January 27, 2003

EPIC awards to feature Franklin


By Elaine Justice

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin will be the presenter for the School of Law’s seventh annual Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) Inspiration Awards, to be held Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Tull Auditorium.

Each year, EPIC honors three outstanding attorneys who have demonstrated a strong commitment to public interest law. This year’s recipients are: Emmet Bondurant of the Atlanta firm Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore; Debbie Segal, pro bono partner at Kilpatrick Stockton; and Karen Brown, staff attorney for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society Home Defense Program.

EPIC is a student organization that promotes law in the public interest, and the awards ceremony is the group’s major fund-raiser. Proceeds from the event are used to provide stipends for law students who pursue summer internships with public interest agencies. Donations are accepted at various levels, with a minimum of $25 requested. Inquiries about contributions and reservations should be directed to Sue McAvoy, Emory’s public interest adviser, at 404-727-5503 or smcavoy@law.emory.edu.

Last year, EPIC raised more than $50,000, which provided 11 grants. Students worked at agencies such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.

Bondurant, who will receive the Lifetime Commitment to Public Service Award, currently serves as board chair for the Georgia Resource Center and Common Cause. He helped found Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore more than 25 years ago, and his career has encompassed a strong commitment to community service and pro bono litigation, including death penalty cases. He has spent decades in various positions with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, beginning as director in 1968, vice president of the organization in 1971 and president in 1972. He also served as chairman of the fund-raising campaign in 1997.

Segal, who will receive the Outstanding Leadership in the Public Interest Award, has devoted her career as an attorney to helping indigents and others who may not have access to justice. Currently, she is the pro bono partner for Kilpatrick Stockton, the first Georgia firm to create such a position. Segal leads the firm’s attorneys in providing pro bono services to low-income clients and community groups. As former executive director for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, she was responsible for administration of the city’s largest pro bono program.

Brown, staff attorney for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Home Defense Fund, will receive the Unsung Devotion to Those Most in Need Award. In her position, Brown represents and provides referrals for elderly, low- and moderate-income homeowners and homebuyers. Cases involve foreclosure assistance, fraud, home purchase and predatory mortgage lending schemes. Brown also trains lawyers, housing counselors and homeowners on home equity, home purchase scams and remedies under federal and state consumer protection laws. Brown has worked in other capacities at Atlanta Legal Aid, including representing the elderly on access to income, medical care and affordable housing.






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