ATLANTA (October 11, 2017) – Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP (SGR) is pleased to announce that firm Partner and former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Leah Ward Sears, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (“AAAL”), an invitation only organization limited to 500 lawyers, called Fellows, who must “possess a reputation of recognized distinction as an appellate lawyer.” The AAAL’s stated mission is to “advance the highest standards and practices of appellate advocacy and to recognize outstanding appellate lawyers.” Ms. Sears has been an AAAL Fellow since April, 2013. She also currently serves as a member of the AAAL’s Amicus Curiae Committee.
As a member of the Board of Directors, Ms. Sears will support the work of the AAAL, founded in 1990, by providing mission-based leadership and strategic governance for the organization which is committed to advancing the administration of justice and promoting the highest standards of professionalism and advocacy in appellate courts.
Ms. Sears currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Emory University, The Carter Center, the Oakland Cemetery Foundation, and the Georgia Historical Society. She previously served on the Boards of such organizations as the Woodruff Arts Center, the Alliance Theatre, the Southeast Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Sadie G. Mays Nursing Home, the Advisory Board for the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Cornell University Council, the Board of Visitors of Mercer University Law School and the Emory University Law School Council.
Ms. Sears is a Partner in SGR’s Litigation Practice. Among her many roles at the law firm, she is an appellate lawyer, oral advocate and strategist, in addition to often serving as a neutral in arbitration proceedings and mediations. Ms. Sears was the first woman and youngest jurist ever to sit on Georgia’s Supreme Court when she was appointed in 1992. She was also the first woman judge on the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, which she won by election in 1988.
About the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
Since its founding in 1990, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers (AAAL) has committed itself to advancing the administration of justice and promoting the highest standards of professionalism and advocacy in appellate courts. Membership in AAAL is reserved for experienced appellate advocates who have demonstrated the highest skill level and integrity. Nominations to the organization can only be made by current Fellows. Nominees are thoroughly vetted by the legal and judicial communities in a confidential process and must be elected to the fellowship by the board of directors. Because of these high standards, Academy Fellows rank among the “Who’s Who” of appellate practice in the jurisdictions where they appear. For more information, visit www.appellateacademy.org.
About Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
SGR is a full service, international law firm that advises regional, national and global businesses on a wide range of legal matters. The firm’s more than 200 attorneys provide legal counsel in more than 45 specialized practice areas, including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, real estate, construction and employment law. Founded in 1893, SGR has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Jacksonville, London, Munich, New York, Southampton, and Washington, D.C.