Manely Firm, P.C. Partners with Georgia State College of Law W. Lee Burge Professor of Law & Ethics, Clark Cunningham

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Georgia State Law School students experience life in law firm practice.

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"Bringing students into our offices and giving them the opportunity to experience serving those in need is a natural fit for our firm and critical practice experience for them." - Shelia Manely

The Manely Firm, PC is buzzing with activity as an elite collection of Georgia State University law school students descend upon their office in Marietta, Georgia. Supervised by Professor Clark Cunningham, these students are experiencing the handling of true clients with true legal needs – something that is rare in law school education, according to a 2007 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Institute report citing massive change needed in Law Schools across the country (page 8). “Most law schools give only casual attention to teaching students how to use legal thinking in the complexity of actual law practice. Unlike other professional education, most notably medical school, legal education typically pays relatively little attention to direct training in professional practice.”

Said Manely Firm Business Manager, Shelia Manely, “aside from winning cases for our clients, we believe it is also our duty to be a part of law reform. Bringing students into our offices and giving them the opportunity to experience serving those in need is a natural fit for our firm and critical practice experience for them.”

In the Fundamentals for Law Practice course taught by Cunningham, GSU School of Law students receive actual cases referred by Cobb Legal Aid. Students meet with clients, explain judicial procedure, review affiliated costs, collect client documentation, prepare evidence and present cases all while being supervised by Professor Cunningham. In need of a location to host these client meetings, Professor Cunningham reached out to Marietta Family Law attorneys, Michael and Shelia Manely, also graduates of the GSU College of Law. States Cunningham, “The Manely Firm, Michael and Shelia are all about giving back to the community. Their desire to see ‘justice for all’ is evident in both their firm proper and the establishment of The Justice Café. Our students needed a home base. It was generous of them to offer.”

Cunningham is a lifelong advocate for advancing low- and modest-income legal services. Teaching the Fundamentals for Law Practice course at GSU - where students get out of the classroom and into the courtroom – has a special place in his heart. “It’s the best day when all of a sudden these students aren't law students anymore. All of a sudden they’re attorneys. And in some cases – particularly, those involving domestic violence – they learn the responsibility it takes to have someone’s life in their hands,” said Cunningham.

Over the next several weeks, Cunningham’s students will meet with clients and work from the Manely Firm offices located less than 100 yards from the Cobb County Courthouse.

About The Manely Firm:

Metro-Atlanta attorney family law attorney Michael Manely began practice in 1989 and established The Manely Firm, P.C., in 2003 with the goal of providing highly effective legal advice and representation to families struggling with complicated family law matters. Since hanging his own shingle in 1991, Michael Manely has developed a leading family law firm with multiple office locations throughout Georgia in Marietta, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Canton and Savannah. Mr. Manely is recognized as the only attorney in the country practicing all family law to win unanimously both before the United States Supreme Court (Chafin v. Chafin; 11-15355-CC) and a State Supreme Court (Georgia, McDermott v. McDermott; 2011CV199099)

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Shelia Manely
The Manely Firm
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