The Atlanta Lawyer March 2015 - Page 14

LRIS Attorney Spotlight Edward R. Downs, Jr. A True Advocate for the Legal Community A n Atlanta Bar Association and LRIS panel member, Edward R. Downs Jr., graduated from George Washington Law School in 1973. As a product of the Perry Mason generation, Attorney Downs became interested in law due to the civil rights legislation of 1964 and 1965, which opened new possibilities for Black America. He graduated cum laude in Economics and History from Morris Brown College. Later, at George Washington, he clerked for the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission. After passing the DC Bar Exam, he practiced as a Trade Regulation lawyer in that agency. In 1974 he opened a primarily civil practice in Savannah, Georgia. Fifteen years later, he relocated to the Metro Atlanta area where he prosecuted felonies, misdemeanors, and code violations for the City of Atlanta. In 1997, he founded Ed Downs & Associates, P.C. in Riverdale, Georgia. Since then, he joined the Atlanta Bar Association and Lawyer Referral and Information Service where he has served on seven LRIS panels including: Construction Law, Home Owners Association, Insurance Law, Probate Estates-Litigation, Real Estate-Litigation, Real Estate Purchase and Sales, and Taxation. For the past 12 years, Attorney Downs has served as a Pro Tem Juvenile Court Judge in Clayton County, succeeding 1 year as a Pro Tem Magistrate Court Judge. As a black male in the legal community, Attorney Downs feels that Black History Month is a good start, better than Black History Week that he experienced as a child; but the shortest month of the year is simply not enough time for Americans to truly appreciate the black impact on the development of America. While in Savannah representing the local NAACP, he broke new ground in his representation of the Savannah NAACP by challenging the broadcast license of WVAN television filed with the FCC in 1974/75. The station employed one African American janitor and produced virtually no black programming. Though the challenge did not stop the re-granting of the license, it did bring about major changes in Georgia Public Television, which reacted by hiring and training large numbers of African Americans in technical and on-air positions. Attorney Downs’ advice to new lawyers is, “Every new attorney should practice in several areas before settling in. A new attorney may be partial to defense work, prosecuting, or transactional work, but until varied legal problems are dealt with, experience will remain narrow.” The best advice that Attorney Downs received before entering law school was from Dr. King personally who advised him to learn about non-traditional legal areas beyond criminal law because of the opening of professional opportunities to all which was becoming quite apparent. Attorney Downs believes that the LRIS program is a great tool to gain experience in various areas of law. If you would like more information about LRIS, please contact Carla Brown at cbrown@atlantabar.org. Refer Calls to LRIS Remember, if your firm receives those occasional calls regarding legal issues that you do not handle, please refer them to the Lawyer Referral and Information Service. 14 THE ATLANTA LAWYER March 2015 The Official News Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association