) and Dean Jace C. Gatewood
Director of Alumni Relations, AJ Doucett; Chief Development Officer, Wendy Aina; Dean and CEO, Jace C. Gatewood

2012 Alumnus, Paul Nam, Named to Georgia Trend 2021 40 Under 40

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates 2012 alumnus, Paul Nam, who was recently named to Georgia Trend 2021 40 Under 40. Paul is currently the Associate General Counsel at InComm Payments in Atlanta.

This year Georgia Trend celebrated 25 years of honoring the state’s best and brightest. The honorees came from every corner of Georgia and represented the nonprofit, healthcare and legal sectors, large corporations, and startup entrepreneurial ventures. As important as their day jobs are, however, they also find time to volunteer and give back to strengthen and grow the communities around them. This year’s 40 Under 40 were selected by the Georgia Trend staff from nominations provided by readers throughout the state who know them well.*

Regarding his time at AJMLS, Paul noted “The moments I remember the most are my time with my friends where we stressed about exams but also spending time together over the weekends to destress.” As a student, Paul and fellow classmate and friend, Wellington Tzou, started the Asian Law Student Association (ALSA) upon Judge Alvin Wong and Dean Harrison-Mercer’s request, and were regarded as the most active organization on campus. After establishing ALSA, Paul became the SBA Treasurer. During his third year, he interned at a financial company and then a general litigation law firm. He also found time to volunteer at Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association events, while also excelling in his classes.

On the life lessons AJMLS professors taught him, Paul said,

“On our first day of property class, Professor Gatewood taught the principle to treat everyone equally and fairly because we are all the same. We are no better than anyone else. He then later told us to learn people’s names around us, including the security guard in the front lobby area. Later in the year, the final exam’s bonus question was, “What is the name of our front door security guard?” I smiled immediately because I knew it, and many of my classmates did not. Just like Professor Gatewood, many professors taught us important life lessons that I still remember and share with others, including Professor Mears’ initiative to always ask why about everything.”

Georgia Trend wrote of their honoree,

When Paul Nam moved from New York to Atlanta to go to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, he lacked a network of friends or mentors to help him adjust. “I told myself, ‘Once I get into a place where I’m a lawyer and can help others, I will,’” he says.

Nam fulfilled that promise. He founded a chapter of the Asian Law Students’ Association and later advised law students and young lawyers through the Korean American Bar Association of Georgia and the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA).

He is now community service chair for GAPABA and serves on the Leadership Council for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. When he’s not negotiating complex contracts for InComm, a global payment processing company, he provides legal services to nonprofit organizations and helps people in need. “I want to reach out as much as I can,” he says.

Georgia Trend 2021 40 Under 40

The Law School looks forward to celebrating Paul’s current and future career milestones as he serves his community. Congratulations, Paul!

*https://www.georgiatrend.com/2021/09/30/georgia-trend-2021-40-under-40/

Introducing the 2021-2022 SBA Class Representatives

Originally introduced in the October AJMLS Dispatch, an SBA publication, we are pleased to introduce the 2021-2022 SBA Class Representatives.

1L Full-Time Section A Representatives

Alexis Burnett

Alexis Burnett was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. Alexis’s future career plans are to become an attorney in the area of entertainment law. She also plans to become an entrepreneur by having a couple of her own businesses and nonprofit organizations to give back to her community. One major goal that Alexis has as class representative is to create a sense of community amongst her peers by planning events. “It is easy to allow school to consume our lives, but I think it is also important to build camaraderie and relationships as classmates.”

Ricky Panayoty

Rickey Panayoty was raised in both Brooklyn and Queens, New York.  He completed his undergraduate education at The City College of New York. Rickey plans to practice business law, and start a consulting company advising small business owners and start-ups. One major goal Rickey wishes to achieve in his position as an SBA Class Rep is to help address classmates’ concerns while helping the SBA achieve their goals.

1L Full-Time Section B Representatives

Morgan Knowles

Morgan Knowles was raised and grew up in McDonough, Georgia. Morgan completed her undergraduate degree at Kennesaw State University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Political Science. Morgan also attended Georgia College and State University for her Masters in Public Administration. After graduation, she would love to work in healthcare law, specifically focusing on mental health regulations and protections. Morgan’s goal as an SBA representative is to be someone with whom her classmates feel comfortable and trust to ensure their voice is represented and heard. Morgan hopes to be able to bridge the gap during the uncertain times caused by the pandemic and help to make new connections with virtual outreach.

Joshua Sachs

Joshua Sachs lived in dozens of cities growing up.  He was born in El Paso, Texas then moved to the East coast shortly afterwards. He also lived in different cities in North Carolina and Virginia, both in the city and rural areas. Joshua studied at North Carolina State University. He started as a physics major, but ultimately changed his major to sociology. Joshua plans to spend the next several years in Criminal Defense. Further in the future, Joshua plans to get into politics to amend some of the areas for improvement he has seen in our system. He says: “In our current legal system, although you are innocent until proven guilty, you are effectively punished upon accusation- my career will revolve around fixing that.” Furthermore, as a class representative, Joshua’s current top priority is to identify ways to optimize the hybrid learning approach that the school is taking, to avoid any gap in bar performance that may arise from an approach that includes virtual learning. I plan to research studies on best practices for virtual learning and teaching to present to faculty and students.

1L Part-Time Representatives

Katherine Collins

Katherine Collins was born and raised in Gainesville, Georgia. She graduated from Kennesaw State University in May 2021 with her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. In 2016, Katherine received her Associate in Arts in Social Work from the University of North Georgia. Katherine hopes to pursue family law while also working within policy work to be part of the solution in creating necessary policy changes within foster care to end cycles of trauma, poverty, and addiction breaking apart families. As a part-time, evening student that juggles a full-time day job and a family that includes four children, Katherine’s goal is to ensure students like herself have a voice in the future of AJMLS. “We are often not the image people think of when they think of law students, and I hope to make our unique needs known within my position as an SBA Class Rep.”

Lamone Graham

Lamone Graham was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Kennesaw State University. In the future, Lamone plans to be a business owner and a practicing attorney. The business plans are under wraps for now, but in terms of law, she is currently interested in four areas: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, Employment, and Entertainment. Lamone says, it may sound like a lot of different things, but she is excited, open to learning, and going to go where God leads her. As an SBA Class Rep, Lamone’s main goal is to help her peers feel heard and supported. Law school is challenging enough on its own; so having a safe space where student concerns and needs can be shared in hopes of finding lasting solutions, is something she strives to create.

2L Full-Time Representatives

Grant Schrantz

Grant Schrantz was raised in Sarasota, Florida. He completed his B.A. in English: Professional Writing at Saint Leo University in southern Florida. Grant is interested in practicing corporate law, either on the transactional side or shareholder derivatives litigation. Maybe some kind of government service in the future as well, Grant says. As an SBA class representative, one of Grant’s major goals is to bring back the Barrister’s Ball in a safe and healthy manner.

Kendall Taylor

Kendall Taylor was raised in Mobile, Alabama. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama. While Kendall is not sure where life will take her, she is currently planning to start a career practicing law with a focus on domestic relations. A major goal Kendall wishes to achieve in this position is to facilitate communication between the SBA and the student body in whatever way necessary to ensure that the students’ concerns are brought to SBA’s attention. Foster more communication.

2L Part-Time Representatives

Nefertiri Lashley

Nefertiri Lashley is from Brooklyn, New York. She completed her undergraduate degree at City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Nefertiri’s initial goal after law school would be to be an Assistant Attorney at the city, state, or federal level in New York. As an SBA 2L Part-Time Representative, one major goal Nefertiri would like to achieve is effective communication. She would like to create different avenues of receiving feedback from our professors and also be a soluble liaison between students and faculty. Nefertiri would like to assist in building our social media presence and online connections to showcase the future leaders and contributions from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Carolina Melguizo

Carolina Melguizo was raised in Medellin, Colombia. She completed her undergraduate education at Georgia State University. Carolina would like to specialize in space law. One of Carolina’s major goals is to change the way students view and feel about AJMLS. Carolina says: “I would like to see some progress towards making students’ lives easier and happier.”

3L Representatives

Samantha Taylor

Samantha Taylor was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She received her Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri and her Master of Business Administration from Concordia University. Samantha’s goal is to make the lives of her peers easier by being a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on, helping them tackle any challenges that may arise.

Kofi Thom

Kofi Thom was born in Guyana and raised in The Bronx, NYC. He received his B.A. in Political Science from The City College of New York. Kofi would like to be a public interest attorney focusing on voting rights, criminal justice, and healthcare access. An SBA class representative, Kofi’s main goal is to ensure that part time and evening students are fully included in all conversations and activities that flow from the SBA.

Pro Bono Month 2021 – Pro Bono Legal Services are Essential for Such a Time as This

Eligible hours must be completed between October 1st and October 31st

There is not a week that goes by where I do not receive a call from someone who has no money, no resources, and no access to legal services. It breaks my heart to refer them to places that offer pro bono assistance only to be told, “I’ve tried them and they cannot take on any new cases at this time.” Study after study has shown that poor Americans find it very difficult to secure quality representation in our costly legal system. At the same time, budget cutbacks for legal services have made it increasingly difficult for not for profit agencies and legal service providers to meet their client’s needs. Financially strapped, they must turn away clients every day because they lack the resources to take on every case. In the United States, Americans need a lawyer’s help for everything from avoiding an unjust eviction to preventing a wrongful conviction. Yet, effective legal assistance remains out of reach for the majority of Americans. This justice gap between legal needs and the services available exacerbates systemic inequities and disadvantages for the most vulnerable populations in our society: people of color, women, immigrants, the elderly, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBTQ, and more. These days, people are more likely to live in poverty and more likely to need legal assistance, such as: claiming protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act, preventing evictions, problems with health care, or domestic violence that often requires, at a minimum, legal advice, and at most, filing paperwork or litigation. The need for pro bono work is evident: “In 2017, 86% of low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help for civil legal problems.”

The Community Needs YOU!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) has a strong pro bono culture. We recognize the growing severity of unmet legal needs of the poor and disadvantaged in the state of Georgia. As such we encourage and support the participation of our students, faculty, alumni, and staff in pro bono activities. AJMLS provides a broad range of pro bono opportunities to ensure that our law school community can participate in pro bono activities.  

October is Pro Bono Month

Fundraising Thermometer - CouponBirds Seedling Project

In honor of the AJMLS commitment to service, all students, staff, faculty, and alumni are hereby challenged to perform as many pro bono hours as possible this month. Everyone can participate! There are service opportunities that do not require legal knowledge/skills, so don’t be shy – simply find a cause and start making a difference. Also, being the fierce advocates that we are, alumni and students will compete for the most hours completed. You can visit the pro bono website here to learn more and view opportunities. For inquiries or to share a pro bono opportunity, please contact the Office of Experiential Learning and Pro Bono Programs.

The AJMLS Pro Bono Program reinforces the mission of the law school and promotes the development of a law school community with a strong social conscious and dedication to improving the legal system and society. Our community needs you for such a time as this.

Dr. Bridgett E. Ortega

Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development

Fuel Your Fire: Avoiding Burn-Out, Mental Fatigue, and Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize

Written by: Scot Goins, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement and Bar Success

It’s the end of September, and in normal circumstances, that means that many law students are experiencing fatigue, exhaustion, and burn-out, while simultaneously experiencing anxiety, fear, and worries about impending midterms. Add to that mix concerns about a global pandemic, navigating virtual classes, combine that with a sense of isolation that accompanies not engaging in normal routines and social interactions, and you have a recipe for mental fatigue and burn-out. It is little wonder that law students in the current environment find themselves worried about staying on top of their reading, maintaining motivation, keeping up their energy, and performing academically. 

Many students are asking themselves how they can re-energize, reinvigorate, and replenish their taxed mental faculties, emotional resources, and physical stamina.

If this sounds like you, then you have come to the right place. 

It’s Normal to Feel Bleh

First and foremost, let’s just take a moment and be realistic and let the proverbial cat out of the bag. Everyone experiences some level of mental fatigue and burn-out in law school, especially after the initial rush of energy that accompanies starting a new semester. If you are feeling this way, I promise you that you are not alone, although it may feel that way because there is the general sense that you are not allowed to have a down day or week.

One of the astonishing things about law school is that there is this atmosphere and mindset that everyone must suddenly become superhuman. If someone told you a story about someone not getting enough sleep, regularly staring at a computer screen too long, reading books all night, who is somewhat isolated, and who has an ever-closer approaching set of tests on his or her radar, you would expect that person to be fatigued and approaching burn-out. Generally, it is easier to give others solid advice and share wisdom, and I bet that if I asked you to give the aforementioned person in the story some advice, you would share your best tips and tricks to help them stay motivated, recuperate, and re-energize. However, when it comes to following that advice yourself, you may find that you are resistant to incorporating your own advice and best practices. This makes sense because we are often far harder on ourselves and tend to hold ourselves to standards that we would not expect others to meet. But if you pause and think, that advice that you would give to someone else is good, so maybe it would be helpful to hear that same or similar advice from an external source.

That’s where this advice comes in. It’s based on real world experience from someone who has been there, done that, in terms of both law school and working remotely. It will likely mirror advice that you would give someone else, but may be unlikely to follow yourself. Hopefully, you will find the advice below helpful to your pursuit of success in a very challenging environment, and will also be encouraged to engage in best practices to perform at your best.

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

This is one of my favorite sayings, and it perfectly applies to your experience in law school. We have so many competing aspects to managing our time effectively, and it quickly becomes easy to sacrifice things like sleep, nutrition, physical activity, and spending time with friends and family. However, like all things in life, balance is key, and if you do not take care of the fundamentals, then you will not be able to excel in other areas. Making sure you are doing the things that are at the core of being a happy and healthy human goes hand-in-hand with making sure you are a successful and high-functioning student.. 

One of the best ways to deal with mental fatigue and burnout is to actually rest. Get enough sleep, and try to get on a regular snooze schedule. This is especially important when the time changes, as you don’t want to fall off the success wagon just because time falls back an hour. Sleep has numerous benefits, and getting enough will keep you alert, refreshed, and ready to engage with law school materials and professors. Bonus tip: never overlook the power of the powernap.

Although this will sound obvious, eating regularly is important because you need fuel to keep your mental fires burning brightly. However, as someone who struggles with this personally, one of the first things that often goes when stress is high and time feels tight is quality eating (or eating at all). Skipping meals is a recipe to feeling fatigued, and if you find your mind wandering or food commercials diverting your attention, you will definitely want to take note and grab some grub. Try to eat a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and fats on a regular basis, and you will find yourself energized and ready to go.

Once you are rested and carbed up, you will find engaging in physical activity much easier. As someone who had a couple of surgeries during the pandemic, I definitely have experience with how a lack of activity and a failure to engage in normal routines can take a toll on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. If you want your mental machinery to operate at the highest levels, you have to make time for activity. A brisk walk, yoga, a bike ride, or any similar activity will not only help you burn some calories, but it will also get your blood flowing and lead to the release of helpful neurotransmitters in your brain. Sunlight is your friend, so with the time-change impending, get out and enjoy yourself. A happy brain is your friend, so make sure to exercise regularly!

Speaking of not wrecking yourself, if you have ever seen the movie Castaway (Tom Hanks, Wilson the Volleyball, isolation to the extreme), you may be aware that too much alone time is bad news. However, when you are focused on a task or stressed about an outcome, it is easy to start sacrificing your most important meaningful interactions with friends and family. My advice is simply this: Don’t. If you treat law school like your job (which you should), then you should also enjoy the fruits of your labors. Although work may get busy, you still have to “go home” at some point and engage socially. This is easy to overlook, especially in the virtual world, where “going home” may involve shifting 9 centimeters to the left on the couch or hiding your laptop under the bed for a bit. However, you must make time for your mental and emotional well-being, and engaging with people who care about you is important. 

If you take care of yourself, you will be at your best to perform your best!

Limit Distractions

There is one thing that I can confirm about virtual studying, remote working, or being at home generally. You will always be able to find a distraction. It is guaranteed. Whether you have a family, a dog, a cat, a Netflix account, an imaginary friend, or a phone or other device generally, I promise that you will be able to find a distraction that can take you away from your work.

If you want to perform at the highest levels, you have to put aside the distractions and focus. This means turning off the phone notifications, turning off the tv, closing GroupMe, putting your cat down for the first time in five days, and telling your dog that fetch will have to wait 30 minutes. You will always perform better if your attention is not split between multiple activities, and even a momentary distraction such as a new Instagram post, the ‘ding’ of an arriving text message, or the new Taco Bell commercial on tv (I still do not know if it is a taco or a sandwich) can each impact your memory, retention, and engagement with materials. Work when it is time to work, and engage with social media and other distractors later. Focus is key.

Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

Speaking of engagement, one of the most distracting and mentally taxing things you can do in your life is trying to not do something you really enjoy doing. If you think that I am kidding, I highly encourage you to stock your refrigerator with your favorite food, and then try not to eat it. Not only will you mentally feel like you are missing out, but it will slowly become a bigger and bigger distraction (and by it, I’m talking specifically about you, Reese’s Cups that haunt me). So, how do you follow BOTH of the aforementioned pieces of advice and Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself AND Limit Distractions? You plan it out and you have a schedule.

If you schedule in your fun activities, your necessary activities (again, we are talking about sleep, eating, exercise, and spending time with friends and family), and your schoolwork, you will find it much easier to devote time to each and be fully present when you are engaging in each. If you know that you are going to eat a Reese’s Cup on Friday, it becomes much easier to avoid getting the King Sized version out of your refrigerator while you are trying to write an advice post. Too personal? Sue me (although if you’ve been paying attention in Civil Procedure, you may find standing to be an issue).

All kidding aside, it is much easier to engage in the study of law when you have a schedule. Beyond the times you have to attend class, you should make a schedule for studying, socialization, break times, watching your favorite football team or video, engaging in social media, or anything else that you want to do. The key to successful time management is to give each aspect of your life the dedicated time necessary to be happy, rested, and successful, without feeling like you are sacrificing something entirely. Balance and moderation are important, and you must make time for your well-being.

Know Your Purpose

Last, but never least, is knowing your purpose. If you wake up each day, go to sleep each night, and dedicate time throughout each day to reminding yourself of your purpose and goals, it is much easier to keep going when the going gets tough. Focus on why you are doing what you are doing, and try to maintain awareness of how each thing that you do each day is leading you on your personal journey towards success.

One of the things that I find most helpful in maintaining your path to success and your motivation is visualization. There are three types of visualization that I encourage you to engage in, and although this may sound like a Charles Dickens story, past, present, and future visualization are all valuable.

Past visualization references picturing a time in life when you were successful and happy. Sometimes in the midst of the rigors of law school, it is easy to forget all of the academic, personal, and professional accomplishments that led you to the opportunity to be enrolled in law school, and taking a few minutes to think about your previous success can motivate you towards continuing your success journey.

Speaking of, do not forget to think about the things you are accomplishing now. It is easy to feel like an endless array of cases, black letter law, studying, and writing are overwhelming you, but the truth of the matter is that each day you are accomplishing, learning, and growing. Remembering to give yourself kudos and acknowledging each day’s accomplishments can be both motivating and empowering, so I encourage you to visualize three things that you have accomplished each day.

Finally, remember to visualize your future success and accomplishments. Picture yourself successfully completing an exam, walking at graduation, passing the bar exam, inviting your friends and family to your swearing-in ceremony, and a host of other future events can provide fuel to reinvigorate your fire when it wanes, so make sure to always keep your eyes on the prize.

In Conclusion

On the surface, all of the above may seem like common sense, but it is often the little things that fly out the window when stress grows and time feels short. Please make sure to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and psychologically during the rigors of law school. You deserve to be here, you are capable, and you will be successful if you put the time, effort, and dedication into this experience that it (and you) deserve.

Burning-out  and mental fatigue are normal, but sometimes stress and problems can move beyond the normal and become problematic. Please always remember that you are never alone and that people care about you as an individual. If you find yourself in need of additional support and assistance, please visit our counseling resources page located at: https://www.johnmarshall.edu/ajmls-students/student-services/counseling-services/.

2001 Alumna, Judge Rhonda Kreuziger, Appointed Griffin Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates 2001 alumna, Judge Rhonda Kreuziger, on her recent appointment as Superior Court Judge for the Griffin Judicial Circuit, covering Fayette, Pike, Spalding, and Upson counties. Upon her swearing-in, Judge Kreuziger became the first female and first African-American superior court judge in the circuit. 

Nominated by her predecessor, Griffin Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Christopher C. Edwards, stated, “I know she will fit right into the bench with our four other excellent judges.” Judge Kreuziger was appointed by Governor Kemp on July 20, 2021 and sworn in on August 19, 2021.

While a student at AJMLS, Judge Kreuziger was a member of the mock trial team, editor-in-chief of the The Advocate newsletter, and the first AJMLS student to intern at the Attorney General’s Office. As a forensic scientist, she attended classes both day and night while maintaining her previous career. She credits the Law School’s flexibility with her ability to manage working as a scientist and attending law classes, and describes her experience at the school as “phenomenal”.

“If you are willing to put in the time and effort, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School will afford you every opportunity you need,” says Judge Kreuziger.

This appointment is not her first post on the bench having served the Griffin Judicial Circuit as the Associate Juvenile Court Judge, and previously, Chief Judge of the City of Fayetteville Municipal Court. 

Prior to the bench, Judge Kreuziger served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Griffin Judicial Circuit before opening her own law practice. Her practice focused on Criminal Law, Family Law, and General Civil Litigation.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to celebrate this historic milestone and wishes Judge Kreuziger much success in her new role.

August 2021 Employee of the Month, Hal Morgan

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) established its Employee of the Month Program in 2021 to recognize hard working employees, especially as we navigate uncharted times in legal education. AJMLS appreciates the efforts of its employees who strive to achieve goals and fulfill the vision of Atlanta’s John Marshall. Outstanding employees deserve to be recognized both as a reward for exceptional performance and as a model to others. The program seeks to recognize hard work and achievement in the workplace and is a peer-to-peer recognition program.

The August 2021 Employee of the Month recipient is Hal Morgan, Enterprise Systems Administrator.

Hal joined the AJMLS family in March of 2015. As described by one of his co-workers, “Hal has been exemplary and a model for demonstrated zeal, conviction, and determination to provide great customer care.” Hal’s patience and kindness are ever present, even when he is in a time crunch, he will acknowledge you and make an effort to find a solution to help you.  

Hal resides in Kennesaw and his hobbies include golf (though he admits his skills are not at par), exploring new places, mountain getaway trips, camping, watching Georgia football, and spending time with his son.

He is highly appreciated by students, faculty, and staff alike. We are very fortunate to have Hal on our team!

AABS Right Way Writing: Grammar Help

Written by: Scot Goins, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement and Bar Success

Grammar. The word itself is often enough to trigger anxiety, and depending on your background and experience, you may have various concerns you want to address, but you may not be sure where to go to address those concerns. 

Never fear, AABS is here! Below, find a list of ten websites that you can peruse in your own time to work to improve your grammar, answer questions that you may have, and to improve your word wizardry.

Academic Achievement and Bar Success (AABS) Grammar Resources

1. Core Grammar for Lawyers

2. Purdue Online Writing Lab- Grammar

3. The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction- Punctuation and Grammar Basics for Students; The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction- Punctuation and Grammar ADVANCED

4. DYC’s Online Writing Lab

5. Excelsior Online Writing Lab- Grammar Refresher

6. The Punctuation Guide

7. Grammarly (guide that works with you as you write to develop best practices)

8. The Guide to Grammar and Writing

9. Common Grammatical and Punctuation Errors

10. The Grammar of Legal English

We hope that you find these links helpful, and as always you are welcome to reach out to our office if you need anything – aabs@johnmarshall.edu.

Introducing the 2021-2022 Advocacy Board Executive Board

Membership

All full-time and part-time students enrolled at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 are eligible for admission to Advocacy Board. A student may receive an invitation to the organization by successfully competing through the G. Alan Blackburn Moot Court Competition or the Richardson Lynn Moot Court Competition, which is the intra-school competition held before the start of the fall semester.

Executive Board

Edward Hardrick, Chair

Edward Hardrick was born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Georgia most of his life. After graduating from Grayson High School, he earned a B.S. in Political Science from the University of North Georgia and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Georgia National Guard as an artillery officer. Just prior to enrolling into law school, Edward completed several training assignments with the U.S. Army at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and Ft. Stewart, Georgia. 

Edward matriculated into the Law School in the Fall of 2017. Subsequently, Edward took military leave from Fall 2018 until Spring 2020 to deploy to Afghanistan where he served as an Infantry platoon leader and Fire Support Officer earning the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and Combat Action Award for service during the deployment. Upon returning to the law school in the Spring of 2020, Edward served as Student Bar Association Vice President, earned a CALI Award for Legal Writing, began work as a Student Associate at an Atlanta-based law firm, and received invitations to join Moot Court and Law Journal.  Edward was excited to be chosen to lead the Advocacy Board as its next Chair. As he prepares to graduate this upcoming December, Edward is excited to help Moot Court position itself for a successful competition semester in the Spring and ensure its continued success in the coming years.

Bethany Keyes, Vice-Chair

Bethany Keyes is from middle Georgia and is currently a part-time day student at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School with an expected graduation date of December 2022. She has a degree in Business Administration and a degree in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-Law. 

Prior to law school, Bethany volunteered with a social media group to help alleviate poverty within her local community. Since August 2021, she has worked as a Student Associate at a law firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Bethany honorably accepted a Vice-Chair position on the Advocacy Board because she has always had a passion for the law, helping others, and advocating. Further, this opportunity will allow her to collaborate with peers and refine her research, editing, and writing skills. 

Mats Rosen, Vice-Chair

Mats Rosen, a full-time 3L student at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, is from Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He graduated from Colorado State University in 2017 with a B.A. in Sociology along with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies. Mr. Rosen has always had a passion for learning and excelling in whatever position he asked to serve in. Helping others in times of need has been the mission that he seeks to carry out, a mission he assisted with during his time as an intern at the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. Mr. Rosen hopes to take the experiences that he has learned from that organization and law school and apply those skills in his role as an attorney.

He has earned CALI Awards in Contracts I, Civil Procedure I, Criminal Procedure, and Legal Writing, and Research Analysis III and is also one of the Line Editors on the Law Journal. Upon completion of his second year, Mr. Rosen was invited to join the Moot Court Appellate Advocacy Board. He sought a position on the Executive Board to assist with member recruitment and retention to further grow the organization as he begins his transition from law school to legal practice.

Michael Stewart, Vice-Chair

Michael Stewart is originally from Warner Robins, Georgia and grew up in the Houston County school system. After high school, Michael attended Kennesaw State University where he participated in three campus choirs as well as the Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity. Michael earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Kennesaw State University in December 2018 before beginning at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in the Fall of 2019.

In his spare time, Michael is heavily involved in the theater industry of Georgia including serving on the Board of Governors of a non-profit and community theatre in Perry, Georgia and serving as adjudicator for the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards (Shuler’s). Michael is very excited to get more involved in extra curricular activities at Atlanta’s John Marshall and is looking forward to a great year serving as Vice-Chair of Moot Court.

Joshua Elbaz, Fundraising Chair

Joshua Elbaz was born in Atlanta, Georgia and raised in Suwanee, Georgia for most of his life. After graduating from North Gwinnett High School, he earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Georgia Gwinnett College. 

Joshua entered Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in the Fall of 2019 with high hopes and a lot of ambition. During his 1L year, Joshua began interning with attorney Lawrence Lewis with hopes of becoming familiar with the field of Criminal Defense and trial work. Joshua had continued to intern with Attorney Lawrence Lewis throughout his law school journey and has participated in close to 10 jury trials since he began law school. Joshua served as an SBA representative during his 1L year, and as a Peer Mentor Director during his 2L year. Joshua founded the Student Trial Lawyers Association (STLA) during the summer of his 2L year with the hopes of helping and guiding other law students who want to be trial lawyers after school. Joshua currently sits on the executive board for Moot Court, which he was invited on, as well as The Student Trial Lawyers Association, which he founded.

Zooming In, but Zoning Out? Top Ten Tips to Maintain Focus in a Virtual Class Environment

Written by: Scot Goins, Assistant Dean of Academic Achievement and Bar Success

The most frequent concerns I hear from students around any shift to a virtual environment are in regards to staying focused, paying attention, and making sure they continue to learn and expand their knowledge. Many students express frustration around the difficulties of concentrating in a remote classroom and are concerned that their performances may suffer. The good news is that although this learning environment can create new challenges, it is one that you can survive and even thrive in. These tips work great in any virtual learning environment, whether in law school or preparing for the bar exam.

Here are my top ten tips for maintaining focus, attention, and learning in the virtual world:

1. Designate a space.

One of the interesting things I’ve noticed about myself over the past year is my tendency to perform better when I set aside an area that is just for working. I think of it much like going to the gym. Once you walk in the door, you are likely to flip a mental switch and your expectations shift as to what to expect in that environment. When you hear the sounds of weights clanking, treadmills grinding, or someone like me complaining that I cannot get the double knot out of my shoes, you know where you are and what you are there to accomplish.

Virtual learning is the same way. If you attempt to work from a space where you often engage in other activities, whether it’s sleeping, watching tv, or reading a book, it can be hard not to let your mind wander. Set aside a space where you live to engage actively with your learning environment, and try not to do other things there.

That said, I remain very aware of the constrictions of working from home for many, and you may not have a space that is readily available to be set aside. In that case, I recommend that when the time comes for a class that you change the space around, effectively creating a work environment. This could be something as simple as setting out some highlighters and some books, moving a vase, or clearing off the table, but the key is that you have a transition moment for the space and your learning. When you know you are entering your proverbial mental gym, your expectations, mindset, and mood will adjust accordingly.

2. Turn on your camera.

Trust me, I know. The thought of making sure you are camera-ready can be concerning, but being on camera is important. For starters, it involves you directly in the class, as opposed to observing from afar. The awareness that others can see if you are paying attention operates similarly in class, and your tendency to avoid staring at the ceiling and singing show tunes will decrease dramatically when you know someone might see.

All kidding aside, being on camera also helps your professor to engage with you. One of the biggest things I struggle with within the virtual environment when engaging with students is being able to see expressions. Oftentimes, I assume that I am making my point, only to see looks of confusion in my audience, and that helps me realize that I need to try a different approach, speak more clearly, or revisit the differences between my base knowledge and what I think I am communicating, versus what my audience is receiving. Help yourself stay engaged, and help your professor to engage with you, and stay on camera.

3. Turn off your phone.

This is a big one. Turn off your phone (or at least silence it), turn off your notifications, and flip it upside down until class is over. Phones are a big distraction generally, and they tend to lead to rapid shifts in attention while simultaneously allowing opportunities to zone out. Buzzfeed has some top ten lists that are more humorous than this, but it won’t help you learn what you need to know for class. Give your phone a break.

Also, the urge to text, WhatsApp, etc., is another phone no-no that can prevent you from focusing in class. As soon as you send that first message or receive that first message, your attention is partially devoted to awaiting the next message, which makes it hard to stay in the present moment.

4. Do not browse the internet.

This is another danger zone (cue Top Gun music).

I avoided the urge to Google what year the movie Top Gun came out right then, but that only goes directly to my point. The internet is a lovely place full of a variety of sources of news, information, entertainment, and so much more, but it is also an easy place to mentally meander for hours exploring the history of the movie Top Gun instead of paying attention in class. Resist the urge to go on an endless search for the world’s best strawberry cheesecake recipe (but if you have one, feel free to let me know) and stay in the moment.

I am not oblivious to the fact that sometimes in class something may be said that encourages you to explore information or to search a definition, but I encourage you to wait and stay focused on your class. Instead of diverting your attention during class, do what I recommend in number 5.

5. Make a list and take notes.

In the modern world, we want what we want, and we want it now. Just ask anyone who has ever delivered Thai food to me at 2:00 a.m. However, pursuing knowledge by searching the internet or frantically flipping through a book can be a huge distraction from what your professor is saying/showing on your screen, so save that for later. Making a list and taking notes can also help you stay on track with your learning, ensuring that you complete assignments (it feels great to check off an accomplishment), and helps you stay accountable to yourself.

Not only does creating a list give you something to do later to ensure you are maximizing your learning, it prevents you from missing out on anything said in the present, and it also keeps you actively engaged after class is over. There will be plenty of time after your class hours to search out terms and explore cases (and you may even find time to track down that strawberry cheesecake recipe), so maximize your engagement in class.

6. Immediately review after class.

This should be on your list whether you are in-person or virtual, but it is something that students sometimes forget when online. When we are at home or in our own space, it is very easy to immediately click ‘end meeting’ and turn to a streaming service such as Disney+, but ‘What If?’ you didn’t? (That reference to a Disney+ Marvel show was 100% intentional).

Instead of immediately shifting your attention to the next thing on your to-do list, review what you just covered in class, your list, and your notes. You may find gaps in your note-taking, areas that you need to explore or uncover questions for your professor that you can make note of before you forget. Think of it like utilizing someone’s name in a conversation after you meet them – you are much more likely to remember a name if you use it when addressing the person, so make sure to actively engage with your material before you have time to forget (and if you are reading this, I’m sorry Taylor – I’ll remember next time!).

7. Join an accountability group.

Just as you want to maintain focus and review after class as an individual, you also want to have accountability with others to assist you in staying on track (and to assist them as well!). Knowing that you will be meeting with others to discuss cases, black letter laws, bright-line rules, and lecture notes help ensure that you stay on track. Discussing things with others is not only beneficial for your learning, but will help you fill in gaps, find new ways of thinking about things, and ensure that you are focusing on the right things.

When it is just you being accountable to you, it is easier to slip up, but when you know others will be counting on you and that you have a role to play in a bigger group it will help you perform better. This is beneficial if you schedule your group meeting on the same day that you have class, and has the bonus of serving as an additional review that will help you retain information in the long term.

8. Noise-canceling headphones.

Distractions are dangerous, and no matter how laser-focused your eyes are, if your ears are tuning into something else, you can rest assured that you are tuning out. I often think of my dog when she thinks someone might be dropping off a pizza at the door, no matter where her eyes are, her ear is up and her head is tilted. It’s hard to maintain focus on one person speaking when you are concerned about pizza delivery, and this carries over to class as well.

If noises, others talking, or your neighbor’s unrelenting bass (my issue) are a problem, then invest in some noise-canceling headphones. This will help you keep your focus on class, and not on plotting your next angry knock on your neighbor’s door. Listening with focus, combined with active note-taking and list-making, will help you learn and retain information better.

9. Snacks.

Eat. It should go without saying, but I often fall victim to the angry grumbling distraction that is my hungry stomach. Sometimes, because we are not following a live, in-person schedule, we do not plan the simple things like remembering to eat meals on a schedule. When you are at home, it is much easier to forget to pay attention to the clock, and you can find yourself struggling to stay focused in class when you know that extra-large pepperoni pizza is in the kitchen waiting for you.

It is always good to have a handy, non-distracting snack and beverage nearby, just in case. What do I mean by non-distracting? I mean that it shouldn’t be difficult for you to open, runs the risk of spilling all over your shirt, or requires 40 paper towels to maintain clean hands during class. Having something to snack on and something to drink can keep you mentally alert and focused during class, especially when you forget to eat the meal prior.

10. Exercise.

Let me be clear here. I am not suggesting that you attend class from a treadmill or while spinning away on an exercise bike. Instead, what I am recommending is that you remember to step away from your desk. One of the biggest pitfalls of remote learning or working is that you can inadvertently spend too much time in your workspace. You need to remember to take a break from the screen!

There are also a ton of benefits to exercise, from increasing feel-good neurotransmitters to cardiovascular health, and it also is a great way to relieve stress. If you are someone who has concerns about the virtual learning environment, finding good ways to release stress and relieve anxiety is important, and one of the best ways to do so is to exercise. Even if you just take a walk outside for 15 minutes or walk up a few flights of stairs, you will find plenty of benefits from exercise.

Hopefully, you found these ‘Top Ten Tips to Maintain Focus in a Virtual Class Environment’ to be helpful, and I encourage you to explore and develop additional tips to ensure that you make the best of the virtual experience. It is a different environment, but one that you absolutely can thrive in and where you can achieve a high level of learning and success.

Dr. Bridgett Ortega Presents at National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, Dr. Bridgett Ortega, recently presented at multiple sessions at The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Conference – RISE21 in National Harbor, Maryland.

RISE21 was held August 15-18, 2021 and brought together judges, law enforcement officials, treatment providers, drug and veterans court coordinators, researchers, celebrities, leading authorities on best practices in adult, juvenile, and veterans substance abuse treatment, drug court graduates, veteran treatment court graduates, probation officers, attorneys, consumer advocates, and experts in the treatment court field. The attendees gained new tactics, insights, and increased ability to improve the success of their treatment courts.

In-line with her dissertation and expertise, Dr. Ortega presented at two sessions on Compassionate Jurisprudence and one session on Compassionate Communication and Family Engagement.

Dr. Bridgett Ortega, a veteran of the United States Air Force, is the Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She has been a key administrator since joining the team in early 2011 and is also a Sr. organizational consultant and trainer for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, American University’s Justice Program Office and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. She is a lawyer, researcher, and the Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center in Washington, D.C. She is also currently the Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU.

Dr. Ortega has spent over 30 years advocating for criminal and juvenile justice reform. She is a passionate advocate for the incarcerated and their children with an emphasis on compassionate practice in the justice system. She is a National Trainer on subjects dealing with Juvenile and Adult Drug Courts, Compassionate Practice in Problem Solving Courts, Compassionate Communication, Compassionate Family Engagement, Domestic Violence, Equity and Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Improving Outcomes for Children of the Incarcerated and all things Juvenile Justice. Dr. Ortega is the former Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures Initiative, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening in the lives of young people with substance disorders and other issues that bring them into the justice system.

She has been featured in the ABC Nightline “Kids in Court” series and the Frontline Juvenile Justice documentary. Dr. Ortega is the recipient of the ABA Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for outstanding advocacy in juvenile justice, the NAACP Freedom Fund Civil and Human Rights Award and in December of 2018 she was recognized by the National Juvenile Defender Center as a champion for juvenile justice for her work in defending youth rights. She co-founded the Santa Clara County California Juvenile Drug Treatment Court with the Honorable Judge Thomas Edwards for which she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for invaluable service to the community. Dr. Ortega holds a Master of Arts degree, Juris Doctorate and a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership. Her published research dissertation is entitled, Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud of Dr. Ortega’s service to her community and students, and looks forward to championing her continued leadership in and out of the classroom.