Legendary Georgia Attorney Bobby Lee Cook to be honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at GreenLaw’s Environmental
Media Contacts: Dave Paule
GreenLaw will honor Georgia attorney Bobby Lee Cook with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Environmental Excellence its annual Environmental Heroes Celebration on Thursday, October 6, 2016. The event will be held at Nelson Mullins at 201 17th Street in Atlantic Station, on the top floor with stunning views of downtown. GreenLaw is a 501(c)(3) public interest, environmental law firm providing free high-quality legal and technicalassistance to environmental and community organizations throughout Georgia.
Mr. Cook is a legendary attorney from Summerville, Georgia, in Chattooga County. He has practiced law since the late 1940s, and is known for combining a sharp legal mind with a folksy demeanor. He has represented a wide variety of clients, from rural Southerners to international businessmen and corporations. A life-long advocate of environmental justice, he has fought to ensure the rights of Georgians to clean air, water, and just representation in environmental matters.
“As a law firm dedicated to ensuring that environmental justice is served for all Georgians, I can think of no one who better models our fight to protect the underserved than Bobby Lee Cook” said GreenLaw’s new executive director, David M. Paule. “Particularly when it comes unfair eminent domain practices, he created a model for GreenLaw’s practice before we even existed.”
Paule was referring to a 1979 lawsuit, when the Rockefeller and Carnegie families hired Cook to represent them in a lawsuit against the federal government. The government had seized their coastal Georgia property as part of a land condemnation procedure, offering only cents on the dollar. Reportedly, Cooks clients doubted a Georgia jury would ever side with them because they are viewed as rich and powerful. However, Cook leveraged their wealth at trial, telling the jury that if the federal government could do this to the rich and powerful, then imagine what they could do to ordinary citizens of Georgia.
The jury awarded the families $5.5 million, multiple times what the government had offered.
Most of Cook’s clients in his career have been more representative of those “ordinary citizens” than its wealthy ones. He has always been insistent that everyone, regardless of means is entitled to the “same breath of fresh air” and to receive the same due process.
Born in Lyerly Georgia in 1927, Cook studied law at Vanderbilt University. He was the first recipient of the Georgia Bar Tradition of Excellence Award, and was inducted into the American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame in 2009. He still maintains his practice as part of Cook & Connelly in Summerville, and divides his time between his homes on Lookout Mountain and in Sea Island.
“Bobby Lee Cook is a true legend in Georgia,” said Governor Roy Barnes, who will present the award to Cook at the Celebration. “A lifelong progressive, he is a man equally at home in small rural communities like Chattooga County and major world capitals like London or Paris. At his core, he has the heart and soul of a small town lawyer, rooted in his community, who never forgets that the law is about people, first.”
About the Lifetime Achievement Award
Bobby Lee Cook will be only the ninth individual recognized by GreenLaw with a lifetime achievement award. As an organization dedicated to serving the cause of environmental justice by protecting the rights of all Georgians to clean air, clean water and a safe environment, the award is given to those individuals whose lives and careers have demonstrated a similar commitment to the environment and the citizens of Georgia.
About the Environmental Heroes Celebration
The Environmental Heroes Celebration is one of the environmental community’s premiere events. It recognizes members of our community who have shaped Georgia’s future through environmental activism, conservation and legal advocacy. The event includes heavy appetizers, cocktails, music, networking, a brief honoree award ceremony and a thank you gift.
The Celebration will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2016, from 6:00 Pm to 8:30 PM at Nelson Mullins at 201 17th Street in Atlantic Station, on the top floor with stunning views of downtown.
Sponsorships and tickets for the event may be purchased at www.greenlaw.org. Tickets are $150 for individuals and $250 for couples.
Note to press: High resolution images are available upon request.
As a 501(c)(3) law firm, GreenLaw advocates to preserve Georgia’s unique natural places and enforces compliance with environmental law through the court system. GreenLaw was founded in 1992 by attorneys, law professors, and judges committed to providing community groups in Georgia with the legal and technical tools needed to protect their environment and public health. For more information, please visit www.greenlaw.org.