Spring 2016 Magazine

From the Dean: Commendable Lawyers Respond to Human Need

Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird embodies our vision of the ideal lawyer — a man with a strong sense of right and professional mission. His decision to defend Tom Robinson, a black man charged with rape in the Jim Crow South, was heroic for the time, even if Atticus’ decency and modesty prevented… more »

Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua (JD. '87)

In Their Words | Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua (J.D. ’87)

Two judges on rehabilitation programs they started

Tell us about the “My Life Matters” program that you started.

I realized that we did not have options for 16- to 29-year-old offenders who were committing violent and semi-violent acts except to put them in prison or back in the environment they came from. I thought there… more »

Father and Son Share More Than Their Legal Degrees

Robert Bourne (J.D. ’88) and his son Elliot Bourne (J.D. ’16) share more than fond memories from the same alma mater. Their names are engraved on side-by-side lockers at Georgia State Law.

“It is a great source of pride for me that my son is going to be a lawyer and equally pleasing that he… more »

Ethics Plus Courage Equals Exemplary Lawyers

Posted On June 27, 2016 by Jennifer Bryon Owen

Claiming the number one spot in the American Film Institute’s “Top 50 Movie Heroes of All Time” is a lawyer — Atticus Finch. That is, Atticus Finch as played by Gregory Peck in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Although possibly enhanced by the movie version, it was the book that influenced untold… more »

Watchman: Was Harper Lee ‘Humbled and Amazed’ or Exploited? 

In February 2015, Nelle Harper Lee stunned the literary world by announcing that she would be releasing for publication a second novel, Go Set a Watchman. The author stated in a press release that she was “humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.” Almost immediately, speculation began as to… more »

Can Atticus Finch Be an Ideal Lawyer and an Imperfect Person? 

Author Harper Lee constructed an indelible portrait of a lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch. Though she herself was not a member of the legal profession, Lee’s depiction of Finch helped generations understand and deconstruct the complexities of lawyers’ competing responsibilities to clients, the justice system and to themselves.

Veteran attorneys are well… more »

ETHICAL HYPOTHETICAL: Nonrefundable Fees and Reporting Friends

Here’s a hypothetical about fees. Given its lack of complexity, commonality and lawyers’ need for a clear answer, it ought to be simple. If only …

You and law school classmate Bess share office space in a Georgia town. You handle divorces, and Bess caters to small businesses. Over lunch, Bess tells you that five days ago she signed on… more »

From Class of 1991 to Colorado Attorney General

Posted On June 27, 2016 by Therra C. Gwyn

Politics, jurisprudence and public service have all converged in Cynthia H. Coffman’s (J.D. ’91) career since her days in what was once a fledging College of Law at Georgia State University.

Now the attorney general of Colorado, Coffman was raised in small-town Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri –Columbia before moving to Atlanta in 1985.

“I knew I… more »