Michael Lucas says, The legal community is hungry to serve. (John Disney/Daily Report)
Michael Lucas is the new deputy director of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, succeeding Tamara Caldas, who left the legal nonprofit in October to become Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s pro bono partner.
Lucas oversaw two key AVLF programs before becoming deputy director—its flagship Saturday Lawyer Program and an eviction defense program. For both, AVLF trains and supervises volunteer lawyers representing people with limited means.
Typical Saturday Lawyer cases include securing unpaid wages for workers, representing tenants in disputes with landlords and defending clients in debt collection cases.
“I’m excited about my new role because I believe strongly that there is incredible potential here, thanks to the support of our volunteers in the legal community, to improve the lives of families and our neighbors in Atlanta,” Lucas said.
Lucas has spent his career fighting for the little guy. After earning a masters degree in social work from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1998, he spent six years working for the Texas House of Representatives, where he was committee director for the House Committee on Human Services. He decided to get a law degree in hopes of effecting social change on a more direct level, and received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2005.
He clerked for a federal judge in Baltimore, then was a fellow at Public Justice, a Washington legal nonprofit that takes on national consumer and prison rights litigation.
His work became more grass-roots when he joined Georgia Legal Services as a staff attorney in 2007, riding the circuit out of the Piedmont office. He joined AVLF four years ago to direct the housing and consumer programs.
“This legal community is hungry to serve—to make sure children have decent housing, parents are paid for the work that they perform and make Atlanta a community we want to live in. Our job is to channel that passion into programs that can really make a difference,” Lucas said.
Lucas started a novel program called Dollars for Justice two years ago, which recruits volunteer collections attorneys to help clients collect on judgments won through the Saturday Lawyer Program, which is a collaboration with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.
AVLF also trains and mentors Atlanta lawyers on domestic violence and guardian ad litem cases. Those programs are overseen by Liz Whipple. The group is leanly staffed, with only four lawyers in-house to supervise the volunteer lawyers. Even so, it handled more than 5,000 cases last year.
Lucas said AVLF is interviewing candidates for a staff attorney to take on his old role, as well as a development director.
Harris Winsberg has rejoined Troutman Sanders as a partner in the firm’s bankruptcy practice after a four-year sojourn at King & Spalding. Winsberg represents financial institutions and borrowers in corporate restructurings, workouts and regulatory matters involving consumer protection matters. He has also handled litigation related to lender liability, alter ego liability and fraudulent conveyances.
Winsberg is the current chairman of the loan workouts and bankruptcy subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s banking law section. He is also on the board of the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute.
Don Andersen has joined Gorby Peters & Associates as of counsel from Stites & Harbison. Andersen practices intellectual property, product liability and aviation law. He is a licensed commercial, instrument and multi-engine rated pilot.
Alston & Bird has named three partners in Atlanta, all litigators, out of eight firmwide. Stephanie Driggers handles commercial litigation, including class action defense and data privacy matters. Sam Rutherford is also a business litigator, focused on health care and financial services matters. Holly Saporito is an intellectual property litigator, handling patent and trademark matters in areas including payment systems, telecom, web-enabled service and computer software.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan has elected three partners in Atlanta, out of five firmwide: David Reid, Christina Rissler and David Wigley. Reid advises institutional clients on forming joint ventures and funds in areas including multifamily, hospitality, debt, agribusiness and timberland. Rissler practices corporate finance, representing clients in secured and unsecured commercial lending and structured finance matters. Wigley, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, is a patent lawyer focused on protecting intellectual property rights in chemical, pharmaceutical, materials-related and polymer technologies.
McKenna Long & Aldridge has elected two partners in Atlanta, out of six firmwide. Clayton Coley is a corporate lawyer, handling mergers and acquisitions, securities law and private equity transactions. Matthew Royko is a real estate finance lawyer, handling secured and unsecured lending transactions and acquisition financings.
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice has named three partners in Atlanta, out of 16 firmwide. Lou Barbieri is a corporate lawyer, handling transactions and corporate compliance issues. Kim Justus is a real estate lawyer, representing financial institutions in real estate-secured commercial lending and in resolving troubled loans. She also handles commercial leases and real estate transactions. Christine Lawson is a product liability litigator, focused on the defense of tobacco companies in smoking and health litigation.
Amanda Norcross has been elected a partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. Norcross is a corporate lawyer focused on corporate finance, venture capital, private equity and equity financings.
Holland & Knight has elected Joshua Bosin a partner in its Atlanta office. A litigator, Bosin defends companies, educational institutions and government entities in labor and employment matters.
Labor and employment firm Fisher & Phillips has elected two lawyers partner in Atlanta: Jessica Cook and Terri Stewart. Cook practices immigration and nationality law for corporate employers. Stewart advises management and litigates labor and employment cases.
Jackson Lewis, also a labor and employment firm, has named Eric Magnus and Adriana Midence Scott as shareholders in Atlanta. Both litigators, Magnus defends wage and hour class and collective actions and Scott handles employment litigation. She also drafts restrictive covenants for employers.
Attention new partners: Here is your chance to be part of the Daily Report’s annual New Partner issue and share your perspective on making partner. Just answer a survey. Most of the questions are multiple-choice; there are no wrong answers. The survey is anonymous; all information is reported in aggregate. Individuals who are not shy of celebrity may elect to be interviewed and photographed for the issue. For more information, contact Mary Judd at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is Jan. 24. The survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/newpartners2014.