16th Annual Justice Benham Awards

The 16th Annual Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service were presented on February 17, 2015, at a special ceremony at the State Bar of Georgia Headquarters in Atlanta. Since 1998, these awards have been presented to honor lawyers and judges in Georgia who have made significant contributions to their communities and demonstrate the positive contributions of members of the Bar beyond their legal or official work. 
 
The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest recognition given by the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism, co-sponsors of the Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service. This year it will be awarded to three outstanding community and public servants: Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver of Decatur, Allan J. Tanenbaum of Atlanta and John S. Lewis of Cartersville, Georgia. This award is reserved for a lawyer or judge who, in addition to meeting the criteria for receiving the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service, has demonstrated an extraordinarily long and distinguished commitment to volunteer participation in the community throughout his or her legal career.
 
Awards are given to selected attorneys in the judicial districts of Georgia from which nominations were received. This year's ten other recipients are: Judge Lawton E. Stephens, Superior Court, Western Judicial Circuit, of Athens; Christopher K. Middleton of Savannah; John Randall Hicks of Valdosta; Nancy Terrill of Macon, Nora L. Polk of Decatur; Ernest Lamont Greer of Atlanta; Vanessa I. Hickey-Gales of Atlanta; Philip E. Holladay Jr. of Atlanta; Rep. Christian A. Coomer of Cartersville; and Nicki Noel Vaughan of Gainesville.
 
These honorees have served a wide range of community organizations, government-sponsored activities, and humanitarian efforts outside of their professional practices and judicial duties. Their fields of service include: youth athletics and mentoring programs, literacy programs, social services, church and religious activities, politics, promotion and support for legal aid programs, community development, education, sports, recreation, and the arts. These awards recognize the commitment of Georgia lawyers to volunteerism, encourage all lawyers to become involved in community service, improve the quality of lawyers' lives through the satisfaction they derive from helping others, and raise the public image of lawyers. All honorees are members of the State Bar of Georgia. 
 
The awards were presented by Justice Robert Benham, Supreme Court of Georgia. Justice Benham was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1989 by Gov. Joe Frank Harris, and served six years as the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice.

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