James May-June 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 12
At the trial court level, Henry County
State Court Judge Ben W. Studdard
III authored Daniel’s Georgia Criminal
Trial Practice text, giving him statewide
impact. The inimitable Fulton County
Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall is a well-known
“mover and shaker” with statewide judicial and political connections. And DeKalb Superior
Court Judge Shondeana Crews Morris’s judicial integrity, and deeply held
sense of justice, continues to impress.
There are prominent Georgia federal
judges, whose rulings have a big impact on our lives. One
is Steve Jones, who has rendered high prole decisions,
especially in complex election cases. Also
at the top of any list is 11th Circuit Court
of Appeals Judge Britt Grant, who compiled an impressive record on the Supreme
Court. Similarly, Eleventh Circuit Court of
Appeals Judge Lisa Branch, and District Court Judges
Billy Ray and Tripp Self all did tours of duty on the
Court of Appeals.
TH E LE GISL ATIVE BR ANCH
The General Assembly’s most high-prole Republican lawyer is state House
Speaker David Ralston. Rep. Barry
Fleming chaired a special election integrity committee that forged recommenRalston
dations which ended up in the bill that became law.
Other attorneys are Reps. Bonnie Rich, Todd Jones,
and Chuck Efstration. On the Senate
side, Republicans are Macon’s John F.
Kennedy, who chairs the important Redistricting Committee, along with Sens.
Brian Strickland, Bill Cowsert and
Democrat lawyers at the Capitol include House
Minority Whip William Boddie
and Reps. Mary Margaret Oliver,
Dar’shun Kendrick, Josh McLaurin,
Beth Moore, Sam Park, Mike WilenEvans
sky, Pam Stephenson, Brenda Lopez,
Scott Holcomb, David Dreyer, Matthew Wilson
and Stacey Evans. Democrats on the Senate side include Elena Parent, Harold Jones and
Jen Jordan (who’s running for attorney
general where she would face Charlie
Bailey in a 2022 Democratic primary).
AT TOR N EYS IN
2020-21 E LE CTIO N L AWSU ITS
M AY/JUNE 2021
2020-21 was a tumultuous election season
and some Georgia attorneys were deeply
involved. Its genesis was in March 2020
when lawyers for Secretary of State Brad
Raffensperger, including Vincent Russo and Bryan Tyson, entered into a consent agreement
with Democrats suing the state which weakened signature verication rules for mail-in absentee
ballots. That created a restorm before the
fall elections, especially since the settlement was a secret at the time.
Though outside attorneys stole the national
spotlight while attempting to ght the
Peach State’s election fraud/recount battle,
it really was Sandy Springs attorney Ray
Smith III who rose to courtroom promiSmith
nence last fall and into 2021. Smith started by challenging the registrations of over 12,000 individuals, which
were leveled on behalf of two Fulton Countians. In November serious fraud and irregularity allegations came
to light in the 2020 election contest petition, Trump v.
Raffensperger, where Smith was lead counsel and was assisted by attorney Courtney
Kramer. (The court did not set a trial date
until after January 6th, so the case was
never heard on its merits.)
Smith also took lead in advocating a new election
for the state House of Representatives District 52 race,
known as the “Silcox case.” He and Kramer presented
stacks of evidence showing over 800 illegal votes cast and counted on November
3rd. (Incumbent Deborah Silcox lost by
Noah Pines of the Ross & Pines rm
formed a group dubbed “Georgia Lawyers Against Voter
Suppression.” He and like-minded colleagues are seeking
clients to mount legal challenges to the
state’s new elections law. Atlanta attorney
Preston Haliburton was heavily involved
in election-related cases and legislation.
Constitutional law expert Harry MacMacDougald
Dougald with Caldwell, Carson, Elliot and DeLoach is an
election law litigator, as is attorney Bob Cheeley. Solo
practitioner Bruce P. Brown led a ght in
federal court concerning electronic voting.
And longtime Georgia defamation attorney
Lin Wood represented Trump for a brief
time, before moving to South Carolina.
Sam Nunn and 1996 Atlanta Olympics
organizer and former Augusta National
Golf Club chairman Billy Payne maintain
a high prole. The Marietta-based Barnes
Law Group is anchored by former Gov.
Roy Barnes, who loves to regale listeners with colorful
courtroom and political stories— and who dispenses legal/political advice to countless Democrats
and even a stray Republican. Former U.S.
Attorney General Sally Yates, practicing at
King & Spalding, represented South Korean
rm SK Innovation for advice on an elecBarnes
tric battery trade secret dispute involving a Georgia plant
project. Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah
Sears heads up the nomination commission for federal appointments for the Biden
Dentons is the world’s largest law rm
and its Atlanta office boasts a high-level
roster including U.S. Chairman Jeff Haidet, one-time
POL ITICS, POL ICY
& BU SINESS AT TORNEY S
There are many prominent lawyers who deal in
matters where policy and politics intersect with business. For starters, and in no particular order, consider
that former U.S. Senator and national defense expert
MAY/J UN E 2 0 2 1