Russell C. Gabriel’s name has been associated with the law school’s Criminal Defense Practicum for three decades. In 1988, he joined the school’s Legal Aid and Defender Clinic (as it was referred to then) as a staff attorney, and in 1996 he was named the director (after a three-year stint with the Federal Defender Program in Atlanta).
The 1985 School of Law alumnus said some of the highlights during his time with the clinic, which for a time served as the public defender office for the Western Judicial Circuit, included: nearly tripling the size of the attorney staff, hiring the office’s first investigator, going to court with law students as they cross-examined their first police officer and trying cases himself, including capital cases. Most of all, he said he enjoyed meeting clients and working in “an office of dedicated, enthusiastic and fierce advocates.”
While he taught Criminal Procedure and Capital Punishment, he counts the Race and the Law course as among his most memorable “podium” classes, saying he learned more than his students. “Their insights – whether tentative or confident in voice, personal and concrete or abstract and philosophical, spontaneous or reflective – are always real, profound, eye-opening and cast from a multitude of perspectives. The students bring authenticity into the classroom – a precious element that can be missing from other sources.”
Among Gabriel’s accolades are the 2018 Indigent Defense Award from the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the 2021 Eleanor C. Lanier Award for Excellence in Clinical Education.
Regarding his retirement on July 1, Gabriel said he had “lots of ideas and very few plans,” though practicing law, rebuilding his pottery studio and “hanging out” with his family in Athens; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Wooster, Ohio, are on the list.
For more than 30 years, Rogers Chair Emerita Camilla E. Watson called the School of Law home, where her course load included: Federal Income Tax, Timing Aspects of Federal Income Tax, Civil Tax Practice and Procedure, Tax Crimes and Criminal Law. She also held a courtesy appointment in UGA’s Terry College of Business.
Watson is widely published in the area of federal taxation, and she is the co-author of one of the leading casebooks Federal Tax Practice and Procedure as well as the author of the nutshell Federal Income Tax Procedure and Tax Fraud.
Although her official retirement was January 1, she was busy completing various academic projects during the spring semester. She said she found it “strange” to no longer be an active part of the law school community, and that she missed “looking at those eager young faces, representing different backgrounds and experiences that can contribute in such unexpected ways to the class discussion.”
She said her greatest memory was the day when former students Morgan L. Klinzing (J.D.’14) and Benjamin “Ben” Newell (J.D.’15) won first place in the national ABA Tax Challenge in Phoenix, Arizona. Watson was their faculty coach. “I was so proud of their wonderful performance” and “the way they befriended a team from Florida who had no faculty coach. … All in all, it was an experience that not only I but also the University of Georgia School of Law could be proud.”
Watson added that it is tremendously rewarding when she hears from former students who are “making their mark in the world.” She said these communications have made all the lengthy faculty meetings and arduous exam grading “worthwhile.”
In retirement, she will maintain her primary residence in Athens, although she plans to spend more time at her family farm in South Carolina. She also anticipates doing some volunteer work and traveling.
Director of the Law Library Carol A. Watson (J.D.’87) retired on January 1.
She had been a member of the Alexander Campbell King Law Library team since 1987 and led the nationally ranked library for more than one decade.
Watson said her biggest challenge, which also resulted in her biggest accomplishment, was “successfully navigating the COVID crisis,” adding that she cannot take credit for it alone. “Every member of the library’s team pulled together to overcome the challenges.”
She counts the law school’s people among its greatest assets. “When I think of the School of Law, I think of the people I have known over the years … classmates, students, colleagues,” and that the law school community includes the most diverse and talented individuals. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to make lifelong friends.”
Earlier this year, the law school named its outstanding legal research/writing professor award in her honor. In 2020, she was presented with the American Association of Law Libraries’ Hall of Fame Award for making “significant, substantial and long-standing contributions to the profession of legal information management.” Her work in the area of institutional repositories also earned her an AALL Academic Libraries SIS Outstanding Article Award and her recognition as a bepress Institutional Repository All-Star.
Watson said she would like to be remembered as a “caring, thoughtful individual” by her colleagues.
In retirement, she finds it “exhilarating” to have the freedom to choose how she spends her time, which will include travelling extensively with her husband. She will also make time for reading and gardening with the company of her recently adopted poodles – Bonnie and Clyde – and her two cats – Bootsie and Tootsie.