2015 Recipient

You are here

Where presented : 
NLADA Annual Conference
Recipient organization: 
Atlanta Legal Aid Society Inc.
Recipient organization city: 
Recipient organization state: 
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Steve Gottlieb found himself in Atlanta almost serendipitously. In his second year of law school at the University of Pennsylvania, he applied for a summer job at Atlanta Legal Aid, was accepted, journeyed south, and “got hooked.” After graduating in 1969, he returned as a Reginald Heber Smith fellow. In the next five years, he worked in and managed three of Atlanta Legal Aid’s offices. He then managed the Savannah Office of the Georgia Legal Services Program. In 1977, he returned to Atlanta as the Deputy Director of Atlanta Legal Aid. He became its executive director in 1980 and is among the longest serving legal aid directors in the country.

Steve has weathered at least three major funding crises during his tenure and has overseen a diversification of revenue sources that has permitted Atlanta Legal Aid to continue its core functions in good times and bad. In addition to its traditional poverty law of practice, Steve has presided over the development of nine of Atlanta Legal Aid’s 10 special programs. He inherited the still-thriving Senior Citizens Law Project and encouraged the institution and growth of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Disability Integration Project, the Home Defense Program, the AIDS/ALS & Cancer Initiative, the Hispanic Outreach Law Project, the Grandparent/Relative Caregiver Project, the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline, TeamChild Atlanta, and the Health Law Partnership. That last program is a collaboration among Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia State’s College of Law, and Atlanta Legal Aid.

Steve believes in equal access to justice and the avenue that leads there: representation by high quality and dedicated counsel. Highly regarded for its professionalism in the legal community, Atlanta Legal Aid has enjoyed many successes, including the high profile Olmstead case (the Brown v. Board of Education of disability rights), won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999. For his leadership, Steve has received a number of state and local awards and has twice been recognized by the ABA for his work.