2011 Alumna, Ashley Gholamhosseini, Appointed Fulton County Magistrate Judge

Chief Judge Cassandra Kirk (left), Judge Ashley Gholamhosseini (right)*

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Ashley Gholamhosseini, Class of 2011, for her recent appointment as a Fulton County magistrate judge.

Gholamhosseini, who was appointed to the Fulton County Magistrate Court bench on May 8, 2020, said “This opportunity to serve the citizens of the county where I was born and where I proudly live means the world to me. I am humbled by the task before me. There is work to be done, and I am grateful for the trust Chief Judge Cassandra Kirk has placed in me.”

An Atlanta native, Gholamhosseini graduated in the top 15 of her class at Atlanta’s John Marshall. She was a member of the moot court team where she competed nationally and also served on the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal where her legislative summary was published in 2011. She also received the CALI Award for Immigration Law and received academic scholarships from Just the Beginning Foundation and the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Foundation. In 2011, She and four other students were named Peer Mentors of the year for mentoring 1L and 2L students at AJMLS. During law school, Gholamhosseini externed under the Third Year Practice Act at the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.

The future Judge Gholamhosseini began her legal career as a prosecuting attorney for Georgia’s two most populous counties. As a criminal prosecutor, she gained a significant amount of trial experience and helped thousands of crime victims. Her trial experience let to her joining Bey & Associates’ litigation department as a trial attorney in their Atlanta office. She later joined Bader Scott Injury Lawyers as a trial attorney and attorney captain in their personal injury department.

Gholamhosseini is a member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (GAWL). She successfully completed the prestigious ATLA Ultimate Trial Advocacy Course: Art of Persuasion at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA and was a featured panelist at the American Association for Justice, Women’s Caucus in Denver Colorado.

Gholamhosseini resides in Atlanta with her husband Michael Drake, Esq.

The Law School is so proud of Judge Gholamhosseini and we look forward to following her career on the bench!

*Photo courtesy of Timothy Ezell

Christian Legal Society Honored for Spring 2020

The Office of Student Affairs is proud to award the Spring 2020 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to the Christian Legal Society. This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester. Included below are some of the events that the Christian Legal Society sponsored this semester:

  • Faith in the First Week
  • Black History Month Church & Brunch (Co-Sponsored with SBA & BLSA)
  • Weekly Scripture of the Week
  • Prayer Request Box
  • Bible Study Brunch (“Overcoming the Idea of Impossible”)
  • Winter Survival Blessing Bags 

The Selection Committee was impressed by the effort and hard work of the Christian Legal Society. Congratulations, Christian Legal Society on being chosen as the Spring 2020 Outstanding Student Organization. We look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make the law school and the community better! 

July 2020 Georgia Bar Exam Postponed

In the light of the uncertainty about the duration of the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 in Georgia and throughout the United States and the extent to which public health may require the continuation for several months of measures to impede the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and after consultation with the Department of Public Health, the Supreme Court of Georgia has determined that the July 2020 administration of the Georgia bar examination should be postponed.

To the extent that circumstances permit the administration of the bar examination in September 2020, the Court has directed the Board of Bar Examiners and the Office of Bar Admissions to make the necessary arrangements for the administration of the bar examination on September 9 and 10.

The full executive order from the Court may be read here, including information on provisional admittance to the Georgia Bar.

Winter preLaw Magazine Names Atlanta’s John Marshall Among Best Law Schools for Diversity

Providing a diverse learning environment for students is important to the faculty and administration at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS). While this diversity enriches the academic environment, it also challenges the law school to meet the educational needs of students, many of whom are either returning to the rigors of an academic experience, or are simply seeking a supportive environment for the study of law. Therefore, it is a great honor for preLaw Magazine to name Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School one of their most diverse law schools in the nation for African Americans in their winter issue.

According to the publication, “Not only do these schools boast a high number of students of a particular race – as well as having a diverse faculty – but they also offer a wide range of support for their minority students.” The 2019-2020 student enrollment is 66% female and 66% minority and the 2019 entering class is 59% female and 52% minority.

We thank preLaw Magazine for this recognition and are incredibly proud of our diverse and welcoming community. 

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

AJMLS Alumnus and Students Volunteer at 10th Annual Young Litigators Moot Court Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) participated in the 10th Annual Young Litigators Moot Court Competition this past Friday, March 6, 2020. The event was held at the Fulton County Government Center Assembly Hall.

Tracy Swearingen, Class of 2016, volunteered his time as the coach of Crawford Long Middle School’s team (Nicholas Andrews, Xyion Amani Hudson, Jeronimo Dye, Hannah Dillard), who compete against King Middle School and Genesis Innovation Academy.

Additionally, second year students Melanie Finley and Yvette Hill volunteered as student coaches for The Life School’s team (Maymuna Sabree, Azad Earl, Nurayah Dean, Kiley Domineck, Ammanah Dean), who compete against Berkmar High School, Fulton Leadership Academy, and Grady High School. Notably, Maymuna Sabree of The Life School was awarded the Overall Advocacy Award.

The scoring criteria that were considered in the competition were: substantive content of argument, knowledge of the record, extemporaneous ability and attention to time limit, courtroom demeanor and professionalism, words clearly spoken and correct pronunciation, proper sense stress and voice modulation, enthusiasm for argument and warmth and feeling, naturalness and appropriate pausing, principal ideas and arguments emphasized, and visual contact. 

Congratulations to all the teams for an excellent competition, we look forward to next year!

As a pro bono activity, Dr. Bridgett Ortega, Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, and Paul Wilson, Experiential Learning Program Administrator, volunteered alongside the students. The Law School is pleased to volunteer in the community and offer pro bono experiences to its students and alumni.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Kwaku C. George to the Board of Directors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce the appointment of Kwaku C. George (KC), a Director of the National Development Council (NDC), to the Board of Directors. George’s background in the for profit, public, and non-profit sectors bring unique perspective to the Law School as it is currently converting to a non-profit institution.

The NDC is one of the nation’s oldest and most experienced not-for-profit corporations specializing in community and economic development financing and real estate development strategies. George provides his expertise through providing technical assistance to NDC’s clients ranging from municipalities, affordable and mixed income housing developers, nonprofit housing organizations, housing authorities, and universities. George also provides advisory client services that are directly related to real estate based financing and community economic development solutions. George delivers services in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South and Puerto Rico on the East Team at NDC.

George is involved with various organizations such as Invest Atlanta’s AEMI/New Market Tax Credit Advisory Board, Atlanta Regional Councils Social Equity Advisory Committee, 2008 Leadership Atlanta Class, the Regional Leadership Institute Class of 2003, Housing Partnership Network, National Affordable Housing Lenders, Urban Land Institute, Council for Urban Economic Development and Opportunity Finance Network, and is pursuing his Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation. He has also provided consultation to the US Treasury/CDFI Fund, HUD and the EPA on programs such as New Market Tax Credit Initiative, the Economic Development Initiative, the Brownfield Economic Development Initiative, and the Section 108 Loan Program.

Prior to his current role at NDC, he was the Senior Director of Housing Finance and Administration for the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc. (ANDP) and Community Redevelopment Loan and Investment Fund (CRLIF). George also brings nearly three decades of experience from former posts such as SunTrust Bank, Barnett Bank, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc., and Metro-Dade County/Miami Dade County and the Environmental Protection Agency. The sum of these experiences in the for profit, public and non-profit sectors encompass corporate and commercial lending, economic development, housing finance and development, real estate development, strategic planning and sound financial management.

George earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration concentrating in Banking and Finance, minoring in Economics from Morehouse College. He is also a Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government fellow who completed the Community Builder Fellowship and Management Program for executives. George has been an Atlanta resident for the past 31 years with his wife, Karissa, and three children, Bakari, Josiah, and Abrielle.

George joins the following members of the Board of Directors:

Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Ph.D.


Dean Frank T. Read

Vice Chairman

President & Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein

Former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Malone

Partner, Malone Law

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker

County Attorney, Fulton County, Georgia

Kevin Ross

President, Kevin Ross Public Affairs Group LLC

Dean James P. White

Consultant Emeritus, Section of Legal Education & Admission to the Bar, American Bar Association

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Information

The Law School is actively monitoring the situation and is keeping the well-being of our community our top priority. Dean Gatewood will be communicating by email with all updates, which will also be summarized below. We are currently following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH), as well as other local, state, and federal agencies to make sure we have the most up-to-date information available.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may resemble the common cold or seasonal flu, which is a far greater risk this time of year. The best way to prevent infection with any respiratory virus is to use the same preventative strategies used during a normal cold and flu season: get a flu shot, wash hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when experiencing symptoms of illness until they resolve. It is important to remember that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds and this type of stigma should be avoided.

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


How it spreads (CDC)

Symptoms (CDC)

Prevention and treatment (CDC)

Frequently asked questions (CDC)

Georgia Department of Public Health COVID-19 Page

April 17, 2020 Georgia Bar Exam Update

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

April 2, 2020 Law School Update

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

March 18, 2020 Law School Update

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

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

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

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

March 18, 2020 Course Delivery Update

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

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

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

To download and install the Zoom Application:

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

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


March 12, 2020 Library Update

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

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

Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 15: Closed

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

Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22: Closed

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

March 12, 2020 Law School Update

Dear Law School Community:

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Dean Gatewood

March 11, 2020 Law School Update

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

March 6, 2020 Law School Update

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

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

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

Inaugural Members Welcomed to AJMLS Order of the Quill

Archer, Pope

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Order of the Quill (“Order”) is an honor society that recognizes significant academic achievement in designated required doctrinal courses (“Quill” courses). Students who achieve the required cumulative grade point average in the Quill courses will be eligible for admission into the Order. Members of the Order shall receive certificates of membership and be recognized at graduation. Other rights and privileges may be bestowed upon them as is appropriate.

Van Detta, Archer, Morris

Jarrett Archer was welcomed as the inaugural member to the Order on December 16, 2019 by then Dean Malcolm L. Morris and Deacon of the Order, Professor Jeffrey Van Detta. Jarrett Archer (Avery) is a 3L at AJMLS who will be sitting for the Georgia Bar in July of 2020. In his free time, Avery enjoys spending time with his fiancé, Ashlyn, hanging out with friends, watching football and golfing. Before law school, he attended Berry College in Rome, Georgia after graduating from Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia. At Berry College, Avery obtained a Bachelor of Arts in history and played football for four years. Currently, Avery has an interest in various areas of law, including criminal defense, personal injury, and contract litigation, all of which he developed through his time working at both Conoscienti & Ledbetter, LLC, and The Orlando Firm, P.C. in Decatur, Georgia throughout his time at AJMLS. Avery also enjoys being in the courtroom and strives to become a trial attorney. After law school and the Bar, Avery plans on opening a law practice in Cobb County Georgia that focuses on criminal defense and personal injury.

Gatewood, Pope, Van Detta

Nicholas Pope was welcomed as the second member to the Order on February 10, 2020 by Dean Jace C. Gatewood and Deacon of the Order, Professor Jeffrey Van Detta. Pope was born and raised in Athens, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia, where he became a member of the Zeta Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. He graduated in 2015 with degrees in Marketing and Sport Management. Before matriculating at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, he spent time working for CNN in its International Sales Operations Department. Pope is the first in his family to attend law school. He is a recipient of the Dean John E. Ryan Scholarship and is currently in the top three of his class. He also currently serves as the Executive Managing Editor of the Law Journal, a peer mentor in AJMLS’ Peer Mentorship Program, a member of AJMLS’ Sport and Entertainment Law Society, and as a Legal Intern at Georgia’s Own Credit Union under AJMLS Alumnus, Nikolas Kitchens. His passion is in sports and he aspires to work in sport and entertainment law as a player agent or as in-house legal counsel for a sports organization. He also has a strong interest in working in corporate business law.

Congratulations to the inaugural members of the Order, we look forward to seeing all you accomplish at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and the profession.

Eligibility Requirements, as outlined in the Student Handbook:

  • A student with at least a 3.0 grade point average in the Tier I Quill courses qualifies for membership in the Order. If admitted, the student shall be a Member of the Order.
  • A student with at least a cumulative 3.0 grade average in the Tier I and Tier II Quill courses qualifies as for Scholar membership of the Order. If approved, the student shall be a Scholar of the Order.
  • A student who graduates with a least a cumulative 3.3 grade point average in the Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III Quill courses qualifies as an Honor Scholar, and if approved, will graduate as an Honor Scholar of the Order.
  • A student who graduates with a least a cumulative 3.5 grade point average in the Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III Quill courses qualifies to graduate as an Exemplar Scholar, and if approved, will graduate as an Exemplar Scholar of the Order.
  • The Order graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average in the Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III Quill courses shall be designated the Marshal of the Order.

Quill Courses:

Tier I Quill courses are Contracts I and II, Torts I and II, Civil Procedure I and II, Property I and II, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law I. 

Tier II Quill courses are Constitutional Law II, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Business Organizations, Mastering Legal Principles I, and Mastering Legal Skills.

Tier III Quill courses are Mastering Legal Principles II and Remedies.

Christian Legal Society and Business Law Society Honored for Fall 2019

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud to award the Fall 2019 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to the Christian Legal Society and the Corporate and Business Law Society. This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester. Included below are some of the events that the Christian Legal Society and the Corporate and Business Law Society sponsored this past semester:

Christian Legal Society

Faith in the First Week
Weekly Community Service with My Sister’s House
Blessing Bags and Bar Prep Initiative
Chrisitan Identity Speaker Event
Bible Study Brunch
Scriptures of the Week

Corporate and Business Law Society

First Place Winner in the ABA Regional Negotiation Competition
CBLS/BLSA Book Drive for First-Year Students
CBLS/BLSA First-Year Study Series
Sponsor for Covenant Youth for Christmas
Community Service Event with Covenant House
Hurricane Dorian Relief Effort
From Law Student to Practicing Attorney Speaker Event

The Selection Committee was impressed by the effort and hard work of the two organizations. The Committee would also like to give honorable mentions to the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers-AJMLS Chapter and the Black Law Students Association. These organizations also sponsored numerous impactful events for the community. Congratulations, Christian Legal Society and Corporate and Business Law Society on being chosen as the 2019 Fall Outstanding Student Organizations. We look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make the law school and the community better!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Remains Approved ABA Law School, Seeks Non-Profit Status

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce that the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association at its recent meeting found that the Law School demonstrated full compliance with the ABA Standards. The Law School has continuously been an approved ABA law school since 2009. The Law School recently took specific measures to ensure its compliance with the ABA Standards while continuing to meet its mission, viz., providing legal education opportunities to both traditional and non-traditional students.

“We at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School are proud of our students and graduates, and remain committed to their success in law school and the practice of law,” said Malcolm L. Morris, Dean and Professor of Law at Atlanta’s John Marshall. “The Law School now plans to convert to a non-profit institution that will further strengthen its relationship with the community it serves.”

Over the last two academic years, the Law School increased its entering class 75th percentile LSAT score by three points to 152, its median score by four points to 150, and its 25th percentile by three points to 147. The Law School’s Georgia Bar Exam first time pass rate also increased over the past two years by 28% for the July administrations.

Located in one of America’s most vibrant cities, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud to continue to provide access to a high-quality program of legal education, and maintain a flexible program of full-time and part-time study for all qualified applicants.

1996 Alumna, Angela Duncan, Appointed Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates 1996 alumna, Angela Duncan, on her recent appointment as the 11th Superior Court Judge for Gwinnett County. Gwinnett County is Georgia’s second largest county and this position was created by Governor Brian Kemp to assist in the increasing caseload. It is speculated that Duncan will be Gwinnett’s first openly gay Superior Court judge as she joins a handful of other officials who are members of the LGBTQ community and hold high profile positions in the county.

Judge Duncan has worked as a Gwinnett County Magistrate Court judge for the past 15 years and is the current chief judge for the city of Chamblee’s municipal court. She earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from North Georgia College and served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1987 to 1995.

Duncan attended AJMLS part-time attending both day and night classes while also maintaining a full time job. Throughout her study, she sought to experience different areas of law by working at a different firm each year of law school. She learned every aspect of private firms, from working in the file room to becoming a law librarian assistant and court runner. She also experienced many different law practices prior to graduation, from labor law and appellate work to personal injury and criminal defense.

It was during her third year of study, and work at the former Gambrell and Stolz, that her interest was piqued in serving on the bench. Irwin W. Stolz, Jr., who served on the Georgia Court of Appeals from 1972-1977, was an excellent mentor and teacher during her employment at the firm.

When asked if she had advice for the Atlanta’s John Marshall community, she noted:

“Whatever it is you want to do, find a passion in it- it’s a lot less like work.”

Duncan also remarked to her University of North Georgia alma mater,

“I have always been open about who I am. My wife and children have accompanied me and are a huge part of my success.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to celebrate this appointment and wishes Judge Duncan much success as she takes the bench in the New Year.

AJMLS Negotiations Team Wins ABA Regional Negotiation Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates the Corporate and Business Law Society’s Negotiations team for winning the ABA’s Regional Negotiation Competition this past weekend. The competition was held in New Orleans at Tulane University and the AJMLS team consisted of Ashley Winston, James Elliott, and Ashley Lewis (alternate). A total of 25 teams participated in the regional competition.

Notably, the Atlanta’s John Marshall team earned a perfect score from one of the judges during the final round. Having secured the regional win, the team will now compete in the national competition in Chicago this upcoming February.

We are incredibly proud of our students and wish them the best of luck in Chicago!

Pictured left to right: Lewis, Elliott, Winston

The team would like to thank the following people:

The Corporate & Business Law Society (CBLS)
David McMichael, Northpoint Commercial Finance, LLC (Sponsor)
Raymond Tran, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (Coach)
Don’etrick Houston, AJMLS Student (VP of the Board Room)
Jeffrey Van Detta, AJMLS Professor
Elizabeth Jaffe, AJMLS Professor
John Gibson, AJMLS Student
Chanceity Robinson, AJMLS Student
Lauren Henderson, AJMLS Student
Shauki Smith, AJMLS Student
The Emory University Negotiations Team
The AJMLS Office of Student Affairs
Browing Jeffries, AJMLS Professor
Dean Morris, Dean of the Law School

About the Negotiation Competition

The ABA Law Student Division Negotiation Competition provides a means for law students to practice and improve their negotiating skills. The competition simulates legal negotiations in which law students, acting as lawyers, negotiate a series of legal problems. The simulations consist of a common set of facts known by all participants and confidential information known only to the participants representing a particular side. All of the simulations deal with the same general topic, but the negotiation situation varies with each round and level of the competition.

1996 Alumna, Tasha M. Mosley, Appointed Clayton County District Attorney

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates 1996 alumna, Tasha M. Mosley, on her recent appointment as District Attorney of the Clayton County Judicial Circuit.

Mosley has served Clayton County as their Solicitor General since 2009, and previously served as Assistant Solicitor General in Henry County as well as Master Assistant Solicitor General from 2004 to 2006, and Assistant Solicitor General from 1998 to 2004 in the Clayton County Judicial Circuit.

After graduating from AJMLS, Mosley was the sole practitioner of the Tasha Mosley Law Firm in Jonesboro before beginning her career in public service.

An active community leader, Mosley has received numerous professional awards, including the 2013 Clayton County Bar Association Community Service Award, 2015 and 2018 Freddie L. Groomes-McClendon Caring Awards, 2018 Angela M. Williams Humanitarian Award, 2018 Regina Crothers from the Heart Award, and 2018 Thompson-Jones Award. She also is a member of the State Bar of Georgia‘s Statewide Judicial Evaluation Committee, Rainbow House Executive Board, and Calvary Refuge Center Executive Board. She is the former Vice Chair of the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia, Vice President of the Clayton County Bar Association, and President of the Solicitor General Association of Georgia.*

When asked of the appointment, Governor Kemp remarked:
“For many years, Tasha has worked tirelessly to serve the Clayton County community as a strong advocate for her constituents, both in and out of the courtroom. She is beloved by her neighbors and peers, highly regarded and respected in the legal profession, and ready to take on this new adventure,” said Kemp. “She has the perfect background and personality for this opportunity, and I know that she will excel.”
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School celebrates its alumni and wishes District Attorney Mosley all the best in her new chapter.

2013 Alumnus, Judge Ethan Pham, Named to Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Judge Ethan Pham, Class of 2013, for his recent honor of being named one of Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40. The 40 individuals were selected by the Georgia Trend staff from more than 400 nominations by readers throughout the state. Judge Pham is a Partner at the Law Firm of Nguyen & Pham LLC and an Associate Judge for the City of Norcross and City of Morrow.

Georgia Trend’s article notes,

Ethan Pham began his law career working for a private firm that represented municipalities around the Atlanta airport. As an assistant city attorney, he advised local governments on the legality and the constitutionality of their actions.

Pham, who immigrated from Vietnam at age 11, says that experience gave him a deeper understanding of the word freedom. “Freedom is not just freedom from oppression from a foreign country, but freedom is also freedom from oppression from your own government,” he says.

Pham is passionate about community service. He is the vice chair of the Gwinnett Transit Advisory Board; a member of the Gwinnett Police Foundation; serves as legal counsel for the Atlanta International Night Market; and is the co-founder of the Vietnamese American Bar Association of 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 last year’s U.S. House District 7 Democratic primary election.

The Law School is proud of Judge Pham’s continued success and we look forward to celebrating with him for many years to come.

2011 Alumnus, Nick Schnyder, Employs Fellow AJMLS Graduates at Nick Schnyder Law Firm, LLC

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumnus, Nick Schnyder, has only hired passionate legal minds from his alma mater since opening his firm, Nick Schnyder Law Firm, LLC, in August of 2016. Schnyder’s firm experienced rapid growth and turning to his fellow AJMLS alumni for support has enabled the firm to continue taking on difficult and rewarding cases.

The Nick Schnyder Law Firm was pleased to hire Rebecca Rae, Class of 2012 in 2017, and Matthew Nestrud, Class of 2012, in 2019. Prior to attending law school, Rae accumulated over a decade of legal experience as a legal assistant and paralegal, and is also the co-founder of the non-profit, Flashpoint Artists Initiative, Inc., which has donated approximately $100,000 to local charities over the past 13 years. Nestrud graduated top ten in his class from AJMLS, was the Executive Legislative Editor on Law Review, and competed on the Moot Court Team.

Schnyder also graduated top of his class, passed the bar, and began his journey of becoming a personal injury civil litigation attorney in 2011. His determination to fight for justice is both professional and personal as his own family was injured by medical error in three separate incidents giving him common ground with the clients he serves. Since founding his firm, Schnyder became a member of the Georgia Bar Association, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, and the Cobb County Bar Association. He has also won numerous awards including Top 40 Under 40 from National Trial Lawyers and Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite.

The Law School is proud of the success of its alumni at the Nick Schnyder Law Firm and is pleased to share their work fighting on behalf of Georgia’s injured families.

About Nick Schnyder Law Firm, LLC – Established in 2016. Experienced personal injury and catastrophic injury attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia.

Are you an AJMLS graduate with exciting news or honors to share? Please email us at marketing@johnmarshall.edu.

*Image courtesy of Nick Schnyder Law Firm

Serving Those Who Have Served Us: The AJMLS Homeless Veteran Legal Clinic

Few resources are available to provide free criminal legal services for homeless Veterans, despite the fact that legal services are often essential for removing barriers to obtaining or retaining permanent housing, receiving needed healthcare, income stability, and opening doors to employment. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS), in partnership with the Atlanta Veteran’s Administration Medical Center (VAMC), has created a voluntary Veteran’s Legal Intensive Externship program at Ft. McPherson military installation in East Point, Georgia.

This hybrid clinical externship, known as the Homeless Veteran Legal Clinic, is run by the Office of Experiential Learning and is supervised by AJMLS Alumnus Mr. Corey Martin of Martin and Associates. The hybrid clinic is manned by AJMLS students and operates on a walk-in basis once a month. It is a great opportunity for students to receive externship or pro bono credit.

Since its inception in 2018, 34 referrals have been made to the Homeless Veteran Legal Clinic and AJMLS students have served 23 of the 34 cases. Four veterans have had their charges dismissed, 18 cases received legal consultation, and in five cases legal representation is currently being provided. The average number of referrals are three to four per month. This is a great opportunity for AJMLS students to serve those who have served us. Should you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Assistant Dean, Dr. Bridgett E. Ortega at bortega@johnmarshall.edu.

The Fort McPherson VA Clinic is located at 1701 Hardee Avenue, Southwest Atlanta, GA 30310.

*Image courtesy Atlanta VA Health Care System

2018 Alumna, Calvana Cedant, Has Turned Her Dream Into a Reality

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!

Alumna Nicole Fegan Sets a New Tone for Criminal Defense Attorneys

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!


*Fegan Law, LLC

**Featured image courtesy of the Attorney at Law Magazine Cover

Alumna Neera Bahl Recently Appointed to the Cobb County Board of Elections

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.

Repost from the Marietta Daily Journal:

“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!

*Featured image courtesy of Marietta Daily Journal

Constance Copeland Selected as a Henning Memorial Award Recipient

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School 2019 graduate, Constance Copeland, was selected as a recipient of the Edward J. Henning Memorial Award. This award focuses on recognizing the outstanding efforts of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) students within the state’s five ABA-accredited law schools, one being our very own Atlanta’s John Marshall. It is given to five winners in memory of Ed Henning, one of the “founding fathers” of mediation in Georgia.*

Henning Mediation & Arbitration Service, Inc. provides training for civil mediation, arbitration, and divorce mediation. For more information or to make a contribution towards the Edward J. Henning Memorial Award, visit their website here.

Congratulations Constance on being selected as a recipient! We look forward to celebrating your continued success.

*Henning Mediation & Arbitration Services, Inc. Facebook Post

*Featured image pulled from Henning Mediation & Arbitration Services, Inc. Facebook Post

Meet Your 2019-2020 Student Bar Association Executive Board

Congratulations to the newly appointed 2019-2020 Student Bar Association (SBA) Executive Board! The primary objective of the SBA Executive Board is to represent the viewpoints of the student body, and serve as a conduit between the students and administration. Your 2019-2020 Executive Board is already hard at work on your behalf, and looks forward to a productive academic year.

Let’s meet this year’s Executive Board!

Teana Overton, President

Where were you raised: I was raised in Lithonia, Georgia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I earned my Bachelors from Longwood University in Virginia.

What are your future career plans: I am unsure of my legal career path as it is still developing; however, I do know that I will not be satisfied unless I am advocating for disenfranchised groups.

What do you look forward to as the SBA President: I look forward to working with the administration to provide students with the highest quality experience possible.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My personal goal as SBA President for the 2019-2010 academic year is to be thorough in all endeavors.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I want my classmates to know that I view my position as one of service, not of power. With that being stated, I look forward to serving as your SBA President.


Bethany Johnston, Vice President

Where were you raised: Cedartown, Georgia

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I got my Bachelor’s Degree (Sociology Major with a minor in Mass Communications) at The University of Georgia. I got my Master’s Degree at The University of Phoenix (Health Administration with a specialty in Geriatrics).

What are your future career plans: I am not sure what area of law I would like to pursue as of yet. I am just fortunate to be chasing my dream in my mid-thirties.

What do you look forward to as the SBA Vice President: Being a part of the John Marshall Family and helping others learn ways to become involved.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: To help improve communication and student involvement. I am blessed to be working with a great group on the Executive board this year.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I am a student, a wife, a mother, and a friend to many. Law school is hard! However, with a great support team it is possible to achieve your dreams. I am always here to help support all the students in whatever ways I can. We are a team at John Marshall!


Mario Pereira, Treasurer

Where were you raised: I was born in Colombia and came to the United States when I was three years old. I was raised in West Orange New Jersey and moved to Georgia when I was 17.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I completed my undergraduate degree at Barry University, a Catholic university located in Miami, Florida. 

What are your future career plans: My future career goal is to practice immigration law.

What do you look forward to as the SBA Treasurer: As SBA Treasurer I look forward to working closely with the SBA board, students, and faculty.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My goal as SBA Treasurer is to appropriately manage our budget to have sufficient funds for the necessities of the school and our students.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I want my classmates to know that I am very approachable and always willing to lend a helping hand.


Promiss Yarber, Secretary

Where were you raised: I was born and raised in Macon, Georgia.

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I completed my undergraduate education at Georgia Southern University and majored in English and Writing.

What are your future career plans: My future career plans are unclear because I kind of go with the flow and don’t commit myself to one thing. However, I am seriously considering working at a real estate firm right now.

What do you look forward to as the SBA Secretary: As SBA Secretary, I look forward to being the voice of the students and being able to talk to more students, gather their concerns and ideas, and share them with the administration. I look forward to making communication between students and the SBA Board Members easier and more efficient.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My goals are to just make everyone feel comfortable with voicing their concerns and feel as though their concerns are being addressed accordingly.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I’m pretty much an open book. I want them to know that I’m very approachable and easy to talk to/understanding. I like playing tennis so if anyone needs a tennis partner they should befriend me!


Whitnie Carter, Parliamentarian

Where were you raised: I was raised in Woodstock, Ga. 

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I earned my Bachelors degree at Georgia State University.

What are your future career plans: Ideally, I want to become an Athletic Director of Compliance for an institution or in-house for a conference. However, it’s all in God’s plan. 

What do you look forward to as the SBA Parliamentarian: I look forward to maintaining order at any and all meetings pursuant to Robert’s Rules of Order, and being a helping hand to our board, the students, and administration. 

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My personal goal for the 2019-2020 academic year is to allow transparency and provide as much feedback to students to allow them to have the best law school experience. 

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I want my classmates to know, I’m always here to listen and help in anyway I can. We are John Marshall Proud! 





We would also like to thank the 2018-2019 Board for your tireless work on behalf of the Atlanta’s John Marshall student body. We are excited to follow your success as new attorneys.


2018 Alumna, Jennifer Magruder, Paves Way by Starting a Law Firm

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.

Alumnus Burl Finkelstein Featured in the Daily Report

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 Welcomes Congresswoman Lucy McBath as 2019 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Congresswoman Lucy McBath as the Law School’s 2019 commencement speaker. Commencement exercises are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on May 18, 2019 at the Georgia World Congress Center – 285 Andrew Young International Boulevard NW Atlanta, GA 30313.

The Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is both honored and thrilled to have Congresswoman Lucy McBath as its graduation speaker this year. Congresswoman McBath is a true champion of the people as evidenced by her longtime commitment to community service and supporting both civil rights and educational opportunities for all. We look forward to her inspirational remarks to send our graduates on their way to successful legal careers. – Dean Malcolm L. Morris


About Congresswoman Lucy McBath

Congresswoman Lucy McBath is a mother, a wife, an author and an activist, but the most important title she will ever hold is Jordan’s Mom. She spent 30 years working for Delta Airlines as a flight attendant until the death of her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, in 2012. Jordan was shot and killed in what became known as the “Loud Music Shooting.” After his death, The Congresswoman turned to activism. She has dedicated her life to preventing other families from experiencing the same tragedy that she did.

Congresswoman McBath held dual roles as the national spokesperson for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, as well as faith and outreach leader for both. After years of advocating to local, state, and federal legislators, and in the wake of the Parkland shooting, she decided to run for Congress.

In addition to her experiences with gun violence, the Congresswoman was inspired to run for Congress because she is a two-time breast cancer survivor. She knows the importance of covering those with preexisting conditions and increasing accessibility to quality and affordable health care. The Congresswoman proudly represents Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District.


Tickets are not required for entry. For general information you can visit our graduation page here and/or our logistics page here for further details. There will be a small reception immediately following the ceremony for the graduates and their guests, faculty, staff, and volunteers.

*Biography information courtesy of mcbath.house.gov

*Featured image courtesy of mcbath.house.gov official portrait

AJMLS Alumna, Antonette Igbenoba, Accepts Position at Global Corporation

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.

BLSA and CBLS Named Outstanding Student Organizations of Spring 2019

As the Spring semester at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) comes to an end, we are thrilled to recognize the hard work and dedication our students have put both inside and outside of the classroom. Congratulations to the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the Corporate and Business Law Society (CBLS) on being named the Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester for Spring 2019. This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and positively contributed to AJMLS, the students, and the community around them.

Below are a few of the events sponsored by the BLSA and CBLS from this semester:


Mr. and Miss John Marshall Scholarship and Charity Pageant
LexisNexis Study Tip Days
Forever Family Donation Drive
Guidance Gathering


BLSA celebrated its 26th Anniversary at the Gathering Spot and recognized current students and prominent attorneys and alumni in the Atlanta area. The organization also raised over $5,000 for scholarships and the Covenant House at the first ever Covenant House Scholarship Pageant.

(Congratulations to the winner of this year’s pageant:
Miss John Marshall: Syndi Marshall
Mr. John Marshall: Bryce Bell
2nd Runner Up Miss John Marshall: Samantha Beskin
2nd Runner Up Mr. John Marshall: Hunter Burkhalter
People’s Choice Award: Sydni Marshall for having raised in excess of $600
Philanthropy Award: Heather Tucker for having raised in excess of $800)


CBLS Corporate and Business Law Forum
Covenant House Volunteer Days and Professional Outreach
Planned Pethood Volunteer Project
End It Movement Table Event


CBLS promoted volunteerism in the community and also held a forum which allowed students the opportunity to meet practicing attorneys in the Atlanta area from firms such as Nelson Mullins.


The Selection Committee was impressed by the effort and hard work of the two organizations. Visit the site here to learn more about all of our student organizations.

AJMLS Student, Kristian Postma, Selected for the 2019 Inspiring Mothers of Georgia Award

Congratulations to Kristian Postma, a student here at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS), for being selected as one of six recipients of the 2019 Inspiring Mothers of Georgia Award. This award, given by the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) Coalition of Georgia, is presented to inspirational mothers all across the state of Georgia. The HMHB Coalition of Georgia has been a statewide voice for mothers and babies to have improved access to healthcare and health outcomes. Each year, this organization awards inspiring mothers based on their demonstration of certain characteristics such as strength, sacrifice, caring nature, compassion and generosity; characteristics that Kristian demonstrates daily at home, work, and school. Winners have the opportunity to attend the annual Mother’s Day Luncheon, where they will be honored and given a chance to share their story with their families and the community. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from a few empowerment speakers including award-winning author, Kate Rope, and Founding Director of RestoreHER, Pamela Winn.

Visit the Third Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon & Inspiring Mothers of Georgia Awards page for more information about the award and this year’s recipients.

*Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia

Congratulations to the 2019 Resilience Scholarship Recipients

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) would like to take a moment to congratulate Breana Hampton and Jane McCoy on being recipients of the 2019 Resilience Scholarship. The Resilience Scholarship is a need-based scholarship that was created to help alleviate some of the financial stress associated with law school and acknowledge phenomenal students who have overcome substantial hardships. It was created by Tracy Johnson, a member of the AJMLS family and someone who embodies all that the scholarship is. Both part-time and full-time students are eligible to apply as long as you are a 2L, 3L, or 4L currently enrolled with an a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 2.0.

We wish you the best of luck as you work hard towards graduating!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Journal to Host Symposium: Accountability Courts

On March 22, 2019, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) will host its annual Law Journal Symposium. This event, held at the Blackburn Conference Center from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., will consist of many esteemed guest speakers and judges all focused on this year’s topic: Accountability Courts in Georgia. Registrants will have the opportunity to receive 6.0 CLE credits for this event. Those seeking CLE credit must register under “Attorney Admission” and pay $30 (costs will cover the Bar’s booking fees). However, the event is free and open to any law students, judges, legislators, and the general public who wish to attend.

The symposium’s topic will focus on providing detailed knowledge and insight into Georgia’s Accountability Court programs. These programs are designed to rehabilitate nonviolent offenders who spend significant time behind bars. It is a proven solution and AJMLS hopes to educate criminal law students on the problem along with the positive impact the programs can have now and in the future.

“First and foremost, I wanted to plan a CLE that brings awareness to these programs,” said Taylor Deciano, AJMLS’ Law Journal’s Editor in Chief.  “Accountability courts in GA are still relatively new (est. 2015), but have grown exponentially in the last four years. Secondly, my goal is to teach those in practice how to better advocate for an at-risk defendant, whether that is better understanding the program’s structure, better understanding a presiding judge’s point of view, or listening to miscellaneous tips and tricks for advocating in these courts.”


Presentations and the moderated discussion topics include:

“The Council of Accountability Court Judges Processes and Outcomes,”

“Restoring Lives Alliance and Practical Lawyering in these Courts,”

“CACJ 101,”

“DUI Courts,”

“Drug Courts,”

“Parental Accountability Courts,”

“Veterans Court.”

While the overall subject matter is different, one of this year’s presentations on Veterans Court is meant to play on last year’s topic of Veterans Law. Previous year’s topics included business law, immigration, juvenile justice, criminal defense, and privacy, meaning this will be a first for the Accountability Courts topic.

“More than anything, I hope our guests walk away with practical tools they can use in practice and a better understanding of accountability courts,” said Deciano. “A bonus would be that someone walks away inspired to start a program like this in their home jurisdiction that does not yet have any or all of these programs.”

In addition to the admired guest speakers and discussion topics scheduled throughout the day, breakfast and lunch will be served as well. Space is limited so make sure to register today!

Click here for more information and to register for the event.

AJMLS Students Volunteer at Gideon’s Promise Trainer Development Conference

On January 19, 2019, Gideon’s Promise hosted their annual Trainer Development Conference (TDC) in Atlanta and offered Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) students the unique opportunity to volunteer and participate. At the conference, AJMLS students played the role of young attorneys where they conducted opening statements, cross examinations, as well as role played some challenging ethical hypotheticals. They received feedback and coaching from the seasoned public defenders and law school clinicians at the conference.

The President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, Professor Jonathan Rapping, is the Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program at Atlanta’s John Marshall and the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.

*Gideon’s Promise is one of the nation’s leading public defender education programs. It uses a comprehensive, interactive curriculum to prepare new public defenders to raise the standard of representation in challenging environments. The program teaches values, substantive knowledge, skills essential to being a public defender, and helps its lawyers develop strategies for implementing these lessons in the courthouses where they work.

The Trainer Development Conference teaches cutting edge techniques for legal professionals who educate existing or future lawyers who represent poor people accused of crimes. TDC is only offered to members of the public defender community. It is open to public defender trainers and clinical professors who teach exclusively in criminal defense clinics.

The effectiveness of Gideon’s Promise training is evidenced by its support from leading foundations such as the Open Society Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the United States Department of Justice. Gideon’s Promise has partnered with over 45 offices to provide training to young public defenders across 17 states.

When asked about working with the AJMLS student volunteers, here’s what a few conference participants had to say:

“I could not believe that these students had come in for a full day on a holiday weekend, and they had come in prepared (more than many attorneys I’ve worked with in NIDA trainings before) – and then they were THANKING us.  I was impressed by their diligence, their openness to feedback, and the improvements that they made during each session, and I think we are in very good hands if they represent the next generation of lawyers.”

Elizabeth Nevins, Associate Clinical Professor, Attorney-in-Charge, Criminal Justice Clinic, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

“One of our students prepared a cross-examination that was on the advanced level, she asked one fact per question and when the witness got squirrely, she naturally looped to keep him on track. It was an incredible cross-examination.

Beyond being prepared for their exercises, our students were all-in on listening to each other when the others were presenting. You could see the growth happening in real-time.”

Brent Getty, Deputy Training Development Coordinator, Office of the State Public Defender, Montana

“The John Marshall law students I met at the Gideon’s Promise Trainer Development Conference exceeded my expectations in every way. They were well prepared, smart, and engaging. I hope to see them at our office in the future.”

Christopher Hernandez, Deputy Public Defender, El Paso County Public Defender’s Office

“The John Marshall Students were far and away the most prepared law students I have seen at a training event. Many of them had never taken a trial advocacy course, but they had strong ideas and were dedicated to improving their skills to benefit their future clients. Never have I seen such dedication from such a group of young students.”

Ray Ibarra, Education Supervisor, Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy

*Gideon’s Promise

Alumnus, Vincent A. Lotti, Sworn in as Henry County Magistrate Judge

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.

*Henry Harold

Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumni Are Sworn Into Practice at Mass Swearing-In Ceremony

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!

Alumnus, William J. Black III, Sworn Into Practice at Pershing Point Park’s WWI Monument

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.

Announcing the Loss of Our Dear Friend, Allan Brezel

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is saddened to announce the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Allan Brezel. Allan was the Law School’s Associate Dean for Finance (and prior Chief Financial Officer). Known for his fatherly demeanor and dry humor, the AJMLS family feels lucky to have met Allan in early 2011. Our hearts are with his family, who were his everything.

Re post from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Allan Brezel, age 64, Marietta, GA, died November 17, 2018. Allan was a caring man who loved his family with all of his heart. Allan was originally from Queens, New York. The son of two holocaust survivors who grew up helping his parents run their family owned clothing store on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. Allan and his wife, Susan, relocated to the Atlanta area where he attended Emory University, earning a master’s degree in accounting.

In Atlanta, Allan and Susan put down roots and made friends who became family. The three children that Allan and Susan raised together were Allan’s greatest loves. Allan enjoyed playing golf, watching the stock market, taking long walks along the Chattahoochee River, and spending as much time as possible with his three granddaughters who called him ‘Pop-Pop’. Allan was well known amongst his friends and family for being a good listener and giving sound advice. Allan made a positive impact on everyone he met and the world will be a little darker without his warm hugs and bright smile.

He is survived by his wife, Susan Brezel; daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Matthew Kulkin; son and future daughter-in-law, Jonathan Brezel and Michaela Hankinson; daughter and son-in-law, Jordan and Michael Levene; brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Ted and Claire Brezel; brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Mitchell and Lisa Brezel; grandchildren: Ava, Julia and Elise.

Sign online guest book at www.edressler.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research (www.lustgarten.org).

A graveside service will be held Monday, November 19, 2018 at 3:00 pm at Arlington Memorial Park with Rabbi Joshua Heller officiating. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, Atlanta (770) 451-4999.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from November 18 to November 19, 2018

Atlanta’s John Marshall Hosts 9th Annual Owl Classic Invitational Mock Trial Tournament

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was pleased to host the 9th Annual Owl Classic Invitation Mock Trial Tournament for Kennesaw State University this past weekend. Over the course of two days, the competition welcomed 180 participants and 25 judges to Atlanta and the Law School.

Thank you to this year’s coordinators: Dr. Elizabeth Gordon, Mary Loudermilk, Callie Christian, and Gillian Morris, it was a pleasure to work with you and host the tournament.

Congratulations to the top trial teams at the 2018 Haunted Owl Classic!

First place: Lee University (Skeletons)
Second place: University of South Carolina (Witches)
Third place: University of Florida (Monsters)
Fourth place: Middle Tennessee State University (Goblins)
Fifth place: Kennesaw State University (Pumpkins)

The outstanding attorney award winners:

Ben Asher, Lee University
Kayla Long, Middle Tennessee State University
Ben Wycoff, Lee University
Grace Russ, University of South Carolina
Nichole Laverde, Kennesaw State University
Emily Laurare, Spelman College, received special recognition for winning awards on both sides of the case

The outstanding witness award winners:

Lawrence Hall, Kennesaw State University
Jordan Jackson, Mercer University
Bryn Sluder, University of South Carolina
Madeline Burgess, Lee University
Madison Mermeistein, Mercer University
Grace Anne Cochrane, Lee University
Kyle Lang, University of South Carolina
Tom Morrison, Georgia State University

Congratulations to all the participants and thank you to the judges for volunteering your time!

Lee University

University of South Carolina

University of Florida

Middle Tennessee State University

AJMLS Civil Liberties Seminar Successfully Represents Public School Students in Disciplinary Hearings

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) students are working to dismantle the school to prison pipeline in their Civil Liberties Litigation Seminar, taught by Professor Kathleen M. Burch. The three-credit elective seminar allows Atlanta’s John Marshall students to work on live legal issues and gain clinic-like experience working with a civil liberties issue.

This semester, in collaboration with attorneys from Georgia Legal Services, the Seminar students are representing local public school students in disciplinary hearings. In preparation, the AJMLS students learned the school disciplinary process and students’ right to due process during investigations and hearings.

As a result, two public school students were able to return to their classrooms this week. The AJMLS students wrote the briefs appealing the discipline by the hearing officers to the respective school boards, and both school boards determined that the expulsions were not warranted.

The Law School is proud of the hard work of our students in the community and is thrilled to offer these hands-on experiences in and outside the classroom.

Alumna, Fallon McClure, Helps Bring Change to Georgia Communities at Spread the Vote

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.

*Spread the Vote

Three Alumni Accepted to GTLA LEAD Program

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!

**Jenkins Utley, photo also courtesy
***Lasky Cooper Law, photo also courtesy
****Ramos Law Firm, photo also courtesy

Alumnus, Ethan Pham, First Appointed Vietnamese-American Judge in Georgia

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.

Alumnus, Erik Provitt, Accepted to American Bar Association Fellows Program

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.*

Erik is also currently a Georgia Housing Corps Fellow and is a staff attorney with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation Standing with Our Neighbors Program.

The Law School is incredibly proud of Erik’s work in the community and we look forward to celebrating his continued success.

*American Bar Assocation

Atlanta’s John Marshall Faculty, Staff, and Board Members Serve State Bar of Georgia Committees

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is proud of its community members that serve the State Bar of Georgia as active committee members and leaders of change. The following committee descriptions are courtesy of the State Bar of Georgia’s website.

Bar Center Committee

This standing committee will continue to monitor the Bar’s needs and uses of its headquarters in Atlanta.

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker, Board of Directors
Committee Member, term ending 2019

Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency

It is of utmost importance to members of the Bar and to the public that attorneys maintain their professional competence throughout their active practice of law. To that end, this commission establishes the minimum requirements for continuing legal education.

B. Michael Mears, Associate Professor
Other Entities Appointee, term ending 2018

Disciplinary Rules and Procedures Committee

This standing committee shall advise the Executive Committee and Board of Governors with respect to all procedural and substantive disciplinary rules, policies and procedures.

Kellyn O. McGee, Associate Professor, Savannah Campus
Committee Member, term ending 2019

Formal Advisory Opinion Board

This board is authorized to draft Formal Advisory Opinions concerning a proper interpretation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or any of the grounds for disciplinary action as applied to a given state of facts, as set forth in Bar Rule 4-403.

Jeffrey A. Van Detta, John E. Ryan Professor of International Business and Workplace Law
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Representative, term ending 2019

ICLE Board

This program committee shall render advice to the staff, Executive Committee and Board of Governors with respect to the rules, procedures, policies and operations of the ICLE program. It will promote and support continuing legal education programs for Bar members designed to enhance their skills and keep them abreast of developments in the law. It will also encourage CLE programming by the Sections of the State Bar.

B. Michael Mears, Associate Professor
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Representative, term ending 2019

iCivics Committee

This special committee will work towards implementing iCivics into Georgia’s 8th grade curriculum. Founded by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics is the nation’s most comprehensive, standards-aligned civics curriculum that is available freely on the Web. Working with the Young Lawyers Division (YLD), attorney volunteers will be solicited to assist Georgia’s social study teachers with the curriculum units.

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein, Board of Directors
Honorary Chairperson, term ending 2019

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker, Board of Directors
Committee Member, term ending 2019

Committee to Promote Inclusion in the Profession

This standing committee shall facilitate, analyze and present for consideration initiatives and programs which increases participation, retention and representation of diverse attorneys in the legal profession in Georgia that accurately reflects the makeup of our State. In this effort, the committee will work towards inclusion of lawyers who have been historically underrepresented. It shall advise the Executive Committee and Board of Governors with regard to those interests.

Kellyn O. McGee, Associate Professor, Savannah Campus
Committee Member, term ending 2019

Military Legal Assistance Program

This standing committee shall monitor and render advice to the program’s director, Executive Committee, and Board of Governors with respect to the operation of the Military Legal Assistance Program, which facilitates pro bono representation of veterans and service members in addressing their unmet legal needs.

B. Michael Mears, Associate Professor
Committee Member, term ending 2019

Professionalism Committee

This standing committee shall consider and make recommendations to the Executive Committee and Board of Governors necessary to advance professionalism in the practice of law. It shall concern itself with the various facets of professionalism including knowledge, technical skill, integrity in relations with both clients and courts, dedication to the law and public good, and ultimately the providing of competent legal services to the public.

Kellyn O. McGee, Associate Professor, Savannah Campus
Committee Member, term ending 2019

B. Michael Mears, Associate Professor
Committee Member, term ending 2019

Hope L. Jamison, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs
Committee Advisor, term ending 2019

Programs Committee

This standing committee shall advise the Executive Committee with respect to the addition, deletion, change, and operation of all State Bar programs and services. It shall solicit and review staff and budget impact statements whenever any proposal is made for the addition, deletion, or change of any State Bar program or service.

Kellyn O. McGee, Associate Professor, Savannah Campus
Committee Member, term ending 2020

Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee

This program committee shall investigate and diligently inquire into the unlicensed practice of law by law agencies and other unauthorized persons specifically including any person not an active member in good standing of the State Bar, and the participation of lawyers therein, and proper methods for the prevention thereof.

Kellyn O. McGee, Associate Professor, Savannah Campus
Committee Member, term ending 2019

AJMLS Launches New Co-Enrollment Option for Students

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is excited to announce a new co-enrollment program for its students. Upon successful completion of the first year curriculum, students may apply to co-enroll in the Criminal Justice Certificate Program. This new program allows students to co-enroll in classes that will grant credit towards their Certificate.

Students participating in the Criminal Justice Certificate Program (CJCP) will graduate with both their J.D. and Certificate in Criminal Justice. The CJCP is an excellent option for students considering practicing in the criminal justice arena or students who have a general interest in criminal justice. The Program packages electives and required courses that are strongly recommended for a potential career in criminal law. However, participation will not preclude a student from pursuing other fields of practice and participants will still have at least seven credits to use for additional electives of their choice. Click here to learn more about the program and request information.

Contact Information

Jonathan Rapping, Professor of Law and Director of Criminal Justice Certificate Program

Meet Your 2018-2019 Student Bar Association Executive Board

On May 19, 2018, the 2018-2019 Student Bar Association (SBA) Executive Board took office. Thank you to the 2017-2018 Board for your tireless work on behalf of the Atlanta’s John Marshall student body, we are excited to follow your success as new attorneys.

The primary objective of the SBA Executive Board is to represent the viewpoints of the student body, and serve as a conduit between the students and administration. Your 2018-2019 Executive Board is already hard at work on your behalf, and looks forward to a productive academic year.

Genghis Shakhan, President

Where were you raised: Columbus, Ohio

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: The Ohio State University: B.A English, M.A Literature, M.Ed Secondary Education

What are your future career plans: Business Law and Public Interest

What do you look forward to as the SBA President: I look forward most to serving the student body and being a conduit and agent of change.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My primary goal is to elevate the prestige of the law school and increase consumer confidence.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: All of my life I have wanted to help people just like my mother. In all I do I try my best to emulate her example; sometimes I fail, but oftentimes I succeed.

Chelsea Wilkerson, Vice President

Where were you raised: I was born in Hahira, Georgia in 1994 then moved with my immediate family to Sylvester, Georgia

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I earned my Bachelors in Sociology at Georgia State University

What are your future career plans: To be an advocate for impoverished and homeless populations by providing legal services involving housing, education, and access to healthcare legal issues

What do you look forward to as the SBA Vice President: Mostly serving the student body by incorporating board initiatives to make 2018-2019 a great academic year, as well as addressing students’ most pressing concerns. I also look forward to working on my own initiatives in my capacity as Vice President that will draw students closer to the Atlanta community while encouraging a sense of community within the law school.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My mission is to make lasting investments, and the best way to do that is by investing in the students by promoting personal and professional standards of conduct, belief in oneself, appreciation for this amazing opportunity that we all sacrificed to maintain, and pride in the profession of being agents of change as attorneys at law. My goals are to incorporate innovative energy into student events, collaborate with the student organizations, and foster public service. One of the ways that I will foster public service is by spearheading a suits, shoes, and dress clothes drive for men’s clothing.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I’m too excited about my 3L year for words. I am so grateful and proud of myself for coming this far. I hope you are too, because it’s not over yet!

Stephanie Dennis, Treasurer

Where were you raised: I grew up in Johns Creek, Georgia

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I graduated from Georgia State University in 2014

What are your future career plans: I am still exploring what type of law I would like to practice in the future, but eventually I would like to open my own firm after I gain experience in the legal industry.

What do you look forward to as the SBA Treasurer: The thing I look forward to the most is earning the trust of the student body by being transparent and fair.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My main goal is to be as transparent and fair as possible with the student body about where student fees are going and why. Law school is a huge financial investment and I believe students should not be left feeling like they do not know what they are paying for.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I feel like a lot of law students don’t know who to turn to when they have a problem or a need a question answered—I certainly felt that way multiple times during 1L year. I want my classmates to know that if you have a question or are having an issue about anything (even things unrelated to my position as SBA Treasurer), just come talk to me. If I can’t help you, I’ll find someone who can!

Natalie Foster, Secretary

Where were you raised: I was born and raised in Long Beach, California

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: After high school graduation, I moved to Atlanta to begin my collegiate career at Spelman College. I completed my undergraduate degree at Middle Tennessee State University, where I obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with minors in Psychology and Writing.

What are your future career plans: Though my career path is still forming, I have developed a passion for oral advocacy, opening avenues for appellate work in my future. Additionally, I have an interest in assisting minority college students get into, and succeed in, law school. I hope to open a program with this goal as its focus.

What do you look forward to as the SBA Secretary: As SBA Secretary in the 2018-2019 academic year, I look forward to bridging the gap between the SBA Executive Board and the student body. There has been an interest and need in the past years among the students for transparency. I look forward to delivering that transparency through efficient and open communication.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My goals for my position align with this goal, as a large part of the secretary’s job functions include disseminating information to the student body. I aim to keep the student body informed and at ease about how the executive board is furthering its interests.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I want my classmates to know that I am here to serve them. I want them to know that, despite my busy schedule and other activities in which I am involved, performing my duties well as Secretary are my top priority. I am open to their questions, comments, and feedback and hope that my classmates will always feel as though they can reach out to me. I aim to be accessible and transparent.

Dwight Harris, Parliamentarian

Where were you raised: I was raised in Americus, Georgia, Sumter County

Where did you complete your undergraduate and/or graduate education: I completed my undergraduate education at THE Albany State University located in Albany, Georgia

What are your future career plans: My future career plans entail working as an Assistant District Attorney in either the state of Georgia or Maryland. Eventually, I will work toward an elected position on either a state or federal level to effect change in the field of law with a political angle. The pinnacle of my career goals will end with being a justice on the highest court in the land, The United States Supreme Court.

What do you look forward to as the SBA Parliamentarian: I look forward to serving the student body and producing tangible, positive results that would benefit the students.

What are your goals in the position this academic year: My goals revolve around three main pillars: Efficiency, Transparency and Communication. Through Efficiency, I plan to make information and processes available to the entire student body in a more convenient format. We are a generation of technology. Therefore, it should be utilized to benefit the student body. With Transparency, I plan to provide the student body with adequate information about important issues, so they can make informed decisions about their educational experience. This leads to the third pillar, Communication. The phrase, “Communication, is key!” is paramount to any successful relationship. I plan to put the voice of the student body back in Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School through a series of initiatives. With these three pillars, I have hope we can reach the ultimate goal of PROGRESS.

What do you want your classmates to know about you: I want my fellow colleagues to know it is an honor to serve as the 2018-2019 SBA Parliamentarian and I will fulfill my role to the best of my abilities. Also, I want my colleagues to know that I am a diverse student that can adapt and relate to all of you on many different levels. I have experienced and lived through many things. I am always up for a conversation with anyone because I think there is a “Blessing in Every Lesson.” Thank you Everyone.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Linda A. Klein as 2018 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Ms. Linda A. Klein, of Baker Donelson, as the Law School’s 2018 commencement speaker. Commencement exercises are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on May 19, 2018 at the Cobb Galleria Centre – Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30339.


Dean Malcolm L. Morris notes,

The Law School is very excited that Ms. Linda Klein will be the commencement speaker for the 2018 graduation. She is a leading figure in the legal profession as indicated by her service as the President of both the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Georgia. Ms. Klein is a highly regarded attorney who frequently has been invited to speak both throughout the country and abroad. We are privileged to have her address our graduates and look forward to her words of advice and inspiration for them.  


About Ms. Linda A. Klein


Linda Klein is a senior managing shareholder at Baker Donelson. She regularly counsels on business dispute prevention and resolution, contract law, risk and crisis management, media relations, ethics, and governance. She is particularly experienced in advising the construction, pharmaceutical, and higher education industries. She also advises lawyers, architects, accountants, and other professionals at risk for large claims or their licenses.

Ms. Klein is the immediate past president (CEO) of the American Bar Association, the largest voluntary professional association in the world, operating in 60 countries with 900 employees and a budget in excess of $200 million.

Ms. Klein is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, Who’s Who in America, and Chambers USA. She is regularly named to the Super Lawyers top 100 lawyers in Georgia. In 1998, following her term as the first woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia, Georgia Trend Magazine named her one of the 100 most powerful and influential Georgians.

Within the American Bar Association, she has previously served as chair of the  House of Delegates, the association’s policy making body. She has also served as chair of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, and chair of ABA Day, the Association’s Congressional outreach effort. She is a recent member of the Council of the ABA Section of International Law and also serves as a columnist Law Practice Management Magazine. In 2013 Ms. Klein had the honor of being a McGlothlin fellow on the campuses of William and Mary’s Business and Law Schools. She delivered the commencement addresses at Georgia State University College of Law (2017), Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (2017), Pepperdine University School of Law (2016), and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2012). In 2009, Ms. Klein was honored with the Randolph Thrower Award for Lifetime Achievement and was named to the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers. In 2004, the American Bar Association honored Ms. Klein with the prestigious Margaret Brent Achievement Award.

She currently serves on the executive committee of the Buckhead Coalition and on the advisory boards of Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. She is a past president of Southface Energy Institute, the Board of Directors’ Network, the Caucus of State Bars, and past chair of both the Institute for Continuing Legal Education in Georgia and the Lawyers Foundation of Georgia. She also served a six-year term on Baker Donelson’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Klein has authored numerous published works. Her lecture schedule has included presentations in France, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Great Britain, Japan, Croatia, and Canada, but most extensively in the southeast United States. She is a member of the American Law Institute, and a mediator and arbitrator, frequently serving as a neutral as well as a client advocate.


Linda A. Klein notes,

It is an honor to celebrate the graduates of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School as they begin their careers. As lawyers, they will have the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on our society by helping bring access to justice to so many who need it.


Tickets are not required for entry. For information regarding parking or other ceremony or venue related topics, you may visit here and/or here. There will be a small reception immediately following the ceremony for the graduates and their guests, faculty, staff, and volunteers.

Lawyers for Equal Justice is Doing Big Things in the Legal Community

Let’s start with the basics – What exactly is Lawyers for Equal Justice (L4EJ)? L4EJ is an incubator program that provides a springboard for recent law school graduates to start innovative, socially conscious, and sustainable law practices providing affordable legal services to low and moderate income clients. It seeks to identify talented, public-interest minded, and entrepreneurial lawyers who want to build innovative practices that “break the mold” to provide cost-effective services. L4EJ is not a law firm. Participants of the 18-month program are chosen through a competitive selection process that includes a personal statement and interview. L4EJ accepts a group of up to 10 participants every November and June, with up to 30 participants total in the program at any time. Participants benefit from a collaborative office environment; a case referral program; practical resources including law practice management technology; and top-notch training, mentoring and business coaching.

Lawyers for Equal Justice is a non-profit organization and a collaborative project of the Georgia Supreme Court, State Bar of Georgia, and the five ABA-approved law schools in Georgia – Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Emory University School of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Mercer University School of Law, and University of Georgia School of Law.

Why the need for L4EJ when Georgia has a non-profit legal sector? There are over 1.69 million Georgia households in the low and moderate income brackets who do not qualify for free services and cannot afford legal help. It is estimated that 90% of these Georgians do not obtain legal help for issues where legal representation could significantly change the outcome and improve their lives significantly. Practices that are born out of the L4EJ collaboration bridge the gap by providing quality legal services that are accessible and affordable.

To provide more insight in to the L4EJ experience and the resources available to participants, please find personal accounts from two Atlanta’s John Marshall graduates and L4EJ members below.

David A. (D.A.) Wilson

I graduated Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in May of 2016. After sitting for the July 2016 Georgia Bar Exam, I moved to Boston where I enrolled in Boston University School of Law LL.M. in Taxation program. While at BU, I considered two career paths, (1) go the “Big Four” accounting firm route or (2) hang my own shingle.  Little did I know (or anticipate) that the U.S. Tax Code would be reformed and the Big Four accounting firms were waiting out the storm and not hiring as much. This forced me to consider starting my own practice a lot more seriously and in the Spring of 2017 I really ramped up my solo practitioner efforts. I was home in Atlanta attending a mandatory bar event when I bumped into a John Marshall alum, who was in the Lawyers For Equal Justice Program.  At the time, I had no idea what the program was about but I knew if I started my own practice I could use all the help I could get. I went on a tour and realized it was for me. The resources and office atmosphere were exactly what needed and looking for. I started Lawyers for Equal Justice and my own practice on June 5, 2017 and haven’t looked back. It hasn’t been easy but I absolutely love working myself, my office atmosphere, my work life balance, and doing pro bono work.  

JB Hilliard

Having spent 20+ years as an entrepreneur before law school, I knew long before I finished at AJMLS that I would eventually have my own law practice. Lawyers for Equal Justice allowed me the opportunity to step in to that role much sooner than I had planned. And I am so very grateful for this program. It’s not just the pro bono experience and office space on the renowned PEACHTREE STREET that are highlights of the program. But for me, the software resources and access to ongoing training were the selling points. I know how expensive it is to have all of the things in place to get a business off the ground. And what I’ve already received through L4EJ is worth more than the program fee!

The core law school curriculum teaches us the law and prepares us for the bar exam. But it does not teach us how to BE lawyers, and it certainly does not teach us how to run a business. The role of business owner is typically mastered by trial and error, by actually being in the trenches and just DOING it. L4EJ allows a safe environment for this learning process. And not only are we exposed to a wide range of opportunities to “practice” law (the pro bono prospects are endless), but there is also the unintentional networking that occurs. Not long ago, we had a great in-person training/presentation given by a veteran attorney, and it happened to be in one of my practice areas, Estate Planning. Just about a month or so later, I saw her at an event and we instantly connected without it being awkward or forced. Now she’s an informal mentor of mine!

My favorite part of L4EJ is the continuous collaboration among the program participants. It’s great to have someone nearby to bounce ideas off of, or to get ideas from, in such a cooperative, friendly and supportive environment!

It’s one thing to START a business, but it’s a whole other thing to STAY in business. I can’t really say enough about the program in this short article. However, I can say that if anyone wants to launch his or her own solo law practice, the support and resources that you can get from L4EJ are priceless. You already have the talent, but L4EJ adds the tools and training to keep you in this game!  The under-served communities need you, and you need L4EJ.

Lawyers for Equal Justice seats two classes a year in June and November. If you are interested in joining the November 2018 class, you are encouraged to reach out to Sarah Babcock, Executive Director, at Sarah@L4EJ.org.

AJMLS Welcomes 2018-2019 SBA Executive Board

The student body of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) recently elected a new Student Bar Association (SBA) Executive Board.

The 2018-2019 officers are:

President: Genghis Shakhan
Vice President: Chelsea Wilkerson
Treasurer: Stephanie Dennis
Secretary: Natalie Foster
Parliamentarian: Dwight Harris

All enrolled students at AJMLS are automatically members of the SBA. The SBA is AJMLS’ student government and main student activities board. The SBA works to represent all student viewpoints to the administration and faculty. The SBA’s functions are many and varied, but can be divided into three general categories: academic, service, and social.

If you would like to learn how to get involved, contact any member of SBA in person or by e-mail at sba@johnmarshall.edu.

AJMLS Co-Hosted 2018 Annual Youth & The Law Summit

On Saturday, April 28th, the Office of Experiential Learning at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, along with the Fulton County Juvenile Court, Gate City Bar Foundation, Inc., The King and Spalding African American Associates Affinity Group, and Child First, collectively hosted the 2018 Youth & The Law Summit. This year’s event was Surviving Trauma, The Effects of Trauma on Childhood Development and Urban Communities.

The event was specially designed to be accessible for all that could benefit from the educational material. It was free and open to the public. Included were breakout sessions for parents and teens and breakfast and lunch was provided to all attendees. Parking at the Law School was offered gratuitously and shuttles were provided from the Juvenile Court.

Special thanks go to out to AJMLS’ own Dr. Bridgett Ortega and Ms. Carolyn Roan for all that they did to make the event a success. The event was a tremendous accomplishment for both the Atlanta community and the Office of Experiential Learning. We look forward to next year’s event!

Reece Riden Named Outstanding Student of the Month for April

The Office of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs recently presented the Outstanding Student Award for April to Maurice “Reece” Riden. Each month the Office of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs recognizes one Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) students who has excelled in the areas of distinguished service to others, citizenship, innovation, leadership, diversity advancement, and promotion of the John Marshall Proud spirit. The recipient serves as a source of pride and inspiration to others by giving unselfishly of themselves to enhance life on and off campus. In addition, these student leaders make AJMLS a better place for all of us.

Riden is a change agent, servant and leader. We have all seen Riden around campus wearing many hats and performing many roles, and he has been outstanding in his service to the law school and the community. He currently serves as a student ambassador and mentor in the Peer Mentoring Program and has been recognized for his work on and off campus. This year, he received the Phi Alpha Delta Vice Justice Award from the national chapter of Phi Alpha Delta and the 2018 Peer Mentor of the Year Award. Riden’s mentees in the Peer Mentoring Program speak very highly of him and his contributions to the school’s mentoring program. Not only does Riden coach and provide guidance and direction to his mentees, he also selflessly offers a helping hand, listening ear and words of encouragement to many other students on a regular basis. According to one upperclassman, he has taken many of our 1Ls and 2Ls under his wing who were not assigned to him through the mentoring program and has worked closely with these students to ensure their success. Riden is dedicated to being his best, helping others to be their best, and making a positive impact.

Riden’s civic mindedness and volunteerism extend beyond the walls of the law school and legal community. Through his membership with Phi Alpha Delta, he organized weekly visits to My Sister’s House of the Atlanta Mission. He also assisted with the GABWA Glitter Gala and is a mentor and role model for young men through his church’s youth group. He is a strong proponent for diversity initiatives and inclusion. Notably, Riden was one of the three top candidates for the Law School Admission Council Diversity Office’s summer program. And while he is excited for graduation, we will certainly miss him. Thank you, Reece, for all that you do for the AJMLS community. You are outstanding!

BLSA Named Outstanding Student Organization of Spring 2018

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) proudly awarded the Spring 2018 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester. In addtion, BLSA deserves double kudos, as it was also awarded this honor in Fall 2017.

Included below are some of the events that BLSA sponsored this semester:

  • Black History Month Symposium;
  • Mental Health Seminar;
  • Black Panther Movie Night; and
  • 25 Year Anniversary Celebration.

Notably, BLSA raised in excess of $5000 for scholarship funds for the 25 Year Anniversary Celebration. In addition, BLSA spearheaded a month-long celebration for Black History Month, in which they recognized the accomplishments of prominent black figures on the JMTV community screens.

The Selection Committee thoughtfully reviewed each nomination. Although BLSA was ultimately selected for the award, the Committee was impressed with the accomplishments of all AJMLS student organizations. The Committee would also like to give honorable mentions to the Corporate and Business Law Society and the Solo Practitioners’ Law Society.

Congratulations, BLSA, on being chosen as the Spring 2018 Outstanding Student Organization! We cannot wait to see all the good you continue to do in the AJMLS community.

Michelle Jackson Joins AJMLS as Director of Financial Aid

Michelle Jackson has rejoined the Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) staff as the Director of Financial Aid. AJMLS is committed to assisting students in financing their legal education through a comprehensive financial aid program. The primary purpose of the Financial Aid Office is to provide students with the resources that will financially enable them through their journey as law students.

Ms. Jackson earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Grambling State University and her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She rejoins AJMLS with a plethora of experience as she has served in various financial aid roles since 1994. Additionally, from 2012 to 2015, Ms. Jackson served as a Financial Aid Counselor before being promoted to the role of Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Atlanta’s John Marshall.

A move to Texas took Ms. Jackson away from AJMLS, but in her own words, “I came back because I loved working here and my heart is in Atlanta.” Ms. Jackson also notes that she has a genuine desire to help students. Welcome back, Ms. Jackson! AJMLS and the Financial Aid Office are thrilled to have you serve in this capacity.

Ms. Jackson can be reached by email at mjackson@johnmarshall.edu. Additionally, her office is located on the 7th Floor of the Law School.

AJMLS Alumnus, Erik Provitt, Selected as a Georgia Housing Corps Fellow

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.

*Taken from PR Newswire.
**Taken from Equal Justice Works.
***Taken from Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.

BLSA Excelled at Southern Regional Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) recently sent two teams to the Southern Regional Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition (SRBLSA) in Birmingham, Alabama. The first team consisted of Chelsea Wilkerson (Class of 2019) and Genghis X. Shakhan (Class of 2019) and the second team consisted of Natalie Foster (Class of 2019) and JoVanne Stewart (Class of 2019).

AJMLS is pleased to announce that both teams made a great showing at the SRBLSA Convention and represented the Law School admirably. Wilkerson was commended by multiple judges for being “unshakable” and for her ability to command their attention. Shakhan was told he ‘belonged in a courtroom’ by the National Moot Court Advisor and received positive feedback for his ability to handle difficult questions from the bench with ease.

After defeating teams from Emory University, the University of Alabama, and the University of North Carolina, Foster and Stewart placed first in the competition. They impressed the judges with their superior oral and written advocacy skills and their thoughtful responses to difficult questions. They will advance to participate in the National Competition scheduled to take place in Brooklyn, New York.

Please congratulate all of our competitors for their outstanding performance! Please also wish the members of the team luck as they prepare for the national competition.

AJMLS Student, Crystal Fenn, Secures Gate City Bar Association Scholarship

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) 3L student, Crystal Fenn, recently secured one of the four Gate City Bar Association 2017 Scholarships following an application and essay process. Fenn learned of the scholarship opportunity from the AJMLS Office of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs and the Black Law Students Association (BLSA).

Fenn is set to graduate from AJMLS later this month. Her post-graduation goals are to pass the February 2018 Bar Examination and secure a position practicing Estate Planning and Civil Rights litigation. During her three years at AJMLS, Crystal was active on campus and dedicated to her studies. Her favorite courses were Race and Law, taught by Professor Alphran (pictured with Fenn), and Constitutional Law. She also served as the Marketing Manager for the National Lawyers Guild.

The Gate City Bar Association was founded in 1948 and is the oldest African-American bar association in the state of Georgia. It was established to provide the educational, social and community involvement of a professional association for African-American lawyers. Part of our mission is to encourage persons of outstanding promise to attend first-rate law schools and return to the communities that need their services most.*

Congratulations on this honor, Crystal! We wish you all the best following graduation. The AJMLS community looks forward to your continued success.

*From the Gate City Bar Association website.

Congratulations to the First Annual Pro Bono Challenge Award Recipients

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud to announce the First Annual Pro Bono Challenge award recipients. These awards recognize the student, faculty member and faculty-student team who earned the most pro bono credits during the two-week challenge. Please be sure to congratulate these students and faculty members when you see them on campus!

Faculty Award Recipient
Professor Kathleen Burch

Student Award Recipient
Kimberly Rojik

Faculty-Student Team Recipients
Professor Kathleen Burch
Professor Michael Mears
Myeedah Leslie-Green
Lana Joseph
Fredis Romero
Mandira Sethi

Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Named The Outstanding Student Organization Of Fall 2017

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School proudly awarded the Fall 2017 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester. Included below are some of the events that BLSA sponsored this semester:

  • Throwback Thursday Event;
  • Professional Workshop Event;
  • Morris, Manning and Martin Attorney Dinner;
  • Atlanta Community Food Bank Community Service;
  • BLSA Children’s Book Drive;
  • Locking Up Our Own, James Forman, Jr. Speaker Event;
  • Marshall Movie Event.

Congratulations, BLSA, on being chosen as the Fall 2017 Outstanding Student Organization! We cannot wait to see all the good you continue to do in the AJMLS community.

AJMLS Participates in 2017 RED Flag Football Tournament

On Saturday, November 4th, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) will be participating in the RED (Rehabilitation Enables Dreams) Flag Football Tournament. The event will take place at Kennesaw State University’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. This year’s team includes AJMLS alumni and our Director of Admissions, Rebecca Milter. A video highlighting the 2016 tournament can be located here.
AJMLS alumnus, David Lee Windecher, founded RED Inc. in March of 2015. Windecher is a criminal defense attorney licensed to practice law in Georgia and Florida. Prior to being sworn into the Georgia and Florida Bar, Windecher was an impoverished minority who was arrested 13 times and spent over 7-months incarcerated. He dropped out of high school and joined a criminal street gang in an attempt to overcome a poverty stricken life. Windecher began his path to rehabilitation when he received his GED in March of 1998 and took his first academic step toward becoming a dual-licensed practitioner. Windecher understands the empowering effects of obtaining an education in order to facilitate upward social mobility. The team at RED engineers rehabilitation programs for pre and post adjudication first-time, nonviolent, youthful offenders. RED rehabilitative programs enhance the employment potential of individuals with a criminal record while emphasizing the safekeeping of our communities. RED’s mission is to increase literacy, reduce poverty and stop recidivism amongst America’s youthful offenders. To accomplish this mission, RED provides courthouses with research driven rehabilitative programs which augment an individual’s ability to remain out of the criminal justice system.*

To learn even more about this worthwhile cause you are encouraged to check out the website and Facebook event page. Also, please consider donating to our AJMLS team. Best of luck on Saturday!

*Taken from the RED Flag Football website.

AJMLS Sends Two Student Rapporteurs to Major International Arbitration Conference

For the second consecutive year, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) has been invited to send well-accomplished students from Professor Van Detta’s summer Online International Business Transactions course to a major international arbitration conference in Atlanta. The conference, the 6th Annual Conference – International Business Disputes in an Era of Receding Globalism, is hosted by AtlAS, the Atlanta International Arbitration Society. The conference will take place on October 22nd and 23rd at the OMNI Atlanta Hotel. At the conference, the students will act as rapporteurs, whose job it is to take detailed notes of each panel session, write up a professional summary of that session, and get that summary ready for publication.

Typically, schools send only one student rapporteur, but AJMLS was privileged to send three in 2016, Sadia Ali, Michael Wynter, and Sharon Payne (AJMLS ’16). This year AJMLS has been invited to send two student rapporteurs, Ivrol Hines and Hassan Kouyate, both of whom excelled in Professor Van Detta’s Contracts I and II and Online International Business Transactions course. AtlAS seeks student rapporteurs that have both an interest in global business and arbitration and good comprehension and writing ability. The conference presents a unique and valuable opportunity for accomplished AJMLS students to meet global arbitration practitioners. Joyce Klemmer, Esq., at Partner at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, is a member of the Board of AtlAS which organizes the conference, advises that this presents “a valuable opportunity for students, a productive tie between AtlAS and the law schools, and results in a useful set of materials for lawyer and academics around the world who are interested in international commercial arbitration, whether they attended the conference or not.”

Many congratulations to Professor Van Detta, Ivrol, and Hassan. We wish our student rapporteurs our best at the upcoming conference and we thank Professor Van Detta for his continued commitment to the AJMLS students and community.

AJMLS Does Great Work at Stand Down Court

On Saturday, September 30, 2017 a dedicated group of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students alumnae and the staff of our Office of Experiential Learning, in collaboration with the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) division of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Atlanta, GA participated in the Annual Stand Down Court held at Fort McPherson Army Base. The Stand Down Court was created by Judge Monica Ewing to assist homeless veterans who have outstanding warrants and misdemeanor charges. Homeless veterans face barriers to resolving these legal issues due to unemployment, poverty, and untreated mental health and substance abuse issues. These barriers lead to chronic homelessness and incarceration.

AJMLS students, under the supervision of AJMLS alumnae attorneys, interviewed and presented the Veterans’ cases before the presiding judge at the Stand Down Court. The judge, the students, and the attorneys discussed treatment and legal recommendations for the veterans. The judge then made a decision about the treatment and legal recommendations and issued a court order. If the matter was not in the judge’s jurisdiction, the judge sent an advocacy letter and court order to the appropriate jurisdiction and judge.

The 12 AJMLS students, alumnae, and Office of Experiential Learning staff who participated in the Stand Down Court worked diligently from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and served approximately 40 homeless veterans. The need is great and unfortunately all veterans were not able to be served due to the time restrictions. However, the students were thrilled to provide these pro bono services to our men and women in uniform as this is such a worthy cause. 

AJMLS Alumna Sworn in as a State Court Judge

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.

AJMLS Alumnus Featured in Forbes

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.

Announcing the Loss of Our Dear Friend, Hayward McBride

hmcbride-armyAtlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is saddened to announce the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Hayward McBride. Hayward was the Law School’s Network Administrator, and a key player on our Information Technology team. Known for his sense of humor and infectious smile, the AJMLS family feels lucky to have met Hayward in 2011. Our hearts are with his family and community.

Hayward served from 1969-1971 in the United States Army. He was in the 1st Signal Brigade/Regional Communications Group in Vietnam. He was a recipient of the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. After his service, Hayward earned his Bachelors in Business Administration at Alabama State University.

Hayward is survived by his two children and granddaughter.

One of Hayward’s favorite quotes was,

Life is not measured by its length, but by its depth.

Services to be held on July 1, 2017, 11:00 a.m.
Blue Print Church
475 Boulevard NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Named the Outstanding Student Organization of Spring 2017

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School proudly awarded the Spring 2017 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to National Lawyers Guild (NLG). This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester. Included below are some of the events that NLG sponsored this semester:

  • Legal Observer Training;
  • Landlord Tenant Training;
  • How to Start and Run a Solo Civil Rights Practice (panel discussion);
  • World Day of Social Justice;
  • Know Your Rights Immigration Training;
  • Soul Food Day;
  • Cultural Spotlight Series (co-sponsored with the Latin American Law Student Association);
  • Viewing of the Documentary “13th” (co-sponsored with the Criminal Law Society and the American Constitutional Society); and
  • Celebrating LGBTQ Pride- LIPS ATL.

Congratulations, NLG, on being chosen as the Spring 2017 Outstanding Student Organization!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Georgia Supreme Court Justice as 2017 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Mr. Keith Blackwell, Georgia Supreme Court Justice, as the Law School’s 2017 commencement speaker. Commencement exercises are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on May 20, 2017 at the Cobb Galleria Centre – Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30339.

Dean Malcolm L. Morris notes,

The Law School has the distinct pleasure of welcoming Justice Keith Blackwell as the commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony. He has served Georgia from the bench since 2010 and has had an illustrious career since his own graduation in 1999. We look forward to hearing his message to the lawyers of tomorrow.

About Mr. Keith Blackwell

Justice Blackwell was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2012. He currently serves as a liaison to the State Bar of Georgia and the Office of Bar Admissions and Board of Bar Examiners. Additionally, he serves as chair of the Commission on Interpreters, as a member of the Commission on Dispute Resolution, and as a liaison to the Strategic Planning Committee of the Judicial Council of Georgia.

Prior to being appointed to the bench at the Georgia Supreme Court, he served as a judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia. He graduated as valedictorian from Cherokee High School and summa cum laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in Political Science. He then attended the University of Georgia School of Law, where he served as senior editor of the Georgia Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif, and went on to graduate summa cum laude.

Additional 2017 AJMLS Commencement Information

Tickets are not required for entry. For information regarding parking or other ceremony or venue related topics, you may visit https://www.johnmarshall.edu/graduation/ and/or https://cobbgalleria.com/. There will be a small reception immediately following the ceremony for the graduates and their guests, faculty, staff, and volunteers.
To join the commencement conversation on Twitter and Instagram, follow the hashtag #AJMLSGrads.

AJMLS Ranks in Top 15 Law Schools by Female J.D. Enrollment

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School ranks in the top 15 law schools by female J.D. enrollment according to Enjuris. Enjuris is a collection of resources designed to assist people following an accident or injury. The website includes free downloadable guides, resource forums to ask questions, and searchable directories to find an attorney.

The article states that 2016 was the first year the number of female students surpassed male students at U.S. law schools. Within the state of Georgia, males continue to represent the majority in the entering law school classes. However, Atlanta’s John Marshall provides the exception with a higher enrollment of female law students. Our 2016 class was built with a 62.7% female population. We are very proud of this fact!

Atlanta’s John Marshall is proud of the current female students and of the alumnae that have matriculated our campus as they are both hard working law students and respected members and leaders within the legal community. Male or female, we are all John Marshall Proud.

Thabo Sefolosha to make substantial donation to Gideon’s Promise

The Atlanta Hawks recently released a statement from player Thabo Sefolosha in which he stated his intention to make a substantial donation to Gideon’s Promise. AJMLS Professor Jonathan Rapping is the President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise. Gideon’s Promise was formed on the mission to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.* The organization provides invaluable training and mentorship to public defenders.

Mr. Sefolosha received a $4 million settlement from the New York Police Department in conjunction with a federal lawsuit the Atlanta Hawks forward filed following his April 2015 arrest. During his arrest, Mr. Sefolosha suffered a broken fibula and ligament damage and was forced to sit out the remainder of the NBA regular season — as well as the Hawks’ playoff run to the Eastern Conference finals.*

Gideon’s Promise appreciates the support from the community, including this generous donation from Mr. Sefolosha!

*Taken from the Gideon’s Promise website.

*Taken from the New York Post.

AJMLS Alumna, Holly Waltman, Accepts AIOCLA 2017 10 Best Attorney Award

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.

AJMLS Alumnus Elected to Spalding County State Court

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.

CLEO and AJMLS recently presented Road to Law School, a prelaw seminar

In conjunction with The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (“CLEO”), Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) recently presented Road to Law School, a prelaw seminar. CLEO is a national organization that was founded in 1968 to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school.* The Road To Law School seminar aims to provide Freshmen an overview of the key components of the law school application process.*

The event featured a variety of seminars aimed to assist those in attendance with preparing for law school. Seminar topics included Practical Law: Practicing Law in the “Real World;” a Mock Law Class; How to Get the Most Out of Your Undergraduate Experience; a Mock Admissions Committee; a Reading/Writing Workshop; and an Introduction to Logical Reasoning & Critical Thinking. Attendees were also invited to have lunch with CLEO Alumni, Associates & Fellows. Additionally, the event boasted presenters with impressive legal backgrounds and careers. The event was meant to inspire those with goals of attending law school while also providing tangible assistance with navigating the path to acceptance and success.

AJMLS was thrilled to partner with CLEO to make this event a success. Our hope is that the eager legal minds in attendance continue on the path that leads them to law school. For more information on CLEO’s mission and future events please click here.

*From the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. website.

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AJMLS Alumna, Sheronn Harris, Co-Authors Bill

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.

AJMLS Student Contributed to Article Published in the Georgia Bar Journal

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) 3L student, Kendra Livingston, recently contributed to the writing of an article that was published in the December 2016 Georgia Bar Journal. An electronic copy of the article, entitled No Vacation: Top Criminal Defense Attorneys Travel to Tbilisi, can be found here and by clicking to page 32. A special thanks to Kendra can be found on page 35.

The article is a worthy read about eight Georgia lawyers who recently traveled to Tbilisi, which is the capital of the country of Georgia. In January 2017, the Republic of Georgia granted all criminal defendants the right to a jury trial. The resulting dilemma was that local lawyers and their clients were mostly uneducated in the art of trial advocacy. The purpose of the trip was to educate and empower local defense attorneys. More trips are planned in the future to continue the training process.

I encourage the AJMLS community to read this article. Congratulations, Kendra! This is a wonderful accomplishment.

AJMLS and SLS Welcome New Member to the Board of Directors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School are pleased to announce the appointment of Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker, the County Attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, to the Board of Directors.

In her capacity as County Attorney, she is responsible for all of the civil legal needs of one of the largest counties in Georgia. She supervises a staff of over 30 professionals and provides legal advice to seven commissioners and over 40 departments. Prior to joining Fulton County, she served as the Vice President and General Counsel for the Atlanta BeltLine Inc. for six years.

She is a former partner with the law firm of Hollowell, Foster & Gepp, PC, where she was in charge of the Commercial Real Estate Group. She also owned her own law firm for over 10 years.

Perkins-Hooker is a leader in her profession and very actively engaged in the Atlanta community. She was the 52nd President of the State Bar of Georgia and the first person of color elected to this position. She has previously served on the Board of Governors and as a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar. She has been elected Secretary (2011-12), Treasurer (2012-13) and President-Elect (2013-14). She is also a past chair of the State Bar’s Real Property Law Section, a past parliamentarian of the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board, and the founding chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit-Q. Additionally, she is a past chair of Hosea Feed the Hungry’s Board of Directors.

Perkins-Hooker is an honors graduate of Georgia Tech and received her graduate degrees from Emory University Law and Business Schools. She was admitted to the Bar in 1984. She has received numerous honors for her service to the legal profession and the community, including being inducted into the Gate City Bar Association’s Hall of Fame, being presented the Leah Ward Sears Service to the Profession Award by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, being presented an Honorary degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, and being presented the Eleonoré Raoul Greene Trailblazer Award from Emory University Law School. She has also received the Phoenix Award from the Mayor of Atlanta. This is the highest honor bestowed on citizens in Atlanta for their outstanding contributions.

She is happily married to Douglas R. Hooker. They have two children and eight grandchildren.

Perkins-Hooker joins the following members of the Board of Directors:

Richard B. Herzog, Jr., Chairman

Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

Dean Frank T. Read, Vice Chairman

President & Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law

Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Ph.D., Treasurer

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Malone,

Partner, Malone Law

Kevin Ross

President, Kevin Ross Public Affairs Group LLC

Dean James P. White

Consultant Emeritus

Section of Legal Education & Admission to the Bar

American Bar Association

AJMLS ranked as one of the Best Online Law Schools by College Choice

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was recently ranked as one of the Best Online Law Schools by College Choice. For a full list of the rankings please click here.

John Marshall Online, Inc., (JMO) was founded to provide a quality Master of Laws in Employment Law degree program and other areas of professional education offered through distance education. Please visit John Marshall Online to learn more about the programs offered and how to apply. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Professor Jace Gatewood.

Alpa Amin Selected as Top 40 Under 40

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.

AJMLS Hosts Atlanta Citizen Review Board

On September 8, 2016 Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School hosted the Atlanta Citizen Review Board (“ACRB”) for a Community Board Meeting in the Blackburn Conference Center. This Community Board Meeting provided an opportunity for citizens of Atlanta to listen to a Report from the Executive Director of the ACRB, Mr. Lee Reid II, and hear updates on various complaints and ongoing investigations within the community.

The Atlanta Citizens Review Board was established by ordinance as an independent agency in 2007 (and amended with subpoena power in May 2010) to ensure that city departments of Atlanta that are directly responsible for public safety, such as the Atlanta Police Department (APD) and the Department of Corrections, have the proper support of government and its various agencies. The ACRB is designed to provide oversight of misconduct accusations against sworn members of the police and corrections departments in the City of Atlanta.

The ACRB provides an independent and credible forum for complaints and accusations to be assessed. It is also designed to help prevent future incidents of police or corrections misconduct and abuses of civil rights. For more information on the Atlanta’s Citizen Review Board and its programs, please click here.


SALT Awards 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award to Professor Harpalani

Savannah Law School Professor Harpalani has been awarded the esteemed 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award by the Society of American Law Teachers (‘SALT’). The award recognizes an outstanding and emerging law professor who demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and academic excellence. Professor Harpalani was selected for the award among a field of highly deserving nominees.

Professor Harpalani is truly a quality professor who values a commitment to social justice, diversity, and access in his teaching, scholarship and service. He is very much deserving of this national accolade.

The award will be given at the SALT Annual Members Meeting at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago on September 30th. When you see Professor Harpalani on campus, be sure to pass along your congratulations. This is a prestigious award and Professor Harpalani is a wonderful representation of the quality of education at Savannah Law School.

SBA Student Representative Elections Results

The results of the SBA Student Representative Elections are in!

Please see below the list of 2016-2017 SBA Student Representatives:

1L Full-time Section A Representatives: Dwight Harris and Mikah Fuller
1L Full-time Section B Representatives: Samantha Beskin and Randy Williams
1L Criminal Justice Honors Representative: Jasmine Davis
1L Part-time Student Representatives: Bianca Hancock and Tasha Lumpkin
2L Full-time Student Representatives: Kamaria Womack and John Brumfield
2L Criminal Justice Honors Representative: Calvana Cedant
2L Part-time Student Representatives: Alexa Callaway and Randall Mixon
3L Full-time Student Representatives: Emmanuela Saint-Jean and Sharon Payne
3L Part-time Student Representative: Megan McCulloch
4L Part-time Student Representative: Alicia Thompson

Please congratulate your new student representatives! Thank you to all the candidates and students who participated in the SBA electoral process!

Remember, continue to Be Present. Be Intentional. Be Impactful.

Professor Jaffe Quoted in The Wrap

Robert Sepúlveda Jr. is Logo TV’s lead in the network’s first same-sex dating show, Finding Prince Charming. He is threatening to sue online cyberbullies for “targeted harassment, shaming and bullying.” Sepúlveda Jr. turned to Instagram to fire back at those he feels have bullied him and stated “if you come for me, we will come for you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.” This transpired following revelations that Sepúlveda Jr. worked as a male prostitute while in college. Members and activists within the gay community were outraged to learn of Sepúlveda Jr.’s past.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Associate Professor Elizabeth Jaffe was quoted in the article. “It’s unclear who he intends to sue,” Jaffe said. “But I think it would be difficult for him to make that case. If people are saying ugly things about him, it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of cyberbullying.” In our modern social media world, anti-bullying laws that have an electronic harassment provision are currently an area of evolution within the law. Thank you Professor Jaffe for your comments on such a relevant legal discussion.

#StayMadAbby: The Politics, Promise and Perplexity of Fisher II

Professor of Law Tanya Washington will address students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School during the AJMLS Chapter of the American Constitution Society’s Constitution Week. The event, #StayMadAbby: The Politics, Promise and Perplexity of Fisher II, promises to be a thought-provoking discussion on the status of affirmative action and equal protection under the law.

September 17, 2016 marks a pivotal day in our nation’s history: the 229th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The ACS John Marshall Law Student Chapter is recognizing this event through a week of activities leading up to September 17, 2016. The event to be held on September 15th centers on the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and affirmative action programs.  The hashtag, #staymadabby, created by social media followers as a response to the recent Fisher II case, will be addressed by Professor Washington at the event.

Professor Washington earned her J.D. from The University of Maryland School of Law and her LL.M. from Harvard Law School. Professor Washington has been teaching Civil Procedure I and II, Family Law, Education Law and Race and Law at Georgia State University College of Law for the past thirteen years. Her research and scholarship focus on issues related to educational equity and issues arising at the intersection of domestic relations, race and children’s constitutional rights. Additionally, her efforts to expand and deepen the pipeline of students entering law school earned her recognition in 2013 as one of 50 minority law professors under 50 making an impact in legal education.

The event will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 5:15 p.m. in Room 304. All viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged to attend and dinner will be provided. For more information on the American Constitution Society, please visit www.acslaw.org and by searching Facebook under the name AJMLS ACS Chapter.

Georgia Bar Celebrates 100 Years of Women in the Profession

Alumna and 2011 AJMLS graduate Virginia (Ginger) Arnold recently had the honor of taking part in a panel discussion during the State of Georgia YLD Women in the Profession Committee’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s admission in to the practice of law. The event took place at the State Bar Headquarters earlier this month.

Speaking on the panel with Arnold was Senior Judge Dorothy Beasley. Judge Beasley was the first woman judge in Fulton County and the first woman on the state Court of Appeals. Since her retirement, she has remained active in the legal community. She challenged the women practitioners in our state to seek leadership roles in the profession. Currently more than half of law students are female and that number is rising.

When asked about her participation in the panel, Arnold stated that “it was an honor to be on this panel with esteemed attorneys and judges.” You can read more about the celebration here. Thank you for your participation, Ginger!

Alumna Janie Parks Varnell Learned How to Practice Law During her Time at AJMLS

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.

Alumnus Adam Malone Receives Honors

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.

Congratulations, Adam!

Professor Rapping Discusses Current State of the Criminal Defense System

Atlanta’s John Marshall’s Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently asked to participate in a discussion on the podcast Criminal (In)Justice with David Harris. The subject of the podcast was the current state of our criminal defense system, specifically indigent defendants requiring state-provided assistance of counsel.

Professor Rapping was asked to participate because of both his impressive resume and his extensive skill set in this domain.  The discussion centered on the current underfunding for public defenders. Due to the underfunding and general lack of necessary resources, public defenders are handling record high caseloads. Because of the heavy caseloads, public defenders are unable to provide each and every defendant with adequate representation. During the podcast, Professor Rapping explains the purpose behind Gideon’s Promise and his mission to remedy the system through strengthening public defenders.

You are highly encouraged to listen to the podcast here. The discussion is thought provoking and highly relevant. Thank you, Professor, for your continued work in this arena.

AJMLS Alumna Named Co-Editor of Georgia YLD Newsletter

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!

Professor Rapping Selected to Participate in Town Hall by Russell Simmons

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently selected by Russell Simmons and his media company, All Things Def, and participated in a town hall at the Montalban Theater in Los Angeles. Along with our own Professor Rapping, the panel featured Nick Cannon; National Bar Association President Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Gregory Thomas; and New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. The event was moderated by former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry.

The town hall was arranged for the parties to come together for a public discussion about recent civilian deaths and the need for revised law enforcement and policies. The event will be the first in a series of public conversations about criminal justice reform.

Professor Rapping was chosen to participate because he is the founder of Gideon’s Promise, an organization that trains public defenders. Thank you for representing AJMLS and for your insight in such a relevant conversation, Professor.

AJMLS Alumnus Successfully Argues in Front of Supreme Court of Georgia

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!

AJMLS Alumnus Sworn in as Superior Court Judge

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.

2016 G. Alan Blackburn Competition Results

The G. Alan Blackburn Competition is a culmination of all the hard work that the first year students have put into their Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis (LWRA) II problem. This year’s competition was comprised of the top four students from each LWRA II class, a total of thirty-six students.

The competition was four rounds with the final round being held on Wednesday, April 20th. The competitors were judged by Advocacy Board members in the first two rounds, AJMLS Alumni in the third round, and three sitting judges and a practicing attorney for the final round. The final round judges were Presiding Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes of the Georgia Court of Appeals, Judge Christopher J. McFadden of the Georgia Court of Appeals, Judge Ural D. Glanville of Fulton County Superior Court, and Mr. Allen Wallace.

The final round competitors were: Zalak Raval, Rayshawn Williams, Andrew Puckett, and Allison Whitfield.
Williams and Mr. Puckett won Runner-Up Best Oralists this year.
Ms. Raval and Ms. Whitfield won Best Oralists for the final round.
Ms. Whitfield and Ms. Sarah Owensby won the best brief awards for their respective positions.

In addition to those results, the following students were awarded an invitation to the Advocacy Board as Provisional Members based on their performances:

Zalak Raval, Brandi Sluss, Nana-Yaa Amaning, Rayshawn Williams, Sarah Owensby, Tarla Atwell, Heather Kuhn, Andrew Puckett, Allison Whitfield, Kamaria Womack, and Bailey Edwards.

Please congratulate these students on their tremendous accomplishments!

2016 G Alan Blackburn Competition

Award winners with the final round judges: Pictured from left to right are Mr. Allen Wallace, Judge Ural D. Glanville, Zalak Raval, Rayshawn Williams, Andrew Puckett, Allison Whitfield, Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes, and Judge Christopher J. McFadden. Not pictured: Sarah Owensby.










2016 G Alan Blackburn Competition 2

Invitees to the Advocacy Board: Pictured from left to right are Mr. Allen Wallace, Judge Ural D. Glanville, Tarla Atwell, Allison Whitfield, Rayshawn Williams, Kamaria Womack, Zalak Raval, Andrew Puckett,  Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes, and Judge Christopher J. McFadden. Not pictured: Brandi Sluss, Nana-Yaa Amaning, Sarah Owensby, Heather Kuhn, and Bailey Edwards.

AJMLS Participates in 5th Annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy Competition

The Georgia Legal Food Frenzy is a partnership between the Georgia Attorney General, the Young Lawyers Division and the Georgia Food Bank Association. Lawyers and law schools statewide are challenged to compete outside the courtroom and classroom to raise food and funds for Georgia’s eight regional food banks, which serve 156,500 unique clients in Georgia on a weekly basis. All of the food and funds collected are donated to the regional food bank that serves each competitor’s community. In its first four years of competition, the Legal Food Frenzy raised the equivalent of more than 3.7 million pounds of food for Georgians in need.

The winning law school will receive the coveted “Attorney General’s Cup” and the title of the Legal Food Frenzy Law School Champion.

Support Atlanta’s John Marshall in their fundraising campaign by donating through this link. The Law School Competition is from April 4-15th so be sure to make a monetary donation or bring in your canned goods by the end of this week!


Former Chief Medical Examiner for State of Georgia Speaks to AJMLS Students

Dr. Kris Sperry, Retired Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Georgia, spoke to students in Professor Michael Mears’ Advanced Evidence class on Monday, March 7, 2016 about forensic pathology and autopsies.

Having served the State of Georgia as the Chief Medical Examiner for over 18 years, Dr. Sperry offered an unrivaled learning experience for Atlanta’s John Marshall students.

The Law School thanks Dr. Sperry for his time and expertise.


Alumnus Adam Malone Named Lawyer of the Year

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.

Congratulations, Adam!

AJMLS Sports & Entertainment Law Society Hosts 2016 Sports, Music & Entertainment Summit

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Sports & Entertainment Law Society, The Atlanta Entertainment basketball League and Econtii Music Group are proud to present the 2016 Sports, Music & Entertainment Summit (SMES). The summit will take place on February 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Blackburn Conference Center.

This one-day summit will feature panels, workshops, interviews, a luncheon and an evening mixer that will provide education and networking opportunities for local students and professionals. “The mission of SMES is to inspire, build and contribute to the sports, music & entertainment industry by providing educational resources to students and professionals through connections, guest speaking panels and educational materials,” said Portia Mazone, owner and creative director of Econtii Music Group, an Atlanta-based entertainment resources and consulting firm.

The founding partners of SMES plan to merge sports, music and entertainment industry insiders, college students looking to enter into the workforce and working professionals with the hopes of helping them connect, learn and build. Film, sports and music panels will be at the heart of this day-long summit. Attendees will also participate in workshops, interviews, a luncheon and an evening mixer.

SMES will take place at the Blackburn Conference Center at 1405 Spring St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.SMESATL.Eventbrite.com or upon entry. For college students with a school I.D., the entry fee is $15. For all others, general admission is $25.

SMES Schedule

9:00 A.M. – Check In/Registration

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M – Learn the Biz Workshops

Live Nation Entertainment Presents: Sync or Swim – A Workshop on syncing, micro licensing, and streaming considerations.
– Julie Roach, Principal Attorney and Owner of Julie K. Roach, Esq., LLC
– Ashley Hollan Couch, Principal at The Hollan Entertainment Law Group, LLC
– Emily Kaye, Artist Rights Acquisitions-Live Nation

Beyond The Game: Sports Law Workshop
– Cecelia Townes, Esq.

11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. – Lights, Camera, Action: Television & Film in Atlanta – Moderated by Rea Davis, Entertainment Journalist

– M. Scott Boone, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor
– Patty Miranda, Digital Entertainment Officer, Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, City of Atlanta
– Lee Cuthbert, Georgia Department of Economic Development Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office
– Tory Edwards- Vitamin E Media
12:30P.M.-1:30P.M. – The Playbook: The Business of Sports – Moderated by Bria Janelle of LoudGenius.Com
– Nzinga Shaw, Atlanta Hawks, Chief Officer of Diversity & Inclusion
– Jahi Rawlings, CEO, Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League
– Jay Pearson, WNBA Agent and Owner of Sports Wire Management and Media Company
– Sunny Wilkins, Esq.
– Cecelia Townes, Esq, Beyond The Game, LLC

1:45 P.M. – 2:45 P.M. – Lunch Mixer

3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. – The Future of the Music Business – Moderated by Karen Marie Mason of Artist Launch

– Ray Daniels, Sr. VP of A&R Interscope Records
– Jenny Drake, Music Industry & Marketing Executive
– Jason Reddick, Promotions Director Of Radio One Atlanta Hot 107.9
– Tamiko Hope, PR to The Stars, WordInk
– Mike Walbert, Executive Director A3C Hip Hop Festival

4:15 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. – Networking Mixer

ABOUT Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Sports & Entertainment Law Society:
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS) provides students with access to practitioners and other individuals in the sports and entertainment law fields, to afford students the opportunity to pursue and explore the many areas of sports and entertainment law.

ABOUT The Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League:
Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League (AEBL), founded by Jahi Rawlings in 2013, is Atlanta’s newest live sports and entertainment attraction for competitive basketball played by current, former and aspiring NBA players, celebrities, entertainers and local athletes.

ABOUT Econtii Music Group:
Econtii Music Group (EMG) is an entertainment consulting firm based in Atlanta, geared towards assisting professionals who are seeking project guidance in the entertainment industry. EMG specializes in legal research, branding and connecting professionals to the resources they need in order to successfully navigate throughout the entertainment industry.

For additional information, please contact Jah Rawlings at Jahirawlings3@gmail.com

For media inquiries, contact inf.smes@gmail.com

New Student Orientation This Saturday


Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to welcome the incoming spring 2016 class. The semester begins Monday, January 11, 2016 and the mandatory Orientation for first-year students is this Saturday, January 9, 2016.

The event is hosted by the Office of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs, and all event information may be found on the Orientation page.

On behalf of the entire Atlanta’s John Marshall community, we welcome you to campus and look forward to meeting you!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Named to Victory Media’s 2016 Military Friendly Schools List

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School jointly announced that they have each been designated as a 2016 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs®, STEM JobsSM and Military Spouse.

Institutions competed for the elite Military Friendly® School title by completing a survey of over 100 questions covering ten categories, including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and military spouse policies. Survey responses were scored against benchmarks across these key indicators of success. In addition, data was independently tested by EY (Ernst & Young) based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media with guidance from an independent Advisory Board of higher education and recruiting professionals.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation. The methodology used for making the Military Friendly® Schools list has changed the student veteran landscape to one much more transparent, and has played a significant role over the past seven years in capturing and advancing best practices to support military students across the country.

“Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School are firmly committed to fostering an environment that enriches the lives of our service members–both academically and professionally– as they prepare for careers in the legal field”, said Dean Malcolm L. Morris, who is the dean of both law schools.

“Post-secondary institutions earning the 2016 Military Friendly® School award have exceptionally strong programs for transitioning service members and spouses,” said Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and Navy Reserve veteran. “Our Military Friendly® Schools are truly aligning their military programs and services with employers to help students translate military experience, skills and training into successful careers after graduation.”

For more information on either school’s the commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit the Atlanta’s John Marshall Veterans Benefits page or the Savannah Law School Veterans Benefits page.

Congratulations to the December Graduates

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
Georgia Kasidakis
Tom Katusabe
Paul Christopher Kunst
Jennifer Marie McLaughlin
Douglas Mihalik
Kelly Leigh Morton
Joseph Grady Nickel Jr
Brandy L Porter
Amber Holly Reed
Alyssa Marie Sawicki
Jeffrey Sayer
David Morris Schlachter
Shana Leinaala Scott
Audrey Antoinette Simmons
Gina Renee’ Billingsley Smith
Lisa Sonoda
Tangelita Quiimaii Taylor
Adrienne Leigh Thornton
LeAnna Gail Wade
Corey DuWayne Woods
Jeremy A Yakle

Alumni Sworn Into U.S. Supreme Court

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!

2015 Alumni Supreme Court Swearing In 2015 Alumni Supreme Court Swearing In 2

Assistant Dean Ortega and Professor Malempati Present at 2015 Georgia Conference on Children and Families

Assistant Dean Ortega and Professor Malempati of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School presented at the 2015 Georgia Conference on Children and Families (GCCF) held in Augusta, Georgia October 21-23, 2015.

The GCCF is the largest annual interdisciplinary event in Georgia designed to bring together the community that serves children and families, including child advocacy, juvenile justice, social service, legal counsel, and the faith-based community.

The conference provided a forum to improve competencies, network, and learn from experts in the field with the goal of improving outcomes for children and families. Dean Ortega spoke on Post-Disposition Advocacy for Delinquent Youth and Professor Malempati spoke about Bridging the Gap between Dependency and Delinquency.

Student Advocacy Board Placed As Quarter Finalists in Carolinas Invitational

2015.10 Carolinas InvitationalThe Advocacy Board of Atlanta’s John Marshall is pleased to announce that our trial team placed as quarter finalists in the Carolinas Invitational Mock Trial Tournament. Twelve teams competed in the tournament which was hosted by the Charlotte School of Law and which involved a state criminal charge of Murder in the First Degree.

Competitors were: James Boles (3L), Sara Wardlow (2L), Sarah Pomella (3L), and Adrienne Thornton (3L). The team was coached by attorney Mitchell McGough of Atlanta.

AJMLS Team Awarded Best Defendant’s Memorandum of Law at Stetson Pretrial Competition

Stetson Law hosted their eighth annual National Pretrial Competition this past weekend and the team from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has once again been awarded Best Defendant’s Memorandum of Law. This is the third time during the past five years that Atlanta’s John Marshall has won the best brief award at the Stetson competition.

The winning team was composed of Michael Barrett (3L), Amber Reed (3L), Sadia Ali (2L), and Olivia Fisher (2L). The team was coached by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus Mathis Wilkens, Assistant District Attorney in Dekalb County, and the team Director was Professor Suparna Malempati.

Congratulations to all the competitors!

Stetson 2015-2 Stetson 2015-3 Stetson 2015-1b

AJMLS Professor and Death Penalty Legal Expert Michael Mears Interviewed

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Professor, Michael Mears, is one of the top death penalty legal experts in the state of Georgia.

Over the course of his career, Professor Mears has worked on 167 death penalty cases, published numerous death penalty related works, and is a frequent expert contributor to multiple media outlets.

Having worked on an earlier appeal in the recent case of Kelly Gissendaner, he has also been called upon frequently to comment on her case, the appeals process, and future of the death penalty in the state of Georgia.

Below are his most recent interviews and quotes:

CBS46 Interview:
CBS46 News
Georgia Public Broadcasting: On Second Thought (September 30, 2015)