Randy Kessler: His firm “needed some junior lawyers to help.”
Randy Kessler: His firm “needed some junior lawyers to help.” (Photo by John Disney/Staff)

Family law firm Kessler & Solomiany has added three lawyers. Steven Kirson joins as a senior attorney from Warner, Bates, McGough, McGinnis & Portnoy. Michael Deeb joined as an associate after earning a joint JD/MBA from Georgia State University in December. Deeb clerked for the firm for two years while at Georgia State. Courtney Dean, who graduated from Emory University School of Law in 2013, also joined as an associate.

That gives the firm 14 lawyers. Firm founder Randy Kessler said the additions are from a confluence of events. “We’ve expanded our physical space; we’ve been busy, and we’re bringing on a senior lawyer, so we needed some junior lawyers to help,” he said, adding that Kirson’s background in both family law and finance was a draw.

Kessler & Solomiany has expanded its downtown Atlanta office at 101 Marietta St. N.W., adding another 3,000 square feet of space on the 34th floor, connected by a spiral staircase to its 35th floor headquarters.

In other news, partner Marvin Solomiany has been elected secretary-treasurer of the State Bar of Georgia’s family law section.

After a three-year stint in-house at General Electric, patent lawyer David Cornett has returned to private practice, joining intellectual property boutique Meunier Carlin & Curfman as of counsel. Cornett was an electrical engineer for Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities Co. before becoming a patent lawyer. His specialty is software, automation controls and energy-related technologies. At GE he handled patent applications for software and computer-implemented inventions related to renewable energy (wind and solar), such as metering, monitoring and control systems. He was IP counsel for GE Intelligent Platforms.

Mercer University law professor David Hricik has joined Taylor English Duma as of counsel. Hricik has taught at Mercer since 2002 and clerked for Chief Judge Randall Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit from 2012 to 2013. Hricik will continue to teach part-time at Mercer. Before entering academia, he practiced law for 14 years, handling IP, malpractice and general business litigation.

Benjamin Klehr has joined Cohen Pollock Merlin & Small as an associate from the Philadelphia office of Cozen O’Connor. Klehr practices bankruptcy law and also has litigated director and officer liability, securities fraud and RICO matters.

Veronica Richardson has joined labor and employment firm Constangy, Brooks & Smith as an associate from Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele. Richardson defends employers and insurers in workers’ compensation cases.

Linley Jones was elected president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association on April 25 at the group’s annual meeting, held at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead. Jones, the proprietor of Linley Jones PC, handles legal malpractice, wrongful death and personal injury cases.

Jeff Nix has become a member of the board of directors at Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. Nix is a partner at Troutman Sanders, where he handles construction law. He started the firm’s pro bono project, executing wills for service members, elderly and low-income Atlantans, and he represents tenants through AVLF’s eviction defense program.

Audra Dial, the local managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, has received the Inspiria Award for leadership from Pathbuilders, an Atlanta professional development organization for women. Dial is a graduate of the program’s 2005 class.

The University of Georgia awarded civil rights trailblazer Horace Ward an honorary law degree at its commencement ceremony on May 9. Ward was a key figure in the desegregation of the university. He sued UGA after he was denied admission to its law school in 1950 because of his race, becoming the first African-American to sue for admission to an all-white college or university in Georgia.

After earning a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law, Ward returned to Georgia and as a member of Hollowell, Ward, Moore & Alexander successfully sued UGA to gain admission for its first African-American students, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes.

Ward became Georgia’s first African-American superior court judge in 1977 (on the Fulton County Superior Court) and then in 1979 the state’s first African-American federal judge, when President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the bench for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. He retired in 2012.