Georgia State Law Honors Miles Alexander with 2014 Johnson Award
Throughout his prestigious career of more than 55 years, attorney Miles J. Alexander has earned an international reputation as one of the world’s leading trademark lawyers. On May 6, Georgia State University College of Law honored him with the 2014 Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award.
“It is humbling to receive awards from organizations and institutions in which I have been active over my career,” says Alexander, senior partner with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP. “The Ben F. Johnson Award is particularly meaningful because of Johnson’s amazing contributions to our state and educational community. I am honored to be presented with any award given in his name.”
Alexander is ranked among the top attorneys by The Best Lawyers in America, Georgia Trend magazine, Atlanta magazine and Super Lawyers magazine. His accolades include the INTA’s 2002 President’s Award, the Georgia Bar Intellectual Property Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Jewish Committee Selig Distinguished Service Award and the ADL Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Longevity alone must be responsible for my joining the list of much more qualified predecessors who have been so honored,” Alexander says. “Each award is special because it represents a part of my life.”
In accepting his award on May 6, Alexander joked that it was “a privilege to be at your own funeral. Thanks for all the eulogies.”
In all seriousness, Alexander thanked his parents, wife and family for their support. He praised the Atlanta Bar Association for its leadership in setting the example of giving back to the community. “Atlanta owes a real debt to that subsequent generation who gave back.”
“Georgia State Law is dear to my heart,” Alexander says. “It is my adopted alma mater. I am deeply indebted for being included as an adjunct professor all these years. I will always be in your debt.”
Georgia State Law presents the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award each year to a Georgia attorney whose overall accomplishments reflect the high tradition of selfless public service that founding dean, Ben F. Johnson Jr., exemplified during his career and life.
“Miles Alexander is one of Atlanta’s most reputable attorneys and a pioneer in intellectual property law,” says Steven J. Kaminshine, dean and professor of law. “His approach to client counsel is commendable, but the work he’s done within the community is truly admirable. From advancing social justice to mentoring generations of lawyers, Miles’ dedication to serving others is inspirational.”
Several peers nominated Alexander, including Emmet J. Bondurant of Bondurant Mixon & Elmore LLP.
“Miles is one of the most ethical and principled individuals I have been privileged to know,” Bondurant says. “He has a long and distinguished record of public service and has served as a superb role model and mentor for hundreds of young lawyers. I can think of no one who is more deserving of the Ben. F. Johnson Award.”
Alexander joined Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP in 1958 after teaching at Harvard Law School and serving as a Staff Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force. He has served as lead counsel for myriad Fortune 500 companies in major litigations, IP disputes and strategic planning issues for mediation.
A true civil servant, Alexander takes great pride in his pro bono representation and public service. He has served as general counsel for the International Trademark Association, counseled Hands On Atlanta, obtained justice for victims of domestic violence, restored public confidence in the Atlanta License Review Board and chaired the Atlanta Ethics Board for many years.
He continues to be a dynamic force in the legal, Jewish and academic communities, having chaired the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Committee and serving on the ADL Southeast Region Board. He also is an active supporter of Georgia State Law, serving on its Board of Visitors.
A longtime supporter of women and minority rights, Alexander was at the forefront of the movement to eliminate racial and gender discrimination by professional legal groups and social clubs in Atlanta.
“I would advise young and old lawyers to choose areas of public service that are close to their hearts and to be as diligent and dedicated to those activities as they are to the practice of law,” Alexander says. “We all will be judged more by what we do for our community and the commitment to our clients than we will by our number of billable hours. Also, the reward from being dedicated to clients and causes is much deeper.”
With all his accolades, Alexander views marrying his accomplished wife, Elaine, almost 60 years ago, as his greatest achievement. He’s also proud of the fact that he has retained his sense of humor and a certain level of immaturity.
“One of my law partners, Phil Heiner, who died much too young, kept on his wall a wooden plaque from his grandfather, which read: ‘Pity the man from whom all the boy is gone.’”
Alexander received the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Award on May 6 surrounded by those he considers his greatest joys—his wife, children, friends and colleagues.