ATLANTA (May 20, 2019) – Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP (SGR) is pleased to announce that Partner Justice Leah Ward Sears (Ret.) has been appointed by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to chair the City of Atlanta Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust. The task force was designed to evaluate the city government’s ethics, transparency and compliance guidelines, present its findings, and make recommendations for improvement.
The 13-member task force is comprised of individuals who were formerly prosecutors, judges or local lawmakers, along with members of the academic community and Atlanta residents. Justice Sears is among the six members appointed by Mayor Bottoms, five appointed by the Atlanta City Council, and two members appointed by Council President Felicia Moore, who will meet on at least four occasions. The first public meeting was held May 14, and the next is scheduled for June 18. The task force’s recommendations must be made by September 10 with group disbandment 30 days after.
“As a judge for more than 27 years, I was a member of a group of highly visible public officers bound by a comprehensive code of ethics and responsible for the administration of justice,” said Justice Leah Ward Sears. “It’s my desire to bring this experience to bear on the work the task force will undertake.”
Justice Sears is a Partner in SGR’s Litigation Practice. As a retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice, she takes an active role in the discussions regarding the dynamics of the legal profession and the legal issues facing the state. She is regularly called upon to serve in leadership roles, comment on trending topics, and speak at various functions. Among her many roles, Justice Sears is an appellate lawyer, oral advocate and strategist, in addition to often serving as a neutral in arbitration proceedings and mediations. Due to her distinguished career and continued service to the community, Justice Sears is frequently honored with awards within the legal profession and from local organizations. She retired from the bench in 2005 and returned to private practice in 2009. She has been with SGR since 2016 and was recently elected to the firm’s executive committee.
Justice Sears was the first woman and youngest person to sit on Georgia’s Supreme Court when she was appointed in 1992. She was also the first woman to hold a position on the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia. Justice Sears was twice on the President’s shortlist for appointment to the United States Supreme Court.
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