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Gov. Roy E. Barnes Esq.

Self Description

July 2008: "Described as a “lawyer’s lawyer” and recognized by the American College of Trial Lawyers as one of the top trial attorneys in the nation, Roy E. Barnes knew from a young age what profession he wanted to pursue. His love of law and his commitment to serving others have never wavered.

A lifelong resident of Cobb County, Georgia, Roy Barnes received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and graduated with honors from the Lumpkin School of Law at UGA in 1972. Upon graduation, he went to work as a prosecutor in the Cobb County District Attorney’s office, where he stayed until opening his first law firm in 1975.

For over 30 years, Barnes has tried civil and criminal cases throughout Georgia and in neighboring states including a successful class action lawsuit against Fleet Finance that received national recognition in the early 1990s. His practice has concentrated primarily on civil litigation, where he has developed an expertise in consumer class action cases, medical malpractice matters, products liability law, general tort matters and commercial litigation. Barnes has appeared in more than 150 cases in the state and federal appellate courts.

Barnes has been a public servant nearly as long as he has been a lawyer. At age 26, he was elected the youngest member of the Georgia State Senate. He went on to serve a total of eight terms and was a member of the Appropriations, Rules and Transportation committees. In addition, he was Chairman of the Select Committee on Constitutional Revision, which rewrote the state’s constitution as well as Chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee. He also served as a floor leader to Governor Joe Frank Harris from 1983 to 1989. After an unsuccessful bid for the Governor’s Office in 1990, Barnes was elected to the State House of Representatives, where he served for six years and was Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on General Law.

In 1998, Barnes was elected to serve as the 80th Governor of the State of Georgia. During his term, he concentrated on education reform, health care reform, and remedies for urban growth and sprawl. He created the Georgia Cancer Coalition and served as Chair of the Southern Regional Education Board, the Southern Governor’s Association, and the Education Commission of the States. He was defeated for reelection in large part because of his efforts to change the Georgia flag, a political decision for which he was honored with the 2003 John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Profiles in Courage Award.

From the day he was elected governor, Roy Barnes knew he would return to the practice of law, which he has done through the establishment of The Barnes Law Group."

Third-Party Descriptions

November 2008: "Ms. Rhee and Mr. Klein are hardly the first public officials to inveigh against tenure, but few have succeeded in weakening it. Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, persuaded Georgia lawmakers to repeal the state's teacher tenure law in 2000. But two years later, angry teachers helped elect Georgia's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, who promptly restored job protections for teachers."

July 2008: "The lynchings were officially re-opened for investigation by former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes nearly eight years ago and were on a list of revived cold cases cited by former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales early last year."


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Member of (past or present) Democratic Party / Democratic National Committee (DNC) Organization Jul 3, 2008
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Georgia (State Government) Organization Sep 20, 2006
Student/Trainee (past or present) University of Georgia Organization Jul 3, 2008

Articles and Resources

Date Resource Read it at:
Nov 13, 2008 School Chief Takes on Tenure, and Stirs a Fight

QUOTE: Ms. Rhee has proposed spectacular raises of as much as $40,000, financed by private foundations, for teachers willing to give up tenure....Ms. Rhee said she could no longer wait for a union response to her proposal, first outlined last summer, and announced an effort to identify and fire ineffective teachers, including those with tenure.

New York Times
Jul 02, 2008 New evidence collected in 1946 lynching case

QUOTE: On July 25, 1946, two black sharecropper couples were shot hundreds of times and the unborn baby of one of the women cut out with a knife at the Moore's Ford Bridge. One of the men had been accused of stabbing a white man 11 days earlier and was bailed out of jail by a former Ku Klux Klan member and known bootlegger who drove him, his wife, her brother and his wife to the bridge. The FBI statement said investigators were following up on information recently received in the case, one of several the agency has revived in an effort to close decades-old cases from the civil rights era and before.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Sep 20, 2006 Georgia Law Requiring Voters to Show Photo ID Is Thrown Out: Judge Says Some Would Be Disenfranchised; State Plans Appeal

QUOTE: A state judge yesterday rejected a Georgia law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification...the law, pushed by Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) to fight voter fraud, violates the state constitution because it disenfranchises citizens who are otherwise qualified to vote.

Washington Post
Jul 08, 2006 Judge Blocks Requirement in Georgia for Voter ID

QUOTE: For the second time, a judge has blocked a Republican-sponsored effort to require Georgia voters to present government-issued photo identification cards before they can cast a ballot.The judge...said the requirement violated the State Constitution by placing an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote.

New York Times
Dec 30, 2002 A Ban on Hate, or Heritage? Ga. School Divided Over Confederate-Themed Shirts

QUOTE: officials prohibited shirts featuring the [Confederate--Ed.] battle flag in response to complaints from two African American families...a new generation's fashion choices raise questions about where historical pride ends and racial insult begins.

Washington Post