Posted on June 20, 2012
ACC May Lunch-PBP Check (L-R:Rachel Spears (PBPA),
Scott Burton (Sutherland), Michael Fong (Recommind),
Brett Lockwood (Smith Gambrell & Russell) and
Geoff Frost (Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore)

The 2012 Association of Corporate Counsel-Georgia Chapter (ACC-GA) Value Challenge event raised $31,000 for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta (PBPA). Sutherland, Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, Smith, Gambrell & Russell and Recommind sponsored the Value Challenge, which was presented on March 29, 2012 with over 100 attorneys in attendance.

The funds raised at the Value Challenge event represent almost 10% of PBPA’s 2012 budget. ACC-GA has raised almost $250,000 for PBPA in the last six years through annual fundraising events.

The ACC-GA Value Challenge event combined CLE presentations and breakout sessions that encouraged in-house counsel to discuss best practices for connecting the value and the cost of legal services. The Value Challenge saw participation from a wide array of in-house attorneys from metro-Atlanta based corporations, including UPS and GE Energy.

Faith Knight Myers, Lead Privacy Counsel at McKesson, participated in the event and commented, “it very well done. Substantively, all of the presenters discussed topics that were relevant to me. It was well worth my time.”

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta thanks ACC-GA and its president Martha McMillin for their continued support, financial and otherwise, of our mission to maximize the impact of pro bono engagement of in-house attorneys.

Posted on February 22, 2012

Happy Perkins, then-General Counsel of GE Energy, called a meeting back in 2004. He wanted to know if the Atlanta legal community was interested in bringing the Pro Bono Partnership model down south from New York. Attorneys would be paired with nonprofits in need of free legal assistance, opening up more pro bono opportunities to in-house and transactional lawyers. With an “if we build it, they will come” attitude, several corporations and law firms committed initial funding for the project.

Here we are almost eight years later and Happy’s vision has resulted in over 1500 Atlanta attorneys providing pro bono assistance to nonprofits. We honored Happy (yes, his real name) with our inaugural Founders Award at our annual Volunteer & Donor Appreciation Reception on January 24. AT&T and Sutherland, two of the original funders of the Partnership, received Corporation and Law Firm of the Year honors for the outstanding volunteer contributions of their attorneys. You can read more about all of the awardees and see photos from the reception in the article below.

Want to go to the reception next year? As always, the event is free (thanks to our sponsors) and we will invite everyone who volunteers or donates to us in 2012. Hint, hint …

Rachel Epps Spears
Executive Director

Posted on February 22, 2012

To celebrate another successful year, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta held its seventh annual appreciation reception for donors and volunteers. Over 100 attorneys gathered at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan on January 24, 2012 to recognize the incredible work accomplished by PBP-Atl volunteers this past year.

After PBP-Atl clients Jimmy Wilson of Loganville Community Ministry Village and Lauren O’Brien of Embraced Atlanta spoke about the impact of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta on their organizations, Executive Director Rachel Epps Spears thanked all of the volunteer attorneys who contributed free legal services valued at over $2 million to nonprofit organizations in 2011. Frabel glass peach sculptures were then presented to the following attorneys, law firms and corporations in recognition for outstanding volunteer achievement:

  • AT&T, Corporation of the Year
  • Sutherland, Law Firm of the Year
  • Volunteers of the Year:
    • John W. Mills, III of Barnes & Thornburg
    • Adrienne L. Smith of Sutherland
    • Darcy White of Paul Hastings
    • Thomas Federico of Turner Broadcasting System
    • Val Rusk of Turner Broadcasting System
    • Marion Tilson of AT&T

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta gave a special appreciation award to Datacert for their donation of the Passport matter management platform which has greatly increased the efficiency of the Partnership staff.

PBP-Atl also presented the inaugural Founders Award to Happy R. Perkins. Happy, who recently retired as General Counsel of GE Energy, played a pivotal role in organizing Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta and served on the organization’s Board for seven years. The Founders Award will be presented from time to time to recognize an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta.

For the first time, PBPA-Atl offered sponsorships for the reception and generous contributions by the following businesses covered the expenses of the appreciation event:

  • Sustaining Sponsor
    • RR Donnelly
    • Pangea3
  • Supporting Sponsor
    • IVIZE
    • Counsel on Call

“Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and donors,” said Spears. “This event gives us the opportunity to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary work of some of our outstanding volunteers.”

Posted on February 22, 2012

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta proudly welcomes four new Board members:

  • Kathleen Bardell, General Counsel for Power Generation Services at GE Energy;
  • Jared Brandman, Securities Counsel for the Office of the Secretary at The Coca-Cola Company;
  • Brent Houk, Labor & Employment Counsel for United Parcel Service; and
  • Tricia Kinney, Senior Counsel of Litigation for Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
New PBPA Board Members (L-R: Jared Brandman,
Tricia Kinney, Brent Houk and Kathleen Bardell)

Kathleen Bardell joined GE in 2006 from Cozen O’Connor. Pro bono work has been one of Kathleen’s priorities since she attended law school. She leads the Street Law pro bono program at GE and has participated in Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check Up Program. Kathleen and her husband have two children, ages 10 and 9. She enjoys spending time with her family, golfing, scuba diving and skiing.

Jared Brandman, joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2010 after spending five years at Paul Hastings. Jared, whose commitment to helping nonprofit organizations through the Partnership dates back to 2006, notes: “I am not only privileged to meet so many amazing men and women that provide such valuable services, goods and support to people in need, but also to help ensure that these charitable organizations are appropriately structured and benefit from best practice corporate governance policies and procedures.” Jared has two children and enjoys helping his wife in her new business, EnchantedKidz, which offers dress-up clothes for kids.

Brent Houk has over 20 years of labor & employment law experience. Prior to joining UPS in 2005, he worked as Assistant General Counsel for Overnite Transportation. His volunteer involvement with the Partnership has ranged from helping nonprofit organizations comply with the proper classification of independent contractors and employees to drafting and implementing employee handbooks. “Ethical considerations requiring us not to take on work we are not competent to perform make us wary,” Brent notes. “This is where Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta makes the difference, for many of us, between our wishing we had the tools to participate and our actual participation.” Brent dedicates much of his time outside of work to coaching youth baseball and basketball teams.

Tricia Kinney, who joined Kimberly-Clark in 2007, spent ten years in the Labor and Employment group at Powell Goldstein (now Bryan Cave). At Kimberly-Clark, she focuses on complex business, products liability, personal injury and employment litigation. Tricia has served as a board member of the Sports Network Corporate Board for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), and on the Advisory Committee for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. “Through both of these organizations, I have seen the amazing and direct impact that pro bono assistance and community involvement have on people’s lives, at particularly vulnerable times, when often a little bit of assistance makes a truly critical difference.” Tricia is a mother of three and in her free time she enjoys playing with her children and running.

Posted on November 22, 2011

Imagine sending your child to a school with a student teacher ratio of 6:1, where students from all socioeconomic backgrounds are excelling, and are well above the national average in every subject, and to top it all off, the school is free. While that may sound too good to be true, it isn’t. Thanks to the work of Dean Leeper, the founding principal of the Kindezi School, several Atlanta families have chosen the charter school for their child.

Kindezi School Students

Unfortunately, not every family can enroll their children. In fact, the waitlist for Kindezi School, which currently offers grades K through three, is over 300 kids. In order for a child to be admitted to study at the Kindezi School- he or she must win the lottery—literally.

The reason behind the demand is simple: the school has adopted a Differentiated Learning Plan for every student. Teachers spend hours of daily one-on-one time with students in order to determine how each child learns most effectively and adjust the curriculum accordingly.

“Some students need a lot of love and discipline. We can give them that support,” noted Leeper.

The Kindezi School puts an emphasis on both the arts and leadership. Teachers integrate the arts into math, social studies, science, and language arts. The school believes that this integration facilitates a deeper and more engaged learning experience. Further, the school focuses on teaching students to examine the importance of leadership and service inside the classroom, in their local community, and as global citizens.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has matched the Kindezi School with several volunteer attorneys. For example, Joey Silver of DLA Piper assisted with the incorporation process and Happy Perkins and Jules Frauenhofer of GE Energy, along with several King & Spalding attorneys, handled the 501(c)(3) application process. Katie Manley and Windsor Adams of Paul Hastings advised the school on labor and employment issues and Jeremy Hilsman of Kilpatrick Townsend is currently providing assistance reviewing a lease.

Posted on February 13, 2011

Over 100 attorneys gathered at AGL Resources on January 25, 2011 to celebrate another successful year for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. For the sixth year in a row, PBP-Atl held an appreciation reception for its donors and volunteers and also presented special recognition awards.

PBP-Atl’s Board Chair, Frank Landgraff of GE Energy, started off the evening by thanking PBP-Atl donors, including the following donors who gave $25,000 or more in 2010: The Coca-Cola Company, GE Energy, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, SunTrust Foundation, Sutherland and UPS Foundation. Executive Director Rachel Epps Spears then presented a new volunteer recruitment video produced and donated by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Ms. Spears thanked all of PBP-Atl’s volunteers who contributed free legal services valued at over $2.4 million to nonprofit organizations in 2011. Frabel glass peach sculptures were then presented to the following attorneys, law firms and corporations in recognition for outstanding volunteer achievement:

  • The Home Depot, Corporation of the Year
  • Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, Law Firm of the Year
  • Volunteers of the Year:
    Elizabeth Finn Johnson of The Coca-Cola Company
    Jared Brandman of The Coca-Cola Company
    Jim Coil of Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton
    Dan Rollman of DLA Piper

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta also gave special appreciation awards to Turner Broadcasting System for the donation of the new videos and to United Parcel Service for its $50,000 grant to PBP-Atl through the UPS Foundation, which is the largest single donation that PBP-Atl has ever received.

“Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and donors,” said Spears. “This event gives us the opportunity to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary work of some of our outstanding volunteers.”