Emory Report
January 31, 2005
Volume 60, Number 17


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January 31 , 2005
Judge Hatchett to host annual EPIC awards, Feb. 8 in Tull

BY Elaine justice

Judge Glenda Hatchett of television fame (and 1977 law alumna) will host the School of Law's ninth annual EPIC Inspiration Awards, Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m. in Tull Auditorium.

Each year, EPIC (Emory Public Interest Committee) honors outstanding attorneys who have demonstrated a strong commitment to public interest law. This year's recipients are Mary Ann Oakley '74L, partner at Holland & Knight; Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker '79L; and Judge Sharon Hill '85L of the Fulton County Juvenile Court.

Oakley, who will receive the Lifetime Commitment to Public Service Award, has worked with almost every women's organization in Atlanta over her 30-year career, spending most of her time involved with groups that promote equality and rights for many constituencies, including not only women but gays, minorities and the disabled. "I got involved during the women's rights period in the late '60s and early '70s, and during the civil rights movement," Oakley said. "I understand the legal barriers for women and minorities."

Baker will be honored with the Outstanding Leadership in the Public Interest Award. Appointed attorney general by then-Gov. Zell Miller in 1997, Baker was re-elected to two subsequent terms. Before that, he served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives. The state attorney general has focused his career on fighting crime, corruption and consumer fraud. He created the Open Government Mediation Program, which helps Georgians resolve their requests for open government without having to go to court.

Hill, who is receiving the Unsung Devotion to Those Most in Need Award, has spent the last seven years serving on the bench of the busiest juvenile court in Georgia. Her extensive experience with child welfare issues--especially in the areas of deprivation, education, truancy, delinquency and mental health--has allowed her to dispense justice to thousands of children. A frequent speaker on child welfare, truancy and court initiatives, Hill initiated the Guardian Ad Litem Program, a pro bono joint project of the Atlanta firm Hunton & Williams and the Fulton County Juvenile Court.

EPIC is a student-run organization that promotes law in the public interest, encourages and helps law students get jobs in public-interest law practice, administers and supports public-interest programs at the law school, and promotes the professional responsibility of lawyers and law students to make legal services more accessible.

The awards ceremony is the major fund-raiser for EPIC. Donations 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 $35 requested. For more information about the EPIC awards or to make a reservation, contact Sue McAvoy at 404-727-5503 or mcavoy@law.emory.edu.