Emmet Bondurant is a nationally recognized trial lawyer with more than 50 years of experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the Top 10 trial lawyers in the United States, as the 2010 Lawyer of the Year for Antitrust and Bet-the-Company Litigation by Best Lawyers in America, a Leading Antitrust Lawyer by Chambers USA, the 2012 Lawyer of the Year for Arbitration and First Amendment Litigation by Best Lawyers in America, and listed by Atlanta Magazine as among the top 10 Georgia Super Lawyers.
Emmet’s career has included a strong commitment to community service and pro bono litigation, including death penalty, habeas corpus, reapportionment, and other civil rights and constitutional cases, including representation of Guantanamo detainees. He has served as President and a Director of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, President of the University of Georgia Law School Alumni Association, Chairman and a member of the board of the Georgia Resource Center, a Trustee of the American Inns of Court Foundation, a member of the board of Gideon’s Promise and is currently a member of the National Governing Board of Common Cause. He also served as chair of the Atlanta Charter Commission, a successful two-year effort to completely rewrite the 100-year old Atlanta City Charter.
Emmet has had a career long commitment to democracy issues and indigent defense.
In 1964, when Emmet was 26, he successfully argued Wesberry v. Sanders, which held for the first time that congressional districts throughout the United States must contain equal populations (the one-person-one-vote rule). He was also the youngest member of a team of lawyers in Toombs v. Fortson that forced Georgia legislature to comply with the Equal Protection Clause by reapportioning both state senate and house districts to comply with the one-person-one-vote rule.
In 1966, he argued (unsuccessfully) Fortson v. Morris, in which the Supreme Court rejected, 5-4, a challenge to an 1824 provision of the Georgia Constitution that required the Governor of Georgia to be elected by a malapportioned state legislature rather than by a vote of the people in a run-off election, after Lester Maddox and Howard Bo Callaway failed to receive a majority of the vote in the 1966 general election.
Emmet is currently serving as lead counsel in Common Cause v. Rucho (appeal pending), the first case in which a federal court has declared a partisan gerrymander of congressional districts violates the U.S. Constitution.
Emmet also successfully represented Elizabeth Hishon, the plaintiff in Hishon v. King & Spalding, in which the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that law firms are subject to Title VII and prohibited from discriminating against women in the selection of partners.
Emmet is also a leader in the fight to reform the indigent defense system beginning as a young lawyer in 1964, and culminating in 2003 with the passage of the Indigent Defense Act, which created for the first time a uniform state-wide indigent defense system under the supervision of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, of which he was elected and served as its first chairman from 2003-2007. Emmet and the firm also represented Gary X. Nelson, who was held on Georgia’s death row for over twelve years before his conviction was set aside and he was ordered released by the Georgia Supreme Court in 1991.
Emmet is the author of various articles on constitutional law and local governmental issues. See e.g. The Senate Filibuster: The Politics of Obstruction, 48 Harv. Jour. on Legis., 467 (2010); A Stream Polluted at Its Source: the Georgia County Unit System, 12 Emory Jour. of Pub.L. 86 (1963). He has spoken at numerous seminars sponsored by the American Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta Bar Association, and other organizations on a wide range of legal subjects including antitrust law, appellate practice, banking law, evidence, criminal antitrust problems, ethics, federal practice and procedure, Georgia civil practice and the Uniform Commercial Code.
Reversed a $456 million judgment against client Weyerhauser on appeal. The case involved a contractual dispute over whether Weyerhaeuser had agreed to indemnify Paragon for a patent infringement claim.
Successfully defended the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County in defeating antitrust violation claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Georgia State Attorney General’s office. The FTC sought to enjoin the $195 million acquisition of Palmyra Medical Center by the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County. A district court judge ruled that the Hospital Authority and other defendants were immune from antitrust claims, dismissed the FTC’s complaint with prejudice, and denied the FTC’s request for an injunction to prevent closing of the $195 million all-cash deal to acquire the 248-bed Palmyra hospital. The 11th Circuit Court affirmed the ruling and allowed the acquisition to move forward. Bondurant Mixson lawyers represented the Hospital Authority in Federal Court, the 11th Circuit Court, and during the FTC’s administrative process.
Represented one of the world’s largest airlines in a variety of class action lawsuits filed around the country asserting claims under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.
Obtained a defense verdict for Wyle Laboratories that the National Law Journal recognized as one of the Top 10 defense verdicts of the year 2000. The firm successfully defeated the plaintiff’s claim for $150 million in damages.
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
Member, American Law Institute
Member, American Bar Foundation
Member, American Bar Association
Member, American Judicature Society
Member, State Bar of Georgia
Member, Atlanta Bar Association
Member, Lawyers Club of Atlanta
Honors and Awards
2011 Lewis F. Powell Award and the 2011 Eleventh Circuit Professionalism Award of the American Inns of Court
2015 Common Cause President’s Award and the 2018 Common Cause Champion of Democracy Award
2013 Gideon’s Promise Lifetime Achievement Award
2016 Georgia Chapter of the American Constitution Society
Jeffrey O. Bramlett Legal Legends Award
2018 Gate City Bar Association Hall of Fame Award
2001 Elbert P. Tuttle Jurisprudence Award
2013 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Southeast Region of the Anti-Defamation League
Harold G. Clarke Equal Justice Award of the Georgia Indigent Defense Council
2001 Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award of the Georgia State University Law School
2003 Epic Inspiration Award, Lifetime Commitment to Public Service, Emory University Law School
2004 ABA Litigation Section, Excellence in State Justice Initiatives Award
2005 AARP Georgia Power of One State Recognition Award
2009 Alumni Distinguished Service Award of the University of Georgia Law School
1992 Atlanta Bar Association Leadership Award
1992 Georgia Trial Lawyer of the Year Award of the American Board of Trial Advocates
1984 Bill of Rights Award of the ACLU of Georgia
1980 Good Government Award
2007 Sidney Marcus Award of the Atlanta Fulton County League of Women Voters
Completed the Atlanta (1979, 1980), New York (1984), 95th Boston (1991) and 100th Boston (1996) Marathons
- August 15, 2019The Best Lawyers in America 2020
- August 15, 2019The Best Lawyers in the USA
- July 19, 2019Georgia Equality
- May 21, 2019
- May 14, 2019Chambers USA 2019
- February 16, 2019Super Lawyers
- January 7, 2019
- August 15, 2018
- May 8, 2018Chambers USA 2018
- February 21, 2018
- April 20, 2017ACLU of Georgia
- August 15, 2016The Best Lawyers in the USA
- February 19, 2016Super Lawyers
- Emmet Bondurant and Mickey Mixson Recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America by Benchmark LitigationAugust 19, 2015Benchmark Litigation
- August 18, 2015The Best Lawyers in the USA
- June 10, 2015Atlanta Journal Constitution
- May 20, 2015Chambers USA 2015
- January 18, 2015Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- August 18, 2014The Best Lawyers in the USA
- May 27, 2014Chambers USA 2014
- September 4, 2013
- August 15, 2013The Best Lawyers in the USA
- May 28, 2013Chambers USA 2013
- March 21, 2013
- February 21, 2013Super Lawyers
- November 27, 2012
- August 24, 2012The Best Lawyers in the USA
- August 23, 2012
- June 2012Chambers USA 2012
- May 14, 2012
- February 21, 2012Super Lawyers
- January 4, 2012
- Bondurant Mixson Wins 11th Circuit Appeal Upholding the Dismissal of Antitrust Claims Brought by the FTC in $195 Million Hospital AcquisitionDecember 12, 2011
- November 2011Best Lawyers
- October 4, 2011
- August 2011The Bencher - July/August 2011
- Bondurant Mixson Obtains Dismissal of Antitrust Claims Brought by the FTC in $195 Million Hospital AcquisitionJune 2011
- June 2011Chambers USA 2011
- Emmet Bondurant selected to receive the 2011 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Eleventh CircuitApril 28, 2011
- February 24, 2011
- February 22, 2011Atlanta Magazine
- January 25, 2011
- 2010Best Lawyers
- 2010Atlanta Magazine
- June 2010Chambers USA 2010
- 2010Best Lawyers
- 2007Lawdragon 500
University of Georgia School of Law, LL.B., 1960, magna cum laude
University of Georgia, A.B., 1958, cum laude
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Phi Kappa Phi
Harvard Law School, LL.M., 1962
Law Clerk, Judge Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1960-1961
- State Bar of Georgia
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- Supreme Court of Georgia