Georgia Law students interact with Georgia's top elected leaders

Monday, October 26, 2015

Students taking former U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ Political Leadership and the Law class at the University of Georgia School of Law spent a day (on Oct. 19) in Atlanta hearing from some of Georgia’s top elected leaders.

The class initially convened at the State Capitol, where law students received insights and advice from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston and leading public affairs professional Arthur B. “Skin” Edge IV. The day was capped off by lunch at Mary Mac’s Tea Room and a visit from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

“This was an incredible opportunity for students to hear first hand how a law degree can lead to a meaningful career in public service, and how what they are learning will prepare them for the decisions and challenges that are inherent to leadership,” Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “It was a day that our students will long remember.”

Each speaker offered a unique perspective on his experience in public service. Deal talked about how a legal education develops critical decision-making skills that allow a leader to weigh all sides of an issue. He also challenged the students to consider a career serving the state. Ralston addressed the importance of seeing issues globally and encouraged students to be engaged citizens, no matter what career path they chose. Reed also emphasized the importance of being involved in the community and reminded students that sometimes the right decision is not the most politically popular. Edge, who is a former member of the Georgia Senate, shared his thoughts on the importance of building trust and relationships from the very beginning of one’s career.

Chambliss is currently serving as the law school’s Sanders Political Leadership Scholar, which is part of the university’s three-part Senator Saxby Chambliss Leadership Forum announced in August. He is co-teaching a class for the fall 2015 semester with his former chief of staff, Camila Knowles, who is now serving as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.