Established through a generous donation by Georgia Law alumnus Marlan Wilbanks, we are the nation’s first legal clinic dedicated to representing survivors of child sexual abuse. CEASE opened its doors in January 2016 as a part of the University of Georgia School of Law, providing second and third-year law students with the opportunity to gain experience in the practice of law while serving a crucial need in the community. The impetus for the clinic, a new Georgia law, House Bill 17, known as the Hidden Predator Act, went into effect July 1, 2015 and extends the statute of limitations allowing survivors of child sexual abuse to file civil suits against perpetrators.
Marlan B. Wilbanks is a founding partner of Wilbanks & Gouinlock, LLP. Prior to founding this Firm, he was with the firm of Harmon, Smith, Bridges & Wilbanks and then Wilbanks & Bridges since graduation from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1986. While at Harmon, Smith, Bridges & Wilbanks, Marlan spearheaded the Firm’s efforts to achieve national recognition involving qui tam litigation or “whistleblower” suits, as they are more commonly known. In whistleblower suits, the firm represents individuals who have come forward with information concerning fraudulent acts that have been committed against the Government (federal or state).
Wilbanks, who was recognized by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund as the 2014 Lawyer of the Year, is the second Georgia Law alumnus involved in the DaVita Healthcare Partners false claims settlement agreement who has chosen to make a significant investment in training for future attorneys.
“The passage of the Hidden Predator Act signaled a desire by our state’s elected leaders to open the doors of justice to the survivors of child sexual abuse,” Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “We are honored to expand our public service footprint and help those in society who too often remain voiceless. In addition, this opportunity gives our students the chance to serve as advocates for those in our state without access to adequate legal resources. The generosity of Marlan Wilbanks will not only fund the initial phase of this transformative clinic, it will change the lives of the families touched by these crimes and shape the paths of bright aspiring attorneys.”
Marlan and his wife and kids have resided in Atlanta since 1986. Marlan is actively involved in children’s causes such as Hope Thrives, Camp Kudzu, Prevent Child Abuse and he has been active in the Big Brother Program in Atlanta for over 12 years.