The Atlanta Lawyer June/July 2017 - Page 35

SECTION UPDATE WOMEN IN THE PROFESSION Outstanding Woman in the Profession Achievement Award Luncheon Members of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Women in the Profession Section (WIP) were excited and honored to bestow this year’s “Outstanding Woman in the Profession” achievement award to Hon. Mary Grace Diehl, United States Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Georgia. The group presented Judge Diehl with the award during their formal luncheon on June 13th at the Capital City Club in Downtown Atlanta. Taylor Tribble, 2016-2017 Women in the Profession Sec- tion Chair, gave the opening remarks: “Judge Diehl is a longtime and very active WIP member, and a past Chair of our board. She was an easy choice to receive this award, based on her significant professional achievements and her many contributions in furthering the interests of women in the profession. We are honored this year to be giving her the Woman of Achievement award.” Following a brief break for lunch, Michael Jablonski, a Presidential Doctoral Fellow at Georgia State University (and Judge Diehl’s husband), presented the award. He began by noting that most people in the room may believe that the recently released film “Wonder Woman” was a biopic about Judge Diehl. The misunderstanding, he said, was not irrational as there were many similarities between the two powerful women. For example, both were raised in idyllic places like Themyscira and Buffalo, New York. Both use superpowers. “Wonder Woman possesses skills as a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, which she uses to bash op- ponents into submission,” Mr. Jablonski pointed out. “In reality, Mary Grace’s super powers are more potent: intel- lect, empathy, rhetoric, energy, and vision.” The presentation of the award noted that Judge Diehl’s success as a highly rated college debater and as an honors graduate of Harvard Law School demonstrated extraordinary ability, but the true wonder has always been the way that she applied herself to making the profession better able to accommodate women as essential players while remaining dedicated to the ethical representation of clients. Judge Diehl began her legal career at Troutman Sanders Lockerman & Ashmore in 1977. She was not only one of the first women to become a partner in the firm but she was also one of the few women to practice bankruptcy law on a national stage. Judge Diehl advocated on behalf of women by example, by L-R: Hon. Mary Grace Diehl (United States Bankruptcy Court, NDGA) and Jackie Saylor (The Saylor Law Firm LLP). mentoring talented women lawyers, and by participating in firm management. As part of firm management, according to the citation, “She raised issues that were alien to a formerly all-male institution. She did not change the firm as much as she did something more profound: she participated in its development as a socially conscious institution.” In service to the profession, she did much the same. She chaired the bankruptcy sections of both the State Bar and the Atlanta Bar. She chaired the Women-in-the-Profession Committee in from 2002-2004. She has been a director, treasurer, president-elect and president of the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute. She has served as the Southeastern Conference Chair for the American Bankruptcy Institute, where she still is on the Board of Directors. Mr. Jablonski continued, “Mary Grace’s outstanding legal and intellectual abilities are exemplified by her work as the revision author Collier Compensation, Employment and Appointment of Trustees and Professionals. She has edited the Bankruptcy Law Case Notes for the State Bar. Mary Grace transformed the operation and finances of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, where she was president last year after previously serving as chair of the Education, the Schwartz Roundtable and the Finance Committees. She is still a director.” The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association THE ATLANTA LAWYER 35