March 9, 2009
Steven Gottlieb, executive director of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, is the recipient of the 2009 Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award, to be awarded at an invitation-only event Thursday, April 2, at the Commerce Club in downtown Atlanta.
The Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award is presented annually by Georgia State University's College of Law to a Georgia attorney whose overall accomplishments reflect the high tradition of selfless public service that the college's founding dean, Ben F. Johnson Jr., exemplified during his career and life.
Gottlieb earned his LLB in 1969 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. His first job after law school was with Atlanta Legal Aid. He became a managing attorney with Atlanta Legal Aid, then moved to Savannah to manage a staff of 20 people and all litigation in an eight county region for Georgia Legal Services. After a two-year stint with Georgia Legal Services, Gottlieb returned to Atlanta Legal Aid as the deputy director, a position which he held for three years. Gottlieb became director of Atlanta Legal Aid in 1980.
According to its Web site, Atlanta Legal Aid Society's primary function is to provide referrals and legal representation to people who otherwise cannot obtain access to the court system -- the poor, minorities, the elderly, those disabled by mental illness or long term diseases, and recent immigrants. They come to Atlanta Legal Aid for help in meeting their basic needs, protecting their homes and safeguarding their families. In addition to the issues covered through special projects, Atlanta Legal Aid offers assistance with simple legal matters, such as drafting wills and seeking redress for substandard consumer goods. Staff attorneys are also available to speak publicly about legal issues.
The list of past recipients of the Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award is very distinguished, including The Honorable Orinda D. Evans for 2008. Other past recipients include:
John T. Marshall, Esquire, 2007
Linda K. DiSantis, Esquire, 2006
The Honorable Anthony A. Alaimo, 2005
The Honorable Robert Benham, 2004
Stephen B. Bright, Esquire, 2003
The Honorable Griffin B. Bell, 2002
Clifford Oxford, Esquire, 2001
The Honorable Luther A. Alverson, 2000
Paul Cadenhead, Esquire, 1999
Randolph W. Thrower, Esquire, 1998
The Honorable Dorothy Toth Beasley, 1997
The Honorable Harold C. Clarke, 1996
Donald L. Hollowell, Esquire, 1995
The Honorable Elbert P. Tuttle, 1994