GSB Vol. 17, NO. 7, Pg. 74. Professionalism Page.

Authorby Jennifer M. Davis and Avarita L. Hanson

Georgia Bar Journal

Volume 17.

GSB Vol. 17, NO. 7, Pg. 74.

Professionalism Page

GSB JournalVol. 17, NO. 7June 2012Professionalism PageProfessionalism Personified A Conversation with Chief Justice George H. Carleyby Jennifer M. Davis and Avarita L. HansonSupreme Court of Georgia Chief Justice George H. Carley demonstrates an outstanding profile of professionalism. An esteemed jurist, former legislator and practitioner of law, his distinguished career personifies professionalism in practice and action. We were honored to interview Chief Justice Carley in the Supreme Court banc room. He provided us with an interesting retrospective on his life experiences that certainly reveals why he exemplifies Georgia's professionalism movement.(fn1)

Born in Jackson, Miss., Chief Justice Carley received both his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of Georgia. His official Supreme Court biography excerpt tells us:

After being admitted to the Bar in 1961, Carley practiced law briefly in Atlanta. From 1963 until his appointment to the bench, Carley engaged in the private practice of law in Decatur. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1966. He was partner in charge of litigation with the Decatur firm of McCurdy and Candler 1971-79. He was the attorney for the Housing Authority of the city of Decatur. He served as a special assistant attorney general handling eminent domain cases for the DOT. Carley was appointed to the Court of Appeals of Georgia by Gov. George D. Busbee on April 5, 1979, and was elected to a full six-year term in 1980. He was re-elected in the 1986 and 1992 General Elections. He served as chief judge from 1989-90 and presiding judge from 1991-93. On March 16, 1993, Gov. Zell Miller appointed him to the Supreme Court of Georgia. He was elected to a six-year term in 1994 and re-elected in the 2000 and 2006 General Elections. Gov. Miller also swore him in as presiding justice on July 1, 2009.(fn2)

Chief Justice Carley was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia on May 29, 2012, and will serve until his retirement on July 17, 2012. His reflections in this dialogue demonstrate that he has been a uniquely dedicated and humble leader not only on Georgia's appellate courts, but also throughout his career.

Q. Your dad was a public health engineer, and you grew up in many U.S. cities, including overseas in Burma as a teen. So, what or who along the way inspired you to become a lawyer?

A. It's funny but I haven't been asked that question in 40 years. Just recently Justice Nahmias was addressing a group of Decatur High School students. Since I graduated from Decatur High, I went with him. There someone asked Justice Nahmias that very question, and he gave the exact same answer that I would have given. My 10th grade civics teacher, Miss Emily Norton, got me so interested in the three branches of government that it became the only thing I really cared about in high school. From then on, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer.

Q. Now it's evident to me why you've been so committed to the High School Mock Trial Program -you're reaching kids who are just as impressionable as you were at that age. It would be interesting to tally up those who came...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT