Local lawyers form minority bar association

CONYERS -- The NewRock Legal Society, a new professional association of attorneys, looks to reach out to residents and build trust in the local legal system through community outreach and education efforts.

Alcovy Judicial Circuit Judge Horace Johnson swore in Phinia Aten Friday as the society's first president. Conyers attorneys Caycie Dix, as vice president, and Sherri Washington, as treasurer, are founding members of the society.

Other officers are Constancia Davis, secretary, and Tami Wells Thomas, parliamentarian.

Aten explained the society is a volunteer minority bar association, and membership is open to all attorneys, judges and law students who share in the mission of the group.

She said the society will focus on community service through work with the local governments, civic associations and businesses to provide a better understanding of how the court system works. The theme of the society is "Transformation through Education."

"We plan on being a resource for legal information, for understanding information on existing law and proposed law on a local and state level," she said.

The society will kick off its efforts with a free and public legal education program, the "Know Your Rights" Program, on Sept. 17, Constitution Day, at Nancy Guinn Memorial Library.

Residents can go to the program and talk to attorneys to learn about what is required of them in case of divorce, job loss and how it will affect child support, how to establish a will and other legal matters.

"We're going to be addressing every day concerns people may have about common legal problems, and that's one of the ways we're going to connect with the community," Aten said.

Aten added that the society will meet with local law agencies in the coming months to find partnership opportunities. The society will also look to work closely with the bar associations of both Rockdale and Newton counties on community programs.

The NewRock Legal Society holds a breakfast meeting on the second Tuesday every other month. The next scheduled meeting is Oct. 11. For more information, call (404) 707-7415.