Paul Kurtz receives Social Justice Award


Writer: Crissinda Ponder, 706/542-5172, lawprstu@uga.edu Contact: Cindy Rice, 706/542-5172, cindyh@uga.edu

UGA School of Law Associate Dean Paul Kurtz honored for philanthropic work

Athens, Ga. - University of Georgia School of Law Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and Hosch Professor Paul M. Kurtz was presented with the Athens Justice Project's Milner S. Ball Social Justice Award on Oct. 13.

Kurtz was honored for his outstanding and continued support of the Athens Justice Project, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of crime and poverty, as well as for his tireless work on behalf of indigent criminal defense in Georgia, on reform of family law nationally and for countless community organizations and causes.

Upon receiving the award, Kurtz thanked the Athens Justice Project board and his large support system. He also recognized the type of people who help move the social justice cause forward.

"The winners of these kinds of awards fall into two distinct categories. In the first group are those ... who are creative, inspirational and true role models," Kurtz said. "The second group consists of people who have a good heart and are willing to go to meetings, write memoranda, draft legislation and reports, attend charity events and write checks from time to time. ... This is where I fit in, and it is with this understanding of my contribution that I accept this award."

He also saluted those who deliver social services for those in need, describing them as the "real heroes of the 'social justice' community."

From 2000 to 2003, Kurtz served as Reporter for the Georgia Supreme Court's Indigent Defense Reform Commission, which was the driving force behind landmark legislation that created the first statewide system of indigent defense in Georgia and the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council. He served on this council from 2003 to 2009. He also was a member of the Georgia Public Interest Loan Repayment Task Force, was Reporter for the drafting committee on the Status of Children of Assisted Conception and was co-Reporter for the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which has been adopted by all 50 states. Currently, Kurtz serves as a Georgia commissioner for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and is a member of the American Law Institute.

Kurtz earned his bachelor's and law degrees from Vanderbilt University and his Master of Laws from Harvard University. He then served as a judicial clerk for Chief Judge Harry Phillips of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit before joining the Georgia Law faculty in 1975.