August 18, 2017 Bar Meeting Minutes

Announcements

Guests: The following guests and new members were present at the luncheon.  Please make sure to welcome them as you see them in the future. 
•    Preston Fleming is a student at John Marshall Law School due to graduate in December.  pfleming@johnmarshall.edu. 
•    Debbie Peters is a mediator and just joined the GCBA.  She can be reached at (770) 368-2076 or ak509@bellsouth.net. 
•    Tad Ransopher is a new member of the GCBA, and is the head of the master of tax program at Georgia State.  He can be reached at (770) 475-4444 or tdr@ransopher.com. 
•    Dan Mayfield brought his daughter Laura Mayfield, a new member of the GCBA.  Laura can be reached at (770) 271-5244 or lmayfield@potralawfirm.com

Constancia Carter – Criminal Law Section Announcement
The criminal law section’s next meeting will be September 15, 2017 at GJAC in Conference Room B. Angelique McLendon of the Georgia Department of Driver Services will be speaking on the new statutes and rules, and specifically the rules concerning interlock devices.  The fee for the luncheon is $5 for Members and $15 for Non-Members.  Contact Constancia for more information: Constancia@cuadrapatel.com

Rachel Lazarus – Pro Bono Project Announcements
1.    Pro Bono CLE: these CLEs, held the second Wednesday of each month, are free for people who take pro bono cases or volunteer for the Pro Bono Clinics.  The next CLE, Networking for People Who Hate Networking, will be September 13, 2017 from 11:30 to 1pm at GJAC.
2.    Upcoming 6 hour CLE: Don’t Just Settle! Settle the Right Way.  This CLE is focused on Family Law Settlement Agreements, and will be held on September 28, 2017 in the Auditorium at GJAC.  The CLE is Sponsored by the Gwinnett Pro Bono Project and the GCBA.  
3.    Friday at the Festival will be held October 20, 2017 at the Duluth Festival Center.  This is a fundraiser to benefit Gwinnett Legal Aid.  We are still looking for performers, sponsors, and attendees.  

For more information on any of these events, please contact Rachel Lazarus at RMLazarus@atlantalegalaid.org for more information. 

No Other Section Announcements were made.  

Opening Remarks

Carlton Rouse, President for the 2017-2018 Bar year, made opening remarks regarding the upcoming bar year.  He introduced our mission statement for the upcoming year: Me2We.  The following is Carlton’s opening remarks: 

Our bar theme this year, i.e., “ME 2 WE” embraces the ideal that what is in our best interest often times is in the best interest of the greater community. It goes without saying; we all want a working society, a strong local community, and higher esteem for our profession. The question is, what can we do to get there.  In my humble opinion, I do not believe there is not just one solution to this question. That said, the appropriate answer for each of us will be different and unique.  So as we meditate and think about “Me 2 We” over the course of this upcoming year, I hope it causes us to explore how we can apply our passion to areas where we can help others.  

For our part, the Bar will strive to offer you speakers who will entertain and inform you with respect to professional matters, work life balance, and important social issues. We also hope to have events that will help build camaraderie with your peers and lasting memories.

Judge of the Month

Donald Lee, Vice President for the 2017-2018 Bar Year, introduced our Judge of the Month, Judge Robert Waller.  Donald Lee is the Guardian Ad Litem assigned to Judge Waller’s courtroom, and just swept Judge Waller’s fantasy baseball team.  

Judge Waller was born in Albany, Georgia and graduated from Albany High School.  He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Atlanta Law School.  Judge Waller was a history teacher at Morrow High School in Clayton County, Georgia for four years, prior to becoming an attorney.  Judge Waller served as a Juvenile Court Judge from 1988 to 1991.  He was a practicing attorney and part time Magistrate Judge from 1991 to 2009, and then became a Juvenile Court Judge again in 2009 to present. 

Judge Waller is a past president and founding board member of the Gwinnett children Shelter, a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, a former member of the board at the Tull YMCA, among other civic organizations and duties, including the South Gwinnett Rotary Club, and is a presenter at ICLE and ICJE courses. 

Judge Waller’s Remarks

    Judge Waller stated he has been working with delinquent kids since 1979.  At that time, there were a plethora of programs to help these children.  Over the years, there have been countless studies performed to determine what will best help those children, but the funding for those programs has greatly reduced.  The needs of the delinquent youth are still there, but the funding from federal and state arenas has reduced and is not growing.  There are ways to get around this, and one of the ways is through the program that our speaker this month James Rayford does.  

    You can get involved and help.  In Judge Waller’s opinion, programs that help the most are those where people make connections with children and their families.  Being a role model makes the most impact.  The single most important thing you can give a child is your time. 

Monthly Speaker

    Donald Lee introduced our speaker, James Rayford.  Mr. Lee stated that he couldn’t think of a better first speaker in light of the bar officers’ mission for this year – from Me 2 We. 

    As an educator of twenty – eight years, James Rayford earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics Education from Rust College in holly Springs, Mississippi and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University.

    Currently Mr. Rayford serves as Director of Academic Support for Gwinnett County Public School’s Community – Based Mentoring Program where their primary mission is to provide mentors for identified male students.  He has seen the program grow from 57 students and 33 mentors in its pilot year, to having served 500 students and 231 mentors during the 2016 – 2017  school year.  

    He has been married to his wife Dawn, for 26 years, and they have four children. 

James Rayford Remarks

    Mr. Rayford started his remarks by showing a short video showcasing the mentoring program.  The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/OXjyfW8r1Ts

    This year, 97% of the students that participated in the mentoring program were grade promoted at the end of the school year.  This is a remarkable statistic in light of the fact that the students selected to participate in the program are those that have been identified as likely not to be grade promoted or to graduate from high school.  90% of the seniors in the mentoring program graduated high school.  

    Mr. Rayford’s goals are to recruit and train mentors, to encourage students, to support their parents, and to seek additional resources to sustain the mentoring program. There is an annual golf tournament to support the Mentoring Program.  This year, the golf tournament will be held at Bear’s Best on Monday, October 9, 2017.  Please contact Carlton Rouse if you would like to participate on a GCBA team (s.carlton@rousecolaw.com).  All contributions to the Mentoring Program go to the program.  There are no administrative costs covered by the fundraising efforts.  If you don’t play golf, there will be a silent auction from 9:30 to 11:30 as well.  

    Gordon Johnson, Esq. is a group mentor for the program and he participated in a question and answer session with Mr. Rayford about his participation in the program.  He has a group of about 6 students.  He teaches them basic social skills – like how to speak to an adult, how to look people in the eye when talking and shaking hands, etc.  Mr. Johnson stated that while you think that participation in the program would be a sacrifice of your personal time and energy, but participation is not a sacrifice.  Your community and these children need you, and that his participation is rewarding. 

    If you would like to participate as a mentor for the boys program; training sessions are in September, October, November, and December.  Matching is in January.  There is a minimum one year commitment.  Janice Warren is starting a girls mentoring program.  For more information on participating as a mentor, contact Kathy Burnette at (770) 682-8086 or Kathy_D_Burnette@gwinnett.k122.ga.us.