Georgia Bar Journal
GSB Vol. 14, NO. 7, Pg. 30.
Lawyers Helping People Honored with Justice Benham Community Service Awards
GSB JournalVol. 14, NO. 7June 2009Lawyers Helping People Honored with Justice Benham Community Service AwardsBy Avarita L. HansenThe State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism (CJCP) presented the 10th Annual Robert Benham Awards for Community Service on March 10 at the Georgia-Pacific Center auditorium.
The awardees and their guests were welcomed to the event by Tye C. Darland, senior vice president and general counsel, Georgia-Pacific. Patrise Perkins-Hooker, chair of the awards committee, introduced returning emcees Bill Liss, financial and legal editor for Atlanta's WXIA-TV News (11 Alive) and Avarita Hanson, executive director of the CJCP. Liss and Hanson were joined by special guest H. Thomas Wells Jr., president, American Bar Association. Wells' inspirational remarks about the importance of community service preceded the awards presentation, underscoring the hard work and dedication of each recipient in serving both their career and their community (remarks reprinted on page 31).
The Hon. Griffin B. Bell, retired partner, King and Spalding, Atlanta, was honored posthumously with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 72nd attorney general of the United States, Bell was a major figure in the legal profession in the last half of the 20th century. After graduating from Mercer University Law School in 1948, he practiced in Savannah and Rome before joining Spalding Sibley Troutman and Kelly (later renamed King and Spalding) in 1953. Bell was named chief of staff to Gov. Ernest Vandiver in 1958, chaired John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign and was appointed judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 5th Circuit in 1961. While on the bench, he was an active participant with a moderate voice in the implementation of school desegregation orders throughout the South.
After 15 years on the bench, Bell returned to King and Spalding only to resume public service as President Jimmy Carter's nominee for U.S. district attorney. He again returned to his corporate practice with King and Spalding in 1979, but remained prominent in local and national affairs throughout his career.
One of Georgia's greatest statesmen, Bell has honored the legal profession and his...