Environmental lawyer Beth Blalock has joined Brunswick-based Gilbert, Harrell, Sumerford & Martin as of counsel from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
Blalock left the Georgia EPD in June, after two years as the land branch’s assistant chief, overseeing the regulation of brownfields, hazardous waste sites and underground storage tanks.
With her move to Gilbert Harrell’s Atlanta office, she’ll be working with former Georgia EPD director Jud Turner, who became of counsel at the firm in January.
Turner was EPD director for four years under Gov. Deal before resigning in June 2016. Deal had also appointed Turner as the state’s first “water czar.” Turner has continued to serve as a special assistant attorney general in Georgia’s “water wars” litigation against Florida over the water apportionment for the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola river basin.
Gilbert Harrell partner Mark Johnson, who’s been at the firm almost 24 years, is the other member of the firm’s environmental team, which with Blalock has 16 lawyers.
Blalock’s practice focuses on environmental due diligence, regulatory and permitting requirements for property acquisitions and redevelopment. She began her career 14 years ago at King & Spalding, then worked for the Southern Environmental Law Center, before spending five years as general counsel for The Georgia Conservancy. She joined the state EPD after a stint as the Brownfields Coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Environmental Protection Division.
Blalock is an adjunct professor at Georgia State University College of Law, where she lectures on state brownfields and regulatory issues. She’s also the co-facilitator for the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership.
Brandon Williams has left Alston & Bird, where he was a partner, to go in-house for a client. He is now the chief legal and chief operating officer for Steve Harvey World Group Inc., the holding company for entertainer and comedian Steve Harvey’s enterprises, which was incorporated in Atlanta in 2011. Williams will work from Atlanta and Los Angeles, where Harvey relocated the production of his eponymous daytime talk show from Chicago. Harvey also hosts Family Feud, Little Big Shots and, on radio, the “Steve Harvey Morning Show.”
Robbins Ross Alloy Belinfante Littlefield has hired two associates—the top aide for Secretary of State Brian Kemp and a former law clerk for a federal judge. David Dove had been chief of staff and legal counsel for Kemp after earning his law degree from the University of Georgia in 2014. One of the firm’s partners, Vincent Russo, knew Dove because he used to be Kemp’s general counsel. Joe Saul clerked for Senior Judge Charles Pannell Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after graduating from GSU Law in 2015.
That gives the regulatory, politics and litigation boutique 18 lawyers. The firm’s partners also include the former executive counsels for both Gov. Deal and his predecessor, Sonny Perdue—W. Ryan Teague, who joined in March, and Josh Belinfante, respectively. The Robbins Firm also promoted two associates to counsel, Heather Sharp and Matt Parrish.
Kurt Kastorf has returned to Atlanta from Washington and joined litigation boutique The Summerville Firm, made up of Darren Summerville and Angie Fox. Kastorf started his legal career in Atlanta after law school at Emory, clerking for Judge Ed Carnes of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and then doing a stint at King & Spalding. He moved to Washington in 2009 to work for the Justice Department as an appellate lawyer, then joined WilmerHale in 2012, handling regulatory, litigation and appellate matters. Kastorf said he’ll be working on The Summerville Firm’s plaintiffs and defense cases and taking on regulatory matters.
Balch & Bingham has hired two associates in Atlanta, Austin Alexander in the banking and financial services practice and Jessica Nwokocha as a litigator. Alexander clerked for U.S. District Court Judge David Bramlette and U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Katharine Samson, both of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, after graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2014. Nwokocha clerked for Senior Judge Clarence Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and worked at Butler Snow in Birmingham after earning a law degree from Vanderbilt University in 2014.
Gary Kazin announced that he has semi-retired. Kazin said he has closed his workers’ compensation law practice, after representing injured workers for 35 years, and turned to mediation. He is acting as a neutral for workers’ compensation cases at Zirkle & Hoffman Mediation Services, located at 400 Galleria Parkway near the I-75 and I-285 interchange.
G. Marshall Kent Jr., the partner-in-charge of Smith Moore Leatherwood’s Atlanta office, has been chosen as a member of Leadership Sandy Springs’ 2018 class.
Savannah firm HunterMaclean has promoted Allan Galis and Heather Lundy to partner. Galis is a litigator handling business, real estate and products liability disputes. Lundy is also a litigator, handling personal injury and transportation cases along with commercial and real estate disputes.
The Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice has found a new home at Taylor English Duma. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton had provided office space for the public interest law center since its founding 12 years ago. Two Taylor English lawyers, Eric Fisher and Alison Ballard, have been presidents of Georgia Appleseed’s Young Professional Council and Fisher was elected to its board of directors in August. “Georgia Appleseed does incredible work to help those in need across the state of Georgia,” said one of the firm’s founding partners, Marc Taylor. Taylor English is located at 1600 Parkwood Circle in Cobb County.
The Atlanta Legal Aid Society has mounted an exhibition, Picturing Justice, featuring photography and video by five documentarians, Carlos Javier Ortiz, Beate Sass, Greg Kahn, Maura Friedman and Michael David Murphy, in conjunction with Mary Stanley Studio and Atlanta Celebrates Photography. The photographers tell stories of home and community about the vulnerable populations that Atlanta Legal Aid serves. Picturing Justice is free and open to the public. Exhibition hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 4 p.m. at Atlanta Legal Aid’s downtown headquarters at 54 Ellis St. N.E. The show runs through Nov. 3.