WalletHub Interviews Professor Diamond About Georgia Auto Insurance

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Adjunct Professor, Jeffrey D. Diamond, was interviewed by WallHub as one of their insurance experts. The article goes in-depth about Georgia auto rates and insurers. Professor Diamond is a practicing litigation attorney who specializes in insurance law and related matters and teaches Insurance Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Questions asked of Professor Diamond in the article:

What are the biggest risk factors keeping car insurance rates from being cheaper in Georgia?

Is there anything that state and local governments can do to promote cheap car insurance rates for their constituents?

What is the biggest vehicle-related financial mistake that drivers in Georgia make?

Why do you think credit history has a relatively [big/small] impact on car insurance rates in Georgia?*

Questions from WalletHub’s article: 2019’s Best Cheap Car Insurance in Georgia

Dr. Ortega Leads Training for Georgia Association of Legal Externships

Several years ago, Georgia law schools formed GALE, the Georgia Association of Legal Externships. GALE has worked hard to standardize policies and practices for the supervision of externs in their field placements. Every year, the Georgia Association of Legal Externships hosts an annual Supervising Attorney training designed to help externship supervisors and their organization get the most out of working with law students. This year’s supervisor training was held at the Georgia State Bar on August 7, 2019. Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning, Dr. Bridgett E. Ortega facilitated a session on navigating cultural difference that was warmly received by the 75 plus attorneys in attendance.

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Legal Externship Program provides work experience in different areas of practice so students can determine what suits them best. Externships also help students to develop relationships that will continue as they begin their legal career. Externships are an educational experience in every sense and good placement supervisors serve to enhance the students’ educational experience in the field where students get to experience firsthand the practice of law.

Professor Elizabeth Jaffe Cited in Dissenting Opinion

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently issued its decision on the F.B.C. v MDwise, Inc. case. In this case, F.B.C. filed a suit against her health insurance company alleging “disclosure,” “intrusion,” and “outrage” after her husband saw personal information that was placed on a web portal and decided to continue with their divorce process. The trial court dismissed all claims except outrage; however, the Court of Appeals decided to dismiss all three claims. Judge Brown concurred, and Judge Bailey dissented with opinion.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Elizabeth Jaffe was quoted in a footnote by Judge Bailey for his dissenting opinion. The footnote used is based upon an article written by Professor Jaffe in which she discusses a cyberbullying case that dealt with an invasion of privacy and disclosing personal information. This article supports Judge Bailey’s dissent surrounding the disclosure claim.

The footnote reads:
“See also Elizabeth M. Jaffe, Cyberbullies Beware: Reconsidering Vosburg v. Putney in the Internet Age, 5 Charleston L. Rev. 379, 382-85 (2011) (noting the tort implications of tragic events involving a college student who committed suicide after his roommate used a computer camera to spy on the student’s sexual encounters, revealed the student’s sexual orientation in a post on social media, and shared a link that allowed third parties to remotely view the camera feed).”

Professor Jonathan Rapping Cited in National Media Outlets on the Equal Defense Act

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan Rapping, was cited in many articles regarding the Equal Defense Act.

“I am hopeful that this Act prompts us all to continue to understand public defenders as a critical piece of the criminal justice solution, and to build on its important foundation to ensure marginalized communities have the advocates necessary to fulfill our democratic promise of equal justice,” says Rapping who founded Gideon’s Promise, an organization that backs the bill. (Vox)

Earlier this month Senator Kamala Harris introduced this legislation, the most ambitious federal legislation to date aimed at making the 6th Amendment Right to Counsel a reality in state and local courts. Rapping consulted closely with Senator Harris’ staff to draft this legislation. He is a nationally renowned public defense advocate and criminal justice reformer.

This quote at Vox is one of a number of quotes by Professor Rapping in national media outlets on the Equal Defense Acts. Some examples include The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Mother Jones, CNN, and many more.

Outside of all of the great work he does here at AJMLS, Professor Rapping has stayed actively involved with the law community within the last few months.

On February 21st, Professor Rapping was able to attend UCLA’s School of Law event, Gideon’s Promise: Building a Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice. As President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, Professor Rapping was asked to speak with students on the organization’s purpose to transform the criminal justice system by teaching future public defenders how to fight for and provide equal justice for marginalized communities* as well as its upcoming programs.

His involvement does not stop there though. On March 6-7th, Professor Rapping traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to help train a new class of Maryland public defenders. Gideon’s Promise was brought to Maryland back in 2014, and since then it has continued to thrive and expand. Former AJMLS Professor, Patrice Fulcher, now resides as the Training Director for the program in Maryland, and for a couple of days, Professor Rapping had the opportunity to go and visit to assist in training new public defenders and help raise Maryland’s standard of justice.

Then, on March 20th, Professor Rapping attended the Public Defender as Civil Rights Lawyer luncheon talk at George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C.

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to both AJMLS and the legal community, Professor Rapping!




*Gideon’s Promise

Professor Michael Mears Featured on National Television

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Michael Mears, was a special guest on the New York based show “Law and Crime,” which is shown nationally and on many cable outlets. In this segment, Professor Mears explores details regarding the recent death penalty case in Georgia involving Tiffany Moss who was tried in the death of her stepdaughter. This case has drawn national attention for reasons such as her decision to represent herself during the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Ms. Moss was sentenced to death and became the sixth woman in Georgia’s history to have this sentence. This video goes into further detail on the outcome as Professor Mears explains the death penalty laws and trial procedures involved in such a case in Georgia. He also provides a thorough discussion of the death penalty appeals process along with an explanation on the clemency procedures possibly available to Ms. Moss.

The video of the full interview can be found here.

Professor Mears has been on the faculty at AJMLS since 2007. He teaches evidence, advanced evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal law ethics. 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 then retired from that position in 2007 and has been an Associate Professor at AJMLS since. Professor Mears is the author of numerous articles and books, and his background makes him uniquely qualified to comment on the issue at hand in the interview.

Thank you for your continued contributions to the legal community, Professor Mears. We appreciate all of your efforts!

Professor John Melvin Named Georgia Bureau of Investigation Chief of Staff

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Adjunct Professor and Acting District Attorney in Cobb County has been named the new Chief of Staff at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

In addition to teaching AJMLS students, Professor Melvin is in his 24th year as a prosecutor and has worked in three metro Atlanta counties: Dekalb, Gwinnett, and Cobb.

Quoted in the Daily Report,

Melvin said he makes a pitch for his career path in classes he has taught at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and previously at Emory University School of Law.

“I tell them I have dismissed more cases as a prosecutor than any defense attorney will ever win,” Melvin said.

“People want to change the system and improve the world,” he said. “A prosecutor has a tremendous amount of power. You really want good people in those positions.”

His courtroom experience has brought invaluable lessons and insight to AJMLS students in the classroom and we wish him the best as he transitions to his new post at the GBI. Congratulations, Professor!

Professor Jaffe Quoted in The Wall Street Journal

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Elizabeth Jaffe, was recently quoted in The Wall Street Journal. The article, It’s Hard to Spot the Terrorists Among the Trolls, analyzes the correlation between online harassment and hateful acts such as terrorism found in mass shootings. With the rise of online social platforms, research conducted on what influences online bullying and physical violence has continued to increase. The article uses the recent New Zealand mass shooting as an example to show how “cyber violence” can become physical violence, and the parallel between the shooter and those who use the swatting method.*

Professor Jaffe has been on the faculty at AJMLS since 2006. She teaches Domestic Relations, Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II, Pretrial Practice & Procedure, and Depositions. She has conducted extensive scholarly research with the focus on education law and the legal response to bullying, and has several published articles in this area. In addition to published articles, she has presented at the Symposium “Cyberbullying in America: A Discussion of Liability, Policy, and Progress” and has received national media coverage for her expertise in this area of law.

Thank you for your continued contributions to both AJMLS and the legal community, Professor Jaffe. We appreciate all of your efforts!

*Taken from The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Professor Jonathan Rapping Helps Facilitate Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan A. Rapping, helped to facilitate the Trial Advocacy Workshop for law students at Harvard Law School January 9-10, 2019. 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.

Also recently, The Jewish Council for Public Affairs invited Professor Rapping to join a working group of Jewish experts in criminal justice reform, and to participate in a strategic planning session on Jewish Advocacy and Criminal Justice Reform. The planning session took place at the law offices of Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. December 4-5, 2018.

On November 28, 2018, Professor Rapping also presented at the National Association for Public Defense “We the Defenders Conference” in Indianapolis. Professor Rapping’s presentation on Client Centered Defense Teams and Race in the Criminal Justice System was delivered to investigators, social workers, and sentencing advocates from across the nation.

The Law School is thrilled to offer its students the opportunity to learn criminal law from one of the nation’s leaders working to improve the criminal justice system. Thank you, Professor!

Dean Malcolm L. Morris Represents CLEO in Collaboration with National Conference of Bar Examiners

NCBE and CLEO Announce New Collaboration

NCBE invests in diversity and inclusion within the legal profession

*Madison, Wisconsin – The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) are pleased to announce a new collaboration in support of their shared goal of increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. NCBE has provided funding to bolster CLEO’s programs that help individuals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and disadvantaged communities achieve success in law school and prepare to take and pass the bar exam. For over 50 years, CLEO has successfully contributed to increasing the number of lawyers from diverse backgrounds in all sectors of law.

“Diversification of the legal profession is a top priority for legal education and admissions stakeholders at all levels. We are proud to partner with CLEO and support programs with a strong track record of helping prepare underrepresented groups for law school and bar exam success,” said Judith A. Gundersen, NCBE President and CEO.

“Diversity and inclusion have been the cornerstone of CLEO’s mission since 1968,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, the Chief Executive Officer of CLEO. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with NCBE to expand the services we provide our students, especially those preparing for the bar examination. NCBE has a wealth of online information and study aids available to help students be successful in their final quest to join the legal profession. However, some students need a personal touch to coach them over the finish line. With NCBE’s generous financial support, CLEO will be able to assist scores of 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls across the country to methodically prepare to conquer the bar exam.”

About the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.

CLEO, Inc., is committed to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities for individuals from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and disadvantaged communities.

Founded in 1968 when the number of lawyers of color was less than one percent, more than 10,000 individuals have participated in CLEO’s programs, many of whom have gone on to excel in every area of the legal profession to include judges, corporate attorneys, law school deans and professors, practitioners, politicians, and more. Although best known for its Pre-Law Summer Institute “boot camp” for entering law students, CLEO provides services to secondary, college (pre-law), and law school students, which include mentoring, placement assistance, academic counseling and support, bar prep orientation, and scholarships. For information about CLEO, Inc., and its programs, please visit: www.cleoinc.org. For more information about CLEO’s historic 50th Anniversary and corresponding celebrations, please visit: www.cleoinc.org/50.

About the National Conference of Bar Examiners

The National Conference of Bar Examiners, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1931. NCBE develops the licensing tests used by most states for admission to the bar. NCBE stakeholders and constituents include state Supreme Courts, state attorney licensing boards, attorneys, and law school deans. NCBE is governed by a national board of trustees consisting of judges, bar examiners, and bar admission administrators. Approximately 71,000 law school graduates sat for the bar exam in 2017.

On October 26, 2018, NCBE President Judith A. Gundersen, NCBE’s Board of Trustees, and NCBE Diversity Issues Committee Chair Bryan R. Williams met at NCBE headquarters with CLEO Director of Prelaw Program Operations Bernetta Hayes and CLEO Board of Directors member Malcolm L. Morris to formalize its collaboration.

*Photo and article courtesy of the National Conference of Bar Examiners

Front row: Suzanne K. Richards, Bernetta Hayes, Michele A. Gavagni, Malcolm L. Morris, Judith A. Gundersen, Hon. Phyllis D. Thompson, Bryan R. Williams, Hon. Rebecca White Berch (Ret.)

Back row: Timothy Y. Wong, Patrick R. Dixon, Augustin Rivera, Jr., Darin B. Scheer, Hulett H. Askew, John J. McAlary, Anthony R. Simon, Hon. Cynthia L. Martin

Professor Jeffrey Van Detta Lectures at Belmont University Law School and State Bar of Georgia ICLE

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Jeffrey Van Detta, the John E. Ryan Professor of International Business and Workplace Law, recently gave two lectures based on his most recently completed works of legal scholarship.

On October 5, 2018, Professor Van Detta was one of the featured speakers at Belmont University Law School’s 2018 Law Review Symposium-CLE Program,

“The Modern Workplace: Contemporary Legal Issues in Employment & Labor Law.”

His topic is an area of particular expertise for Professor Van Detta — the “direct-threat” standard under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy published Professor Van Detta’s 1999 article on this subject, which arose frequently during his 13 years of law practice at Atlanta-based Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, when he represented clients in safety-sensitive industries such as commercial passenger aviation, defense contracting, and manufacturing and logistics. Professor Van Detta’s latest article on this topic updates the developments in this area over the last 20 years. “For The Love Of God!  Open This Door!”:  Individual Rights Versus Public Safety Under The “Direct Threat” Standard Of The Americans With Disabilities Act After Three Decades Of Litigation, 6 Belmont L. Rev. ___ (2019)

Faculty from Boston University Law School, Pace University Law School, University of West Virginia College of Law, University of Cincinnati College of Law, University of Memphis Law School, ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law, and Nova Southeastern University College of Law, joined Professor Van Detta on this day-long program.

On October 18, 2018, Professor Van Detta was a featured presenter at the 25th Annual Georgia ICLE Supreme Court Update. Following a presentation he made on a blockbuster 2013 SCOTUS case concerning the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) in 20th Annual Supreme Court update in 2013, Professor Van Detta lectured on a pair of 2018 SCOTUS cases that substantially limited the kinds of claims that can be made under both the ATS and the anti-terrorism exceptions to foreign-nation sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The paper he wrote for the ICLE program has been accepted by the University of Indiana Robert H. McKinney School of Law’s International & Comparative Law Review, for publication in its Spring 2019 issue. In addition, the University of Indiana has invited Professor Van Detta to be one of the featured speakers at the Law Review‘s Annual Symposium in Spring 2019. Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran and Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC: SCOTUS Trims To Statutory Boundaries The Recovery In U.S. Courts Against Sponsors of Terrorism and Human-Rights Violations Under FSIA and ATS29 Indiana Int’l & Comparative Law Review ___ (Spring 2019).

Professor Van Detta is currently in his 20th year of teaching at AJMLS, where he teaches courses and publishes in the areas of domestic and trans-national business law (including Contracts and International Business Transactions), workplace law (including Employment Discrimination Law, Labor Law, and several LLM-level courses), Torts, and procedural law (Conflict of Laws, International Civil Litigation in U.S. Courts, and Civil Procedure).

AJMLS Professor Delivers Keynote as Two Alumna Are Honored at Atlanta Bar Association Celebrating Service Luncheon

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.

AJMLS Professors and Associate Dean to Chair and Participate in 25th Annual U.S. Supreme Court Update

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Kathleen M. Burch has been selected as Program Chair of the 25th Annual United States Supreme Court Update seminar of the State Bar of Georgia’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) to be held on October 18, 2018.

Additionally, Professor Jeffrey A. Van Detta and Associate Dean Judith Barger are also presenters at the program. Professor Van Detta will be leading the Suing Sponsors of Terrorism in US Courts presentation and Dean Barger will be leading the Fourth Amendment Update presentation.

The event will be held at the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center in Atlanta and the program topics will include Georgia, the Death Penalty, Jury Bias, and the Supreme Court; Gerrymandering: Political and Racial; First Amendment Update; Fourth Amendment Update; and Immigration Update.

Professor Burch also recently returned from Palau this September where she presented The Supreme Court Review at the Pacific Judicial Council’s Mid-Year Conference. The purpose of the Pacific Judicial Council is to provide a collaborative and educational forum for sharing ideas, information, and resources to improve the administration of the courts and the delivery of justice in the Pacific region. Member jurisdictions include Americam Samoa, Chuuk, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia National Court, Guam, Kosrae, the Republic of Palau, Pohnpei, and Yap.*

Thank you to our educators for their participation in these great events and their continued contributions to the legal community.

*Pacific Judicial Council

Dean Malcolm L. Morris Meets with Aspiring Law Students at CLEO ASAP Event

Dean Malcolm L. Morris met with aspiring law students this past week at the Council of Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Achieving Success in the Application Process (ASAP) event in Washington, D.C. Dean Morris is a member of the CLEO, Inc. Board of Directors and its Executive Committee.

ASAP is an intensive weekend that helps participants develop the tools they need to understand the application process and become competitive law school applicants. College juniors, seniors, and post-graduates who plan to apply to law school are eligible to apply.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is a proud supporter of CLEO.

Professor Lisa Tripp Speaks at Department of Justice World Elder Abuse Awareness Event

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently recognized the 13th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by hosting an event in Washington, DC. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Lisa Tripp was invited to attend and speak at the event, where next steps in seeking nationwide elder justice were announced.

Tripp is a consultant to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and is a frequent speaker and contributor at conferences around the United States and abroad. Professor Tripp’s research and scholarship focuses on areas of U.S. and international law, while on the domestic front, she is an expert on federal regulations governing health facilities. With this expertise, Tripp spoke at the DOJ event about the federal government’s health and safety regulations and how those regulations are enforced.

The Law School thanks Professor Tripp for her contributions and ongoing efforts to help protect and empower our seniors.

Professor Michael Mears Elected to Serve Second Term as Chairperson of ICLE Board of Trustees

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor B. Michael Mears has been re-elected as Chairperson for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) Board of Trustees. The ICLE is a not-for-profit educational service for Georgia’s licensed attorneys.

The State Bar of Georgia assumed administrative duties for the ICLE in 2017 and is governed by representatives from each of the state’s law schools and by members of the State Bar of Georgia. Professor Mears has been Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s representative to the Board for five years and is now serving his second consecutive term as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.

Read here for Professor Mears’ first term announcement

Professor Mears’ Article Selected for Cover of The Journal Jurisprudence

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Professor Michael Mears’ article, “An American Tragedy: The Story of Johnny Lyn Old Chief,” has been selected as the cover article for The Journal Jurisprudence Easter Term 2018. The Journal Jurisprudence is an international law journal publication and issued four times per year. Each edition focuses on a key question of the legal discipline. Quarterly articles are curated based upon, among other things, accessibility to lay readers. The Journal focuses on bridging the gap between theory and practice and readability by a wide audience.*

Professor Mears is an active writer and is the author of numerous articles and books. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). At Atlanta’s John Marshall, he teaches Evidence, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Ethics. He has enjoyed a long and illustrious career within and beyond the classroom.

Congratulations, Professor Mears! The article is an incredibly worthy read. You can purchase a copy of The Journal on Amazon here.

*Taken from The Journal Jurisprudence.


Four AJMLS Professors Secure Highest Rating Allowed by Martindale Hubbell

Four Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) professors have been given the highest rating allowed by Martindale-Hubbell for 2018. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings allow attorneys to complete anonymous peer reviews where they rate fellow lawyers on a 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) scale in five categories: Legal Knowledge, Analytical Capabilities, Judgment, Communication Ability and Legal Experience. Attorneys also answer whether or not they believe the lawyer they are reviewing has very high ethical standards.*

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are acknowledged as the gold standard in attorney ratings and have recognized lawyers for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards for more than a century. Peer review ratings deliver a comprehensive view of a lawyer’s legal abilities and service and benefit the entire legal community.*

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professors Mears, Goins, Kessler, and Murphy have each secured an impressive 5.0/5.0 rating. AJMLS is proud of our professors for their accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom, and we are always thrilled when our professors are commended by their peers in the legal community. Please be sure to express your congratulations when you see the recipient professors around campus!

*Taken from Martindale.com

Atlanta’s John Marshall Faculty Members Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries

In 2017, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is fortunate to celebrate major milestone faculty anniversaries for six professors. Professor Michael Lynch is celebrating 20 years with AJMLS while Professors Dalton, Jeffries, McMillian, Mears, and Rapping are all celebrating 10 years with the Law School.

AJMLS is built on the principle that the Law School is dedicated to preparing highly skilled, ethical, and professional lawyers who possess a strong social conscience. The seasoned professors celebrating milestone anniversaries this year live that mission everyday. Each is an irreplaceable member of our Law School and an invaluable member of the legal community.

Please learn a bit more about each professor below. When you see these professors on campus, you are encouraged to offer your thanks and congratulations. Our community is truly built on the commitment they’ve shown to building great lawyers out of law students.

Kari Dalton

Favorite thing about teaching at AJMLS? I enjoy watching my students grow.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? To watch my kids play sports.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Always practice the craft of writing. “When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into it.”





Browning Jeffries

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? I had always thought that I would love teaching, but I did not know if teaching at a law school would be the right fit. When I found out about the opportunity at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, I did some research on the school. I was drawn to the law school’s mission and its focus on preparing practice-ready lawyers. When I graduated from law school, I felt anything but “practice ready,” so I was really excited to be a part of an institution where that was an important goal.
Favorite AJMLS memory? There are certainly too many to recount.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? When I was a kid, I tried out to be in one of the RoboCop movies. In the audition, you had to cry on command, which I learned is not a strength of mine. I didn’t get the part and thus ended my acting career.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? I love running, walking, or biking on the Beltline.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys?  There is a quote that I believe is from Thomas Edison that I think is very applicable to young lawyers: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”


Michael Lynch

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? I had taught at other schools but always wanted to return to Atlanta.
Favorite AJMLS memory? Lunches with John Ryan, John Thames, and Prof. D’Agostino at Rolling Bones.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? When I graduated from law school I bought a new Volkswagen Beetle. A year later I sold it and bought a one year old Porsche. Since then I have never bought a new car. (the Porsche cost $3,000.)
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Listen to music played live.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Do 3,000 practice multiple choice questions before the bar exam.
Final thought? Read Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society.


Lance McMillian

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? Former Atlanta’s John Marshall Dean, Richardson Lynn.
Favorite AJMLS memory? When I awoke one morning to learn that Judge Richard Posner had cited one of my law review articles.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? I’ve written two screenplays that are now in, umm, “pre-production.”
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Getting out of the city.
Final thought? “Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” — Winston Churchill



Michael Mears

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? Former Atlanta’s John Marshall Dean, Richardson Lynn, asked me to apply after he learned of my retirement as Director of the State of Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.
Favorite AJMLS memory? Every day that I am a member of this great faculty.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? I participated in the semi-finals of the Little League World Series as a member of the Little League All Star Team from Caruthersville, Missouri.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Going out to dinner at a new restaurant with my wife, Coile Estes.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Guard your integrity as if it belongs in Fort Knox. Once you lose your integrity as a lawyer, you have lost all that there is to lose.
Final thought? As lawyers, I would like for everyone to remember this quote – “Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”


Jonathan Rapping

What brought you to teaching at AJMLS? In my work with criminal justice reform nationally I came to appreciate that our legal system leaves far too many people without a lawyer who is dedicated to giving them access to justice. As a law professor I have the opportunity to inspire future lawyers to help close this justice gap. I believe the diversity in our students’ backgrounds and experiences make them well suited to understand the challenges that face communities in need and to therefore help address them.
Favorite AJMLS memory? Graduation of the Inaugural Honors Program in Criminal Justice Class. I had worked with that group intensively for three years.
What’s something your students wouldn’t know about you? I worked for the Federal reserve Board after college and got a Masters in Public Affairs with an Economics concentration before committing to law school.
Favorite thing to do on the weekend/in Atlanta? Watch my children play any number of sports around town.
Best piece of advice to aspiring attorneys? Find your passion and pursue a career in the law that allows you to act on it. One of my favorite quotes is “every day you write your epitaph.” Do not waste a day doing something you are not passionate about!


The AJMLS community would also like to honor Professor D’Agostino (23 years), Professor Van Detta (18 years), Professor Burch (14 years), Professor de Haven (14 years), Professor Apolinsky (13 years), Dean Harrison-Mercer (13 years), Professor Tripp (12 years), and Professor Jaffe (11 years). Professors, our sincerest thank you for the wisdom you’ve shared with the AJMLS community throughout your years on our faculty. We can’t wait to celebrate your next milestones together!

AJMLS Professors Participate in 24th Annual U.S. Supreme Court Update

On Thursday, October 19, 2017, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Professor Kathleen Burch served as the Program Chair for the 24th Annual United States Supreme Court Update seminar held at the State Bar of Georgia. She gave the welcome and program overview and served as the presiding moderator.

Additionally, Professors Judith Barger and Michael Mears were also presenters at the seminar. Professor Barger participated in the presentation, Short A Justice: The Supreme Court’s Per Curiam Decisions. The program covered a wide range of topics and centered on the Court’s issuance of several important per curiam decisions ranging from the Muslim ban, to the rights of same-sex parents, to law enforcement liability in cross-border shootings, to standards for juvenile’s sentenced to death or life without parole. While, Professor Mears participated in and served as the moderator for the Criminal law Update which was a survey of the criminal law cases decided by the Court last term. He also spoke regarding per curium supreme court criminal case opinions.

Thank you for your participation in this great seminar and your continued contributions to the legal community in Georgia, Professors. The program, which includes 6 CLE hours, including 1 Trial Practice hour, is available via web stream to those who weren’t able to attend in person. Please use this link to access and register.

Welcome New Faculty and Staff Members!

A very warm welcome to the new members of the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) faculty and staff! Each joins the AJMLS community with a stellar background and a plethora of experience within the legal community.

Paul Wilson and B. Taylor Bartlett join the Career Development office. Debbi Cohen and Dione Duckett join the Office of Academic Achievement. Steve Teske joins the faculty as an Adjunct Professor. Finally, Mary Ellen Conner and Heather Ryfa join the faculty as Academic Professionals. This semester Professor Teske will be teaching Juvenile Law while both Professor Conner and Professor Ryfa will be teaching Legal Communication & Process.

Please join us in making each feel welcome. We can’t wait to see what great ways they enhance AJMLS!

Professor Michael Mears Named Chairperson for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor B. Michael Mears has been named Chairperson for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education for a two year term. This is a great honor for Professor Mears as he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for over four years and was recently elected by his fellow trustees to serve as the Chairperson of the Board.

The Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education is a not-for-profit educational service of of the State Bar of Georgia and is responsible for providing continuing legal education for all lawyers in the State of Georgia. The Institute is a consortium of the Bar and the Law Schools of the Universities of Georgia, Emory, Mercer, Georgia State, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

The Institute provides over 300 seminars, webinars, and video seminars to the members of the State Bar of Georgia each year. The Supreme Court of Georgia requires that every active member of the State Bar successfully complete at least 12 hours of legal education in order to maintain their license to practice law. The twelve trustees of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education are charged with the responsibility of developing programs and instituting policies with will provide legal education for members of the State Bar of  Georgia.

This is an exciting time for the Institute as it makes the transition from an independent organization in Athens, Georgia to become a part of the State Bar of Georgia. The new offices of the Institute are being relocated to the State Bar building in downtown Atlanta. Professor Mears stated that this new position “clearly shows that Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is very active in not only preparing new lawyers but in continuing to provide educational opportunities for lawyers after they have  passed the bar and are in practice.” We could not agree more, Professor Mears. The AJMLS community is proud of your accomplishments. We know you will wear this new responsibility well and bring great things to the Institute and the Georgia legal community.

A Tribute to Professor Willie J. Lovett, Jr.

Do Good Anyway- A Lesson from Professor Willie J. Lovett, Jr. 

March 22, 1965 – January 30, 2017

By: Judge Renata D. Turner

Judge. Professor. Mentor. Leader. Friend. These are just a few of the titles proudly worn by our beloved Professor Willie Jake Lovett, Jr. I am most honored to have called him a friend first. We worked together during our nascent years as lawyers at the City of Atlanta’s Law Department. Since that time our professional and personal paths crossed and merged eventually at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and finally at the Fulton County Juvenile Court. I can still picture his smile and bow tie as he stood in my law school office doorway. He dropped by after an event and asked what he needed to do to become an adjunct. Once he began teaching, he fell in love with it. What he loved most was mentoring students- helping them to get their footing as young lawyers and opening as many doors for them as he could. We often spoke of the talent and dedication of AJMLS students and his desire to give back, recognizing the blessings that were given to him throughout his life.

Judge Lovett was raised by his grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. He graduated from Beach High School with the highest GPA of all the high school students in Chatham County. He graduated cum laude with Distinction from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard School of Law. He later earned his Master of Laws in Litigation from Emory Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett, former chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Atlanta’s Law Department, and worked as an associate at Moors, Manning & Martin, LLP, Ford & Harrison, LLP, and Troutman Sanders, LLP. For ten years, he served as the Deputy County Attorney for the Fulton of County Office of the County Attorney. He then served as the Director of the Fulton County Office of Child Attorney from 2009 to 2013. He was appointed as a Presiding Judge of the Fulton County Juvenile Court in the Atlanta Judicial Circuit in May 2013. He was affectionately known to the children in his court as the “bow tie Judge.” On the bench, Judge Lovett was known for his compassion and care for the children and families appearing before him. Off the bench, he was lauded for his dedication to improving juvenile justice. As examples, he was the lead judge for the Dually Involved Youth Initiative and served as a member for the Board of Directors for the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC).

The list of Judge Lovett’s accomplishments, honors, professional positons, and positons of service is long but now finite. The impact that he left behind to the legal community and those of us who knew and loved him, however,  is infinite. Many of us question why his life ended so abruptly when he still had so much to give to a world desperate for his type of leadership. I like to believe that too much compassion and dedication to improving the world was concentrated in the man called Willie Lovett. Now it’s dispersed to those of us also striving to serve and improve the world around us. When doing such noble and often thankless work seems too hard, Judge Professor Mentor Leader Friend Willie Jake Lovett, Jr. gave us the inspiration to keep moving forward through the words of his favorite poem that he often tearfully recited:



                People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do well anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;

It was never between you and them anyway.


                                                Mother Teresa


Rest in peace with your God my friend.


Judge Renata D. Turner

Professor Rapping Quoted in The New York Times

Professor Rapping was recently quoted in the SundayReview, an Op-Ed in The New York Times. The article, Justice Springs Eternal, explores the current state of the American prison system. In recent years the prison population numbers have been on the decline. The article examines how that decline may be affected by President Trump and a new climate in Washington.

The article’s solution to continuing on the “decarceration” movement is activism on the part of those involved and impassioned by prison reform. In the article, Professor Rapping is quoted stating, “Eighty percent of the people charged with crimes in this country can’t afford a defense attorney. . . Until we invest in public defenders, our system cannot and will not change.”

Professor Rapping is a 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow. At AJMLS, he teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, advanced criminal procedure, and criminal justice lawyering. Prior to joining the faculty at AJMLS,  Professor Rapping served as the Training Chief for the Orleans Public Defender and in the Public Defenders offices of Georgia and Washington, D.C., developing and implementing public defender training programs, and handling a caseload of serious felonies. Professor Rapping currently directs Gideon’s Promise. Gideon’s Promise is built on a mission to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.*

Thank you for your continued contributions to both AJMLS and the legal community, Professor Rapping.

*Taken from Gideon’s Promise.

AJMLS Professor, Michael Mears, Quoted in April’s Atlanta Magazine

AJMLS Associate Professor, Michael Mears, was recently quoted several times in the April edition of Atlanta Magazine. The article, Why did Georgia execute more prisoners in 2016 than any other state?, centered on the nine convicted murderers put to death in Georgia in 2016, more than any other state. This is the highest number of executions in Georgia in a calendar year since 1957.*

Professor Mears has been on the faculty at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) since 2007. He teaches evidence, advanced evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal law ethics. In 2003 Professor Mears 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. Professor Mears’ background makes him uniquely qualified to comment on the issue at hand in the Atlanta Magazine article.

The article is a worthy read and can be found here. Thank you for your continued contributions to the legal community, Professor Mears. We appreciate all of your efforts!

*Taken from Atlanta Magazine.

Professor Tripp Cited in Groundbreaking New Regulation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published a historic new regulation that prohibits nursing homes receiving federal funds from using pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements. Pre-dispute binding arbitration agreements are usually presented to residents upon admission to the nursing home and residents are often unaware that by signing them they are giving up their rights to go to court. These agreements ban all claims by residents from being litigated in courts, including claims involving elder abuse, sexual harassment and wrongful death, among other things. The decision to ban these agreements is the first time a federal agency has ever issued a rule providing such sweeping protection of the rights of injured people to access the public courts. 

AJMLS Professor Lisa Tripp is a leading scholar in this area and CMS cited two of Professor Tripp’s articles in support of this pioneering regulation. She was also quoted in the preamble: “Tripp notes that ‘residents of nursing homes are frail and elderly people who are completely dependent on the facility and its employees for their safety and health. Thus, many residents and their families would not oppose the arbitration provision because they are fearful of antagonizing the facility.’” If you see Professor Tripp around campus, be sure to congratulate her on her accomplishment and thank her for her work on behalf of nursing home residents across the country.