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5:30 - 6:15 p.m. — Reception

6:15 - 6:30 p.m. — Opening Remarks

6:30 - 7:30 p.m. — Interview of Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears

7:45 p.m. — Post-Reception


Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears

Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears has achieved a distinguished position in Georgia's history. She was the first black woman to serve as a superior court judge in Georgia when she was elected to the Superior Court of Fulton County bench in 1988, and the first woman and youngest person ever to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court when she was appointed by Governor Zell Miller in 1992.

In retaining her appointed position as a Supreme Court Justice, Justice Sears became the first woman in Georgia to win a contested state-wide election. In July 2005, Justice Sears became the first woman to serve as the Chief Justice of the Court.

During her tenure, Chief Justice Sears has spearheaded two major initiatives: the Georgia Supreme Court's Commission on Children, Marriage, and Family Law and the Committee on Civil Justice. The Commission on Children, Marriage, and Family Law was established to address the legal and administrative issues stemming from the increasing fragmentation of Georgia's families, while the Committee on Civil Justice was established to develop, coordinate, and support policy initiatives to expand access to the courts for poor and vulnerable Georgians. Prior to joining the bench, Justice Sears was an attorney with the law firm of Alston & Bird.

Chief Justice Sears received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University, her law degree from Emory University School of Law, and a master's degree in appellate judicial process from the University of Virginia.

She is the proud mother of Addison and Brennan, the wife of Haskell Sears Ward, and the daughter of Colonel Thomas E. Sears and Onnye Jean Sears.


Michael Sears
Managing Director, Atrium Capital

Michael Sears is a Managing Director at Atrium Capital, a venture capital firm in the heart of California's Silicon Valley. He has been active in Alternative Energy/Clean Technologies, Enterprise Software and Digital Media companies.

Previously, he held senior executive positions at various public and private technology companies, as well as consulting with dozens of small technology companies. Michael has been a professional engineer and has three issued patents.

Michael graduated from the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis) and served in the United States Marine Corps as a sniper platoon commander and flight officer. Michael received his Juris Doctorate and Masters of Business Administration degrees from Stanford University. He lives with his wife, Julie, and son, Matthew in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Wayne A. McCoy
Lawyer, Partner, Leader

Wayne A. McCoy, one of Schiff Hardin's most respected partners and attorneys, passed away on August 29, 2000, at the age of 58. We take pride in honoring Wayne and his achievements through The HistoryMakers programs we are sponsoring in his memory.

Wayne joined Schiff Hardin in 1972 and established a prominent practice in public law, while adding significantly to the firm's Corporate & Securities Group. He headed Schiff Hardin's Public Law and Finance Group and was frequently listed in legal media publications as one of the most senior African Americans in leadership positions among major law firms.

His representations included several governmental entities, such as the City of Chicago, Cook County, the Chicago School Finance Authority, the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Housing Authority. He also provided corporate, business and litigation counsel to a distinguished group of clients, which included Michael Jordan and The Jesse Owens Foundation.

In addition to his legal representations, Wayne's corporate and public service affiliations also were extensive.

Wayne received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1972 and his B.S. degree in Business Administration from Indiana University in 1965.

Wayne is survived by his wife, Sharron, and his children, J.B. Todd and Kamilah.

Schiff Hardin
Schiff Hardin Women's Networking Group

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