Atlanta's John Marshall Law School Honors 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow
Atlanta's John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and Dean Malcolm L. Morris are pleased to announce that Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently named a 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow by the MacArthur Foundation. In response, the law school hosted an event in his honor to celebrate.
On September 17, 2014 the MacArthur Foundation recognized Rapping’s work by naming him a 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow. The law school’s recent event celebrated the prestigious honor and Professor Rapping’s embodiment of the law school’s mission and goal to promote the continuous development of a law faculty dedicated to achieving the highest standards of classroom teaching, scholarship that informs their teaching, and service to the community. During the private reception, food and drinks were served as the attendees were given an opportunity to meet and greet one another.
Professor Rapping opened his remarks by thanking everyone in attendance for supporting his work. Next, he summarized a series of events that helped to shape his outlook of the legal profession. Before introducing Gideon’s Army to the audience, Rapping reflected on how the HBO documentary film became a reality.
Rapping stated, “I remember being a law student, wanting to be a public defender and having these lofty ideas. Abstract ideas like due process, equal access and fairness. So I became a public defender and learned that the work really was not about philosophical principles; it is about people.
“My career as a lawyer is a collection of stories that underscores the reality that if you are poor and find yourself in the criminal justice system, you are treated as less than human. We treat poor people in ways that we would not tolerate for our loved ones. So in 2007, with the help of AJMLS, my wife and I started Gideon’s Promise.
“The idea was not just to train lawyers to be good at the law, but to teach lawyers values that our system has forgotten. What started with two offices and 16 lawyers in 2007 has grown into over 300 lawyers in over 35 offices across 15 states; who are collectively raising the bar and changing the way we think of justice.
“Gideon’s Promise is possible not just because of my work but because of the work of so many people.”
In addition to a number of AJMLS students, faculty and staff; the event was also attended by several individuals from Georgia's legal community.
Dean of the law school, Malcolm L Morris, had this to say about Rapping’s accomplishments, “This is a momentous honor and his dedication should serve as an inspiration to us all.”