MARTA Board Names Former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice as General Counsel
Leah Ward Sears to Provide Guidance on Variety of Legal, Statutory Matters
The MARTA Board of Directors announced recently that Leah Ward Sears, former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and partner at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLC, will serve as its new General Counsel. Sears will provide guidance to the board on a variety of legal, statutory, and ethical matters during a five-year term.
“My fellow board members and I are excited to have such an experienced jurist and attorney to assist us,” said MARTA Board Chair Freda Hardage. “I have long been an admirer of Justice Sears and look forward to seeking her guidance and leadership during any complex issues we may face.”
“To have someone with Justice Sears’s background and extensive knowledge of the law as counsel to the board is an incredible opportunity,” added MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker. “She is a pioneer in the legal field, and we are fortunate to get this chance to work with her during what is certain to be some of our most challenging times as we begin our post-pandemic recovery.”
Sears began her legal career with Alston & Bird, LLP in Atlanta and served as a judge on the City Court of Atlanta and Fulton County Superior Court before becoming the first woman and youngest person appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 1992. She became the first African American female chief justice of a state supreme court in 2005. Sears has twice been shortlisted for appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.
A graduate of Cornell University, Sears earned her Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law and a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia School of Law. She has taught at both Emory and the University of Georgia School of Law, and holds honorary degrees from LaGrange, Morehouse, Piedmont, and Spellman Colleges and Clark-Atlanta University.
Sears succeeds Robert S. Highsmith Jr. of the firm Holland & Knight as General Counsel to the MARTA Board of Directors.