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Michael Caplan (J.D. 2006)

Associate at Bondurant, Mixson and Elmore LLP

Atlanta, GA

Mr. Caplan is currently employed with Bondurant, Mixson, and Elmore, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Caplan does complex business litigation, appellate work, and civil rights enforcement litigation. The civil rights enforcement area of the practice comes largely from pro bono work that includes habeas petitions, class actions seeking systemic reform of government programs, and § 1983 (civil action for deprivation of rights) claims. Before beginning his employment with Bondurant, Mixson, and Elmore in 2008, he was a law clerk for Judge Richard Story in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for two years. Mr. Caplan knew for a long time that he wanted to be a lawyer. He saw the career as an opportunity to advocate for people, vindicate their rights, and bring solutions to complex situations.

Mr. Caplan encourages current law students and recent graduates looking for internships and jobs to be yourselves and pursue your interests and passions. When interviewing, know who you’re interviewing with, what makes them tick and what they do. Know the area of practice at the firm and show that you care about and have given a lot of thought to the area of practice.
 
Some resources Mr. Caplan recommends for law students include the Lumpkin Inn, the American Constitution Society, and the Federalist Society. He stresses the benefits of participation in organizations whose membership includes both law students and attorneys in the area in which you want to practice. Mr. Caplan also suggests participation in Georgia Bar seminars and activities.
 
Regarding classes, Mr. Caplan advises students to take practical courses in the area of law in which you plan to practice. This is good preparation for the jobs you want. Specific courses he recommends for litigators are Georgia Practice and any document drafting class. As a student, Mr. Caplan was on the Moot Court team and believes the experience really aided him in the appellate work that he does now.
 
Mr. Caplan has remained at the same firm du ring the five years of his private practice, and feels very fortunate to have landed in the firm in which he plans to spend his career. But he also thinks it is important for students to know that your first job out of law school is not necessarily your last and honly job. So he advises students to approach their first job with the attitude of doing your best. But if f it doesn’t make a good fit, or the student’s passions lie elsewhere, then there will be other opportunities. The flexibility of the law allows lawyers to move around within the field.
 
Mr. Caplan thinks an important thing for new attorneys is taking on pro bono matters and stressing to managing lawyers the importance of this kind of work. Doing pro bono work has provided Mr. Caplan the opportunity to get into the courtroom. He has argued an Eleventh Circuit appeal from a pro bono appointment and a complex trial from the pro bono representation of prisoners, among other cases. Getting into the courtroom is rarer each day for civil litigators, so doing pro bono work within a firm is a good way to gain this invaluable experience.