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Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta Honors
Nelson Mullins and Partner Michelle Johnson

February 19, 2014
Michelle W. Johnson

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, an organization that matches volunteer lawyers with local nonprofits in need of free legal counsel, recognized outstanding volunteer attorneys for their pro bono efforts at its eighth annual Volunteer and Donor Appreciation Reception on Tues., Feb. 18 at the office of Alston & Bird.

Southern Company and Georgia Power received the “2013 Corporation of the Year Award” for their contributions of time and legal expertise in helping Atlanta area nonprofits. Both the Southern Company and Georgia Power have been involved with PBPA since 2006 and their attorneys have volunteered on about 70 projects. They have also participated in PBPA’s Nonprofit Legal Check-Up, a half-day program that provides an opportunity for nonprofit organizations to meet individually with a team of attorneys to identify the issues that may put the legal health of an organization at risk. 

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough received the “2013 Law Firm of the Year Award” for its outstanding efforts in taking legal matters referred by the PBPA. Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough attorneys have assisted on over 70 PBPA projects, including 30 in 2013 alone.

PBPA also honored several attorneys with a “2013 Attorney of the Year Award.” Mindy Simon, Associate General Counsel at Emory University; Joe Freeman, Assistant General Counsel of Cox Communications; Michelle Johnson, partner at Nelson Mullins; Jim Johnson and Julie Murphy, counsel and paralegal respectively at Sutherland; Mark Johanson, associate at Ogletree Deakins; Geoff Weirich, partner at Paul Hastings; and Nedom Haley, senior counsel at Baker Donelson, all received awards for their dedicated service to PBPA clients.

PBPA presented Debbie Segal with the “2013 Happy Perkins Award” for her outstanding contributions to PBPA. This award was created in honor of Happy Perkins, retired General Counsel of GE Energy, who played a pivotal role in organizing Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. Debbie Segal, who recently retired as pro bono partner at Kilpatrick Townsend, assisted in engaging about 200 of her firm’s attorneys to volunteer with PBPA.

“Obviously, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and our donors. This event gives us a chance to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary efforts of some of our outstanding volunteers,” said Rachel Epps Spears, Executive Director of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. Spears also thanked the event’s sponsors including Presenting Sponsor Thomson Reuters, Sustaining Sponsor RR Donnelly, and Supporting Sponsors Counsel on Call, Habif Arogeti & Wynne and Wells Fargo.

PBPA client Dolph Goldenburg of The Living Room kicked off the awards presentation by sharing how the legal services provided through PBPA have aided his organization and the work it does for low-income individuals.

PBPA provides free legal services to community-based nonprofits that operate programs benefiting low-income or disadvantaged individuals. PBPA matches eligible organizations with volunteer attorneys from the leading corporations and law firms in Atlanta. Since it opened its doors over eight years ago, PBPA has assigned and supported over 1500 volunteer lawyers in aiding about 650 nonprofit clients. In 2013 alone, PBPA provided free legal services valued at well over $2 million to Atlanta-area nonprofits. PBPA is funded by donations from corporations, law firms, bar sections and individuals. For more information about Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, please visit 

About Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, Inc. is a tax-exempt public charity whose mission is to maximize the impact of pro bono engagement by connecting a network of volunteer attorneys with nonprofits in need of free business legal services. For more information about Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, please visit