In May, the Atlanta Bar Association leadership transferred from Margaret Vath, senior lecturer in law, to Nicole Iannarone, associate clinical professor—the first time presidents representing a law school have served in immediate succession.
Before entering academia, Iannarone was in private practice that modeled giving back and encouraged leadership as a way to do so. At Georgia State Law, she found an environment that encourages engagement with practicing lawyers.
As its president for the 2018-19 term, Iannarone wants to capitalize on the Atlanta Bar’s strengths and the things that make people want to be part of the organization.
“The reason so many people are involved in the Atlanta Bar is the supportive community we have for lawyers at all stages of their career and our commitment to service,” she said.
Iannarone leads by discovering people’s interests.
“When people have good ideas and want to contribute, I let them,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed meeting with board members and committee chairs to learn about their plans and see how I can help. I plan to get out of their way, while supporting them.”
Thanks to Vath’s leadership in the past year, Iannarone, who served as her vice president, says she has a strong foundation to build upon.
Collaboration is Vath’s leadership style. She selected her board for inclusion and diversity of experiences and perspectives.
“I don’t have all the answers,” she said. “It’s important that I remain open to people who feel differently so we can have robust discussions.”
An initiative of Vath’s “Gratitude and Responsibility” themed presidency was the fun-filled Member Appreciation Month. Another goal was to connect the largest volunteer bar association in the Southeast with the talent and leadership in the smaller ones in Atlanta to share knowledge and support.
Vath says skills honed while president will prove valuable this fall when she becomes director of the law school’s Lawyering Foundations program, a collaborative effort with seven legal writing professors. She continues as producer of the Atlanta Bar’s theatrical fundraiser.
Craig Cleland (J.D. ’92), an adjunct faculty member, was elected as secretary for the 2018-19 term. He served as treasurer last year.
Iannarone and Cleland were installed at the Atlanta Bar’s annual meeting and awards luncheon on May 22. Also at the luncheon, Lisa Liang (J.D. ’08) received the Distinguished Service Award and Jessica J. Wood (J.D. ’94) received the Professionalism Award. Wood was sworn in as a board member.
Photo by Caroline Joe