Lawrence Zimmerman- PRESIDENT, GACDL
On a whim, almost twenty-two years ago after graduating law school, I decided to move to Atlanta instead of moving home to Miami, Florida where I had already paid to take the Florida bar. Instead, I decided to move to Georgia and live with my best friend and take the Georgia bar. After paying the late fee for the application, I studied and studied and took the exam. As everyone knows, you must wait about three months until you get your results. During that time, I needed to find a job, and I wanted one as a criminal defense lawyer. I must have called every single attorney in the then Martindale-Hubbell one-thousand-page book asking if they were looking for an associate. Everyone told me to reach back out once I passed the bar exam.
I have no recollection with whom I spoke with (it could have been one of you), but one lawyer told me to contact GACDL because in that lawyer’s opinion it is a great organization which could assist me in not only connecting with other lawyers but give me the knowledge I would need to be a great criminal defense lawyer. I picked up my phone to call GACDL and a woman named Joan Martin, our then Executive Director, answered that phone and that one call was the first step beginning my journey that brought me to this moment as your President.
What an amazing organization we have, and we are fortunate to have phenomenal lawyers involved in our organization. Think about the caliber of talented lawyers we have as members and who we can look to for mentorship and leadership. I am a byproduct of GACDL’s strong support system. As a young lawyer, I was lucky enough to meet other older lawyers who took a liking to me and became my mentors. To me, when I think of GACDL, I think of mentorship and collegiality; most of the attorney friends I have made in the State of Georgia I have connected with through GACDL. During my tenure, I want us to focus on mentoring younger lawyers. It is our duty to help them as so many other lawyers have helped and guided all of us. As mentors, we can help train the next generation of criminal defense lawyers who will step up to zealously advocate on behalf of their clients so we can continue to the fight for equality and justice for every person.
Collegiality is in my opinion another core quality of GACDL. For the past couple of years, I have made it my mission to meet at least one new person at every seminar and try to remain in contact with them. It is great that in our organization I can drive to court in Savannah, Ellijay, or Albany and know that a GACDL member will be there to welcome me. We are all in this fight together, a band of sisters and brothers, locked in arms as the last line of defense protecting our fellow citizens from the Government.
As President, I am here to serve you and make certain that we remain on solid footing by following our long range plan, ensuring that our membership continues to have a strong voice at the Georgia State Capitol and to serve you, the members who make us strong. While I am here to humbly serve you, our organization only stays strong with our members who continue to volunteer their free time and energy. I hope you have realized the benefits that GACDL has conferred upon you, and I hope you that you will give back by taking some time this year to help out, for example, offering to chair or speak at a CLE in the near future, or to serve on a committee and discuss the issues that affect us all large and small.
It is one of the greatest honors of my life to be President of GACDL and to help lead this organization into this new decade. I promise that with your continued support of GACDL, I will make sure that we continue to make this organization the best for all our members.