|At a gala reception March 14, 2013, at the State Bar of Georgia Building, the Champions of Justice were honored for their service in making justice accessible to low income Georgians. Look below the story for pictures of the event. (Photos by Don Morgan Photography & Video)|
Champion of Justice Elizabeth “Betsy” Neely, Esq., said her help creating Georgia Legal Services Program is “one of the proudest associations of my Life. I’m so proud of what this program has done.”
Her sentiments summed up the atmosphere at the March 14, 2013, Champions of Justice event, at which men and women who have worked decades to bring access to justice to thousands of low income Georgians were honored for their service.
Neely, who was one of the co-founders of GLSP when she served on the Younger Lawyers Section Committee of the state Bar in the 1970s, helped establish the Georgia Indigents Legal Services and served as board secretary for several years. Along with honorees J. Ben Shapiro, Jr., Esq., Emory Law School Associate Dean A. James Elliott, R. William Ide, III, Esq., and Thomas E. Dennard, Jr., Esq., Neely studied the need for civil counsel for low-income Georgians before approaching the state Bar with the idea of setting up a legal aid organization to serve the small towns and rural areas of the state outside Metro Atlanta.
“When all is said and done, it’s what really makes a difference,” said Ide of his service to GLSP. “We are lawyers, and that is what we are here to do is serve others.”
The young lawyers who began GLSP had an uphill climb to make it happen, said Dennard, now an attorney in Brunswick. “We did not have a lot of support. A lot of people, even the Bar, did not support this back then. But my grandmother told me, ‘You do what you are supposed to do.’ So we kept on.
“It is so reassuring to see that 750,000 clients have been served in the 42 years GLSP has been around. What a wonderful tribute that is.”
Cora Johnson of Soperton has worked with GLSP’s indigent clients on social justice issues for 35 years. “I could have left Soperton,” she said, “but I wanted to make a difference where I live.” Now 87, Ms. Johnson is still working with GLSP and came to the event despite having broken her hip earlier in the year. “I’m out here now and can’t nobody stop me,” she said.
In opening remarks, GLSP Executive Director Phyllis Holmen said Ms. Johnson had said to her before the event, “You have to praise the bridge that brought you.” That is the idea behind honoring the Champions, Holmen said. “These people have gone before us and built the bridge that brought us.”
Honoree Lillie Winn of Walthourville died in February before she could accept her award, but her sister and her granddaughter accepted it for her. “If she had lived,” said Twanda Walthour, Ms. Winn’s granddaughter, “she would have been here. You couldn’t have stopped her. GLSP was HER thing. And I’m going to do like she did. I’m going to keep on.”
Photos of the Champions of Justice Honors Ceremony
Many thanks to Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer LLP!
GLSP has recently received the latest in a series of cy pres awards that go back five years and involve four major cases handled by attorneys from the Columbus law firm Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer LLP, totaling almost $265,000. We are deeply grateful for the support of the Hon. Clay Land of the U.S. District Court in Columbus and Judge John D. Allen of the Superior Court of Muscogee County. The recommendations for these awards by Jim Butler and Joel Wooten, Charles A. Gower and Ben B. Phillips of Columbus, Samuel W. Oates of Columbus, and William H. Crowder of Minneapolis, MN, reflect their recognition of the importance of access to justice and their commitment to our shared value of justice for all. These awards have enabled us to sustain services for low-income clients in the Columbus region despite severe reductions in funding from other sources.
Please contact GLSP Executive Director Phyllis J. Holmen at 404-563-7710, ext. 1609, or firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire further about how cy pres awards to GLSP help make a difference for clients.
Georgia Legal Services received a three-year grant of $700,383 from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women to focus on legal representation, outreach, and services for survivors of domestic violence in two areas in rural Georgia.
GLSP offices in Gainesville and Macon will be able to provide legal representation for survivors of domestic violence in rural counties where resources for domestic violence survivors may be limited. The grant will make a special effort to seek out minority, elder, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered victims who may find it especially difficult to access available resources for safety.
Our partners in the grant include local shelter and service agencies, sexual assault centers, the Georgia Family Violence Commission, the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, and United for Safety. This grant also supports the GLSP Teen Dating Violence Project in Middle Georgia that has reached more than 8,000 students, teachers, administrators, and parents in the last 12 months.
Georgia Legal Services Program has been approved for two Technology Innovative Grants from the Legal Services Corporation.
One, for $163,750, is a collaborative project involving four other legal services organizations and the national Pro Bono Net organization to develop mobile-ready content providing legal information to individuals to access on their cell phones. More and more of our clients are accessing the Internet solely via mobile devices rather than computers, so this is an effort to provide resources for them.
The second project will test the concept of providing mobile phones to farmworkers in rural Georgia with which they will be able to record data reflecting hours worked, and which will be GPS-coded to reflect the location of the farm/field. If successful, the approach could provide an effective and easy way for farmworkers to document their wage claims and help increase compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. GLSP has represented a number of farmworkers in cases against growers over alleged violations of the Act. This grant is for $50,754.
The 2012 ACYL Associates’ Campaign for Legal Services began in July, and will run through October 31, 2012. The Associates Campaign is an annual grass-roots campaign comprised of associates at Atlanta-area law firms that aims to raise both awareness of the critical need for pro bono legal services in our community and much-needed funds for those organizations.
Beneficiaries of the 2012 Campaign:
-Atlanta Legal Aid Society
-Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
-First Presbyterian Coming Home Project
-Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network (GAIN)
-Georgia Innocence Project
-Georgia Justice Project
-Georgia Law Center for the Homeless
-Georgia Legal Services Program
-Georgia State Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
-Latin American Association Immigration Services Department
-ProBono Partnership of Atlanta
-Southern Center for Human Rights
-Georgia Appleseed Student Tribunal Project
-Truancy Intervention Project
Since its inception in 2000, the Associates’ Campaign has raised over $500,000- for Atlanta-area legal services organizations. The 2011 Associates’ Campaign raised over $18,000 from associates in eighteen different law firms for eleven legal services organizations.
The Campaign, which is organized by the ACYL Board, is carried out through campaign coordinators at each local firm who provide information and seek contributions from their fellow associates. For more information about the Campaign, or to become involved in the Campaign at your firm, please contact Campaign Co-Chairs Jonathan Smith of Scoggins Goodman (email@example.com) or Rick Bold of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore (firstname.lastname@example.org).
All Campaign donors and participating firms will receive recognition from The Atlanta Bar in its publications, including the Atlanta Lawyer.
By Meredith Hobbs
Fulton Daily Report
July 17, 2012
The annual IOLTA revenue for the Georgia Bar Foundation to give to the state’s legal nonprofits dropped for the fourth year in a row, but a windfall cy pres award from a junk fax case in Washington state almost doubled the grant amount.
The Bar Foundation, which administers the interest on lawyers’ trust accounts, had about $345,000 in IOLTA funds to give away, down from almost $400,000 last year. But the cy pres award added another $297,000 to their coffers, for a total of $642,000.
The foundation’s board on Friday awarded $447,795 to the Georgia Legal Services Program and $194,205 to the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. The group’s 2011-2012 fiscal year ended July 1.