Emmet J. Bondurant Honored for Public Service
ATLANTA — Georgia State University College of Law honored Atlanta lawyer Emmet J. Bondurant, of Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP, with the 2011 Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award in a ceremony on April 27.
This honor is presented annually to a Georgia attorney whose accomplishments reflect the tradition of public service that Ben F. Johnson Jr., founding dean of the College of Law, exemplified during his career and life.
“If my father were here tonight, he would be extraordinarily proud of the honoree,” Ben F. Johnson III said in his remarks to the audience. “He regularly pointed to Emmet Bondurant as the example of what public service meant.”
Partners, colleagues and friends joined Johnson in paying tribute to Bondurant, one of the nation’s foremost antitrust attorneys, citing his passion for the law, his significant pro bono case load and his tireless dedication to doing the right thing.
“Emmet’s commitment to his pro bono cases and public interest causes is just as strong as the cases we are being paid for,” said H. Lamar “Mickey” Mixson, Bondurant’s partner of 30 years. “In fact, the more unpopular the cause, the more controversial the client, the more the odds or the political correctness is against Emmet, the better he likes it.”
Outside the courtroom, Bondurant has served as president and of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, chairman of the National Board of Common Cause and chairman of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, among other professional activities.
In addition to Mixson, fellow attorneys C.B. Rogers and Wyc Orr and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spoke about Bondurant during the celebration held in the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom – a fitting venue in which to honor Bondurant, who last year did pro bono work to help Joe Patten, the so-called “Phantom of the Fox,” retain his lease on the apartment inside the historic building.
“The practice of law is something we all share and we all cherish, because we among all others are gifted with the opportunity to do something that no one else in this society can do, which is to provide justice for the people who cannot get justice for themselves,” Bondurant said when he addressed the crowd. “A very small client with a very small lawyer can operate a lever through the judicial system to make massive changes. And that is an opportunity that no one else has.”