Atlanta Bar Foundation
The Atlanta Bar Foundation, a Section 501(c) (3) organization and charitable arm of the Atlanta Bar Association, supports Atlanta Bar Association charitable projects that assist youth, provide pro bono legal services, promote public understanding of the law, and promote higher education through scholarships. Atlanta Bar projects supported by the Atlanta Bar Foundation include:
Summer Law Internship Program – Since 1993, outstanding students have been selected from local high schools such as D.M. Therrell High School, an Atlanta public law and government magnet school adopted by the Atlanta Bar Association in 1988. Participants in the internship program receive a six-week internship in local law firms, government agencies and corporations to encourage their interest in higher education and the practice of law. Currently, several active members of the Atlanta Bar Association are graduates of this program and others soon will graduate from law school, making this internship a proven success.
Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program – Since 1985, the Atlanta Bar Association has sponsored the Minority Clerkship Program (recently expanded as the Minority and Diversity Clerkship Program) with the assistance and cooperation of Atlanta law firms and the law schools at Emory University, University of Georgia, Georgia State University, John Marshall, and Mercer University. The objectives of the program are:
- To increase the number of students of diverse backgrounds practicing in Atlanta law firms by facilitating their placement in law firm clerkships
- To supplement the students’ clerkship experience with support functions including skills development and formal and informal networking sessions;
- To assist Atlanta law firms in their efforts to identify and attract outstanding students of diverse backgrounds to clerkships
Clerkships are provided for six to ten weeks during the summer (depending on the employer’s preferences), and students receive the salary paid to other first-year students at the offices where they work.
This program was the first of its kind in the country and has become an inspiration for the development of similar programs by other bar associations.
Police Scholarship Fund – This college scholarship fund was established in 1980 to assist the children of Atlanta Police Department officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. Since the Fund’s inception, more than $180,000 in scholarships have been awarded to the children of Atlanta police officers.
Truancy Intervention Project (TIP) - Atlanta Bar members and other volunteers provide pro bono representation to children, ages 5 to 16, referred by both by the Fulton County Juvenile Court and Fulton County school systems; to identify and resolve problems that prevent the children from being in school. Specifically, TIP volunteers represent children before the Fulton County Juvenile Court with the goal of successfully returning them to school, and volunteers work with at-risk children in elementary schools to improve attendance. Since the inception of this program in 1991, a high percentage of children represented by TIP have never returned to court for any reason and have successfully returned (or remained) in school. In 2002, the Atlanta Bar Foundation initiated a capital campaign on behalf of TIP and raised $1 million to support expansion and staffing for this important program.
Atlanta Santa – Judges and lawyers of the Atlanta Bar Association serve as Santa and elves for non-profit organizations and children’s hospitals during the holiday season. Several thousand children have been served by this program since its inception in the early 1990’s.
Memorial Fund – In response to the tragedies surrounding the Fulton County Courthouse shootings of March 11, 2005, the Atlanta Bar Association and the Atlanta Bar Foundation established a memorial fund to support the families and honor the memories of the victims. In addition to family support, $100,000 was raised to establish a scholarship for law students at Emory University School of Law, the alma mater of Judge Rowland W. Barnes, in his memory. These tragic events remind us of the importance of the rule of law, an independent judiciary and the daily contributions of those who work in our justice system.
Foundation Grant Program - In connection to the Foundation’s support of Atlanta Bar Association charitable projects, in 2010, the Foundation established an annual grant application program that includes assistance to pro bono legal service providers that serve the Atlanta community. Foundation grants are announced at the Atlanta Bar Association’s Celebrating Service luncheon, held in October of each year.