(PRESS RELEASE from State Bar of Georgia)
Amelia Island, Fla. – Phyllis J. Holmen, longtime executive director of the Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP), was honored with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award, presented by the State Bar of Georgia during its Annual Meeting on June 8.
Holmen was honored for her 44 years of service in the legal profession, all of which has been with GLSP, the provider of legal services to low-income Georgians in 154 counties outside metro-Atlanta. She has served as executive director of the program since 1990 and is retiring this year.
After growing up in Chicago, Holmen earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Illinois and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1974. Under her leadership, GLSP has grown to a staff of 135, including 60 attorneys who take on thousands of cases each year for people who cannot afford an attorney but need representation in a wide variety of civil matters.
Holmen has been a member of the State Bar’s Board of Governors since 1992 and its Executive Committee since 1998. She has also served on the Supreme Court of Georgia Indigent Defense Commission, the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission and the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, among other legal professional leadership organizations.
The honors Holmen has received over the years include joining the GLSP Champions of Justice in 2018, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daily Report in 2016 and the Elbert P. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award from the Anti-Defamation League in 2008.
“The legal community in our state owes considerable appreciation to Phyllis Holmen for her many contributions to upholding the foundational American ideal of equal justice for all,” said 2017-18 State Bar President Brian D. “Buck” Rogers in making the presentation.
The Distinguished Service Award is the highest accolade bestowed on an individual member of the State Bar of Georgia. Recipients in recent years include several former chief justices of the Supreme Court of Georgia and the immediate past president of the American Bar Association. The honor recognizes “conspicuous service to the cause of jurisprudence and to the advancement of the legal profession in the state of Georgia.”
The State Bar of Georgia, with offices in Atlanta, Savannah and Tifton, was established in 1964 by Georgia’s Supreme Court as the successor to the voluntary Georgia Bar Association, founded in 1884. All lawyers licensed to practice in Georgia belong to the State Bar. Its more than 50,000 members work together to strengthen the constitutional promise of justice for all, promote principles of duty and public service among Georgia’s lawyers, and administer a strict code of legal ethics.