A few years ago, the Insider told readers that former U.S. Rep. John Barrow was planning to become a “Scholar in Residence” at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs.
Barrow, who put his Augusta home up for sale just days after losing his congressional seat to Republican challenger Rick Allen in 2015, moved back to Athens and rejoined the UGA community.
It was a natural course of events.
After all, Athens was a very familiar stomping grounds for Barrow.
He received his degree in political science from UGA in 1976 and went on to earn his law degree from Harvard Law School.
But, before being elected to Georgia’s 12th District in 2004, Barrow also served for 14 years on the Athens-Clarke County Commission as the commissioner for the district that included UGA.
So Barrow loves Athens.
However, it appears that after a 10-year absence from the practice of law while serving in Congress, Barrow has decided to fight back in the courtroom as an in-house volunteer for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.
Barrow, a five-term congressman, began his tenure this past week with a trip to court in Marietta to observe Legal Aid lawyers in action obtaining temporary protective orders for victims of domestic violence, according to a press release.
It is a courageous step for Barrow.
Apparently, he will spend six months as a staff attorney on a pro bono basis for clients of the Atlanta Legal Aid’s office in Marietta, Legal Aid of Cobb County, in matters relating to the most basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter and safety.
Did you catch that, folks? Pro bono.
That’s pretty impressive, even for a guy with some cash.
According to his recent press release, Barrow said he was inspired by the example of his friend, former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, who volunteered in the nonprofit’s Senior Citizens Law Project for six months in 2004. Barnes called his tenure at Atlanta Legal Aid the most rewarding time of his professional life, and Barrow said he is eager to enjoy the same experience.
“It’s the kind of work that comes closest to what I was able to do in Congress — helping people who need help but can’t afford a lawyer,” Barrow said. “Only this time, I can do more than just ask the bad guys to do the right thing — I can fight for my clients in court.”
Legal Aid’s Steve Gottlieb stated he was thrilled with the opportunity to capitalize on Barrow’s experience and honored that a second politician chose Legal Aid as the vehicle for transition back to private practice.
“It speaks to the quality of both the legal representation we offer our clients and our role as an anchor nonprofit in metro Atlanta that such distinguished and talented public figures as John Barrow and Roy Barnes selected Legal Aid as their base for pro bono service,” Gottlieb said in the press release. “I’m excited to welcome John and look forward to the zealous representation he will give our clients. In addition, his breadth of experience will provide an invaluable resource for our eight staff attorneys in Cobb County.”
Best wishes to you, John Barrow.