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www.atlantaattorneymagazine.com<br />




2 | www.atlantaattorneymagazine.com


TO WATCH<br />


IN 2017<br />

SERIES<br />

L-R Nicholas Smith, Andrew Beal, Ed Buckley, Rachel Berlin, Brian J. Sutherland<br />


The Go to Plaintiff’s Law Firm<br />

By Jan Jaben-Eilon<br />

Prominent on Edward D. Buckley’s office wall, along with his<br />

Emory University School of Law diploma, is a photograph<br />

of Robert F. Kennedy, a sketch of Albert Einstein and a small<br />

drawing of the late John Sirica, Chief Judge for the United<br />

States District Court in the District of Columbia who presided over<br />

the Watergate trial. The drawing was sketched by John Ehrlichman in<br />

his Watergate trial notebook. The former adviser to President Richard<br />

Nixon subsequently went to prison for conspiracy, obstruction of<br />

justice and perjury.<br />

Not everyone knows that Ehrlichman moved to Atlanta after he<br />

was released from prison. Years later, he was working for a company<br />

in a non-lawyer position. He hired Buckley to represent him in an age<br />

discrimination case after he was fired. The case was settled outside<br />

the court. Ehrlichman was happy with the result and gifted the sketch<br />

to Buckley.<br />

As far as Buckley - now managing partner at Buckley Beal - is concerned,<br />

Ehrlichman was just one of the many interesting clients he has<br />

represented over his years as an attorney specializing in employment<br />

and civil rights law. “I’ve represented a number of news personalities,<br />

war correspondents, as well as a lot of executives about contracts<br />

and separations. I am never, ever bored,” says the Atlanta native who<br />

has been ranked as one of “America’s leading labor & employment<br />

lawyers” by Chambers and Partners, as a “SuperLawyer” by Atlanta<br />

Magazine and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” for several years<br />

by Georgia Trend Magazine.<br />

Buckley attributes his choice of careers to being “good at reading,<br />

writing and running my mouth – all things lawyers need,” he laughs.<br />

14 | www.atlantaattorneymagazine.com<br />

Photo by Jeremy Adamo<br />

But he says he fell into employment law six years into his practice, after<br />

he faced off against a highly skilled plaintiff ’s attorney who later became<br />

a U.S. District Court Judge. After their case was settled, the lawyer<br />

referred plaintiff cases to him, which he found that he preferred.<br />

“I like representing individuals and helping them vindicate their<br />

rights. It’s more interesting than representing companies. I like representing<br />

the underdog, people who feel voiceless. Companies generally<br />

have a voice,” he explains. “I have represented steelworkers, hotel<br />

laundry workers, dock workers. We run the gamut. One time, I represented<br />

a restaurant worker and after I helped him, I thought this<br />

guy was going to wring my hand off at my shoulder. Most people I<br />

represent aren’t famous celebrities.”<br />

Currently, he’s representing an assistant principal in a religious<br />

discrimination case against a Cobb County School district and<br />

Asian-American, Latino, and Black voters in Gwinnett County in a<br />

voting rights case. “I have a low threshold for fun. I have fun at work.<br />

I work with interesting, smart people.”<br />

One of those people is Andrew Beal, with whom he has been<br />

friends since either the third or fourth grade, depending on which<br />

one you ask. Their firms merged in July 2015, with Beal bringing his<br />

business litigation practice to the firm. “It’s good to be friends with<br />

your law partner,” says Buckley. Beal represents business owners and<br />

shareholders in a myriad of business situations, including breach<br />

of contract, buying and selling of businesses, contract disputes and<br />

mergers and acquisitions. Recently, the firm launched its mediation<br />

practice under the leadership of partner Nicholas P. Smith. Buckley<br />

says that the firm may add other areas of practice in the future. “But

we won’t become a mega-firm. I know everyone’s name here and I want it to<br />

stay that way.”<br />

Indeed, he peppers his conversations about his law practice, and his life,<br />

with the names of his junior partners, associates and staff. He explains that<br />

when he is hiring for his firm, he looks at “whether this person is someone<br />

I’d like to spend a lot of time with, someone who could potentially become a<br />

partner. They have to be good writers and I ask whether they are a person I<br />

can see carrying a case to court, and do I feel they have the moral principles<br />

I want our firm to reflect. Can I trust their word?”<br />

Notably, when asked what characteristic is most important for an attorney<br />

to possess, he responds, simply, “Credibility. It’s very important for a lawyer<br />

to be truthful. You have to be credible with the courts and opposing counsel.<br />

If your reputation is for shading the truth, then people won’t believe you.<br />

Judges know which lawyers they can trust.”<br />

It’s also essential for attorneys to contribute to their communities, Buckley<br />

stresses. “You need to give back if you are going to be a lawyer. You will be<br />

working in a community and should be doing things for free sometimes. Not<br />

everyone can afford an attorney.” He suggests that attorneys find their “pro<br />

bono sweet spot” that will excite them. “The worse thing is to be a slave to<br />

billable hours. Then you just become a bean counter.”<br />

Buckley discovered the “sweet spot” that whetted his appetite is water.<br />

Winner of the IEEE Gold Humanitarian and Pace Award in 2009, named<br />

as an Ambassador for the Poor by nonprofit Food for the Poor in 2014 and<br />

winner of the 11 Alive Community Service Award in 2015, Buckley is the<br />

founder of the non-profit water charity, Water Life Hope, which helps people<br />

in the Caribbean gain access to clean drinking water. Combining fundraising<br />

and his own money, he has helped raise more than $1 million to build<br />

more than 330 wells and provide more than one-half million people with<br />

drinking water. “We’re trying to install water systems so kids can grow up<br />

healthy,” he says.<br />

“I started in Jamaica and Honduras, but then I talked to relief workers and<br />

asked, what is the most economically disadvantaged country in this hemisphere.<br />

Haiti has a combination of bad climate, harsh geography and bad<br />

politics. I believe that water is a cornerstone human right,” explains Buckley.<br />

The charity has a low overhead both because it works with an existing NGO<br />

(non-governmental organization) and because it operates out of his law firm.<br />

Many of his colleagues travel to Haiti and work with him there.<br />

Fighting for the underdog comes naturally to Buckley. “My parents were<br />

involved in the labor movement,” he says. “My dad, Ferdinand Buckley, frequently<br />

worked as a civil rights attorney. He once resigned from an attorneys’<br />

organization because they didn’t allow membership to Maynard Jackson<br />

(who later became Atlanta mayor) and William Alexander (later civil rights<br />

attorney, judge and Georgia legislator). Our dinner table was a platform for<br />

political conversations. I rode with my dad and passed out flyers in support<br />

of Andy Young for Congress. When I was run off of porches, he told me to<br />

just go out and distribute more flyers. My mother was also involved in human<br />

rights and when my parents were well into their seventies, they were arrested<br />

for marching against the School of the Americas in Columbus, Georgia.”<br />

Others who inspired Buckley along the way were English and political science<br />

high school teachers who insisted he learn how to write. An English-literature<br />

graduate, Buckley is a voracious reader. “I read until I can’t keep my<br />

eyes open.” He also just finished writing a novel.<br />

Buckley cites attorney John David Jones as another important mentor in<br />

his life. “He was the opposite of me politically, but he was a great story-teller.<br />

He would talk to juries as if he were their grandfather. I feel like I’m a product<br />

of some wonderful people, many of who are around me now,” adds Buckley,<br />

who obviously still learns from and thrives from people surrounding him.<br />

“We’re all a work in progress.” Introspectively, he adds: “I’m late everywhere<br />

I go because I enjoy wherever I am!”<br />


Founding Partner, Buckley Beal, LLP<br />

Promenade, Suite 900, 1230 Peachtree Street NE<br />

Atlanta, GA 30309<br />

Phone: (404) 781-1100<br />

www.buckleybeal.com<br />

Firm Composition<br />

• Senior/Managing Partners: Ed Buckley<br />

and Andrew Beal<br />

• Junior Partners: Brian Sutherland, Nicholas Smith<br />

and Rachel Berlin<br />

• Associates: Thomas J. Mew IV, T. Brian Green,<br />

Pamela Palmer, Amy Cheng, Isaac Raisner<br />

• Of Counsel: Michael Kramer<br />

• Staff: Fatisha Martinez, Glenda Puckett, Greg Lash,<br />

Jemetria Dudley, Karen Lucarelli, Linda Larson,<br />

Michael Glosup, Pam Rymin, Saida Latigue and<br />

Steve Henricksen<br />

Practice Areas:<br />

Employment and Business Law<br />

Community/Civic Involvement:<br />

For the last twelve years, Ed has been involved in raising<br />

funds and coordinating projects with NGOs to put<br />

potable water systems in place in various locations<br />

in the Caribbean including Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras<br />

and Nicaragua. To date, he has raised over $1,000,000,<br />

including, in part, fees he has earned in employment and<br />

civil rights cases. His non-profit, Water-Life-Hope, Inc.,<br />

has built water systems that serve over 450,000 people.<br />

Presently, many of those systems are serving people<br />

displaced by the earthquake and hurricane in Haiti.<br />

Pro-Bono Activities:<br />

Approx. 2-3 pro-bono cases/year<br />

Professional Affliations and Honors<br />

• IEEE Gold Humanitarian and Pace Award (2009)<br />

• Atlanta Bar Association Professionalism Award (2009)<br />

• Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating<br />

of “AV” Preeminent<br />

• 11 Alive Community Service Award (2015)<br />

• Food for the Poor: Ambassador for the Poor<br />

Award (2014)<br />

• Georgia Super Lawyer (20<strong>05</strong> through 2017)<br />

• Leadership Atlanta Class of 2013<br />

Professional Memberships<br />

• State Bar of Georgia (Labor and Employment Section)<br />

• Atlanta Bar Association (Labor and Employment<br />

Section; Past Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)<br />

• Georgia Affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers<br />

Association (Past Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)<br />

• National Employment Lawyers Association<br />

• American Bar Association (Labor and Employment<br />

Section)<br />

• Federal Bar Association<br />

(Labor and Employment Section)<br />

• Fellow of the College of Labor and<br />

Employment Lawyers<br />

• Georgia Trial Lawyers Association<br />


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