Jeremy Berry, Dentons, Atlanta. (Handout Photo)
Dentons partner Jeremy Berry is Mayor Kasim Reed’s pick for Atlanta city attorney.
Reed announced Thursday that Berry will replace the current city attorney, Cathy Hampton, who’s held the post for six years. The mayor announced earlier this week that Hampton would leave the job on May 19.
Berry is well-known to the mayor’s office. He advised Reed’s mayoral campaign for re-election in 2013 as part of his political law practice representing elected officials and political campaigns. “He has the consummate lawyer’s manner and demeanor and never gets too high or too low, so I really value him,” Reed told the Daily Report then.
Berry also represents clients on government contracts issues, regulatory matters and public policy litigation.
“Over the last decade, I’ve gotten to know Jeremy as a talented attorney and as an active, dedicated member of his community,” Reed said in his announcement. “I believe he will bring his unique insight and valuable experience to this role, and will serve the people of Atlanta, the Atlanta City Council and my Administration in an exemplary fashion.”
The mayor’s announcement called Berry an “emerging talent in the legal field.”
Berry, a 2003 graduate of Emory University Law School, was one of the Daily Report’s 2013 On the Rise picks for up and coming lawyers under age 40.
He became a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge in 2015, before McKenna was acquired by global megafirm Dentons later that year. He had worked at the firm for his entire legal career.
Berry also represented the 2013 gubernatorial campaign of Jason Carter, who, like the mayor, is a lawyer and a Democrat. Carter lost his bid for governor and returned to practicing law at Bondurant Mixson & Elmore. Berry also represented Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes’ campaign, he told the Daily Report in 2013.
Berry declined an interview request Thursday afternoon, saying he was tied up in client meetings.
“For the past fourteen years, I have focused my career on working with governments and elected officials, and working at the intersection of law, politics, and business,” he said in the announcement from Reed’s office. “I am thankful to have the opportunity to serve the public, the Atlanta City Council, and of course Mayor Reed. I know I have very big shoes to fill, and look forward to working with each member of the City’s Law Department.”
Hampton has not yet announced what she will do after leaving the Atlanta law department.
Unlike Berry, her legal experience before becoming the city attorney was as an in-house counsel for corporate law departments, including at the National Basketball Association and EarthLink. She was general counsel at RARE Hospitality International when Reed chose her for the city attorney post.
The city attorney manages an 85-lawyer legal department that oversees all civil legal matters for the city and its 8,000 employees. That includes Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the city’s water utility.
During her tenure, Hampson spearheaded the city’s pension reform agreement with employees and secured an extension of a water consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which had sued the city over water pollution from chronic sewage overflows. She also negotiated a 20-year lease agreement for the airport with Delta Air Lines and, most recently, oversaw the city’s sale of Underground Atlanta last month to a South Carolina-based developer, WRS Real Estate Investments.