The Law School loves to help our alumni celebrate their success. Do you have similar news to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Congratulations to Bill Black and Amanda Young!
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) 2018 alumna Calvana Cedant has a purpose on this earth to advocate for others, inspire future leaders, and grow organizations she truly believes in. Her path to law school began early on and she has since worked hard to achieve her goals. She was a part of the pre-law magnet program in high school, obtained her undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University, and then transitioned to AJMLS where she became actively involved with the school and the community. Through hard work and dedication she was able to turn her dreams into a reality and now works as an Assistant Public Defender for the Henry County Public Defender’s Office.
When asked about her path to law school, her career, and her favorite part about what she does, Calvana stated:
I come from a single mother household of five children. I saw many people from the community I grew up in be processed through the Criminal Justice System and did not understand or know their rights in regards to the criminal court system. I did not grow up knowing one attorney or anyone in the military, and so I set out in life to be both. I have felt this purpose since I was twelve years old and have not deviated from this path since I realized I wanted to be an attorney. I attended Fort Lauderdale High School, a school with a Pre-Law magnet program. In the magnet program, I took Pre-Law courses and I joined the debate team. I graduated with a pre-law high school diploma and moved on to Clark Atlanta University.
Clark Atlanta University would be my next milestone in life, almost 900 miles away from Pompano Beach, Florida and no family in Atlanta, Georgia; I was ready to conquer the unknown. I went from being freshman class secretary to the Vice President of the Political Science Association. During college in February 2012, I joined the United States Army in hopes of graduating from law school and becoming part of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Joining the Army has been one of the best decisions I ever made. I was the first person in my family to serve in the military and I am currently the only member of my family serving in the military. I enjoy the Army because it gives me a sense of purpose and usefulness.
After graduating from Clark Atlanta University I quickly transitioned to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS). During my matriculation through law school, I went from being Student Body Representative for the Criminal Justice Honors Program to being the President of the Veterans Law Student Association. I enjoyed the student organizations at AJMLS because of the diversity of each organization. I was a member of the Criminal Law Association, the Black Law Student Association, and I became a member of Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity. I was fortunate enough to work as a student coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs. In the office I was able to work closely with the Street Law Program at Booker T. Washington High School preparing students for a mock trial, and personally mentoring students throughout the program.
While in law school I saw how difficult it was for some students to complete the first year. So during my third year of law school I served as a peer mentor to three first year law students, two of which I am now providing guidance for the July 2019 Georgia bar examination. At AJMLS, I also enjoyed volunteering with the Fort McPherson Veterans Clinic assisting Veterans who needed legal assistance in civil and criminal matters. It’s not a surprise that most of the work that I have done so far in my life has been in the best interest and advancement of someone else. In May 2018, I graduated from AJMLS and began preparing for the Georgia bar examination. In October of 2018 I graduated from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorney’s professional development academy. The academy provided intensive professional and personal development training for people in the legal profession. Also, in October 2018 I passed the Georgia bar and made my dream come true. I was sworn in to practice law and also selected for the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
In December 2018, I accepted a position with the Henry County Public Defender’s Office and I am still with this office. My current job as an Assistant Public Defender is to be an advocate for indigent clients that deserve zealous representation. I analyze all assigned felony cases, and preform legal research to help advance my client’s case or legal position. I also advise clients of identified defenses and recommend appropriate course of actions for their case. Through our office I have the privilege of being a part of the Henry County Veterans Court team. I assist clients who served in the United States Military be considered for the program. If accepted their mental health or drug dependency issues are addressed and their successful completion of the program can be in lieu of confinement. I have many more duties as an Assistant Public Defender but my favorite part about my career is being an advisor and educator to my clients. I truly enjoy the attorneys and staff I work with. I am challenged and learning something new every day.
My current hobbies consist of traveling when I can and mentoring young girls with aspirations of becoming an attorney. My advice for aspiring lawyers and law students is to be intentional! When you set a goal, when you make a plan, and when you make a life decision always be intentional. Law school is not easy but it is not impossible. Where I am in life is solely because I had faith and was intentional about my life choices and decisions. I am living proof that your dreams can become reality!
The Law School is proud of the work and dedication Calvana has, and we look forward to celebrating her continued success!
Got Proof?* Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) 2013 alumna Nicole Fegan was recently featured in the Atlanta Attorney at Law Magazine, which discussed her success, relationship with clients and the community, and her image as “the new generation of criminal defense law.” This success and reputation stems not only from her hard work and dedication, but from her ability to reach potential clients through social media and her trademark slogan, Got Proof?*. Her passion, zeal, and devotion to her clients mixed with her reputation help set her apart from other attorneys.
In 2011, Fegan received her undergraduate degree from Drexel University. Then, in 2013, she received her law degree from AJMLS and a year later started her own law firm, Fegan Law, LLC, specializing in criminal defense. She is a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and has recently started her own nonprofit, Proof Period, Inc. which helps individuals in the justice system complete their required community service hours.
To view the full feature and learn more about Fegan’s work and her nonprofit, click the picture below:
For more information on Nicole Fegan and her firm, visit feganlaw.com. Congratulations Nicole on all that you have accomplished!
**Featured image courtesy of the Attorney at Law Magazine Cover
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumna Neera Bahl was recently appointed to the Cobb County Board of Elections. In 2000, Bahl received her Juris Doctor degree from AJMLS and has since demonstrated a strong commitment of leadership and dedication towards helping society and her community. She is actively involved with many volunteer projects and professional organizations. She was also a recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award from AJMLS.
“Cobb Republican Party Chairman Jason Shepherd has appointed Marietta attorney Neera Bahl to the Cobb County Board of Elections.
Bahl is the founder and managing partner of One Path Legal. She will replace current Republican Party appointee Joe Pettit, whose term expires June 30.
“Neera brings with her not only a vast amount of experience in the law, but a zeal for growing the Republican base in Cobb County,” Shepherd said in a news release. “I want to thank Joe Pettit for his service on the board, but given what I expect will be a contentious 2020 election, I felt we need someone with the experience and legal skills (that) Neera Bahl will bring to this position.”
A native of India and naturalized U.S. citizen, Bahl received her master’s in English from Punjab University, India; bachelor of education in psychology from D.A.V. College, India; and bachelor of science in chemistry and biology from D.S. College, India.
After moving to the United States, Bahl spent more than 20 years in medical and scientific research before graduating from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2000. She is a graduate of the 2018 class of Leadership Cobb and was appointed to the Judicial Nominating Commission by Gov. Brian Kemp in 2019.
“I am honored to be appointed to the Board of Elections for Cobb GOP and will do my best to ensure that the elections are administered with utmost fairness and accuracy,” Bahl said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”
Cobb GOP Outreach Ambassador Jeff Souther said, “Neera Bahl is a natural fit for the Cobb Board of Elections. Neera’s professional experience as an immigration attorney combined with her life experience as a naturalized citizen drives her passion for civic engagement. She is committed to ensuring every citizen has their voting rights accessible and protected.”
In addition to her legal work, Bahl is a volunteer for the Truancy Intervention Project and with Raksha Inc. helping victims of domestic violence. She is the current president of the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce-South East Chapter.”
To learn more about Neera Bahl and her law firm, One Path Legal, visit their website here. Congratulations, Neera on all that you have accomplished!
Being a native of Atlanta, Jennifer A. Magruder graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Marketing and Public Relations. However, she has always had an interest in the law and decided to pursue her true passion by attending Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS). In 2018, Magruder received her Juris Doctor degree and graduated with Criminal Justice Honors. She then went on to take the Georgia bar exam that July and was admitted to practice law in October of 2018. About a month later, after working with a few other solo practitioners, Magruder decided to take a leap of faith and opened her own law firm focused on Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Immigration. Her favorite part about owning her own firm is that she is able to pace herself with her case flow and control the amount of time allotted to each case that comes through her firm. She hopes to continue to provide the same mentorship and guidance to AJMLS students she had received throughout her law school journey.
Congratulations on all that you have accomplished Jennifer! We look forward to celebrating your continued success.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumnus, Burl Finkelstein, was recently featured in the Daily Report on Law.com. The article, Georgia GC Discusses White House Meeting With Trade Officials, was featured in the April 15th edition as a full story on p. 5. You can also find the article online here.
The article is a worthy read that goes into detail on the Coalition of a Prosperous America annual trade conference at the White House. One person in particular that attended this event was Finkelstein, who later went on to speak with Corporate Counsel on his history with the coalition and his biggest takeaways from the event. This conversation included Finkelstein’s take on what attracted him to the coalition, the industries represented at the conference, conversation highlights, discussions on tariffs, and his biggest revelation during the meeting.* In this article, Finkelstein does a great job at providing an insider’s insight to the conference and conveying overall messages.
When asked about his involvement, Finkelstein mentioned that:
“Being a lawyer made many differences in my life and effectives in business. My legal training and business background helped me understand trade law so I could meaningfully engage the policy makers.”
Finkelstein attended AJMLS in the part-time evening program and graduated in 2005. He passed the bar on his first try that following July. Currently, he is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Kason Industries Inc. Congratulations on all that you have accomplished in your career thus far and all that you are set to accomplish in the future!
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) 2016 alumna, Antonette Igbenoba, recently accepted a position at Ernst & Young (EY) with a focus in data privacy, an area of law she is most passionate about.
After receiving her Theatre B.A. from Penn State University, Igbenoba began the next journey towards her career: law school. Her degree along with her passion for public service helped drive her towards attending AJMLS. While at AJMLS, Igbenoba became actively involved in her courses and extracurricular activities. Outside of classes, she taught Sunday school to elementary kids, did community service projects at Atlanta Mission through the Christian Legal Society, and was a member of the Black Law Students Association. In addition to her volunteer work, she actively networked with data privacy professionals in order to learn more about the industry and how she could excel in her career. Igbenoba obtained an externship with a technology law firm where she was exposed to new legal experiences and, as a result, fell in love with the data privacy and cybersecurity law industry.
“My favorite part about the job and data privacy law is the creativity that my position allows,” said Igbenoba. “Data privacy in many ways reminds me of art, it is flexible and there is always new technology being created and new challenges to step-up to.”
After taking the bar, she took a leap and founded her own data privacy and security consulting firm called “The Privacy Source LLC.” Here, she was able to gain hands-on experience building data privacy programs for startup eCommerce businesses and helping them comply with necessary data privacy laws.
After several months of building up her portfolio through her firm, Igbenoba applied for a position with EY’s Cybersecurity Practice and, following a lengthy interview process, was offered the job. Through all of the hard work and dedication put towards an industry she is passionate about, Igbenoba is now able to develop new processes and procedures for EY’s clients in order to help them comply with data privacy laws. She is also able to utilize her knowledge of the industry and help shape the future.
“Privacy is amazing because America has no federal privacy law (in America we have a sectoral approach to privacy e.g. HIPPA applies to Healthcare data matters),” said Igbenoba. “Congress is currently in the process of brain-storming a federal privacy law, so the government frequently has public sessions and inquires to get input from data privacy professionals, in essence, I have a route available to help craft beneficial and necessary policy!”
Outside of work, Igbenoba finds herself staying busy by getting involved with her community. Currently, she is a Civic Fellow with Hands on Atlanta where she leads a service project that works to combat food insecurity in the Atlanta area. (For more information on her upcoming events, visit the website here)
When asked if she had any advice for aspiring attorneys, Igbenoba gave two points to those chasing their dreams. The first is to, “Do what sets your heart on fire. Go exactly after your passion, what makes you happy, or what brings you fulfillment.” The second is, “Focus on yourself! This is your unique life and your unique journey! Everyone’s path differs, if you’re too focused on getting the approval, thumbs up, or support from others, you’re wasting your time.”
The Law School is incredibly proud of Antonette’s dedication to the community and we look forward to celebrating her continued success.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Vincent A. Lotti, Class of 2010, for his recent appointment as a Henry County magistrate judge. At the Law School, Lotti served as both a Peer Mentor and a Student Ambassador, and was a three time Dean’s Award recipient.
Judge Lotti is a lifelong resident of Henry County, graduated from Union County High School, and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from The University of Georgia. After graduating from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Lotti entered private practice and founded his own practice representing clients in both civil and criminal cases.*
The Law School is incredibly proud of Judge Lotti’s drive and service to the community and we look forward to celebrating his continued success.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School hosted a mass swearing-in ceremony for its recent graduates and alumni on November 29, 2018 at the Blackburn Conference Center. The Law School was honored by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Georgia Supreme Court and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court. Thank you to all who participated and congratulations to all the graduates!
Images from the event may be viewed here or at the Facebook post below. Be sure to follow the Law School page for other updates and images around campus!
On Tuesday, November 20, 2018, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Alumnus and U.S. Air Force Veteran, William J. (Billy) Black III, was sworn into the practice of law by DeKalb County Superior Court Judge and U.S. District Court Nominee Hon. J.P. Boulee. The ceremony took place in Pershing Point Park, across West Peachtree Street from the Law School. Mr. Black’s mother, wife, sister, niece, and nephew attended. Honored guests included Mr. Richard H. Deane, Jr., managing partner of Jones Day’s Atlanta Office, and a major force in renovating the park which honors Fulton County residents who lost their lives in World War I.
In Billy’s words:
My swearing-in at Pershing Point was so much more than a ceremonial formality or personal celebration for passing the bar. I chose the Park’s World War I monument as the location because I researched its complicated racial history while in law school. The monument contains a memorial ledger of soldiers killed in WWI from Fulton County. The list segregates its black soldiers by listing them at the bottom right corner of the memorial ledger underneath an inscription etched in stone: “NEGROES.” The monument lay neglected for nearly 100 years until 2014 when a young associate attorney at Jones Day, J.P. Boulee, and now a U.S. District Court Judge Nominee, led a firm wide effort to revitalize the monument and park. Also present was Richard (Rick) Deane, former U.S. Attorney and managing partner at Jones Day, who devoted a substantial effort to ensure the park was maintained and preserved in the future. I had the chance to interview Rick while researching my article. Both he and Judge Boulee were instrumental in my understanding of the monument and how they approached its complicated history when they sought to clean up Pershing Point. I expand on this understanding in my article and also present the black soldiers’ military service history following its trail throughout their time in Europe. It also suggests a judicial framework for approaching cases involving the removal of veterans monuments from public land.To me, my swearing-in celebrated the intersection of our shared histories spanning 100 years from a time when society was nearly destroyed by racial animus to now, when a few Veteran lawyers from diverse backgrounds could finally be the voice for those who were segregated even in death and possibly reconcile a new understanding of how far we’ve come from then to now. As a Veteran, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to pledge my oath as an attorney than to do so while standing next to my fallen brothers and raising my right hand like we all did as soldiers.
Mr. Black, who served as Editor-in-Chief of Volume 11 of the John Marshall Law Journal, researched and published an article on the history and interpretations of the imposing monument erected in that Park in 1920 by the War Mothers of Fulton County. See William J. Black, A Higher Loyalty To Their Ultimate Sacrifice: Segregated Black War Casualties And Society’s Monumental Mistake, 11 John Marshall Law Journal 34 (2018).
During his tenure as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Journal, Black led the effort that produced the well-received and highly successful 2017 Symposium & CLE Event on Veterans’ Issues and the Law. Judge Boulee was one of the featured speakers at that event, where he discussed the concept of accountability courts for veterans as an alternative to traditional adjudication.
Mr. Black is now working as a cybersecurity software engineer at Equifax and pursuing a Master of Laws in Securities and Financial Regulation at Georgetown University Law Center. He also volunteers as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Cobb County under the supervision of Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Mike Carlson, primarily on gang related criminal appeals.
He is hoping to explore an attorney career in cybersecurity, government investigations and special matters, and working directly with corporate or government clients advising their application development teams, data protection officers, and cybersecurity engineers on IT Security Risks, databreach management, regulatory responses, and deploying secure development practices that comport with federal, state, and international cybersecurity laws.
The Law School is incredibly proud of Billy’s research and service, and we look forward to celebrating his continued success.
The Atlanta Bar Association is hosting their 11th Annual Celebrating Service Luncheon today at the Commerce Club. The luncheon is a celebration honoring legal professionals who have made significant impacts on our community through their dedication to public service.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan A. Rapping, is delivering the keynote address. Rapping will talk about the important role that lawyers play in addressing some of society’s most pressing problems and inspire the audience to find ways to take on these challenges. In addition to his roles at AJMLS, Professor Rapping serves as the President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, is a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University Law School, and is a frequent presenter and contributor to national conversations on criminal justice reform. Rapping is also the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.
Among the honorees of today’s luncheon are two outstanding AJMLS alumna: Alpa Amin, Class of 2010, and Vanessa Kosky, Class of 2005. Alpa Amin is the recipient of the Public Interest Law Section Rita A. Sheffey Public Interest Award. Amin graduated from AJMLS in 2010 and is the Director of Legal Services at the Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network (GAIN). Vanessa Kosky is the recipient of the Guardian ad Litem of the Year Award. Kosky graduated from AJMLS in 2005 and is a sole practitioner of The Law Office of Vanessa Kosky, P.C.
Thank you to our AJMLS community and to all the honorees at today’s luncheon for your dedication to public service.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumna, Fallon McClure, currently serves as the Georgia State Director for Spread the Vote. McClure graduated from AJMLS in 2014, and her path to Spread the Vote is an inspiring one to share.
After graduating from Georgia State University with a B.A. in History, McClure started in public service on the other end of the 911 line working as an Emergency Communications Officer for Cobb County. Inspired by family to pursue legal education, McClure enrolled in law school out-of-state. Soon after, she felt called back to family and began her full-time career as a paralegal in Atlanta.
McClure transferred to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and completed her J.D. studies in the part-time evening program at AJMLS while maintaining her full-time job as a paralegal during the day and also starting a family. Through both the on-campus Career Development Office and the Office of Experiential Learning, McClure completed an internship in private practice and also an externship at a District Attorney’s office in Atlanta.
After graduation, McClure began working at the ACLU of Georgia as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director and then later became the Policy Advocate. Working at the ACLU allowed her to help organize and empower communities with the tools to advocate for themselves, and in doing so, helped her define that community outreach was her passion.
McClure transitioned to become the Georgia State Director for Spread the Vote where she has been able to help bring immediate change to Georgia communities while also maintaining a caseload of criminal defense cases. The mission of Spread the Vote is to help obtain government-issued photo IDs for eligible voters. They are building a scale-able and sustainable way to help voters get the IDs they need for job, housing, voting, and healthcare needs.* Spread the Vote is actively expanding and currently has state chapters in Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, and Georgia chapters in Athens, Atlanta, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Henry County, South Cobb/Paulding Counties, Albany, Gwinnett County, Rome, Columbus, and Macon.
The Law School is incredibly proud of Fallon’s dedication to her education and service to communities in Georgia and we look forward to celebrating her continued success.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Jim Jenkins, Class of 2009; Daniel Justus, Class of 2014; and Chinny Law, Class of 2014 for their recent acceptance to the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) LEAD (Leadership Education and Advanced Direction) Program for 2018-2019.
The GTLA LEAD Program was founded in 2013 for the purpose of educating GTLA’s youngest and newest members on both the benefits and the expectations of membership, building strong relationships between young promising trial lawyers from all four corners of our state as well as diverse trial practice areas, and ultimately to better prepare tomorrow’s leaders today.*
Jim Jenkins, Class of 2009
While at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Jenkins was a seven-time Dean’s Award recipient. From August of 2009 until August of 2010, Jenkins was the law clerk/staff attorney for the Superior Courts of the Northern Judicial Circuit, primarily working with Chief Judge John H. Bailey, Jr. Following his clerkship, Jenkins practiced law with his father, at Jenkins Law, LLC, in a general law practice primarily consisting of domestic relations, personal injury, criminal defense, contract litigation, estate matters, corporate law, and real estate law. He spent a great deal of time in the courtroom litigating all types of cases. Additionally, Jenkins is a registered neutral and has mediated many cases privately and for the 10th District Alternative Dispute Resolution program, ranging from personal injury to divorce and custody lawsuits.**
Daniel Justus, Class of 2014
While at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Justus served as Executive Chairman of the Trial Advocacy Team and Executive Vice-Chairman of the Moot Court Honor Board. During his tenure with these organizations, Justus was a member of five national law school trial competition teams including Atlanta’s John Marshall’s first ever Georgia Intrastate Championship team, defeating the twelve time defending champion, University of Georgia. Additionally, he received the Southern Illinois Invitational Best Witness Examination Award and was the recipient of Atlanta’s John Marshall’s 2014 Excellence in Trial Advocacy Award. In 2017, Justus was honored by the American Institute of Legal Advocates as a “Personal Injury Rising Star” and by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys as one of the 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys for Client Satisfaction.***
Chinny Law, Class of 2014
While at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Law graduated in the top twenty percent of her class. She has tried and appealed cases before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and has participated in successful mediation settlement conferences. Furthermore, she has written appellate briefs and delivered oral arguments before the Board’s Appellate Division. Law is the recipient of the 2018 Ingrid Rosenthal Leadership Scholarship, which is given by the Workers Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), a national organization dedicated to representing the interests of injured workers and their families. Law is also a graduate of the Georgia Bar’s prestigious Young Lawyers Division Leadership Academy and recipient of the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers Foundation Scholarship.****
The Law School is proud of its alumni and we look forward to following their careers!
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Ethan Pham, Class of 2013, for his recent appointment as associate municipal judge in Morrow, Georgia. Pham was unanimously appointed by Morrow City Council at its July 24 meeting and sworn in today, August 14, 2018.
Pham is part of a very exclusive club: he is the third Vietnamese-American judge in Georgia, the first appointed Vietnamese-American judge in Georgia, the first Asian-American judge in Clayton County, and the first immigrant Vietnamese-American judge in Georgia.*
Pham earned a dual bachelor’s degree in Biology and Business Administration with a minor in chemistry. After completing his undergraduate studies, he worked as a tax software developer and dabbled in entrepreneurship via acquisition of a poultry operation. Prior to co-founding Nguyen & Pham, LLC, Pham worked as an assistant city attorney for a private law firm practicing local government law and serving public entities.** Recently, he came in third in this year’s U.S. House District 7 Democratic primary election.
The Law School is incredibly proud of Judge Pham’s drive and service to the community and we look forward to celebrating his continued success.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is thrilled to congratulate Erik Provitt, Class of 2016, for his recent acceptance into the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Fellows Program.
The ABA Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Fellows Program encourages the active involvement and participation of young lawyers in Section activities. The goal of the program is to give young lawyers an opportunity to become involved in the substantive work of the Section, while developing into future leaders.*
The Law School is incredibly proud of Erik’s work in the community and we look forward to celebrating his continued success.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumna, Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert, has been named “Best Social Mediator” by the Daily Report. The “Best Social Mediator” category of the Daily Report Professional Excellence awards is designed to honor an attorney with a social media account that educates and, responsibly, entertains lawyers about the practice and the community.* The Daily Report is the leading legal publication of metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. It provides vigorously researched and purposefully presented news and intelligence that has wide-ranging implications for legal practice in the South.**
Gore-Cuthbert is a Class of 2012 graduate of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where she was very active in the AJMLS community. She even served as President of the Student Bar Association her 3L year. Following graduation, she founded Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group. There she is committed to building a close working relationship with her clients to provide quality, compassionate, and efficient legal representation. Her areas of practice include: auto collisions; victims hit by drunk drivers; motorcycle collisions; trucking collisions; wrongful death; and slip and fall.
Congratulations on this distinguished honor, Jennifer! We look forward to watching your legal practice grow and continue to enrich the Atlanta community.
Class of 2016 Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumnus, Erik Provitt, has been selected as a Georgia Housing Corps Fellow (GHC). GHC is a new Fellowship program designed to address the barriers to housing stability in rural and urban communities in Georgia. GHC is being launched by Equal Justice Works. Equal Justice Works is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization committed to mobilizing the next generation of public interest attorneys.*
Founded by law students in 1986, Equal Justice Works is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. To this end, Equal Justice Works creates opportunities for law students and lawyers that provide the training and skills that enable them to provide effective representation to underserved communities and causes. The Equal Justice Works Fellowships programs fund hundreds of public interest attorneys each year to close the justice gap on issues such as foreclosure, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, homelessness, access to healthcare, and domestic violence.
Erik is a staff attorney with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF)’s Standing with Our Neighbors Program. The Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation was created in 1979 through the joint efforts of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Atlanta Bar Association, the Atlanta Council of Younger Lawyers, and the Gate City Bar Association. AVLF is the largest provider of pro bono legal services in Greater Atlanta.*** At AVLF, Erik specifically focuses on housing issues in neighborhoods on Atlanta’s Westside.
Sponsored by the Georgia Bar Foundation, eleven Fellows and seven community advocates have been selected to join Georgia Housing Corps. GHC will provide a combination of services including client representation on housing and housing-related issues, community outreach and education to community members and property owners, and advocacy to remove systemic barriers to housing at the local and statewide levels.
Congratulations on your selection, Erik! The AJMLS community is proud of the work that you are doing right here in Atlanta. We look forward to continuing to watch your career thrive.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumna Margaret Spencer was recently sworn in as a judge in the State Court of the Clayton Judicial Circuit. The State Court is composed of five Judges, all of which are elected by the citizens of Clayton County and serve four year terms. Prior to Spencer’s judgeship, she served as the Senior Assistant Solicitor within the Clayton County Solicitor General’s Office.
Spencer spent her first few years out of college as a probation officer before enrolling at AJMLS with the goal of becoming a prosecutor following graduation. She reports that when she made the decision to begin her legal education at AJMLS, it was her 10-year plan to become a judge. Eleven years later, she was sworn in by Governor Nathan Deal to preside within the State Court. “She is looking forward to the opportunity to take the next step in her service to Clayton County and its citizens.”*
What an amazing testimony to setting goals, working hard, and following your dreams. AJMLS is so grateful that we were a part of your story and a stepping stone to this prestigious new position. Congratulations, Judge Spencer! This is a great honor following an impressive career thus far. We know you’ll continue to do admirable work from the bench!
*Taken from the Clayton News-Daily.com.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumnus, Brandon E. Campbell, has been recently featured in Forbes. The article, Meet The 29-Year-Old Attorney On A Mission To Redefine Global Citizenship, was digitally published in Forbes Entrepreneurs Under 30.
The article is a worthy read that describes Campbell’s background, education, and early career that propelled him to apply and be accepted in to the Remote Year program. Remote Year brings together inspiring communities of 50-80 freelancers, entrepreneurs, and professionals for a year-long journey to work, travel, and live in 12 different cities throughout the world.* Campbell had the forward-thinking vision to turn his truly unique yearlong international journey, entitled “Extended Family,” in to an experiment that he is readily sharing with those following along on social media. The photographs and videos he is sharing depict the people and experiences he is having along the way.
Campbell self-describes this journey as one that” promotes intercultural exchange and empathy in an effort to uncover what unites us all.”* Additional information about Campbell’s journey can be found on Blavity and The Huffington Post. Congratulations on all that you have accomplished in your career thus far, Brandon, and all that you are set to accomplish in the future. We cannot wait to continue watching this journey unfold!
*From Remote Year.
*From The Huffington Post.
The American Institute of Legal Counsel (“AIOCLA”) recently named 2012 AJMLS alumna, Holly Waltman, with the prestigious 10 Best Attorney Award. AIOCLA is an impartial third-party attorney rating organization comprised of 13 divisions. AIOCLA recognizes excellence of fellow practitioners in the field.*
During law school, Ms. Waltman earned internships practicing both criminal defense and prosecution. At graduation, she was recognized with The Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears award for highest overall pro bono hours. After graduation, Ms. Waltman worked as a public defender in the State Court of Henry County. She is a graduate of The Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorney’s-Bill Daniels Trial Advocacy Program, where she was trained by 25 of the nations top trial attorneys. Currently, she is a Partner at The Law Ladies, an Atlanta based firm specializing in criminal defense and personal injury.
Ms. Waltman will be serving as the guest speaker for the Alpha Phi Sigma induction ceremony at Kennesaw State University on Friday, April 14th at 6:00 p.m. Members of Alpha Phi Sigma at Kennesaw State University are at the top of their class in criminal justice.
Congratulations on your accomplishments, Holly! We can’t wait to see where your success takes you from here.
*Taken from the AIOCLA website.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) graduate and 2001 alumnus, Honorable Josh W. Thacker, was elected last June to serve as a State Court Judge in Spalding County, Georgia. He assumed office on January 1, 2017. Judge Thacker credits an externship that he held in the Spalding County District Attorney’s office, while he was a student at Atlanta’s John Marshall, as launching his career. Following graduation from AJMLS, he served as an Assistant District Attorney before transitioning to practicing criminal defense and ultimately to serving as a State Court Judge today. He tried hundreds of cases before he took office at the beginning of this year.
Only a few shorts weeks in to his tenure on the bench, he ruled the social media sharing platform, Snapchat, immune from distracted driver claims. An attorney for Snapchat told The Associated Press in an emailed statement that the “the judge’s ruling in this case is precedent setting for the entire mobile app and product industry.”*
Many congratulations on your accomplishments thus far, Judge Thacker! We will continue to enjoy watching your career successes.
*Taken from the Daily Report.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumna and Georgia Women’s Policy Institute Fellow, Sheronn Harris, recently co-authored a bill with a local judge and fellow member of the legal community. Ms. Harris is a Georgia attorney and the owner of The Harris Firm, P.C. The Georgia Women’s Policy Institute is the signature advocacy program of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta.
Harris co-authored the bill last December. Protocol dictates that proposed bills go through the General Assembly attorneys office to rewrite in their format and vet for constitutionality. Two somewhat similar versions of the bill co-written by Harris emerged in the Georgia House and Georgia Senate. Additionally, Harris was able to testify before the Georgia Senate Finance Committee on one of the versions of the tax reform bill. Ms. Harris wrote an article for Georgia Work Credit that does a great job explaining the purpose of the proposed tax reform. You are encouraged to read the article here.
AJMLS is proud of your accomplishments, Sheronn! We look forward to celebrating your future successes.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumnus, Alpa Amin, was recently named one of Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40.The 2016 Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 represent a plethora of professions. The 40 selected were chosen from nominations made by readers of Georgia Trend throughout the state and the final selections were made by the editorial staff.
Ms. Amin is the Lead Attorney for the Victims of Violence Project at the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network. In her role of Lead Attorney, Ms. Amin recruits, trains and mentors volunteer attorneys from the Atlanta legal community and provides direct representation to immigrant victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault who need assistance with filing T-visas, U-visas, and VAWA Self-Petitions/Battered Spouse Waivers. She works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement and is a frequent guest speaker on issues surrounding vulnerable immigrant communities.
This is quite an impressive accomplishment, Alpa, but so well deserved. Thank you for all that you do for our community.
Alumna and 2012 graduate Janie Parks Varnell currently practices as a criminal defense attorney with the firm Davis & Hoss in Chattanooga, TN. Varnell represents individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court. Notably, Varnell was recently featured in an Editorial in the Hamilton County Herald. The article focused on Varnell’s belief that her education taught her how to practice law.
While a student, Varnell took advantage of all that AJMLS had to offer and made the most of her legal education. She emphasizes that she did not just learn about the law, but more importantly she learned how to practice it. In particular, Varnell reported that Professor Mears took her under his wing during her time at AJMLS and spent a substantial amount of time explaining the ins and outs of practicing law to her. The Editorial reports that Varnell will always be indebted to Professor Mears because he took the time to explain to her how to be a lawyer.
Varnell is a member of the 2015 graduating class of Leadership Chattanooga. More information can be found on Varnell by visiting the Davis & Hoss website here. Best of luck to Janie on her future endeavors and congratulations on her numerous post-graduate accomplishments thus far.
Atlanta’s John Marshall alumnus and 2000 class valedictorian, Adam Malone, was recently made a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. The International Academy of Trial Lawyers is a group of truly elite trial lawyers representing both sides of the Bar. The Academy limits fellowship to only 500 active trial lawyers under the age of 70. Malone’s admission to such a small group of super lawyers is an immense honor and a testament to his illustrious career thus far.
Malone was also recently awarded the 2016 Mel Award from the Melvin M. Belli Society. The Melvin M. Belli Society was founded in 1981 based on the idea that within the American Trial Lawyers Association there should be a group of lawyers who had distinguished themselves as trial lawyers and who were dedicated to the principles of education on an international basis. The Mel Award is an award given in the spirit of Mel Belli to an attorney who is innovative and who has made a significant contribution to the practice of trial law in America. To be the 2016 recipient is an esteemed honor.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna and 2011 graduate, Heather Riggs, was recently named Co-Editor of The YLD Review. The YLD is the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division’s newsletter.
Riggs is the owner of MindMeld Marketing in Atlanta. MindMeld Marketing concentrates on providing assistance to clients with website content, blogging and social media. Riggs’ client base focuses on creating digital marketing plans for lawyers and law firms. Riggs started MindMeld Marketing following starting her own successful adoption law practice.
Riggs has previously served in many positions before within the American Bar Association YLD and the Georgia YLD. She is also a member of the YLD Leadership Academy Class of 2015. Congratulations, Heather!
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and 2008 graduate, David Willingham, successfully argued a reversal in front of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in Zilke v. Georgia on June 20, 2016.
Willingham’s client, Bajrodin Zilke, was charged with two counts of driving under the influence and several traffic violations by a POST-certified police officer employed by Kennesaw State University. Notably, the traffic stop did not occur on or near KSU property. Willingham moved to suppress evidence of a breath test on the grounds that the KSU police officer lacked jurisdiction to arrest his client. The trial court granted the motion. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision.
The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision and granted Willingham’s Motion to Suppress. This effectively reversed the Georgia Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Glazner v. State and all subsequent rulings based on Glazner.
This was a huge victory for Willingham and his client. Congratulations, David!
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and 2008 graduate, Dustin Hightower, was recently sworn in to serve as a superior court judge in the Coweta Judicial Circuit. Hightower’s current seat was made vacant when Judge A. Quillian Baldwin, Jr. retired from the court earlier this year. On May 26, 2016, Governor Nathan Deal administered Hightower’s oath.
Hightower formerly represented the 68th district in the Georgia House of Representatives. He also served as a named partner at the firm Miller and Hightower, Attorneys at Law.
Congratulations, Dustin! We know you will continue to represent AJMLS well from the bench.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and 2000 class valedictorian, Adam Malone, has been recognized by his peers and named Georgia’s 2016 Lawyer of the Year for Medical Malpractice Law – Plantiffs by Best Lawyers. Malone, a Partner at Malone Law, was also featured as a cover story, Rising to the Top, for the current issue of Best Lawyers magazine.
“Lawyer of the Year” recognitions are awarded to attorneys with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic location. Only one lawyer is recognized annually for each specialty and location.
After graduating from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Malone clerked for the Honorable G. Alan Blackburn of the Georgia Court of Appeals and was a prosecutor in the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office before joining his father in the practice of law. Malone also currently serves Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School on the Board of Directors.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates its December 2015 graduates. Happy holidays!
Jacques Alpacino Barker
Chantiel Denise Bell
Anthony W Berry
Audra Braswell Bleecker
Michael Allen Bodiford
Shalena Mary Broadbelt
Garrett Michael Emmons
Carl Von Epps III
Robert Mason Frisbie
Corey Dwayne Givens
Noor Elizabeth Janho
Paul Christopher Kunst
Jennifer Marie McLaughlin
Kelly Leigh Morton
Joseph Grady Nickel Jr
Brandy L Porter
Amber Holly Reed
Alyssa Marie Sawicki
David Morris Schlachter
Shana Leinaala Scott
Audrey Antoinette Simmons
Gina Renee’ Billingsley Smith
Tangelita Quiimaii Taylor
Adrienne Leigh Thornton
LeAnna Gail Wade
Corey DuWayne Woods
Jeremy A Yakle
On Monday, November 30, 2015, Dean Malcolm L. Morris sponsored eight AJMLS alumni and two guests to be sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court (Court). In order 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: Ginger Arnold (’11), David Blackburn and his daughter, alumni Lara Blackburn Carillo (’12), Jesse Kent (’09), Prof. Stacey Mitchener, Terrye Nash (’10), Hon. Ronald Ramsey, Sr. (’92), Heather Riggs (’11), Joshua Smith (’00), and Margaret Spencer (’05.)
The evening before the swearing in, everyone enjoyed a wonderful evening with their family and friends at a reception hosted by the Alumni Office at the esteemed Willard Hotel. They dined on delicious hand-passed hors d’oeuvres and sipped on refreshments from the bar. It was a lovely event in the beautifully decorated room called “The Nest.”
On the day of the swearing in, the soon-to-be admittees had breakfast with their guests in the East Conference room of the Court. It was a wonderful photo opportunity as a large picture of former Chief Justice John Marshall hangs over the mantel of the fireplace. After breakfast, the Clerk of the Court escorts the guests into the courtroom and the attorneys are ushered in just before the Court begins its session. After being sworn in by the Clerk of the Court, the newly admitted attorneys and guests remained in the courtroom to watch the first oral argument. Needless to say, they were happy they weren’t presenting a case that day!
Despite the rain on the morning of the swearing in, everyone enjoyed beautiful weather in Washington, D.C. and had a once in a lifetime experience. It is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss!
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Alumni, Michael Puglise (’93) and Brooke Puglise (’14) of Puglise Law Firm, are featured in today’s Daily Report.
The article, Suit: UGA Cop Fired for Following ‘Amnesty Law’ for Overdose Calls, details their representation of Jay Park, the former University of Georgia police officer who filed suit in Fulton County last week.
Read the full article featuring the AJMLS alumni duo here: Suit: UGA Cop Fired for Following ‘Amnesty Law’ for Overdose Calls
The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association has announced that John Marshall Law School Alumni Thomas Lyman of the Mulholland Law Firm and Kyle Moore with the Lazenby Law Group have been selected for the 2015-2016 Leadership Education & Advanced Direction (LEAD) Program. Now entering its third year, the widely-acclaimed LEAD Program serves to train and equip GTLA members who have been identified as potential leaders in the Association with the necessary tools to take the next steps in their legal careers, both in and out of the courtroom.
In order to qualify, applicants must have less than 10 years of legal practice experience or be 35 years of age or younger. After an exhaustive application review and selection process, at total of 16 attorneys were chosen to participate in the 2015-2016 GTLA LEAD Program.
“For three years now, the GTLA LEAD Program has helped identify many of the best and brightest young lawyers in our state and prepare them for long and successful careers as leaders in the courtroom, their communities and our Association. I am proud to see that tradition continue with the selection of this year’s class,” remarked Darren Penn, President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. “The qualifications of this year’s applicants were remarkable, and I am eager to work alongside this outstanding group of young leaders throughout this year’s program and for many years to come.”
The 2015-2016 LEAD Program will consist of six sessions, and begins on November 20-21 in Athens, Georgia. The program concludes with graduation at the GTLA Annual Convention & President’s Gala in Atlanta on April 28-29, 2016. Sessions will also take place in Savannah and Macon, as well as at the State Capitol and the Georgia Judicial Building.
“As graduates of the GTLA LEAD Program, we have seen first-hand the profound and lasting effects that the program can have on members’ legal careers,” continued LEAD Program Co-Chairs Jennifer Coalson and Yvonne Godfrey. “The stellar qualifications, diversity of experience and impressive professional backgrounds of this year’s applicants not only made the selection process quite difficult, but also reassured us that this program will continue to thrive for many years to come. With rising stars like Thomas and Kyle climbing the ranks of GTLA, the future of our Association is brighter than ever.”
About GTLA: Founded in 1956, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Georgia’s Civil Justice System and protecting Georgia citizens’ Constitutional Right to Trial by Jury.
Original Press Release provided by Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. Media Contact: Chris Kelleher (770) 355-6052.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Alumnus, David Lee Windecher (’12), has chronicled his extraordinary life journey of going from defendant to defense attorney in his soon to be released book* “AmerIcan Dream: HisStory in the Making”. He hopes to utilize his personal story to inspire others to overcome challenges and pursue their dreams.
“John Marshall gave me an opportunity to redefine my life,” said David. “They believed in me. JMLS gave a poor kid from the hood an opportunity to engage his passion and realize his American dream.”
David Lee Windecher became a leader of his class at John Marshall Law School. Windecher was elected President of the Sports and Entertainment Society and was voted Peer Mentor of the Year in 2011.
Today, David Lee Windecher is a practicing criminal defense attorney at Atlanta firm Arora & LaScala and the founder of RED, Inc. (Rehabilitation Enables Dreams), a non-profit organization which sponsors GED programs for young juveniles that are facing non-violent criminal charges who are capable of rehabilitation through an education. RED, Inc.’s mission is to decrease recidivism and increase literacy amongst America’s youth.
“My career, my success… John Marshall was instrumental in it all,” said David.
Congratulations, David!*A book release party is planned for Thursday, May 21, 2015 in Buckhead. For more details email: email@example.com.
As printed by AJC.com on May 11, 2015:
Chief Judge Gerald Alan Blackburn, 76, of Marietta, died on May 9, 2015. He was born May 6, 1939 in East Bend, North Carolina. After serving four years on active duty in the United States Air Force, returned to Atlanta and entered John Marshall Law School and later received his LLM degree from the Virginia School of Law. He engaged in the private practice for twenty years and served as Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia Department of Medical Assistance, before being elected to the Court of Appeals in 1992. He was a member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Georgia Association of Administrative Law Judges; the American Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, and the Cobb County Bar Association. He served as chairman of the Cobb County Salvation Army Advisory Board; chairman of the Board of Directors of New Horizons Ministries and served on the Board of Directors of the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse- Ga Chapter. Survivors include his wife, Linda Blackburn and their four children, Daughters, Jennifer (Ralph) Alewine, Merideth (Dylan) Manning, Elizabeth (Evan) Watkins; Son, Christopher Blackburn; and Grandchild, Ward Manning. Other surviving daughters include, Susan Winger, Jackie Carver, Sandra Blackburn and their families. The funeral will be at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church on May 13, 2015 at 11 am with a reception following the service. Interment will be at 1:30 pm in Arlington Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumni Association/ Judge Blackburn Scholarship 1422 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta Ga 30309, where a building has been named in his honor. Sandy Springs Chapel is overseeing the arrangements.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumna, Sherri Jefferson (’95), was recently award the Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority (FDHA) Champions Chairman Award, as well as the 11Alive Community Service Award in 2014.
On Sunday, December 7th, the Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority hosted its healthcare champions’ awards ceremony at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. It was the third year for the event and more than 200 people attended. Jefferson received recognition for founding the African American Juvenile Project. Her acceptance speech may be viewed here.
Additionally, Jefferson received the 11Alive Community Service Award in May 2014. Her acceptance speech may be viewed here.
Tiffany Jones Ellenberg, ’98, was recently sworn in to the Governor’s Indigent Advisory Panel by Governor Nathan Deal. This special committee monitors the progress and funding for Georgia’s Public Defender Standards Council and works in conjunction with the Advisory Committee on Legislation, the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors to provide advice, expertise and advocacy on behalf of systemic reform designed to satisfy the State’s constitutional obligation to provide adequate counsel for indigent persons accused of crime.
While serving on the committee, Ms. Ellenberg will maintain her private law practice in Madison, Georgia, where she handles primarily litigation cases.
LL.M. in Employment Law alumna Christina Harris Schwinn has been published in the Northeastern University Law Journal. The article was adopted from Schwinn’s LL.M. thesis. The article on overtime compensation authored by the Pavese Law Firm partner is titled, “Half-Time or Time and One-Half? Recent Developments Deprive Employees of their Rightful Overtime Compensation Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” The article discusses the legislative history and the applicable statutory provisions and regulations, as well as analyzes the Seventh Circuits holding in the *Urnikis-Negro *decision. The case involved the payment of overtime compensation based upon half-time to the plaintiff essentially retroactive in an exempt misclassification case under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C.
Schwinn’s asserts that the application of the fluctuating workweek methodology of paying the overtime in a misclassification case is improper, and is not authorized under the FLSA, its regulations, interpretive bulletins or under the United States Supreme Court’s holding in *Overnight Motor Transp. Co., Inc. v. Missel*, 316 U.S. 572, 62 S.Ct. 1216 (1942).
“While much about business and employment has changed in the movement from the industrial age that existed in the 1930s to the technological age of today, the underlying purposes of the FLSA have not,” Schwinn concluded in the article. “Congress passed the FLSA to ensure that covered employees were paid the minimum wage, to ensure they were compensated for overtime work, and to encourage employers to hire new employees rather than working existing employees long hours.”
Schwinn received her second Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School on May 19. The LL.M. degree is an advanced law degree with a focus on a particular practice area. Schwinn’s second LL.M. is in Employment Law and her first LL.M. is in Real Property Land Development and Finance Law which she received from the University of Miami’s Graduate School of Law in 1991.
Schwinn’s primary practice areas are employment law, business transactions, community association law and real estate law. Schwinn is an accomplished public speaker and regularly writes articles that have been published both locally and nationally in a variety of publications. Schwinn is available to speak to local businesses and organizations on a variety of employment law topics and she can be reached at 239-336-6228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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In an article recently published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), both Collins and Rosen, along with several other law professors were given the opportunity to share their views on revamping the nation’s immigration system.
The article quotes Professor Rosen, who teaches Immigration Law at AJMLS, as saying; “This is the opportunity for the president through executive action, and (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorneys through prosecutorial discretion, to do the right thing. It is time for America to show the compassion and justice that are the foundations of this country.”
Prior to serving the 9th District of Georgia, Collins earned his law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School over his first term representing District 27 in the Georgia House of Representatives, and has also served the community as the senior pastor at Chicopee Baptist Church.
Prior to founding the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, Professor Rosen served more than 30 years with the U.S. government. For 20 of those years Joe was an FBI Special Agent and a U.S. Customs Special Agent. Rosen is an Adjunct Professor of Law at John Marshall Law School (teaching Immigration Law, Seminar: Asylum & Refugee Law), past President of the North Fulton Bar Association, a former contract legal instructor with the U.S. government, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
You may click here to view the article in its entirety.
The law school is pleased to announce that alumna, Tracee Benzo was named one of Atlanta Business League’s Top 100 Women of Influence for 2014. For years the Atlanta Business League has recognized African-American female business owners, professionals, community and civic leaders in Metropolitan Atlanta. In 1994, the organization began publishing its list of influential African-American women in hopes of educating and inspiring the next generation of female leaders.
The list reflects the names of black women in the metro Atlanta community who have reached senior level positions within their profession, are leading entrepreneurs in their industry or have attained the ability to influence large public bodies politically and in government.
Being named one of Atlanta Business League’s ‘top’ women of the year is a testament to Tracee Benzo’s dedication and service to the community she practices and lives in. Currently, Benzo is a partner at Hasner Law where she serves injured workers and accident victims across the state of Georgia. After graduating from the law school in 2008, Benzo became an active member of the John Marshall Law School Alumni Board and was one of two alumni to receive the school’s Distinguished Alumni award in 2014. She is also the President of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA).
Congratulations once again to Tracee Benzo for having her work recognized by the Atlanta Business League!
The law school is proud to announce that alumnus, Justin Angel, was elected and sworn in today as the Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee making him first circuit court judge to be elected from Bledsoe County, which is the smallest county in the district. At age 33, Angel was one of the youngest people to hold a trial judge post in Tennessee. He’s also the first Republican in three or four decades to hold a trial judge’s seat in the 12th Judicial District and the first to hail from Bledsoe County.
He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “I made no secret about my age. I think citizens everywhere I campaigned were excited about a fresh face, new blood and new ideas, and someone with youth, enthusiasm and passion.” To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website.
Congratulations to Justin Angel for this outstanding accomplishment and well-deserved honor. The law school looks forward to sharing your future achievements.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus, Desmond Humphrey and a panel of other legal professionals were interviewed by Atlanta Legal Experts Radio this morning to discuss driving under the influence (DUI) and the implications of being found guilty of a DUI. The interview also included an interesting debate discussing if individuals should take field sobriety tests and breathalyzers.
When asked if he thought criminals deserve second chances, Humphrey cited his strong religious beliefs and passion for criminal defense as his reasons why everyone deserves a second chance. “Jesus’ love for us qualifies us to receive second, third, and even fifth chances and for me to be able to help someone receive a second chance is why I practice criminal defense.”
Humphrey recently opened a criminal defense law firm named Humphrey Law & Associates, LLC which allows him to seek justice for clients from all walks of life. The Atlanta-based firm is committed to taking a problem-solving approach to the practice of law. Humphrey attributes a large part of his success to the education he received at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.
“John Marshall is truly a school that teaches you how to practice law in addition to learning the law. I have had a few cases that I was able to settle in favor of my clients due to the knowledge I received while in school,” said Humphrey.
In addition to opening his own firm, Humphrey partners with two fellow John Marshall alumni, Victoria Bridgman and Ashley Black, to work with a non-profit organization called Lawyer Up which focuses on educating the youth and the community at large about the law.
For more information on Desmond Humphrey, please visit his firm’s website. Congratulations to yet another John Marshall alumni on their post-graduate success.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert was recently interviewed on Atlanta Legal Experts Radio regarding personal injury law. Joined by Carol Allen, Amy Pierson, William Vincent, and Charlotte Merritt, Jennifer talked about making a name for herself fighting for her clients’ rights through her firm, The Gore Law Firm, LLC.; which specializes in personal injury, wrongful death, and diminished value cases, located in Alpharetta, Georgia.
During the radio interview, she discussed how to handle a collision caused by an uninsured and underinsured driver, how to find eye-witnesses after a collision, how eye-witnesses can sometimes make or break a case, and special scenarios in personal injury cases that can lead to punitive damages.
Jennifer graduated from John Marshall in 2012 and served as the Student Bar Association president in her 3L year. In addition to being in SBA while in law school, Jennifer was also a member of the AJMLS Chapter of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, was named a Peer Mentor of the Year, Outstanding Student of The Quarter, worked part time in the law library, and worked at a law firm specializing in personal injury. Jennifer credits John Marshall for having a significant impact on her legal career saying, “I am grateful for the opportunities that my legal education has given me.”
She is currently a member of The North Fulton Bar Association, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a board member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers as the Chair of The Communications Committee, and Leader of the “Working Moms Lunch.” Jennifer lives with her husband, Angus and their daughter Julia in Roswell, Georgia.
Congratulations to Jennifer on her numerous post-graduate accomplishments and memberships. The full audio of Jennifer’s interview with Atlanta Legal Experts Radio can be found on their website. For more information on Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert and her new firm can be found at The Gore Law Firm, LLC.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Tannyka Bent says her many activities keep her grounded in a recent interview with the Daily Report. Bent is an artist, who recently donated one of her paintings to be auctioned at the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts gala. She plays softball, kickball and flag football on local club teams, and is looking for a basketball team. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity many Saturdays and teaches Sunday school on Sundays. Tannyka Bent does all of these things in addition to being a transactional attorney for the State Road and Tollway Authority in Atlanta. Below are some highlights from Tannyka Bent’s interview with the Daily Report. For the full interview, visit their website.
With so many talents and interests, what got you into law?
I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. My mom has a good friend who is an attorney, and I interned with him when I finished Mercy College in New York. That clinched my decision. In law school, I loved transactional drafting and received the CALI award for having the highest grade in that class.
I like the law because there isn’t a black-and-white answer to anything. You can be creative in how you interpret it.
Where do you get inspiration?
It can be a natural scene, a painting I see or a color I like. Whenever I get an idea, I jot it down on little pieces of paper. My pockets, purse and wallet are filled with them. I like to let the ideas breathe a bit, and when I start to work the feelings will come.
For the abstract work that I call “Marley,” I used the bright colors that said Jamaica to me and lots of energy in the lines. I was born in the U.S., but my parents came from Jamaica, so it’s part of my heritage.
Is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity a physical outlet as well?
Yes, but it’s more than that. I started working with the Cobb County group two or three years ago. I went through the training to become a crew leader, so I’m often putting down the hammer to explain to five or six others how to put together a wall. Helping to build houses is fun and I’ve learned so much.
Do all these different activities affect your career in any way?
Yes, they keep me grounded. I’m very happy with the work I’m doing, but if all I did day after day was draft contracts, I’d worry about getting burned out. This way, I stay fresh. There’s always something new to do.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Amanda Farahany was featured in the Daily Report for the recent verdict handed down by an Atlanta judge who awarded more than $173,000 to Farahany and Severin Roberts who won a $6,097 verdict for their client in an unpaid overtime case.
In an order awarding Atlanta law firm Barrett & Farahany $173,300 in legal fees and expenses, U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. said that even though plaintiff Kelly Cain may have succeeded “in only a limited way,” she still prevailed on her only claim against her former employer, Almeco USA Inc., and persuaded the jury that the company’s violation of federal Fair Labor Standards Act was willful.
The jury’s finding that Lawrenceville-based Almeco Inc. willfully failed over the course of two years to pay overtime to Cain led Thrash to double the damages to $13,814 (including interest and other costs).
Attorneys Farahany and Roberts, who served as cocounsel for Cain, said the case —over claims that her bosses required her to work unpaid overtime —should never have gone to trial.
Farahany said, “Once you go to trial, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. I think Judge Thrash recognized that and told the company exactly what they should do in a situation when you’ve got $25,000 in overtime in a case. … The judge realized this was a case that shouldn’t have been tried.”
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and Alumni Board member, Lawrence Schlachter, M.D., J.D., has garnered headline recognition in the Daily Report for a major trial win for a medical malpractice plaintiff. According to the Daily Report, a Fulton County jury awarded more than $4.4 million to a man claiming permanent injuries when a bit of radioactive tracer solution leaked into his arm during a cardiology test at Piedmont Newnan Hospital. Along with Schlachter, the plaintiff was also represented by Lloyd Bell and Darren Summerville.
For more information on the article, “Jurors Hold Plaintiff’s Hand, Then Put $4.4M Into It” can be found on the Daily Report’s website.
Governor Nathan Deal recently named Suzanne Goddard, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, the new Solicitor General of Muscogee County. The vacancy was created by the appointment of the Hon. Benjamin Richardson as State Court judge of Muscogee County. Goddard’s appointment is effective upon swearing-in. Goddard has worked in the Office of the Solicitor-General since 1997 — the same year she earned her law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia. Congratulations on behalf of the entire John Marshall community.
On Monday, December 2, 2013, 7 AJMLS alumni and one professor were sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court. The alumni that were sworn in include: Alex Brown, Christopher Grubbs, Lisa Skinner, Alicia Mullice, Cameil Reddick, Lisa Guerra, Mark Zukowski, and Professor Renata Turner.
On December 1, 2013 an evening reception was held for the participants and their families at the esteemed Willard Hotel.
The trip to Washington D.C. to be sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court is an annual event that Dean Lynn takes with up to 12 alumni. If you would like more information on how to be a part of this amazing experience, please email Ginger Arnold at email@example.com.
The Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, founded by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School adjunct professor Joseph Rosen, recently opened an office in Lodz, Poland. The branch will be managed by recent John Marshall alumna and lawyer, Alina Sokol. Sokol graduated from the law school in May 2013 with an LL.M. in American Legal Studies. In her role, Sokol and the office will assist Polish citizens and businesses with issues surrounding U.S. immigration. Congratulations to Sokol on this accomplishment and to Professor Rosen on expanding his practice.
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Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Alumnus, Burl Finkelstein (’05), was recently featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle for his work outside the courtroom.
Finkelstein is an engineer-turned-lawyer and is the Vice President and General Counsel at Kason Industries. Outside the office, he spends his time building model rockets and the engines and propellant systems powering them.
He also is one of the supervisors for the NASA University Students Space Initiative, is a contractor for Pyrotecnico and travels the United States managing fireworks shows and attending rocket launch events.
You can read the full article here.
The Alumni Office will hold a mass swearing in ceremony for the July 2013 bar exam passers and any other AJMLS alumni who would like to be sworn into the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court of Georgia. We will be honored by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Supreme Court and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court. There will also be a representative from the Court of Appeals.
The ceremony will be held at 5:00 p.m. on November 13, 2013 at the G. Alan Blackburn Conference Center. After the ceremony there will be a reception with light hors d’oeuvres. Please plan to arrive at 4:00 p.m. to arrange the necessary paperwork.
In order to be sworn in to any or all of the courts, you must have ALL checks and paperwork into the Alumni Office no later than Tuesday, October 29, 2013.
Superior Court – For admission to the Superior Court, the Alumni Office will need the Original Certificate you receive from Bar Admissions.
Georgia Supreme Court – For the attorney admission form for the Supreme Court, please go to: http://www.gasupreme.us/admissions/ and complete the application. Very important – AJMLS will provide the sponsoring attorneys so please leave that portion blank. The cost to be sworn into the GA Supreme Court is $30 and must be paid through the website. Please attach a copy of your PayPal receipt with your application.
Court of Appeals – For the attorney admission form for the Court of Appeals, please go to: http://www.gaappeals.us/admission.php. The cost to be sworn into the Court of Appeals is $30 and checks are to be made payable to the Clerk of the Court of Appeals. Please send in your check and application to the Alumni Office.
Parking will be available in the AJMLS parking deck and other local decks.
For more information, please contact the Alumni Office at (404)872-3593 ##Ext. 287.
Alumna Heather Hale (’11) has published another article on the Litig8r Tech community website. You can read her article here: http://blog.litigatortechnology.com/2013/08/19/apps-for-law-practice-management-part-one/#more-6265
The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health announces Jemila Lea as their new Policy Fellow. A Texas native, Lea joins the foundation after receiving her Juris Doctor from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in the spring of 2013. Prior to law school, Lea earned her Bachelor’s Degree in general studies with an emphasis in legal studies from Texas Woman’s University.
Interested in mental health and child advocacy, Lea interned during her time in law school with the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council’s Office of the Mental Health Advocate, where she assisted with representation and monitoring of defendants who had been acquitted with a plea of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). Additionally, internships with the Honorable Brent Carr in Tarrant County and the Office of the Public Defender Flint Judicial Circuit supplemented her knowledge of mental health policy with valuable experience in a legal setting. A dedicated child advocate, Lea has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children in her home county of Tarrant, Texas, and received Excellence in Pro Bono recognition during her law school graduation.
As a policy fellow, Lea will continue policy work at the Texas capitol initiated by previous fellows and program officers on behalf of the foundation, advocating for systemic change in mental health policy in Texas.
The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. Congratulations to Jemila Lea on this amazing accomplishment! For more on the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, click here.
Recently alumni from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School were elected to the Member-at-Large Representative of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Executive Council position. The alumni include Boris Y. Milter (’11), Jackson E. Oliver (’11), and Tiffany M. Simmons (’09). The YLD has been strengthened over the years through guidance by the State Bar of Georgia, its Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the Supreme Court, and through dedicated service rendered by its members. In keeping with its motto of “working for the profession and the public,” the YLD has 27 hard-working committees that provide service to the public, the profession and the Bar through an array of projects and programs. Through the years, the YLD has also gained national recognition by winning several American Bar Association awards for its projects and publications. On behalf of the law school, congratulations to our outstanding alumni.
Over 40 AJMLS Alumni and their family gathered at the State Bar Annual meeting Alumni reception. Among the group was Dean Lynn, Alumni Director Ginger Arnold, Director of Admissions Rebecca Stafford, and Alumni Board Chair Boris Milter.
Starting in August, Heather Hale (‘11) will serve as the District 12 Representative for the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyers Division. District 12 covers the states of Georgia and Alabama. Heather was selected for this position by the State Bar of Georgia, and will represent the GA YLD at ABA meetings and assemblies. Her other responsibilities will include coordinating all disaster relief legal aid through the ABA for Georgia and Alabama. District Representatives serve a two year term, and Heather is excited for this opportunity.
Representative Doug Collins (’07) of Georgia’s 9th District was the keynote speaker at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Commencement, held Saturday, May 18, 2013, at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. During the ceremonies, the law school conferred nine Master of Law degrees and more than 220 Juris Doctor degrees.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, Honorus Causa, on Dean James P. White. Dean White is a member of the AJMLS Board of Directors and continues to contribute to legal education and society. Also honored during the ceremonies were our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, Representative Doug Collins (’07) and Mr. Tavis Knighten (’05).
We are very proud of and would like to congratulate all of our 2013 graduates and thank Representative Collins for his poignant and inspirational commencement address.
AJMLS graduate David Lockhart (’11) was recently elected as Mayor of Forest Park on Tuesday, April 16, 2013. Carla McMillan, Judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals will swear him in at 7 p.m. on May 6, 2013 at Forest Park City Hall. Congratulations on your accomplishment!
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, the Alumni Office welcomed AJMLS graduates to the annual group swearing-in ceremonies at the Blackburn Conference Center. Forty-seven alumni were admitted to practice before the Georgia Supreme Court, while 34 alumni took their oath for admission into the Fulton County Superior Court. We were honored to have Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein and Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford administer the oaths. After the ceremonies, Dean Lynn, faculty and staff, joined the new lawyers, their families and friends for a reception celebration.
AJMLS alumna, Heather Hale was recently a guest contributor for litigation blog, Litig8or Tech. Her article titled, “Solo but Not Alone: iPad as Personal Assistant” posted yesterday, August 27, 2012 to the website. Heather’s day-in-the-life article details her experience as a solo practitioner and describes how her iPad plays a major role in the maintenance and expansion of her company. Heather currently serves as an Atlanta-area solo practitioner specializing in immigration services and international adoptions. She has a passion for enhancing client and colleague relationships through technology. AJMLS is extremely proud of her accomplishments. To read the full article, click here.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus Doug Collins, who graduated in 2008, recently won the runoff for Georgia’s new 9th District, by defeating Martha Zoller. Doug will now move on to the November 6th general election. AJMLS has a large population of alumni who are politically active and involved in public service. Our school and the John Marshall Alumni Association are proud of these alumni and their accomplishments.
For more information about Doug Collins, please go to www.collinsleads.com.
The Honorable Robert Benham of the Georgia Supreme Court was the keynote speaker at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Commencement, held Saturday, May 14, 2011, at the Atlanta Civic Center. During the ceremonies, the law school conferred more than 130 Juris Doctor degrees.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School conferred a Degree of Masters of Law in Employment Law, Honoris Causa, on Justice Benham for his inspiring career in public service and dedication to the rule of law. Also honored during the ceremonies were our Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, Mr. Thomas C. Chambers, III (’77) and Senator Ronald B. Ramsey, Sr. (’92).
We congratulate all of our 2011 graduates and would like to thank Justice Robert Benham for his uplifting and inspirational address.
On Saturday, March 1st, a group of students from Atlanta’s Coan Middle School joined John Marshall faculty and students for their inaugural Youth and the Law Summit. The Summit, sponsored by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in partnership with the Gate City Bar Association, is designed to give minority students the opportunity to think critically about ethical and practical implications of the law. This year’s Summit, organized by Profs. Renata Turner and Kamina Pinder, and Darrick McDuffie of King and Spalding, focused on topics that have a direct and present impact on students’ lives. For instance, breakout sessions conducted by JMLS students Corey Martin, Mark Calhoun, Tiffany Simmons, Quisha Riche and Nicole Page, analyzed recent saggy pants and anti-gang legislation. Shareef Cousins, an innocent man sentenced to death at the age of 16, engaged the students in an interactive lecture in the afternoon. After the lecture, graduates from Gate City’s Justice Robert Benham Law Camp conducted a mock trial based on the facts that led to Mr. Cousin’s wrongful conviction. Students gave brilliant opening and closing arguments, demonstrating their potential to become tomorrow’s great legal minds. The students’ enthusiasm for the Summit continued after they returned to Coan. Their teacher, Mr. Charles Hawk, reports that students who previously wanted to become athletes or singers are now talking about becoming lawyers. They completed a bulletin board to commemorate their experience and expressed their desire to participate in the program next year. Two students will get that opportunity as they will be selected to participate in the upcoming 2008 Justice Benham Law Camp. John Marshall looks forward to continuing and expanding the Summit next year to reach even more future lawyers.
On Saturday, March 1st, a group of students from Atlanta’s Coan Middle School joined John Marshall faculty and students for their inaugural Youth and the Law Summit. The Summit, sponsored by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in partnership with the Gate City Bar Association, is designed to give minority students the opportunity to think critically about ethical and practical implications of the law. This year’s Summit, organized by Profs. Renata Turner and Kamina Pinder, and Darrick McDuffie of King and Spalding, focused on topics that have a direct and present impact on students’ lives. For instance, breakout sessions conducted by JMLS students Corey Martin, Mark Calhoun, Tiffany Simmons, Quisha Riche and Nicole Page, analyzed recent saggy pants and anti-gang legislation.
Shareef Cousins, an innocent man sentenced to death at the age of 16, engaged the students in an interactive lecture in the afternoon. After the lecture, graduates from Gate City’s Justice Robert Benham Law Camp conducted a mock trial based on the facts that led to Mr. Cousin’s wrongful conviction. Students gave brilliant opening and closing arguments, demonstrating their potential to become tomorrow’s great legal minds.
The students’ enthusiasm for the Summit continued after they returned to Coan. Their teacher, Mr. Charles Hawk, reports that students who previously wanted to become athletes or singers are now talking about becoming lawyers. They completed a bulletin board to commemorate their experience and expressed their desire to participate in the program next year. Two students will get that opportunity as they will be selected to participate in the upcoming 2008 Justice Benham Law Camp. John Marshall looks forward to continuing and expanding the Summit next year to reach even more future lawyers.