ATLANTA (October 27, 2010) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP announces Tax Partner Nikola R. Djuric and Tax Counsel Robert B. Smith are the 2010 recipients of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation’s (AVLF) S. Phillip Heiner Award for their service to AVLF’s Wills on Wheels, probate and related programs. They were honored during the annual Celebrating Service luncheon on Friday, October 22.
“We congratulate Nick and Rob on this achievement," said Sutherland Pro Bono and Public Service Chair Judith A. O’Brien. “They truly have supported and given back to our community through this service."
Mr. Djuric and Mr. Smith trained more than 170 attorneys to draft wills and advance directives for elderly, chronically ill and other low-income clients. Additionally, Mr. Djuric is credited with the success of, and volunteers with, the Probate Information Center (PIC), which offers family members a free consultation with an experienced probate attorney at the Probate Court of Fulton County. PIC was created through a partnership among the AVLF, The Estate Planning and Probate Section of the Atlanta Bar Association and the Probate Court of Fulton County. From 2008-2009, Mr. Djuric served as chair of the Section, and during that time, 17 probate attorneys assisted more than 130 clients.
Through AVLF, Mr. Smith volunteered or supervised a volunteer representing more than 25 clients. He has presented information on the importance of wills, health care directives and financial powers of attorney to residents of transitional housing, senior citizens and Holocaust survivor groups.
“I thank Nick and Rob for donating their time and sharing their many experiences with estate planning law," said Sutherland’s Tax Practice Group Leader Jerome B. Libin. “Now more than ever, it is important for individuals to have their wishes properly documented. Nick and Rob have fulfilled two great needs – giving back to their community and providing legal guidance to those who otherwise would not receive counsel."
Mr. Djuric practices primarily in the areas of estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax; wills, trusts, and administration of estates; tax controversies; fiduciary litigation; and private foundations. He concentrates on estate planning including preparation of wills and trust instruments, and on tax and succession planning for closely held businesses.
Mr. Smith concentrates his practice in the areas of trusts and estates, and exempt organizations and related tax law. He advises clients in connection with wealth transfer planning, business succession and charitable transfers, including the preparation of wills, trusts, agreements among business owners, lifetime gifts, redemptions, family partnerships, insurance trusts, powers of attorney and prenuptial agreements.
About Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and the S. Phillip Heiner Award
The Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Inc. was created in 1979 through the joint efforts of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Atlanta Council of Younger Lawyers and the Gate City Bar Association to offer lawyers an opportunity to provide civil legal representation for the poor. Since then, AVLF has provided representation for indigent clients through the efforts of volunteer private attorneys, its student clinical program and various outreach programs.
The S. Phillip Heiner Award is AVLF's most prestigious award and commemorates Phil Heiner, a partner at Long Aldridge & Norman who was distinguished for his commitment to pro bono work and who died in the early 1980s. The award is given each year by AVLF's Board of Directors to the individual or firm who has made an extraordinary commitment to providing pro bono representation to low-income clients in Atlanta, and who stands out as a leader in pro bono within the Atlanta legal community.
SUTHERLAND ASBILL & BRENNAN LLP
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm with global reach known for solving challenging business problems and resolving sophisticated legal issues for many of the world’s largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm handles matters throughout the United States and worldwide. Seven major practice areas—corporate, energy and environmental, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and tax—provide the framework for an extensive range of focus areas, allowing Sutherland attorneys to serve a diverse client base that ranges from small and medium-sized start-up businesses to a significant number of Fortune 100 companies.