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Release date:
Jan. 4, 2002
Contact: Elaine Justice, Associate Director, 404-727-0643, or ejustic@emory.edu

Emory Law School's Public Interest Group to Hold Awards Ceremony, Fund-Raiser

The Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) at Emory University School of Law will host its sixth annual EPIC Inspiration Awards Ceremony and Reception on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at the law school. The fund- raising event will begin with the awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m., followed by a reception.

The 2002 EPIC Inspiration Awards will be presented to four Atlanta residents who have made outstanding contributions to the public interest. They include: Donald L. Hollowell, civil rights leader and retired partner with Arrington & Hollowell; Frank S. Alexander, professor of law at Emory and director of the Project on Affordable Housing and Community Development; Jack Martin, criminal defense attorney; and Jim Martin, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources, and former state representative and chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Dorothy Toth Beasley, senior judge of the State of Georgia, will present the awards.

The event is the major fund-raising endeavor for EPIC, a student organization that promotes law in the public interest. The event allows EPIC to provide stipends for law students pursuing summer internships at public interest agencies. Donations are invited at various levels with a minimum of $25 requested. Inquiries about contributions and reservations should be directed to Sue McAvoy, Emory’s public interest advisor, at 404-727-5503 or smcavoy@law.emory.edu.

Founded by Emory law students in 1988, EPIC promotes awareness and increases understanding of public interest law, encourages and assists in the employment of Emory law students in public interest positions, and acknowledges the professional responsibility of lawyers and law students to make legal services more accessible. President Neal Cohen currently heads the organization.

"The money raised from the Inspiration Awards is divided into a number of $4,000 summer grants," Cohen says. "Students interested in public interest law go out into their communities and find their own internship. Then they come to us and apply for funding."

"Public interest organizations cannot afford to fund summer law clerks on their own," says Cohen. "These grants not only provide a needed service, but expose Emory law students to public interest work."

The 2001 awards ceremony, which raised approximately $45,000, allowed 11 law students to pursue summer law positions in agencies such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. In 1999, EPIC’s inspiration awards ceremony received the Outstanding Group Project Award from the National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL).

Hollowell, who will receive the Lifetime Commitment to Public Service Award, opened his private law practice in Georgia in 1952, handling hundreds of civil rights and civil liberties cases in state and federal courts. Hollowell represented civil rights activists such as Horace T. Ward in his effort to gain admission to the University of Georgia Law School; Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes in their lawsuit seeking admission to the University of Georgia undergraduate program; and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a number of his civil rights lawsuits. Hollowell also worked with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and is presently a retired partner of the law firm of Arrington & Hollowell in Atlanta.

He has received such prestigious awards as the Lawyer of the Year Award from NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, and the Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award from the State of Georgia Secretary of State Lewis Massey.

Hollowell has a J.D. degree from Loyola University in Chicago and holds five honorary doctoral degrees. In 1990, Emory established the Donald L. Hollowell Professorship of Law.

Alexander, who will receive the Outstanding Leadership in the Public Interest Award, founded Emory’s Law and Religion Program in 1982, which has become widely known for its research and publications on the interaction of legal and religious ideas. A former fellow of The Carter Center, he specializes in affordable housing and homelessness issues. Alexander earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina and graduated in 1978 with his J.D. degree (cum laude) from Harvard Law School and master of theological studies degree from Harvard Divinity School.

In addition to teaching law at Emory, Alexander serves in an of counsel capacity at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy. He also is a member of the Atlanta City Council Task Force on Gentrification, was the commissioner for the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless, and co-counseled the East Lake Meadows Residents Association, an association representing public housing residents in a redevelopment program. He also serves on the board of directors of Community Friendship (a nonprofit psycho-social rehabilitation program for the seriously mentally ill) and the Community Credit Counseling Service.

Alexander has received the Outstanding Service Award from the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Georgia Affordable Housing Award from the Georgia Housing and Finance Authority, and the Citizen’s Award for Outstanding Service from the Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority.

Jack Martin, who will share with his brother Jim Martin the Unsung Devotion to Those Most in Need Award, has owned his own trial firm since 1980, specializing in the defense of federal felony criminal prosecutions and death penalty cases. Prior to that, Martin worked with the Federal Defender Program in Atlanta representing indigent criminal felony and misdemeanor defendants in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

A graduate of the University of Virginia and Harvard Law School (cum laude), Martin has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America from 1987 to 2001, and has achieved the highest rating in the National Directory of Criminal Lawyers. He is the chairman of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Legislative Committee and served in 1991 as the association’s president.

Jim Martin served as a state representative from 1983 until 2001, when he was appointed commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources. He also has worked with the Office of Legislative Counsel for the Georgia General Assembly, as an attorney and staff lobbyist for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and as a partner with a private law practice.

A graduate of the University of Georgia undergraduate program and law school, Martin has received numerous awards, including the Legislative Service Award from the Association of County Commissioners, the Legislative Leadership Award from the Georgia Hospital Association, and the Legislator of the Year Award from the Georgia Public Health Association. While a legislator, he served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; as vice chair of the Fulton County House Delegation; and as member of the House Appropriations Committee, Ethics Committee, Industrial Relations Committee and Legislative Services Committee.
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