ATLANTA (February 6, 2023) – Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP (SGR) is pleased to announce that Justice Leah Ward Sears (Ret.) has been inducted into the 2023 Lawdragon Hall of Fame. This is an annual list of lawyers who have previously been selected for inclusion on the Lawdragon 500 list. Justice Sears is recognized in the Leadership and Litigation categories. She is among 45 other legendary lawyers from public service, plaintiff, corporate litigation, dealmaking, and academia. The 2023 Lawdragon Hall of Fame will be published in Lawdragon Magazine in Fall 2023.
A retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice, Justice Sears is now a partner in SGR’s Litigation Practice and serves on the Firm’s executive committee. Since returning to private practice, she has concentrated on prosecuting appeals in the state and federal courts in jurisdictions across the United States. Justice Sears is also a trusted advisor to executives and institutions that face misconduct allegations. She works with them to prepare and respond to claims, develop strategies to minimize legal exposure, and move swiftly to protect their reputations. Justice Sears defends businesses in a wide range of product liability, business torts, medical malpractice, employment, contract, and other commercial disputes.
Beyond her work as a litigator, Justice Sears is a passionate change agent who cares deeply about giving back to her local community and strengthening the social fabric that binds us together. As such, she has been honored with numerous awards within the legal profession and from local organizations and regularly serves on various committees and boards. Most recently, Justice Sears was named to Atlanta magazine’s 2023 Atlanta 500 under the category of “Legend.” And in 2021, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Lawyer as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League at the 24th Annual ADL Jurisprudence Awards.
In 2022, Justice Sears was voted Best Mediator/Arbitrator in the Daily Report’s Best of 2022 List. She has been consistently named to the Georgia Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America® lists, as well as being named “Lawyer of the Year” in Appellate in Atlanta. Additionally, Justice Sears is a Fellow and a Board Member of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, an invitation-only organization limited to 500 lawyers who achieve distinction in their field.
In 2021, Justice Sears was appointed Chair of Georgia’s Federal Nominations Advisory Committee. In 2019, she was appointed by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to chair the City of Atlanta Task Force for the Promotion of Public Trust to explore ways to improve integrity, accountability, and transparency in city government. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Emory University and The Carter Center. She is General Counsel to the Board of Directors of MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.
Recognized as one of Georgia’s leading legal luminaries and role models, Justice Sears broke numerous barriers in her swift rise to the highest court in Georgia. Justice Sears was the first woman and youngest person to sit on Georgia’s Supreme Court when she was appointed in 1992 and the first woman to hold a position on the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia. She was twice on the President’s shortlist for appointment to the United States Supreme Court. Justice Sears retired from the bench in 2005 and returned to private practice in 2009.
To see the complete list of the 2023 Lawdragon Hall of Fame inductees, click here.
Lawdragon is a legal media company that provides free online news and editorial features, including the well-known guides to the nation’s leading lawyers, as well as content, marketing, and branding services for lawyers and firms through the Lawdragon Press division. Please visit www.lawdragon.com.
About Smith Gambrell Russell
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 285 attorneys provide legal counsel in more than 45 specialized practice areas, including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, real estate, construction, employment law, and employee benefits and executive compensation. Founded in 1893, SGR has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Jacksonville, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Munich, New York, Southampton, and Washington, D.C.