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 November 29, 2011

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta volunteers provided more than $2.3 million worth of legal services to Atlanta nonprofits last year. The time and talents of our attorney volunteers make a big difference to the nonprofits they serve. Below are some “shout outs” to our volunteers from their appreciative nonprofit clients:

To: Elizabeth Weller of Turner Entertainment Networks
From: Living Water for Girls
“Thank you so much for connecting Living Water for Girls with Turner Broadcasting. I met with a Liz Weller, Vice President/Deputy General Counsel at Turner Entertainment Networks on this past Saturday, and of course, this would not have been possible without your assistance. She is brilliant and offered sound guidance for our future endeavors.”

To: Jarrod Loadholt of Troutman Sanders
From: Carroll County Family Connection
“I can’t tell you how wonderful Jarrod has been. He was quick to check the documents as I completed them and was always available to take my calls. He is an incredible attorney and he made this process so easy. Thank you for making this possible for our organization.”

To: Laura Bogan of The Home Depot
From: Margot Swann of Visions Anew Institute
“I would like to thank you wholeheartedly for the time and effort you put into advising us about employee status. Knowing when to classify employees and/or volunteers as exempt or non-exempt is very helpful. I understand you had to do a good bit of research in order to advise us.”

To: Andrew Morris of Sutherland
From: PEDS
“On behalf of PEDS, I want to express our appreciation to Pro Bono Partnership for connecting us to Andrew Morris. Andrew has been a terrific help to us. His help drafting agreements is enabling us to expand our capacity and resources dramatically.”

To: Judy Powell and Tywanda Lord of Kilpatrick Stockton and Jill Warner of McRae Brooks Warner
From: The Atlanta Women’s Foundation
“Words are not adequate to express how much we appreciate your assistance with our efforts to trademark two of our Community Initiative Programs. We are so grateful to you for rolling up your sleeves and giving your legal efforts to this matter.”

Posted on August 13, 2011

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta recently announced the appointment of Amy Dosik to its Board of Directors.
Amy began serving nonprofits as a tax associate at Sutherland LLP and currently serves as a Principal in Ernst & Young’s National Exempt Organizations Tax Practice. When Pro Bono Partnership was formed, Amy was excited by the organization’s ability to provide pro bono opportunities for transactional attorneys.

Amy Dosik

Initially, Amy volunteered to perform client workshops and various tax-exempt related seminars for Pro Bono Partnership.

She learned early that she wanted to dedicate her practice to helping nonprofits. Amy views her volunteer work for Pro Bono Partnership not as answering legal questions, but as a way to help nonprofits fulfill their mission. Amy feels that Pro Bono Partnership fills a much needed niche for small nonprofits that don’t have the resources to hire paid advisors without compromising their financial ability to deliver program services.

“It is a really good counterpoint to what I do professionally,” Amy said. “My clients are generally large hospitals and universities who have the resources to hire paid tax consultants and attorneys. Without the volunteer work of skilled attorneys, most nonprofits would simply not have the financial ability to receive the legal and tax advice that they need to move forward.”

On top of her work at Pro Bono Partnership, Amy serves on the board of It’s the Journey, which runs the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, and Hillels of Georgia.

“I love working with nonprofits because it involves interesting, complex issues, and at the end of the day I know my clients are working to make Atlanta and the world a better place. It allows you to sleep well at night.”

Posted on June 30, 2010

I’m feeling nostalgic these days. We’re coming up on the five-year anniversary of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. On June 27, 2005, I started my job as executive director of the newly-formed organization. We took on our first client a few months later.

You can learn more about our accomplishments over the past five years by viewing our 5th Anniversary Report. Just one factoid is the number of attorneys that have volunteered with us so far – over 1400!

If you’d like to recognize our anniversary, a SunTrust Challenge donation would be the perfect gift! Just give $100 or more and the SunTrust Foundation will match it.

We would not have made it these five years without the help of a lot of folks. Thank you to our volunteers, funders, Board of Directors, Advisory Committee, Staff, collaborators, office host (Sutherland), and everyone else who makes our work possible.

Rachel Epps Spears
Executive Director

Posted on January 27, 2010

Nearly 100 attorneys gathered at Georgia Power Company on January 26, 2010 to celebrate another successful year for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta (PBP-Atl). For the fifth year in a row, PBP-Atl held an appreciation reception for its donors and volunteers and also presented special recognition awards. PBP-Atl thanks Georgia Power Company for hosting the wonderful evening.

Jo Ann Cooper of Refugee Women’s Network and Chad Hale of Georgia Avenue Community Ministry, both clients of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, spoke about the importance of PBP-Atl to the nonprofit community. PBP-Atl’s Board Vice Chairman, Frank Landgraff, and Executive Director, Rachel Epps Spears then presented Frabel glass peach sculptures in recognition of the following awards for outstanding volunteer achievement:

  • United Parcel Service, Corporation of the Year
  • DLA Piper, Law Firm of the Year
  • Lawton Hawkins of Coca-Cola Company, In-House Volunteer of the Year
  • Nancy K. Kumar of Georgia Power Company, In-House Volunteer of the Year
  • George Sewell, Volunteer of the Year
  • Valerie King of Baker Donelson, Law Firm Volunteer of the Year
  • Stuart Neiman of Kilpatrick Stockton, Law Firm Volunteer of the Year
  • Jennifer Van Ness of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Law Firm Volunteer of the Year
  • Thomas Bishop of Georgia Power Company, Special Recognition Award

PBP-Atl also recognized the Association of Corporate Counsel – Georgia Chapter for hosting, and Kilpatrick Stockton for sponsoring, the 2009 Golf, Tennis & Spa Event, which raised over $60,000 for PBP-Atl.

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

Posted on July 18, 2009

At Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s most recent workshop, Jason M. Prine of Sutherland partnered with Danyelle McDonald, an in-house attorney at air transport and communication company SITA, to present “What Every Nonprofit Should Know About Intellectual Property: Trademarks and Copyrights.” Nearly fifty people from nonprofits in the Atlanta area attended the workshop at Hands On Atlanta, who was a co-sponsor of the event.

Nonprofits are very interested in protecting their intellectual property and the attendees had many questions for Jason and Danyelle. As attendee Diane Hopkins of Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education commented, “This was a real eye-opener for us. Our organization produces a wealth of printed materials. We never had a clear understanding of how copyright law would apply. Now, after this professionally presented (free!) class provided by legal experts through the good graces of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, we know what we need to do and will take the proper steps to protect our intellectual property.”

This is just one of the many workshops that Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has scheduled for 2009. PBP-Atl conducts over thirty workshops and webinars every year in order to provide legal information for nonprofits.