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ATLANTA | VOLUME 6 ISSUE 3

www.atlantaattorneymagazine.com

MAGAZINE

EDWARD D. BUCKLEY

PLAINTIFF’S LAWYER OF THE MONTH

2 | www.atlantaattorneymagazine.com


ATTORNEYS

TO WATCH

MAGAZINE

IN 2017

SERIES

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

BUCKLEY BEAL, LLP

The Go to Plaintiff’s Law Firm

By Jan Jaben-Eilon

Prominent on Edward D. Buckley’s office wall, along with his

Emory University School of Law diploma, is a photograph

of Robert F. Kennedy, a sketch of Albert Einstein and a small

drawing of the late John Sirica, Chief Judge for the United

States District Court in the District of Columbia who presided over

the Watergate trial. The drawing was sketched by John Ehrlichman in

his Watergate trial notebook. The former adviser to President Richard

Nixon subsequently went to prison for conspiracy, obstruction of

justice and perjury.

Not everyone knows that Ehrlichman moved to Atlanta after he

was released from prison. Years later, he was working for a company

in a non-lawyer position. He hired Buckley to represent him in an age

discrimination case after he was fired. The case was settled outside

the court. Ehrlichman was happy with the result and gifted the sketch

to Buckley.

As far as Buckley - now managing partner at Buckley Beal - is concerned,

Ehrlichman was just one of the many interesting clients he has

represented over his years as an attorney specializing in employment

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

war correspondents, as well as a lot of executives about contracts

and separations. I am never, ever bored,” says the Atlanta native who

has been ranked as one of “America’s leading labor & employment

lawyers” by Chambers and Partners, as a “SuperLawyer” by Atlanta

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

by Georgia Trend Magazine.

Buckley attributes his choice of careers to being “good at reading,

writing and running my mouth – all things lawyers need,” he laughs.

14 | www.atlantaattorneymagazine.com

Photo by Jeremy Adamo

But he says he fell into employment law six years into his practice, after

he faced off against a highly skilled plaintiff ’s attorney who later became

a U.S. District Court Judge. After their case was settled, the lawyer

referred plaintiff cases to him, which he found that he preferred.

“I like representing individuals and helping them vindicate their

rights. It’s more interesting than representing companies. I like representing

the underdog, people who feel voiceless. Companies generally

have a voice,” he explains. “I have represented steelworkers, hotel

laundry workers, dock workers. We run the gamut. One time, I represented

a restaurant worker and after I helped him, I thought this

guy was going to wring my hand off at my shoulder. Most people I

represent aren’t famous celebrities.”

Currently, he’s representing an assistant principal in a religious

discrimination case against a Cobb County School district and

Asian-American, Latino, and Black voters in Gwinnett County in a

voting rights case. “I have a low threshold for fun. I have fun at work.

I work with interesting, smart people.”

One of those people is Andrew Beal, with whom he has been

friends since either the third or fourth grade, depending on which

one you ask. Their firms merged in July 2015, with Beal bringing his

business litigation practice to the firm. “It’s good to be friends with

your law partner,” says Buckley. Beal represents business owners and

shareholders in a myriad of business situations, including breach

of contract, buying and selling of businesses, contract disputes and

mergers and acquisitions. Recently, the firm launched its mediation

practice under the leadership of partner Nicholas P. Smith. Buckley

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

stay that way.”

Indeed, he peppers his conversations about his law practice, and his life,

with the names of his junior partners, associates and staff. He explains that

when he is hiring for his firm, he looks at “whether this person is someone

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

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

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

I want our firm to reflect. Can I trust their word?”

Notably, when asked what characteristic is most important for an attorney

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

to be truthful. You have to be credible with the courts and opposing counsel.

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

Judges know which lawyers they can trust.”

It’s also essential for attorneys to contribute to their communities, Buckley

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

working in a community and should be doing things for free sometimes. Not

everyone can afford an attorney.” He suggests that attorneys find their “pro

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

billable hours. Then you just become a bean counter.”

Buckley discovered the “sweet spot” that whetted his appetite is water.

Winner of the IEEE Gold Humanitarian and Pace Award in 2009, named

as an Ambassador for the Poor by nonprofit Food for the Poor in 2014 and

winner of the 11 Alive Community Service Award in 2015, Buckley is the

founder of the non-profit water charity, Water Life Hope, which helps people

in the Caribbean gain access to clean drinking water. Combining fundraising

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

more than 330 wells and provide more than one-half million people with

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

healthy,” he says.

“I started in Jamaica and Honduras, but then I talked to relief workers and

asked, what is the most economically disadvantaged country in this hemisphere.

Haiti has a combination of bad climate, harsh geography and bad

politics. I believe that water is a cornerstone human right,” explains Buckley.

The charity has a low overhead both because it works with an existing NGO

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

Many of his colleagues travel to Haiti and work with him there.

Fighting for the underdog comes naturally to Buckley. “My parents were

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

worked as a civil rights attorney. He once resigned from an attorneys’

organization because they didn’t allow membership to Maynard Jackson

(who later became Atlanta mayor) and William Alexander (later civil rights

attorney, judge and Georgia legislator). Our dinner table was a platform for

political conversations. I rode with my dad and passed out flyers in support

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

just go out and distribute more flyers. My mother was also involved in human

rights and when my parents were well into their seventies, they were arrested

for marching against the School of the Americas in Columbus, Georgia.”

Others who inspired Buckley along the way were English and political science

high school teachers who insisted he learn how to write. An English-literature

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

eyes open.” He also just finished writing a novel.

Buckley cites attorney John David Jones as another important mentor in

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

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

of some wonderful people, many of who are around me now,” adds Buckley,

who obviously still learns from and thrives from people surrounding him.

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

I go because I enjoy wherever I am!”

AT A GLANCE

Founding Partner, Buckley Beal, LLP

Promenade, Suite 900, 1230 Peachtree Street NE

Atlanta, GA 30309

Phone: (404) 781-1100

www.buckleybeal.com

Firm Composition

• Senior/Managing Partners: Ed Buckley

and Andrew Beal

• Junior Partners: Brian Sutherland, Nicholas Smith

and Rachel Berlin

• Associates: Thomas J. Mew IV, T. Brian Green,

Pamela Palmer, Amy Cheng, Isaac Raisner

• Of Counsel: Michael Kramer

• Staff: Fatisha Martinez, Glenda Puckett, Greg Lash,

Jemetria Dudley, Karen Lucarelli, Linda Larson,

Michael Glosup, Pam Rymin, Saida Latigue and

Steve Henricksen

Practice Areas:

Employment and Business Law

Community/Civic Involvement:

For the last twelve years, Ed has been involved in raising

funds and coordinating projects with NGOs to put

potable water systems in place in various locations

in the Caribbean including Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras

and Nicaragua. To date, he has raised over $1,000,000,

including, in part, fees he has earned in employment and

civil rights cases. His non-profit, Water-Life-Hope, Inc.,

has built water systems that serve over 450,000 people.

Presently, many of those systems are serving people

displaced by the earthquake and hurricane in Haiti.

Pro-Bono Activities:

Approx. 2-3 pro-bono cases/year

Professional Affliations and Honors

• IEEE Gold Humanitarian and Pace Award (2009)

• Atlanta Bar Association Professionalism Award (2009)

• Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating

of “AV” Preeminent

• 11 Alive Community Service Award (2015)

• Food for the Poor: Ambassador for the Poor

Award (2014)

• Georgia Super Lawyer (2005 through 2017)

• Leadership Atlanta Class of 2013

Professional Memberships

• State Bar of Georgia (Labor and Employment Section)

• Atlanta Bar Association (Labor and Employment

Section; Past Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)

• Georgia Affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers

Association (Past Chair, Secretary, Treasurer)

• National Employment Lawyers Association

• American Bar Association (Labor and Employment

Section)

• Federal Bar Association

(Labor and Employment Section)

• Fellow of the College of Labor and

Employment Lawyers

• Georgia Trial Lawyers Association

VOL. 6 ISSUE 3 ATLANTA ATTORNEY MAGAZINE | 15

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