January 16, 2014
Contact: Sarah I. Coole or email@example.com
Atlanta – Former Gov. Carl Sanders, whose leadership was critical to the enactment of 1963 legislation that created the unified State Bar of Georgia, was presented with the Founders Award by the State Bar on Jan. 10 during its 50th Anniversary Gala, which was part of the organization’s Midyear Meeting.
The Sanders-backed legislation and a subsequent order of the Supreme Court of Georgia led to the establishment of the State Bar of Georgia in 1964. The action was the result of 40 years of efforts by leaders of the voluntary Georgia Bar Association, which had always fallen short in the General Assembly until the election of Sanders as governor in 1962.
“It is no exaggeration to say that without the leadership of Gov. Sanders a half century ago, this celebration would not be taking place,” State Bar President Charles L. Ruffin said in making the presentation. “While it is possible the unified State Bar of Georgia might have been created sometime later, we do not know that for sure. Although the unified bar legislation remained a controversial proposal in 1963, Gov. Sanders never wavered in his support.”
Sanders, 88, was unable to attend the celebration dinner but accepted the Founders Award by video in an interview with Ruffin recorded Jan. 8 at the Atlanta office of Troutman Sanders LLP, the former governor’s law firm.
“I appreciate the honor,” Sanders said. “Whatever I have done to enrich the practice of law and to provide an organization that can ensure that we have competent, able lawyers to carry out the needs of the people is something that I am proud of.”
To commemorate the one-of-a-kind Founders Award, Sanders received a large, original painting by Tommie Easterlin, wife of State Bar Past President Ben Easterlin, of the Bar Center headquarters building.