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Public Interest

Emory Law's Public Interest Committee honors local attorneys

Emory University School of Law |

Three Atlanta attorneys known for their passion and commitment to public interest law were honored by the Emory Public Interest Committee at its 17th Annual Inspiration Awards on Feb. 5, at Emory University School of Law.

Robert N. “Robbie” Dokson, shareholder in Ellis Funk, PC, was recognized with the Lifetime Commitment to Public Service award. Jeffrey O. Bramlett, partner at Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP, was cited for Outstanding Leadership in the Public Interest. Tamara Serwer Caldas, deputy director at Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, received the award for Unsung Devotion to Those Most in Need.

Each year EPIC honors those who have demonstrated exceptional service for individuals who cannot afford legal representation, or for organizations that provide services for the betterment of society and require legal advisors to achieve their goals.

EPIC is a student-run organization that presents the annual awards as a major fundraising effort to provide grants for students who accept volunteer summer jobs with public sector organizations. Daniel A. Bloom 04L of Pachman Richardson, was master of ceremonies for the event.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, EPIC raised more than $180,000 to provide summer grants for students volunteering in public sector jobs. Grant recipients worked at a variety of local, national and international organizations.

For more information about contributing to EPIC, contact Sue McAvoy at 404-727-5503 orsmcavoy(at)

Lifetime Commitment To Public Service

Dokson has an abiding commitment to the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. He began his legal career at ALAS, serving as executive director for six years and as board president, officer and member for more than 30 years. Dokson also was a founding board member of the Justice Center of Atlanta, one of the nation's first mediation programs established in the late 1970s under a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

A practicing attorney for more than 40 years, Dokson has mediated, arbitrated and served as a court-appointed special master in hundreds of cases. He also was a founder of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and served on its board for many years. He currently serves on, or previously has been, a member of the boards of the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs, the Downtown YMCA and the Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region.

Outstanding Leadership In The Public Interest

Bramlett is a renowned trial lawyer who has served as lead counsel for prison inmates and foster children as well as Fortune 100 companies. In the course of 30 years as a practicing attorney, he served as president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, former national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union and current chair of Georgia’s American Constitution Society board of advisors.

Bramlett also has served for 20 consecutive years as a “Saturday Morning Lawyer” with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. He is past president of both the Atlanta Bar Association and State Bar of Georgia. Nationally, he has been a delegate of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. The range of cases he has tried—from securities fraud, professional liability, business torts, trademark infringement and RICO to civil rights enforcement, personal injury and murder—speaks to his broad and deep legal credentials.

Unsung Devotion To Those Most In Need

Caldas has devoted her legal career to public interest law. She worked with the Southern Center for Human Rights for six years, where she represented indigent clients challenging unconstitutional conditions of confinement and unsanitary conditions in Alabama's and Georgia's prisons and jails.

Since joining the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation seven years ago, Caldas has worked with legal partners and local courts to protect tenants in foreclosed properties, and has advocated for local and state policies on behalf of low-income tenants and consumers. Caldas also was the driving force behind the creation of Fulton County State Court’s Self-Help Center. She is an executive committee member of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Public Interest Law Section and an advisory board member of the Health Law Partnership.

About EPIC

EPIC was formed in 1989 by students committed to increasing understanding of public interest law and to encouraging Emory law students to pursue public interest legal positions. EPIC is supported by Emory law alumni who are dedicated to public service and work in legal aid, nonprofits, public defenders' offices and law firms throughout Atlanta.