February 28, 2011
ATLANTA – The State Bar of Georgia presented the inaugural Marshall-Tuttle Award to Drew N. Early of Lynch & Shewmaker LLC in Atlanta, in recognition of his outstanding support of the Bar’s Military Legal Assistance Program, which over the past 14 months has provided legal assistance to more than 300 military service members and veterans on a pro bono or reduced-fee basis. The presentation was made during the Bar’s midyear meeting Jan. 15 in Nashville, Tenn.
During 2010, Early provided legal assistance without charge to several service members and veterans, in addition to teaching and mentoring other Georgia lawyers about military law to complement their civilian practice. Early is a 21-year active duty Army veteran and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a 2008 graduate of Georgia State University College of Law (cum laude).
“Drew Early has been an exemplar of what the State Bar hoped this program would become,” said Charles L. Ruffin, chair of the Bar’s Military Legal Assistance Program Committee. “He not only has provided expert advice to our state’s service members, but he has also been an important adviser to our committee and to other lawyers throughout Georgia on the technicalities of military law to help ensure that the rights of service members and veterans are protected. His commitment to the program and to his fellow service members has been exceptional.”
The Marshall-Tuttle Award was named in honor and memory of both Army Cpl. Evan Andrew Marshall, a soldier from Athens, Ga., who was killed in action in Iraq in January 2008, and U.S. Circuit Judge Elbert Parr Tuttle, who served in the Army for 30 years, was a founding partner of the Atlanta law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and served as a federal judge for 43 years. Tuttle also provided pro bono legal services to many people, including John Johnson, a young Marine. In 1938, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Johnson v. Zerbst that counsel must be provided for all defendants in federal criminal trials who cannot afford to hire their own attorneys.
“The State Bar determined that these two men, Evan Marshall and Elbert Tuttle, each in their own ways, contributed mightily to the State of Georgia and the nation and to the ideal of service and sacrifice for the public good,” Ruffin said.
In addition to addressing the unmet need for legal assistance among service members, veterans and reservists, the program has been instrumental in providing Continuing Legal Education training to more than 200 lawyers seeking accreditation to practice before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently, more than 105,000 men and women from Georgia are on active military duty or serve in the National Guard or Reserves, and more than 765,000 veterans reside in the state.
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