James.qxp May June 2019 web - Page 12

Among prominent attorneys wired
into Democratic politics: Stacey
Abrams, who lost last year’s governor’s
race and is poised to run again for public office . . . Bobby Kahn (ex-Gov. Roy
Barnes’ chief of staff) . . . ex-state lawAbrams
maker Sam Nicholson, an Augusta
fundraiser for Democrats and judicial candidates… Cobb
County Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who’s running countywide for Commission chair . . . Stacey Evans (who
lost the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial
primary to Abrams) is at Wargo French
handling defamation lawsuits among
other cases . . . and Craig Gillen of
Gillen Withers & Lake has represented
clients ranging from ex-Sen. and felon
Charles Walker of Augusta to E.R.
Mitchell, convicted in an Atlanta city hall bribery case.
We also must list John G. “Sonny” Morris and
technology practice leader John Yates of Morris,
Manning & Martin . . . “King of Torts” Tommy Malone
of Malone Law and son Adam Malone . . . Dennis
Cathey of Cathey and Strain . . . Paul Weathington of
Weathington & Smith . . . Mark Spix, who has a regulatory practice and does alternative dispute resolution…
and Cary Ichter with Ichter & Davis and a substitute
panelist on WAGA-TV’s “The Georgia Gang.”
The JQC & recent changes
The mission of the 10-member Judicial
Qualications Commission is to conduct investigations and hearings with
respect to ethical misconduct by
judges. The JQC is ably chaired by
Athens attorney Ed Tolley and its
executive director is Ben Easterlin IV.
Another commission— formally
known as the Georgia Government Transparency and
Campaign Finance Commission— has begun a new
chapter under the aforementioned chairman Jake
Evans. This ve-member ethics panel collects campaign nance reports, issues advisory opinions and dispenses penalties for violations. Former Douglas County
ADA David Amadi is the new executive director.
The political law boutique Strickland Brockington
Lewis closed earlier this year with principals transitioning to Taylor English Duma and founding partner Marc
Taylor. Republicans Frank Strickland and Bryan Tyson
joined as partners and Oscar Persons came aboard as
M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9
senior counsel. Strickland and Tyson are
also part of the governmental affairs
arm Taylor English Decisions.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance
Bottoms, grappling with an ongoing
federal corruption targeting city hall
practices, named an advisory ethics
panel which includes Joe Whitley, a high-ranking
Reagan-Bush Justice Department official and former U.S.
attorney, as well as civil rights lawyer O.V. Brantley.
McIver case lawyers . . . and more
National attention focused last year on the trial of
labor attorney Claude “Tex” McIver, convicted of
murdering his wife. A prominent GOP donor and former state Elections Board member, he was defended
by two of Georgia’s best-known trial lawyers— Bruce
Harvey and Don Samuel along with Amanda Clark
Palmer. In the end, Fulton County prosecutor Clint
Rucker won over the jury, even reciting a moving
poem in closing argument.
Other well-known attorneys with political/business ties have tremendous impact in specialized areas.
Ed Garland has successfully handled high-prole
criminal cases . . . David Worley and workers’ comp
guru David Moskowitz distinguish themselves in the
eld of labor law . . . Harry
MacDougald of Caldwell Watson, the
blogger credited with getting disgraced
journalist Dan Rather red from CBS,
is an outstanding constitutional law
guru . . . A. Lee Parks has compiled a
MacDougald successful track record for affirmative
action and “whistle-blower” cases.
There are countless corporate attorneys, especially
with Fortune 500 companies, who move easily in
Georgia’s corridors of power. Every year we name a few
who we consider noteworthy: Coca-Cola general counsel
Barnhard Goepelt . . . Delta Air Lines counsel Peter
Carter (and Delta’s government relations director David
Werner, who especially kept busy during the General
Assembly) . . . John Tanzine of Columbus who represents the Georgia Crown Distributing Company . . .
Teresa Wynn Roseborough of Home Depot... Southern
Company general counsel Jim Kerr . . . Meredith
Lackey of Georgia Power . . . Tye Darland of GeorgiaPacic . . . Leo Reichert of Wellstar Health Systems . . .
Jay Mitchell with Jackson Healthcare (whose CEO is a
major supporter of Lt. Gov. Duncan) . . . and Thomas
Worthy, Piedmont Healthcare’s vice president of government affairs.
Got a DUI in metro Atlanta? Prominent in this
eld are attorneys and their rm colleagues who especially command the respect of judges. We continue to
single out, as we have for the past several years, two
high-prole metro Atlanta examples: William
“Bubba” Head and Bob Chestney. There are of course
countless others in Atlanta and other cities.
First Amendment and defamation expert Lin
Wood Jr. of Atlanta is suing CNN, The Washington
Post and other media outlets for smearing and defaming a 16-year-old Trump supporter.
Wood, often dubbed “the attorney for
the damned,” also successfully represented the security guard falsely
accused by the Atlanta JournalConstitution and others in the 1996
Atlanta Olympics bombing. At Jones
Day, former federal prosecuter Peter Caneld is also
renowned for handling libel and privacy cases.
David Hudson of Augusta’s Hull Barrett firm, is
another expert in the defamation/libel field and has
assisted legislators in crafting and strengthening
open records/meetings laws. Hudson and Jim
Ellington are counsels to the Georgia Press
Association. Patrick Rice, also of Hull Barrett, represents the famed Augusta National Golf Club.
Brothers David Bell and John Bell are well-known
Augusta trial attorneys. And two
Augusta Democrats with clout are
former state senator and U.S.
Attorney Ed Tarver and law partner
Ed Enoch.
Joel Wooten, Jim Butler and
Brandon Peak of Columbus-based
Butler Wooten & Peak continue to win big cases and
have a new Savannah office . . . In Rome there’s Bob
Brinson of Brinson, Askew and Berry . . . In Savannah,
we always have to cite University of Georgia bulldog
mascot owner Sonny Seiler . . . Steve Scheer represents various Savannah candidates and officeholders
and past Bar president Pat O’Connor and Paul
Threlkeld represent the Georgia Ports Authority . . . In
Brunswick/St. Simons, Jim Bishop represents leading
corporate citizens . . . Rick Brown Jr. of Macon and
Patrick Cork of Cork and Cork in Valdosta have GOP
ties and William “Pope” Langdale of Valdosta is a former state Trial Lawyers Association president.
Legal Organizations
Members of the constitutionalist Federalist Society
often advise Republican governors and presidents
when interviewing applicants to work in their administrations or to be judges. The chairman of the large
Atlanta Federalist chapter is Frank Strickland. There
are also campus chapters at some Georgia colleges.
Todd Young is the executive director of the
Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal Foundation, a constitutional law firm and public policy center; its general counsel is Kimberley Hermann . . . Georgia’s
American Civil Liberties Union executive director is
Andrea Young, daughter of civil
rights leader and former Atlanta
Mayor Andrew Young. Sean Young is
the legal director and ex-DeKalb
County CEO Burrell Ellis is political
director . . . Chuck Spahos is the
S. Young
hard-charging executive director of
the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.
Laurie Speed, a personal injury attorney with
Speed & King, is the president of the Georgia Trial
Lawyers Association. (A Republican non-lawyer—
state Rep. Micah Gravely— is the
statewide grassroots director of the
Democrat-dominated group.) . . . The
State Bar president is current Court of
Appeals judge Ken Hodges, Jeff Davis
is the executive director and Christine
Hayes is government affairs director.
Members of Congress
Four of Georgia’s 14 members of the U.S. House of
Representatives are attorneys: Rep. Sanford Bishop of
Albany; Rep. Doug Collins of
Gainesville; Rep. Hank Johnson of
Lithonia; and Rep. Rob Woodall of
Lawrenceville. This year Collins raised
his prole upon becoming the highestranking Republican on the powerful
House Judiciary Committee. He
emerged in the national media as a vocal supporter of
President Donald Trump and scourge of Judiciary
Committee Democrats.
Publisher’s note:
Every year we hear from some readers that we’ve missed
lawyers who should have been included. And we’re sure we
have— and we apologize. But this lengthy feature had to
end at some point! Anyhow, contact JAMES magazine and
let us know. They could be included in next year’s feature.
M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9


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