ATLANTA (October 29, 2002) – Sutherland Asbill Brennan LLP has created a "reverse" fellowship with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society that will bring Susan Walker Goico, an attorney with Legal Aid's Mental Health and Disability Rights Project, to work at the firm for a year. The unique fellowship was designed by Charles T. Lester, Jr., a longtime partner who heads the firm's pro bono program, which includes cases involving civil rights, domestic violence, children in foster care, and truancy, as well as mental health and disability.
In 1998, the firm was a sponsor of the NAPIL (National Association for Public Interest Law) Fellowship that brought Ms. Goico to Atlanta Legal Aid, fresh from University of Georgia School of Law, to work on issues facing people with physical and mental disabilities. Ms. Goico asked Sutherland Asbill & Brennan attorneys for help in opposing a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in L.C. & E.W. v. Olmstead, a case involving the rights of the people in state run institutions under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sutherland attorneys worked with Atlanta Legal Aid on briefs in opposition to certiorari and on the merits in the U.S. Supreme Court later that year. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled (6-3) that the ADA required the state to provide services to the disabled in the community. This landmark ruling requires states to stop compelling the disabled to enter institutions to receive basic care.
"We want to lead the community in providing legal services to those most in need," affirmed James L. Henderson, III, firmwide Managing Partner. Charlie Lester stated, "Our partnership with Atlanta Legal Aid is a very important piece of the firm's pro bono program. We think that Susan's presence and work with Sutherland reinforces our commitment to Atlanta Legal Aid's programs."
The reverse fellowship will allow Ms. Goico to share her experiences in trying to transform the systems that govern the lives of the disabled with the firm's attorneys, and to broaden her experience by working with their resources.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is presently sponsoring a second NAPIL, now Equal Justice Works Fellow, Andrea Jolliffe, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland Law School in Baltimore. Andrea will work with Atlanta Legal Aid's Mental Health and Disability Rights Project.
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a national law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the nation's largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to more than 350 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, New York, Tallahassee and Washington.