Atlanta Bar Foundation
Mission: The Atlanta Bar Foundation, as the charitable arm of the Atlanta Bar Association, supports Atlanta Bar charitable projects that promote equal access to justice, assistance to youth and public understanding of the law. The Atlanta Bar Foundation also maintains an annual grant program to support Atlanta-area pro bono legal service providers serving low-income citizens in Atlanta.
Accomplishments: Since its inception in 1985, the Atlanta Bar Foundation has distributed more than $1.4 million to fund Atlanta Bar Association community service projects and other law-related programs in the Atlanta area.
Grantees: Beneficiaries of Atlanta Bar Foundation support have included the Atlanta Bar Association Summer Law Internship Program, Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program, Police Scholarship Fund recipients, victims of the 2005 Fulton County Courthouse shootings, the Rowland W. Barnes Scholarship (established by the Foundation at Emory University School of Law in memory of Judge Barnes), Atlanta Santa, Truancy Intervention Project, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers’ Foundation, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, Georgia Asylum & Immigration, Georgia Justice Project, Georgia Law Center for the Homeless, Georgia Appleseed, Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, among others.
Atlanta Bar Association Programs: Atlanta Bar community service projects supported by the Atlanta Bar Foundation include:
Summer Law Internship Program – Since 1993, outstanding students have been selected from local high schools such as D.M. Therrell High School, an Atlanta public law and government magnet school adopted by the Atlanta Bar Association in 1988. Participants in the internship program receive a six-week internship in local law firms, government agencies and corporations to encourage their interest in higher education and the practice of law. Currently, several active members of the Atlanta Bar Association are graduates of this program and others soon will graduate from law school, making this internship a proven success.
Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program – Since 1985, the Atlanta Bar Association has sponsored the Minority Clerkship Program (recently expanded as the Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program) with the assistance and cooperation of Atlanta law firms and the law schools at Emory University, University of Georgia, Georgia State University, John Marshall, and Mercer University. The objectives of the program are:
· To increase the number of students of diverse backgrounds practicing in Atlanta law firms by facilitating their placement in law firm clerkships
· To supplement the students’ clerkship experience with support functions including skills development and formal and informal networking sessions;
· To assist Atlanta law firms in their efforts to identify and attract outstanding students of diverse backgrounds to clerkships
Clerkships are provided for six to ten weeks during the summer (depending on the employer’s preferences), and students receive the salary paid to other first-year students at the offices where they work.
This program was the first of its kind in the country and has become an inspiration for the development of similar programs by other bar associations.
Police Scholarship Fund – This college scholarship fund was established in 1980 to assist the children of Atlanta Police Department officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. Since the Fund’s inception, more than $185,000 in scholarships have been awarded to the children of Atlanta police officers.
Atlanta Santa – Judges and lawyers of the Atlanta Bar Association serve as Santa and elves for non-profit organizations and children’s hospitals during the holiday season. Several thousand children have been served by this program since its inception in the early 1990’s.
Memorial Fund – In response to the tragedies surrounding the Fulton County Courthouse shootings of March 11, 2005, the Atlanta Bar Association and the Atlanta Bar Foundation established a memorial fund to support the families and honor the memories of the victims. In addition to family support, $100,000 was raised to establish a scholarship for law students at Emory University School of Law, the alma mater of Judge Rowland W. Barnes, in his memory. These tragic events remind us of the importance of the rule of law, an independent judiciary and the daily contributions of those who work in our justice system.