Politics

Patrise Perkins-Hooker Elected First African American Officer to Georgia State Bar

Mon., Jun. 6, 2011 3:02 PM EDT
by Yvette Caslin

The State Bar of Georgia election has yielded its first African American officer to serve the State Bar or its predecessor, the Georgia Bar Association, since its inception in 1883.

Patrise Perkins-Hooker, who serves as the vice president and general counsel for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., was installed as the organization’s secretary during its annual meeting on Saturday, June 4. Here, she discusses the new accomplishment with rolling out and what she brings to the position. –yvette caslin

How does it feel to be elected to this new position?

It is a tremendous honor because we have never had anyone of color — black, Asian, Indian or Hispanic — elected to the State Bar of Georgia. It was a statewide election. It’s really awesome.

What are your duties in this new role?

The secretary is generally an entry-level position for anyone seeking a higher office or [the State Bar presidency] at some future time. As secretary, I will be preparing the minutes of meetings and distributing them for approval and attending executive committee meetings, as well as officer meetings, of the organization.

When did you determine you would be an attorney?

I am a native of Atlanta and always wanted to be a business consultant. I attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial management, and entered Emory’s MBA program intending to earn a degree in accounting. The very first year that I was there, an attorney friend advised me to earn a law degree because what black businesses lacked were very good corporate attorneys and representation. I finished Emory with a dual degree — a juris doctor and MBA. I have had a very rewarding practice [for 27 years] and have helped others achieve their dreams.

Affiliations:

I am involved with a lot of things in the community. I was the founding chair of the Juvenile Justice Fund and started Angela’s House with Deborah Richardson and Judge Nina Hickson. I am a very active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and am a former president of the Atlanta chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. I have served as president of the Gate City Bar Association. I have been a Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) chair for the Cascade Road-Danforth Road area. I worked with youth at my church, Radcliffe Presbyterian Church. I have been blessed by God and have some skills that I love to use.

Childhood heroes:

I very much admired Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young. I grew up with and know their children. I was moved by the movement of Dr. King.

Current heroes:

First Lady Michelle Obama has juggled the skills of being a superb lawyer, dedicated wife and a wonderful mother. Oprah Winfrey for her expertise, breaking barriers and raising expectations of what women can do. Shirley Franklin, she’s a wonderful leader and a smooth operator.

Family:

I am married to Douglas Hooker, who is my best friend. We have two grown children and seven grandchildren.

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