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Georgia legal community mourns loss of Avarita Hanson

January 31, 2024
By J. Antonio “Tony” DelCampo

Daily Report
Atlanta Daily World
Atlanta Inquirer
Atlanta Voice

To the Editor:

On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I am writing to extend condolences to the family, colleagues and many friends of attorney Avarita L. Hanson, retired executive director of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, on her untimely passing at the age of 70.

A Georgia Bar member since 1983, Ms. Hanson was also admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1979 and began her legal career with the firm Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston before relocating to Atlanta. She worked as a consultant to the City of Atlanta and was a partner with the Secret & Associate law firm before becoming Pro Bono Project director for the State Bar of Georgia and Georgia Legal Services Program, a position she held from 1989.

Before returning to private law practice as a solo practitioner, Ms. Hanson served as clerk to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners and as associate judge pro hac vice of the Fulton County Juvenile Court. In 1997, she joined the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office as executive director of the Examining Boards Division, Health and Consumer Services Section. Three years later, she entered the field of legal academia as associate professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, where she also served as director of the Legal Aid Clinic and associate dean for academic affairs.

In 2006, Ms. Hanson was named as executive director of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, a program of the Supreme Court of Georgia that supports and encourages lawyers to exercise the highest levels of professional integrity in their relationships with clients, other lawyers the courts and the public. She remained in that office until her retirement in 2017.

Ms. Hanson further served the legal profession as President of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (1985) and the Gate City Bar Association (1991) and as Chair of the American Bar Association Consortium of Professionalism Initiatives (2011-2014). In the course of her career, she received numerous honors for her service, including the State Bar of Georgia Committee to Promote Inclusion in the Profession Committee’s Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award for Commitment to Equality (2011); the Georgia Legal Services Program’s Champion of Justice Award (2014); and the State Bar of Georgia’s Thomas R. Burnside Excellence in Bar Leadership Award (2017).

Avarita Hanson will be missed and fondly remembered by her fellow members of Georgia’s legal community. We appreciate her career-long dedication and the many contributions she made through her service to the public and the justice system.

Sincerely,
 
J. Antonio “Tony” DelCampo
President, State Bar of Georgia