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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Law School Alumna Becomes First African American Officer on Georgia State Bar

Patrise Perkins-Hooker 84B 84L is no stranger to tearing down walls. While pursuing her MBA at Emory, she realized a pressing need for corporate lawyers capable of advocating for struggling black businesses in her community. That same year, she earned her J.D. from Emory School of Law and stepped up to fill the void.

She’s been busy in her role as vice president and general counsel of Beltline Inc. planning new parks and transit lines across the city. A state juvenile justice fund designed to aid sexually exploited young women now exists thanks to her efforts. And, on Jun. 4 she became the first African American to ever be sworn in as an officer of the Georgia State Bar during its 48-year existence. The Georgia Bar Association (which the Georgia State Bar replaced) also never installed an African American officer since its foundation in 1883. In addition to transcending the racial barrier, Perkins-Hooker is only the third woman to ever serve in an officer position.

“There is an assumption in this day that there are no more firsts on issues of race, but there are”, Perkins-Hooker said during a recent interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “It’s important to me that I’m the first African American in that job because it helps other people of color envision being in leadership roles”.

Joining her as newly appointed officers are fellow Emory School of Law alumni Kenneth L. Shigley 77L, Robin Frazer Clark 88L, and Charles “Buck” Ruffin 80L as president, president-elect, and treasurer respectively. Clark also makes history as the second woman to ever be president of the organization.

- Elizabeth Speyer 14C, communications intern, EAA

Photo credit: www.patriseperkins-hooker.com

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