Governor Nathan Deal has appointed Atlanta Deputy City Attorney Eric Richardson to a vacant slot on the Fulton County State Court. The seat was left vacant when Fulton County State Court Judge Susan Forsling retired July 1.
"I got the call Monday morning and met with the governor Monday afternoon," said Richardson, who was eager to tell someone but "kind of sat tight. My wife was busting at the seams."
Richardson, 48, joined the Atlanta Law Department in April 2009 after 11 years with Troutman Sanders, seven as a litigation partner and chairman of the firm's recruiting committee for the Atlanta office.
"Even going back to my days at Troutman I thought about one day retiring from the active litigation role and trying to be a judge," he said. "At that point, I just didn't see a path, didn't see a way to navigate that process."
The path became clearer when he asked former City Attorney Beth Chandler about a position, and she hired him immediately.
"I had done some government work at Troutman," he said. "I'd defended the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta in my practice. I was frontline litigator for a couple of years."
Mayor Kasim Reed tapped Cathy Hampton as city attorney, and in 2011 she promoted Richardson to deputy city attorney for litigation, a position in which he oversaw all of the litigation for the city, managed both in-house and outside attorneys and developed the litigation budget.
"I'm grateful for all the great things I've been able to do with the support of the mayor and City Attorney Hampton," said Richardson.
Richardson also said the community and political connections forged by his wife, Karen Richardson, now in her sixth year as a Johns Creek City Council member, helped strengthen his own ties to the community.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Richardson is a 1994 graduate of Cornell University Law School, and received an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Rochester.
Richardson began his legal career with New York's Latham & Watkins in September 1994.
"I worked four years in the Manhattan rat race," he said. Now the father of three, Richardson had two small children at the time.
"The model there was work all day, work all night and hire somebody else to raise your kids," he said. "That wasn't for me. Fortunately for us, my wife had family here already, so we came down, I interviewed with Troutman. I was looking for an open, progressive place to raise a family and follow a career path, and I got both here."
Richardson said his swearing-in is set for Aug. 14.