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Chief Judge Leonard honored with Justice Robert Benham Award

June 29, 2021
Chief Judge Leonard Award


June 29, 2021 – Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Robert D. Leonard has been recognized for his commitment to community by The Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.

On Saturday night, Judge Leonard was presented with the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service. The Commission noted that Judge Leonard has devoted a significant amount of his time and talents to community service. One of his primary commitments has been to advocate for people with disabilities as a member of the Tommy Nobis Center Board of Directors since 2006. He has served on various board committees and led the board as Chair in 2018-2019.

“I have immensely enjoyed my time serving on the Board of Directors at the Tommy Nobis Center for the last 14 years. I would like to thank the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism for recognizing lawyers that are involved in the betterment of their communities,” Judge Leonard said.

In addition, Judge Leonard enjoys talking to children and teenagers about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and social media, and he has mentored youths through the Mentoring for Leadership program in Marietta City Schools. Judge Leonard also served as volunteer coach for youth sports leagues.

Cobb Superior Court Judge Kimberly A. Childs added: “Many judges struggle with how to be engaged in and of service to the community while maintaining judicial independence. Judge Leonard is the exception -- he does not struggle, he excels, and our world is a better place for it.”

The Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, the first body of its kind in the nation, was created in 1989 by the Supreme Court of Georgia with the primary charge to enhance professionalism among Georgia’s lawyers.

The awards are named for The Honorable Robert Benham who, during his term as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia from 1995 to 2001, focused the attention of lawyers and judges on the community and public service aspects of professionalism. 

Justice Benham explained: “The public impression of the legal profession is not shaped just in the courtroom. It is shaped in all kinds of activities. When lawyers are involved in community activities, people will see them as neighbors, swimming team coaches, baseball coaches, house builders, and a whole host of other community servants. And if lawyers are also community servants, people will see the legal profession as a community-spirited profession. Such an impression can’t help but benefit the profession and increase the understanding of the role of the law and lawyer.”

In 1997, the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Georgia created the Annual Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service to honor lawyers and judges who have made outstanding contributions in the area of community service. The awards were created to recognize that volunteerism remains strong among Georgia’s lawyers; to encourage all lawyers to become involved in serving their communities; to improve the quality of life of lawyers through the satisfaction they receive from helping others; and to raise the public image of lawyers.

Judge Leonard was one of eight honorees.

Photo courtesy of The Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Leonard with Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton (right) and Justice Robert Benham, who is retired from the Supreme Court of Georgia.

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