Atlanta Attorney Edward "Jack" Hardin was honored by the State Bar of Georgia and the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism with the 17th Annual Justice Robert Benham Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service on February 23, 2016. Since 1998 these awards have recognized judges and lawyers from the ten judicial districts across Georgia who have made outstanding contributions in the area of community service.
“Jack exemplifies all of the many laudable qualities for which this award stands,” says an endorser. Edward J. “Jack” Hardin, a founding partner of the Rogers & Hardin law firm in Atlanta, advises corporate directors and their companies on corporate governance, corporate law and domestic and international business transactions.
Mr. Hardin received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School where he served as Editor in Chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review, was elected to the Order of the Coif and received the Founder's Medal for First Honors. He earned his B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University where he was a member of the Mystical Seven Leadership Society, President of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity and a Varsity Swimmer.
A member of the State Bar of Georgia since 1972, Mr. Hardin chaired the Business Law Section, Corporate Law Section and Securities Law Committee and was a member of the 1988-1989 Corporate Code Revision Committee. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Inter-American Bar Association, American Law Institute, and the International Bar Association.
Described as “a man who puts his words into action,” Jack Hardin has been a legendary leader and active participant in efforts to protect and enable those afflicted with poverty and homelessness. Hardin is the Co- Founder and current Chair of Gateway, LLC, a Founder and continuing supporter of Georgia Works!, an agency focused on ending homelessness, criminal recidivism and dependency through programs aimed at personal development, and Co-Chair of the Regional Commission on Homelessness. He is the current President of the Georgia Legal Services Foundation and a former chair of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta.
One endorser recounts: On a “dark, cold or hot, Atlanta early morning,” Mr. Hardin leads monthly outreach efforts by going under bridges, into back alleys, abandoned buildings and behind dumpsters seeking homeless persons to help. “He engages them, learns their names, hears their stories and speaks hope into their despair.” Hardin helps the homeless gather their meager belongings and encourages them to board the bus to the Gateway Center and other such agencies to begin their journey out of homelessness. He writes letters and emails to civic and political leaders and apartment owners on their behalf, to seek possible affordable housing options and service centers. He helped transform an unused city jail into the Gateway, a homeless center now serving more than 500 persons a day, and he visits many homeless persons on holidays bearing gifts. A former Mayor of Atlanta said on Gateway’s 10th anniversary, “Jack Hardin brought his compassion for the well-being of others and his extensive legal experience to bear on every discussion and in every planning session to eliminate homelessness in Atlanta. . . . The Gateway is a national model for emergency response, a transitional shelter combined with wraparound services offered to clients from day one.”
Jack Hardin has also actively promoted education in Georgia, serving on the Governor’s Education Reform Study Commission (1999-2000), as Chairman of the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions (1990-2000), and he served as a board member of the Georgia Early Learning Initiative (GELI) and its successor, Smart Start Georgia. He was Chairman of the Board of several organizations, including the Paidea School, Inc., the Children’sTheatrical Workshop, and the Board of Visitors of Grady Hospital.
Most recently, Mr. Hardin received the Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) Inspiration Award for Lifetime Commitment to Public Service Award from Emory Law School. Mr. Hardin has received other recognitions for his public service including the Elbert P. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award from the Anti-Defamation League, the Centurion Award from Travelers Aid of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Alexis de Tocqueville Award from the United Way of Greater Atlanta, the Odyssey Award from Community Concerns, the Impact Leader Award from Business to Business, and Visionary Award by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institution. Vanderbilt Law School presented its Distinguished Alumni Award to him, recognizing his six years of service on its Advisory Board and as President of the Dean’s Council.
Mr. Hardin is currently a Director of CompX International, Inc., a NYSE listed components manufacturer of security and marine products and a Director of Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc., a real estate investment trust (REIT). He formerly served as a member of the Boards of Valhi, Inc., The Frances Denny Companies, Medite Corporation and Sybra, Inc.
Mr. Hardin is listed as a Senior Statesman for Corporate/M&A law by Chambers USA. For the past 20 years, his peers have consistently selected him as one of the best corporate attorneys in the United States when surveyed biannually by The Best Lawyers in America®. Additionally, Best Lawyers® named Mr. Hardin the Atlanta Best Lawyer of the Year - Corporate Law in 2011. Super Lawyers has named him one of the top 10 Georgia Lawyers three times based upon peer surveys and has been listed as a Georgia Super Lawyer since the advent of the survey. Georgia Trend Magazine has also named him to their list of Legal Elite.
His nominator says, “Jack is a unique public servant in that he not only ‘talks the talk,’ but also ‘walks the walk.’ Many identify Jack Hardin as “many things to many constituencies” and as importantly he is also “a person who cares. His voice, his smile, his look, his touch, his presence makes a difference in the lives of people. In sum, “Jack’s actions – his daily walk – give life to his belief that all people have worth and value.”