Column: A dramatic move for attorney Doug Dillard

By Maria Saporta
Friday, December 2, 2011

The high-profile boutique law firm of Dillard & Galloway is dissolving as real estate attorney Doug Dillard and two other partners are joining the firm of Weissman, Nowack, Curry & Wilco.

At the same time, Dillard’s law partner for 28 years — Woody Galloway — is forming the Galloway Law Group, which will continue to practice as a boutique local government and land-use law firm.

“It’s fairly dramatic,” Dillard said of the “amicable” break-up of Dillard & Galloway, which took effect Dec. 1. “We had a difference in philosophy.”

Weissman, a 55-member firm, had made an offer to merge with the entire Dillard & Galloway firm. But in the end, Galloway preferred being part of a smaller firm, and three other lawyers will remain with that firm — Andrea Jones, Laurel David and Lauren Hansford.

Joining Dillard in the move to Weissman will be George Bobo and Dotty Duarte.

Ironically, both firms are located in the same building — at 3500 Lenox Road — and are only three floors apart.

“I won’t even have to change my parking spot,” Dillard said.
For Dillard, the move is an opportunity for him to culminate and forge his career as a real estate lawyer and as an advocate of sound land use, zoning and planning.

“We have got to grow up mentally and physically as a community,” Dillard said. “The whole idea of segregating uses rather than integrating them does not create communities.”

Seth Weissman, who also is a land-use professor at Georgia Tech, invited Dillard to be a guest lecturer and they began talking about joining forces. They realized they had a common vision on the development of communities, and they have started writing a book together.

Because of a lull in real estate development, Dillard said his firm’s business had declined. But joining Weissman will give him “a larger platform” and “a bigger playing field” to combine his love of law with his strong belief that local governments need to modernize their zoning and land-use guidelines.

“I’m interested in changing the way people live,” Dillard said. “We have been wasteful with our land use.”

Dillard, who is 69, said we need to develop communities where people can live their entire lives — from childhood to when they become senior citizens.

“I really wanted an opportunity to finish my career over the next 10 to 15 years by making a difference in the way that local governments make land-use decisions,” Dillard said. “We have created a monster — communities without a sense of place.”

But it won’t all be focused on public policy. Dillard insisted that he will continue to represent developers and offer a “one-stop shop” for their legal needs.

There is one other major change. Dillard will no longer have his name as a marquis.

“I have never been in a firm that didn’t have my name on it until now — been there; done that,” Dillard said. “At this point in my career, that’s not important to me. In light of what I have invested in land use and zoning for the past four decades, I’m not ready to quit, and I’m delighted to have this opportunity to work with Seth.”

Meanwhile, Dillard will continue his other venture as an organic farmer.
“I’ve always wanted to be a farmer. It’s all about healthy communities,” Dillard said. “I feel like I’m turning another leaf in my life.”

Pace gets Goizueta grant

The Goizueta Foundation has provided a $435,000 grant to the Pace Academy to launch the school’s Hispanic/Latino Initiative as part of the Pace’s overall diversity program.

The three-year grant will provide need-based tuition assistance to Latino students, it will support a summer learning program, it will fund stipends for two outreach coordinators, and it will support general initiatives for Latino students.

“Our mission is to create prepared, confident citizens of the world who honor the values and legacy of Pace Academy,” said Fred Assaf, the head of the school. “Diversity is an integral part of that mission. We want our students to understand and engage in the world in which we live, and we want our school community to reflect that larger world.”

Philip McAdoo, director of diversity for Pace Academy, said he has seen a steady growth in the diversity of the school’s student population.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Goizueta Foundation, this program will ensure that … Latino students have access to all that a Pace education offers — academic support, SAT preparation, college visits, global education trips and summer learning opportunities,” McAdoo said.

New AIA leaders

We recently reported on the new board leadership at AIA-Georgia, but there’s also new volunteer leadership at AIA-Atlanta. Both organizations are associated with the American Institute of Architects.

The incoming president of AIA-Atlanta is John Bencich, principal of Square Feet Studio. He succeeds Robert Farrow, director of health care in the Southeast region for HKS. Theresa Ridley, vice president and director of architecture at Duckett Design Group, is president-elect.

Albert Woodard honored

Atlanta entrepreneur Albert Woodard has been selected as one of the nation’s top 50 African-Americans in technology by the eAccess Corp. multimedia publishing firm.

Woodard is chairman, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Business Computer Applications, a health information technology company. He will be honored at a the 12th annual Innovation & Equity Symposium in Washington, D.C., in mid-January.

“Woodard’s entrepreneurial spirit in leading BCA is symbolic of the African-American high-technology companies, competing at the highest levels of innovation for government and business markets,” said John William Templeton, a former business journalist who has led eAccess for the past 21 years and spearheads the annual selection process.

Woodard was selected for leading BCA, where he deployed one of the country’s first electronic medical records (EMR) systems and built the world’s largest telemedicine system outside the U.S. Department of Defense’s military EMR.

Under his guidance, BCA became a major provider of health IT products and services to Atlanta’s Grady Hospital System, several federally qualified community health centers and a large number of private practices.

The company also has a 15-year long relationship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was just extended for an additional 10 years.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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