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Georgia Legal History Foundation

Founded in 1985 by a group appointed by the Supreme Court of Georgia and the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Georgia Legal History Foundation, Inc. became one of the first organizations in the nation to be chartered to promote the study and preservation of the legal history of an individual state. The Foundation has sponsored an annual seminar, for which professional attendees receive continuing legal education credit; has held a series of annual dinner meetings featuring speeches by distinguished American legal historians; and has sustained the Nestor Awards program, which seeks to honor the accomplishments of leading Georgia lawyers. The Foundation has also recreated the Atlanta law office of Woodrow Wilson and underwritten the preservation of Wilson memorabilia. Activities of the Foundation directly contribute to the implementation of innovative professionalism programs in Georgia originated by former Chief Justices Harold G. Clarke and Thomas O. Marshall, both of whom, along with former Chief Justice Harold N. Hill, Jr. have been deeply involved in the activities of the Foundation.


To preserve, analyze, and depict the legal history of the State of Georgia, especially that of the Supreme Court of Georgia and other courts of the State and the Bar, and to disseminate that history for the purposes of educating the public and the legal community.


A) To encourage the study, preservation, and dissemination of the legal history of Georgia including, but not limited to, the collection, preservation, and maintenance of publications, books, manuscripts, oral histories, artifacts, and other materials and sources of information pertaining to Georgia legal history, its courts, judges, lawyers, and law schools; and

B) To foster the values and ideals of professionalism and ethical awareness by recalling the past as a source of inspiration, admonition, and guidance to present and future practitioners of law; and

C) To serve the public interest by encouraging lawyers and judges to act upon their responsibility to see to it that their profession continues to be a calling in the spirit of public service.


A) To develop and foster an awareness of the significance of Georgia legal history among the members of the State Bar of Georgia as well as law students, academics, non-lawyer professionals, and lay individuals, and to support appropriate educational and similar efforts to achieve this goal;

B) To publish a newsletter or other publications informing interested members and others about activities and other matters of interest related to Georgia legal history;

C) To sponsor continuing legal and other education programs which focus on Georgia legal history;

D) To cooperate fully with other organizations devoted to the preservation and dissemination of Georgia legal history;

E) To coordinate activities among and between the judiciary, the State Bar of Georgia, the law schools of the State, and other relevant entities regarding the preservation and dissemination of Georgia legal history; and

F) To recognize and present awards to distinguished Georgia lawyers and judges and to develop opportunities for lawyers, judges, and law students to gather formally and informally to further the mission and goals of the Georgia Legal History Foundation.


Hon. Hugh P. Thompson, Chief Justice, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
John C. Bell, Jr., President and Chairman of the Executive Committee
William Scott Henwood, Vice-President
Carolyn C. Burch, Secretary
Gregory K. Smith, Treasurer


Active Trustees

Charles R. Adams III
R. Byron Attridge
Griffin B. Bell III
John C. Bell, Jr.
Hon. Robert Benham
Thomas P. Bishop

Tad Brown
Carolyn C. Burch

Hon George H. Carley

Susan W. Cox

Thomas A. Eaton

Hon. John J. Ellington
Hon. Norman S. Fletcher
Walter J. Gordon
William Scott Henwood
Richard B. Herzog, Jr.
Robert E. Hicks
L. Lynn Hogue
David E. Hudson
Hon. Carol W. Hunstein
E. Ray Lanier
John Bell Manley

Hon. Carla Wong McMillian

William V. Norwood III
W. Ray Persons
Hon. Marion T. Pope, Jr.
McCraken Poston

Natalie E. Rogers
John C. Sammon
Yonna Windham Shaw
Gregory K. Smith
Hon. Lawton E. Stephens
Paul H. Threlkeld
David F. Walbert
Stuart Ellis Walker
Lisa Lacy White

Joel C. Wooten


Trustees Emeritus

Hon. Roy E. Barnes
Bobby Lee Cook
Hon. Braswell D. Deen, Jr.
Hon. David H. Gambrell

Kirk M. McAlpin

W. Rhett Tanner


PAST-PRESIDENT (1995-2008): W. Rhett Tanner
PAST-PRESIDENT (1985-1995): Lawrence B. Custer (1935-1999)


Did you know?

Mercer Law School’s Legal Writing Program has been ranked among the Top 3 in the nation since such program rankings began.