Patrick O'Connor Awarded Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service
Savannah attorney Patrick “Pat” O’Connor has been named winner of the State Bar of Georgia’s 19th Annual Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service for the state’s District 1.
The award from the bar and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism was created in 1998 by then chief justice Benham and others amid concerns that a decreasing number of the state’s lawyers were active in leadership positions in public and community services.
The award recognizes lawyers who continue to value the tradition of community service and who measure their successes in ways other than financial gain.
Winners have served in a wide range of community organizations, government-sponsored activities and humanitarian efforts outside of their professional practices and judicial duties.
O’Connor joined the bar in 1981 and joined the Oliver Maner firm as a partner on Jan. 1, 1990. He remains there as managing partner. His concentrates on litigation and alternative dispute resolution.
He was president of the State Bar of Georgia for 2016-17 and was Savannah Bar Association president in 1995-96. In 2009, the local bar recognized O’Connor’s work with the Frank Cheatham Professionalism Award for professional conduct as a lawyer.
Among his community pursuits have been:
‒ Former chair of Savannah Country Day School Board of trustees
‒ Former member of Georgia Southern University Board of Trustees
‒ Director, Horizons Savannah
‒ President, Savannah Civitan Club
‒ Captain, Savannah Quarterback Club
‒ President, Coastal Empire Council of Boy Scouts of America
* Graduate, Leadership Savannah Program
‒ Member, St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee
* Board of deacons, Ardsley Park Baptist Church
“Pat O’Connor is the embodiment of why the Benham Award is so vitally important,” fellow Savannah attorney and former Benham Award winner Steve Greenberg said. “Pat believes in the fabric of a community. He devotes his time, talent and energies to making a positive contribution in every organization of which he is a part.
“Equally vital, Pat believes in the value, decency and potential of every person. His commitment to this community and its people is an example for all of us to emulate. There is no more worthy recipient than Pat O’Connor.”
Added Chatham County Superior Court Judge Louisa Abbot, also a former Benham Award winner, “I know him as a fine lawyer, a Southern gentleman and a natural leader.”
The award will be presented on Feb. 27 at the State Bar Center in Atlanta.
O’Connor joins past local Benham Award winners who include Savannah Assistant Attorney Denise M. Cooper, attorney Miles Fleming, Chatham County Assistant Public Defender Christopher Middleton, Chatham County Superior Court judges James F. Bass Jr, and Abbot, Circuit Public Defender Michael Edwards and Georgia Legal Services attorney Wanda Andrews and Greenberg.