When Children’s Rights Lead Counsel Christina Remlin and Southern Steering Committee Chair Greg Hecht made a presentation in early 2018 to a roomful of lawyers from Hall Booth Smith, one of Atlanta’s largest litigation defense firms, it made a big impact. Amazingly, Hall Booth Smith responded by offering office space for the Children’s Rights Southern team in their own headquarters, as well as staff assistance and pro bono legal support. Founding partner John Hall recently talked about why Hall Booth Smith is making this significant contribution to CR’s future growth.
CR: Hall Booth Smith’s offer is incredibly generous—free office space and firm-wide pro bono support. What made you jump on board so decisively in support of our work?
John Hall: Greg is an old friend, so I knew I wanted to have him and Christina tell us the story of what Children’s Rights is trying to do in the region. It was an eye-opener. Children’s Rights does a good deal of its work in the South because the region’s nearly 150,000 children in foster care are in desperate need. We were impressed both with the success you are having locally here in Georgia and across the country, but also the need to do so much more. It was clear that you are doing important work.
CR: Where would you like to see the partnership with Children’s Rights be in a year?
John: We are very excited that the staff is already growing and that Christina has added a full-time staff attorney. We have all the space and support in place to help you expand even further. At the same time, I want to get our whole team involved and be a big partner with Children’s Rights in the South, where you have so much going on.
CR: What would you say is the ROI for Hall Booth?
John: Giving back to the community is in our firm’s DNA. Providing pro bono support to an organization like Children’s Rights is something we are tremendously proud to do. This way, we are making the connections that much easier for our attorneys because we are all here in the same space. Working with Children’s Rights strengthens our firm by giving us a common vision.
CR: As a litigator, what is your perspective on the use of legal action to effect large-scale change?
John: There is no question in my mind — and Children’s Rights’ track record is a testimony to this — that litigation can galvanize reform of government systems that are harming people, especially defenseless children, in the process. I am also impressed that Children’s Rights is making a big push to expand beyond litigation and use the tools of advocacy and partnership to strategically address systemic problems in a targeted way that will enhance your overall effectiveness. It’s an exciting time to partner up with Children’s Rights and pool our resources to make a difference in the lives of countless children.
Children’s Rights is proud to work with our Southern Steering Committee and staff:
Greg Hecht, Chair; David Brackett; Cecilia Crutchfield; Holli Hines Easton; Karyn Froseth; Jo Ann Herold; Dr. Rhonda Jeffries; Patricia Kellner; Hon. Cassandra Kirk; Dr. Rashad Richey; Darren Summerville.
Sandy Santana, Executive Director; Atlanta-based staff: Christina Wilson Remlin, Lead Counsel; Aaron Finch, Senior Staff Attorney; Betsy Weintraub, Staff Attorney.