GLSP Attorney Jana Edmondson-Cooper Awarded by Gov. Deal

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Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper, an attorney at Georgia Legal Services Program, was selected to receive the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity’s 2016 Freedom Award, presented to her by Governor Deal on April 19, 2016. The Commission cited her work on access to justice issues for individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing, or have limited English proficiency. The award letter addressed to Edmondson-Cooper states that she “not only challenged the governmental and justice systems when language access programs were underfunded or non-existent, [she] also shed light on how language access is interdisciplinary and affects many core areas of the law”.

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Former GLSP Board President Named Community Champion

BD_Ben-GarrenC. Ben Garren, Jr. has been selected as the winner of the Community Champion award for the 2016 Corporate Counsel Awards, sponsored by Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Association of Corporate Counsel Georgia Chapter. The award will be presented at a luncheon in May. Garren has served as president of Georgia Legal Services Program’s Board and is currently on the Georgia Legal Services Foundation board.

“I am very honored and humbled to receive such recognition,” says Garren. “My association with the Georgia Legal Services Program and Foundation have certainly made my life richer.”

Garren is currently chief legal officer at Coca-Cola Refreshments, the North American bottling operation of The Coca-Cola Company. He began his career with The Coca-Coca Company in 1996 as litigation counsel and since then has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility. He is a member of the senior leadership teams for CCR and The Coca-Cola Company’s Legal Division. Ben received a B.S. from Clemson University in 1983 and his J.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1987.

 

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Georgia Legal Services Attorney Edmondson-Cooper To Be Awarded By Gov. Deal

Jana J. Edmonson Cooper. Photo by John Disney/Daily Report.

Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper. Photo by John Disney/Daily Report.

Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper, an attorney at Georgia Legal Services Program, has been selected to receive the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity’s 2016 Freedom Award which will be presented to her by Governor Deal on April 19, 2016. The Commission cited her work on access to justice issues for individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing, or have limited English proficiency. The award letter addressed to Edmondson-Cooper states that she “not only challenged the governmental and justice systems when language access programs were underfunded or non-existent, [she] also shed light on how language access is interdisciplinary and affects many core areas of the law”.

The Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity agency was created in 1978. The mission of the agency is to investigate charges of discrimination filed by an aggrieved party or a representative of an aggrieved party. It is also the goal and aim of the agency to further the public interest in preventing future discrimination by monitoring any respondent who has been found guilty of committing a discriminatory housing practice.

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Veterans Benefits Workshop To Be Held in Waycross

Georgia Legal Services is partnering with the City of Waycross to celebrate Georgia Cities Week from April 18 to April 22, 2016. The City and Georgia Legal Services will cosponsor Veterans Benefits Day on April 22, 2016 from noon to 3 p.m.  As part of this, Georgia Legal Services and the State Bar of Georgia are arranging for free legal services to be available to attendees.

Waycross Veterans

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Executive Director Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

phyllis_300dpiThe Daily Report announced on Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2016, that Georgia Legal Services Executive Director Phyllis Holmen is one of 20 lawyers to be honored for lifetime achievement. Honorees will be recognized at a June 23 dinner at the St. Regis Atlanta hotel.

“It doesn’t feel like a lifetime just yet, but I do feel fortunate to have found the work I hoped to do so many years ago. There’s much more to be done to make sure that we provide justice for all,” says Holmen. “I hope this event and this award inspires those coming up now to embrace that cause.”

Other honorees include lawyers and judges with the state Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court, Southern Center for Human Rights, Georgia Supreme Court, and King & Spalding.

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School Dropout Prevention Workshop Success

Southern Region School Dropout Prevention Picture_Georgia Legal Services Managing Attorney Ira Foster organized a school dropout prevention workshop, held on Mar. 3, 2016, with speakers from The Truancy Intervention Project, Georgia Appleseed, and the Southern Center for Human Rights. Presentations included discussion around the school-to-prison pipeline, truancy and absentee issues, school discipline statistics and positive behavior intervention and support. Foster focused his presentation on what parents and guardians can do if their children are involved in disciplinary matters at school, and how best to keep kids in school. Nearly 50 school-age children attended the event along with attendees from the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association.

The event was sponsored in partnership by Georgia Leg al Services Program, Georgia Appleseed Center For Law and Justice, The Southern Center for Human Rights, The Truancy Intervention Project, The Georgia NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., The Southern Region.

 

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Georgia Schools Take a Stand Against Teen Dating Violence

One in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and teens who experience violence are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, and carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Because of this, Georgia Legal Services Attorney Tomieka Daniel is working with local domestic violence task forces, asking schools to take steps to end dating violence among teens and formally recognize February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The cities of Dublin, Irwinton, Fort Valley, and Madison have already committed to signing the proclamation.

While Georgia law requires that the Board of Education develop curriculum on teen dating violence prevention for grades 8-12, it’s unclear if one has been developed and implemented by local school districts throughout the state.

“Teens face many of the same issues that adults face when dealing with dating violence, however there are not as many avenues available for teens to tap into when seeking help,” says Daniel, the attorney with Georgia Legal Services, pointing to the lack of resources for teens in violent relationships. The civil legal aid organization handles hundreds of domestic violence cases each year throughout the state, including for high school and college students.

The proclamation Daniel and others are asking school district officials to sign states that, by addressing violence and unhealthy relationship behavior early on, domestic violence later in life can be prevented. “…By providing young people with education about healthy relationships and changing their attitudes away from supporting violence to embracing mutual respect, we recognize that dating violence can be prevented,” it reads.

With an estimated one in three women having experienced physical violence in an intimate partner relationship in their lifetime, prevention of such violence is significant, and could be life-saving. Fifty percent of victims who die at the hands of their abuser started those relationships while they were young, between the ages of 13 and 24, according to a report from The Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project.

For teenagers involved in abusive relationships, there is help. Attorneys at Georgia Legal Services can assist in obtaining a stalking order, which orders the stalker to stop hitting, harassing, and contacting the victim. The attorneys can also work with school officials to educate them on violence prevention, and advocate class schedule changes for victims.

Only one-third of teens who are in an abusive relationship tell anyone. But seeking help–like the legal protections that Georgia Legal Services attorneys can offer–can effectively stop a problem that might otherwise negatively impact one’s life in the long-term.

“If I can reach you before it gets to that stage, I won’t have to represent you in court a few years from now,” says Daniel.

Georgia ranks among the worst in terms of states with high prevalence of teen dating violence.

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Circuit Riding Around Albany Increasing Residents’ Access to Justice

This article was originally published by the Albany Herald under the headline “Georgia Legal Services adds Westtown Library to ‘circuit’”. Read the article here.

Georgia Legal Services “circuit rider” Whitney Knox, one of seven lawyers in the Albany GLS offices on Oglethorpe Boulevard, is available to discuss very specific legal issues with Westtown patrons from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Tuesday of each month. The program is part of Georgia Legal Services’ efforts to make its staff available where there are specific needs in the community.

“We circuit ride in all 33 of the counties in our service area,” GLS Supervising Attorney Rhonda Bass said. “Our services are offered to usually low-income individuals who meet federal poverty guidelines, and we offer elder law services to people 60 and over with no income guidelines.

Read this Albany Herald article in full here.

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GLSP Attorney Jana Edmondson-Cooper Given State Bar YLD’s Signature Service Award

Jana Edmondson-Cooper, GLSP attorney of nearly six years, was awarded the State Bar Young Lawyers Division’s Signature Service Award on Saturday, Jan. 23 in Atlanta at the organization’s 10th annual Signature Fundraiser. The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) notes that the award is “presented annually to recognize an individual who has achieved a certain level of service, as measured by his or her commitment to the YLD and other service-related organizations”.

In a Jan.15 statement, they write:

Jana Edmondson-Cooper was an obvious choice for the YLD Signature Service Award,” YLD President John R.B. “Jack” Long of Augusta said.  “Through her job at GLSP, she shows her daily commitment to helping Georgia’s indigent who are in need of legal services.  Furthermore, her volunteer efforts for the YLD reflect her true passion to fulfill the primary mission of the State Bar of Georgia: service to the public.  I am proud to have her serve on the YLD Board of Directors, and appreciate her steadfast dedication to the YLD.

Read more about the event here.

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GLSP Attorney Jana Edmondson-Cooper Named to Top 100 Black Lawyers

Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper. Photo by John Disney/Daily Report.

Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper. Photo by John Disney/Daily Report.

The National Black Lawyers: Top 100 announced that Jana Edmondson-Cooper of Georgia Legal Services Program was selected for inclusion into its Top 100 Black Lawyers, an honor given to only a select group of lawyers for her superior skills and qualifications in the field. Membership in this exclusive organization is by invitation only, and is limited to the top 100 attorneys in each state or region who have demonstrated excellence and have achieved outstanding results in their careers.

Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper provides bilingual legal counsel and representation to low-income individuals, the majority of whom are limited English proficient, in administrative forums and courts of law. Her areas of practice include family law, health law, housing, public benefits, wills & estates and education law with a focus on language access as an access to justice issue.

Read more here.

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