Emory Law Distinguished Alumni
The Emory Law Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1985.
The award recognizes outstanding alumni who have achieved distinction in legal practice, teaching, research or public administration, and who have demonstrated distinguished service to Emory Law, the Emory Law Alumni Association or Emory University.
Nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award are accepted throughout the year from Emory Law alumni and members of the community. Nominations are reviewed by the Emory Law Alumni Board based on the nominees’ credentials and record of service to the legal profession. The Emory Law Alumni Board selects the award recipients.
The recipients’ photos and biographies are added to the Emory University School of Law Hall of Distinguished Alumni in Gambrell Hall during the annual awards ceremony.
T. Jackson Bedford Jr., Class of 1973
T. Jackson Bedford Jr. has served as a Superior Court judge in Fulton County since 1996. Outside the courtroom, the former trial lawyer and U.S. Navy aviator's soft spot for children led him to establish an annual program that ensures hundreds of deserving children receive a visit from Santa during the holidays. In 1993, Bedford, then president-elect of the Atlanta Bar Association, founded the Atlanta Santa Project, which arranges visits from Santa and his elves to underprivileged and hospitalized children in the Atlanta area. Now co-sponsored by the Atlanta Bar Foundation, the event has grown each year. In 2010 more than 1,500 children were visited. Also, every Christmas morning Bedford and his wife, Patty, visit the oncology ward of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Bedford has served on the Board of Directors of Brandon's Foundation Inc., an organization assisting children suffering from childhood cancer and their families. He serves or has served on numerous other boards, including Community Cares, Inc., the Atlanta Humane Society, the Atlanta Bar Association and the Atlanta Bar Foundation.
Bedford graduated from high school in Oklahoma and earned a BA in international affairs from the University of Virginia in 1966. Serving in the U.S. Navy from 1966 to 1970, he flew more than 100 combat support missions over Vietnam.
After earning his JD, Bedford practiced trial law for 23 years before running successfully for the Fulton County bench. He is a past president of the Atlanta Bar Association and the Atlanta Bar Foundation. He has received awards from both the Atlanta Bar and State Bar for excellence and professionalism. Bedford also is a recipient of the Chief Justice's Community Service Award. Additionally, the judge has been an adjunct professor of advanced litigation skills at Emory Law, where he is also a past president of the alumni association.
Aaron L. Buchsbaum, Class of 1954
After earning his degree at Emory Law in 1954, Aaron L. Buchsbaum returned to his hometown of Savannah to practice law and fight against discrimination. He was a member of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People and volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union at a time when belonging to those institutions, especially in the Deep South, could exact personal and professional cost.
Buchsbaum was an officer of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, active in the Anti-Defamation League and championed human and civil rights wherever possible. In 1967, he was the first attorney to challenge racial discrimination in Georgia grand and petit jury selections in a case that led to the desegregation of juries in the state. He was president of Savannah Legal Aid and Georgia Legal Services, where he oversaw a broad expansion of the program, which provides legal services to the indigent. In the 1960s, he successfully challenged legal practices used to jail civil rights demonstrators in Savannah.
He was instrumental in desegregating the Savannah Bar Association, and in 1980, he resigned from the organization over its practice of holding functions at private clubs with discriminatory membership policies. He later rejoined, after the group ended the practice. He retired from active legal practice in 2006.
In 2011, the Economic Opportunity Authority For Savannah-Chatham County Area Inc. bestowed its highest honor by naming its new Head Start building after Buchsbaum in recognition of 40 years of exemplary service as leader of the EOA’s legal team. He served Emory Law on the Law School Council and assisted with Barrister level and class gift fundraising. He and his wife have supported the Emory Public Interest Committee and the Law School Fund for Excellence since 1975.
Carl W. Mullis, Class of 1975
Carl Mullis graduated in 1972 from Yale University, and in 1975, he graduated with distinction from Emory Law. After graduation, Mullis joined the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice under its honors program. As a senior trial attorney for the Antitrust Division for 11 years, Mullis conducted numerous grand jury investigations and criminal antitrust trials in five Southern states.
From 1986 until 2001, Mullis was a partner at Long, Aldridge & Norman LLP, where he was head of the antitrust group. From 2001 until his retirement, he was of counsel at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker LLP. In private practice, Mullis provided antitrust counseling and litigated antitrust cases for a number of Fortune 100 companies. He also litigated securities class actions and complex business disputes. During his career, Mullis handled appeals before U.S. Court of Appeal for the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 11th circuits, and he was selected by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in both antitrust and general commercial litigation.
Mullis served as a chair of the Antitrust Section of the State Bar of Georgia and as a member of the Board of Trustees for Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education. He also served on the Emory Law School Council and on the Executive Committee of the Emory Law School Alumni Association.
Since his graduation from law school, Mullis has been an avid student of, and collector of, American art. He was a guest curator of an exhibit on American prints at the High Museum of Art. The Carlos Museum and the Georgia Museum of Art have each had several exhibits of work from his collection. In recent years, Mullis has focused on collecting self-taught Southern art and has contributed to two books on the subject. Mullis serves as chair of the board of advisers of the Georgia Museum of Art.
The award ceremony was held Wednesday, Nov. 16 in Emory Law's Tull Auditorium. A cocktail reception followed in Hunter Atrium.