Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism

Chief Justice Harold D. Melton
Chief Justice Harold D. Melton

The Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, the first body of its kind in the nation, was created in 1989 by the Supreme Court of Georgia with the primary charge to enhance professionalism among Georgia’s lawyers. In carrying out its charge, the Commission provides ongoing attention and assistance to the task of assuring that the practice of law remains a high calling, enlisted in the service of the client and the public good.

Chief Justice Harold D. Melton Declares A Statewide Judicial Emergency

On June 7, 2021, Chief Justice Harold D. Melton issued a  EXTENDED FOR A 15th AND FINAL TIME a Statewide Judicial Emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus throughout Georgia and the potential infection of those who work in or are required to appear in our courts.  Read the 15th Extension order here.  Read the Notice of Expected Termination of Statewide Judicial Emergency on June 30 order here.

• You may find a Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts Georgia Court Reopening Guide at the link here.


• The Administrative Office of the Courts is posting reopening procedures for individual courts here.


• The Administrative Office of the Courts also continues to post emergency orders (such as temporary building closures for COVID-19 related cleaning) here.

You may view previous version of the Judicial Emergency Orders on the Supreme Court of Georgia’s website at the link here.

Law School Orientations on Professionalism 2021

Presiding Justice David Nahmias, Supreme Court of Georgia, swears in law students during a 2017 Law School Orientation on Professionalism

Group Leader Interest Registration is NOW OPEN.  Please click here to learn more about the 2021 Law School Orientations on Professionalism and to express your interest in serving as a Group Leader.

To read articles on the Law School Orientations on Professionalism, please click here and here.

Grants To Promote Legal Professionalism

The Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism is accepting Grant Applications from June 1, 2021, through and until July 15. 2021, at 11:59 p.m. for programs or projects that promote legal professionalism as set forth in the Commission’s Grant Criteria.  The Commission shall only accept Grant Applications electronically via the Commission’s website. For more information about the Grant Criteria or to submit an electronic Grant Application, please click here.

Suicide Awareness Program


The Justice’s Commission on Professionalism convened a Suicide Awareness Program on April 30, 2021.


About the Suicide Awareness Program

During the Suicide Awareness Program we made the case that death by suicide is preventable and that it is okay to ask our colleagues if they need help and to ask for help ourselves.  Continue this important conversation and share the resources from the program.

If you want to plan a similar CLE with a voluntary, local, or specialty bar association in your jurisdiction, you are welcome to do so.  Please simply let us know and acknowledge the Commission and the original program participants for their work during your CLE.  

Please check with the authors of the written materials for their permission to use the materials in future programming.  

If you are thinking of hurting yourself, or if you are concerned that someone you know may be suicidal, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by phone 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or via chat at

Members of the State Bar of Georgia may also contact the Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program confidential hotline at 800-327-9631. #UseYour6

The Necessity of Unparalleled Unity CLE Webinar


On March 19, 2021, the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism held an online webinar via the platform entitled “The Necessity of Unparalleled Unity.”  The program participants were as follows: Program Chair: Ms. Dawn Jones, President of the State Bar of Georgia; Special Guest: Chief Justice Harold D. Melton, Supreme Court of Georgia; ModeratorProfessor Tanya M. Washington, Georgia State University College of Law, Center for Access to Justice; PanelistsHonorable Carla Wong McMillian, Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia; Honorable Nina Markette Baker, Judge of Superior Court Coweta Judicial Circuit; Mr. Ashley Bell, Partner, Dentons US LLP; Mr. Jake Evans, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP; Honorable Dax E. López, Judge, State Court of DeKalb County; and Ms. Patrise Perkins-Hooker, Past President, State Bar of Georgia.


If you want to plan a similar CLE with a voluntary, local, or specialty bar association in your jurisdiction, you are welcome to do so and to use the materials here.  Please simply let us know and acknowledge the Commission and the original program participants for their work during your CLE.

Lawyers are Encouraged to Mutually Support Each Other During This Time

Please read this important message from the Chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Lawyer Assistance Program, Lynn Garson, regarding resources available to lawyers during this time. You may find her message here:  Remember that one tenant of A Lawyer’s Creed and the Aspirational Statement on Professionalism says: “To my colleagues in the practice of law, I offer concern for your welfare. I will strive to make our association a professional friendship.”  Let’s build or maintain our professional relationships, keeping the CDC’s safety guidelines in mind, during this Judicial Emergency.

SAMHSA has a pamphlet with tips for taking care of your behavioral health during times of social distancing, quarantine, and isolation.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a web page with many different resources to help individuals support their Emotional Well Being During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Professionalism Resources for CLE Sponsors

The Commission has resources to help CLE Sponsors plan professionalism programs.  For more information, click here.

Learn About the REVISED Professionalism CLE Guidelines

The Commission issued REVISED Professionalism CLE Guidelines that took effect on July 1, 2019.  For more information about the Professionalism CLE Guidelines, click here.

Read About "The Real Man Behind the Robe"

Commission Member, Maria Mackay, went to Auburn University with Chief Justice Harold Melton.  Her wonderful article, The Real Man Behind The Robe, about her long-time friend was featured on the Commission’s Professionalism Page in the October issue of the Georgia Bar Journal.  You can find the article on the page here:


Resources for Professionalism Programs

The Commission serves as a resource for information and materials regarding professionalism initiatives past and present. The Commission is also available to assist any sponsor, group, or person planning a CLE session on professionalism to tailor their professionalism sessions to the issues relevant to the group to whom the sessions are presented.

For help with planning your professionalism CLE, review the Commission’s CLE Planning Guidelines found here.  To see sample professionalism CLE/CJE papers and presentations, visit the link here.  If you still have questions, call the Commission at (404) 225-5040.  We are happy to assist you and to  answer your questions.

Georgia Bar Journal Professionalism Page

View the Commission's Professionalism Page articles here.

Commission Videos

View Commission Video List.

CLE Presentations and Papers

View CLE Presentations and Papers.

Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service

The Annual Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service are sponsored by the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.

Law School Orientations

You can find the most up-to-date information about the Law School Orientation Professionalism Programs here.

2019 Convocation: Professionalism Then (1988) and Now (2019)

The Commission's state-wide convocations on professionalism give greater impetus and sharper focus to professionalism issues.

CLE/CJE Programs

Learn more about upcoming CLE/CJE programs that explore the meaning and aspirations of professionalism in contemporary legal practice and reflect upon the fundamental premises of lawyer professionalism.