Meet the Commission Members

The Commission consists of five appointed members. Three of the Commissioners are appointed by the Governor (not more than two can be from the same political party), two for terms of three years and one for a term of two years; one member is appointed by the Senate Committee on Assignments for a term of four years; and one member is appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives for a term of four years. The Act provides that members of the Commission can not serve for more than one term. The Act further provides that any person who has qualified to run for office, or has held any federal, state, or local public office within a period of five years prior to appointment is not eligible to serve as a member of the Commission.

Kevin Abernethy, Esq., Chair
Hillary Stringfellow, Esq., Vice Chair
Heath Garrett, Esq., Member
Dennis T. Cathey, Esq., Member
R. Lawton Jordan III, Member

Kevin Abernethy, Esq., Chair

Kevin Abernethy is a Partner in the Atlanta office of Hall Booth Smith. Mr. Abernethy has extensive litigation experience handling civil rights claims for the City of Atlanta, large complex environmental lawsuits, corporate suits, and claims involving professional negligence. He has litigation experience in both Georgia and Tennessee and is licensed in both these states. His practice concentrates on high exposure cases.

In 2010, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle appointed Mr. Abernethy to a four-year term on the State Ethics Commission, a quasi-judicial body with statewide jurisdiction over ethical issues involving public officials, lobbyists, and state vendors. Mr. Abernethy was selected to serve as Chairman of the Ethics Commission in 2011 and he was reelected Chairman in 2012. Mr. Abernethy is the youngest Chairman in Georgia’s history. In 2010, Governor Perdue appointed him to a three year term to the board of the Superior Court Clerks Retirement Fund of Georgia, a position of fiduciary responsibility and oversight over a multimillion dollar portfolio.

He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1999 with his B.A. in Political Science. During college, he represented his school as the UGA Student Body President. Mr. Abernethy was selected for membership in the Pi Sigma Alpha National Honorary Society in Political Science and Omicron Delta Kappa as an undergraduate.  Before entering law school, Mr. Abernethy served as a legislative aide in the Georgia State Senate to the chairman of the committee on Natural Resources and the chairman of Appropriations.

Mr. Abernethy earned his Juris Doctorate from the Georgia State University College of Law in 2005. While in law school, he gained honors recognition for his work in a mock-trial litigation course. Mr. Abernethy also received a CALI Excellence for the Future Award for his academic performance in Interview Counseling & Negotiation.

Hillary Stringfellow, Esq., Vice Chair

Hillary S. Stringfellow practices law with the Brunswick firm of Gilbert, Harrell, Sumerford & Martin, P.C. where she specializes in trust and estates planning and administration, as well as working with tax-exempt organizations.

Currently she serves on the Judicial Nominating Commission, is a member of the Southeast Georgia Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, and sits on the Georgia FFA Foundation Sponsors Board. She is a past chair of the American Cancer Society Victory Gala and is active with the Hospice of the Golden Isles as well as the Fiduciary Section of the State Bar of Georgia. Mrs. Stringfellow served as a law clerk under Judge Duross Fitzpatrick, United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

Mrs. Stringfellow received both her Bachelor’s and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Georgia.

Heath Garrett, Esq., Member

Heath Garrett is a founding member of the law firm Turner, Bachman & Garrett LLC. He also leads the southeast office of the Stevens and Schreifer Group, a national media advertising firm. Mr. Garrett currently serves on the boards of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Council for Quality Growth and the Georgia chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

He previously served as U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s chief of staff, where he worked as the chief political strategist for Isakson’s successful U.S. Senate campaigns in 2004 and 2010. Mr. Garrett’s other political clients have included: Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and the Georgia Republican Party. From 1996 to 1998, he served as a legal and policy adviser to Chairman Johnny Isakson and the Georgia State Board of Education. Garrett is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Georgia.

Mr. Garrett graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1995. While attending university he served as an editor for the Georgia Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. Mr. Garrett and his wife, Lee, have three children. The family resides in Marietta.

Dennis T. Cathey, Esq., Member

Dennis T. Cathey is a founding member of the law firm Cathey & Strain in Cornelia, Georgia. A member of the State Bar of Georgia and the American Bar Association, Mr. Cathey served the State Bar as a member of the Board of Governors. He has also served on the Investigative Panel of the State Bar Disciplinary Committee. Mr. Cathey is a member of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, having served as its president during 2004-2005. He has been selected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Trial Advocates. A recipient of the State Bar Traditions of Excellence Award, Mr. Cathey currently serves on the Judicial Nominating Commission for the State of Georgia and the State Bar Committee on Legislation. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia.

Mr. Cathey received his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Georgia and was an officer in the United States Army Medical Service Corps. He and his wife, Vicki, reside in Demorest, Georgia.

R. Lawton Jordan III, Member

A native of Augusta, Georgia, Lawton Jordan III is an attorney at Davis, Matthews and Quigley, P.C. in Atlanta, where he has a general business practice focusing on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and real estate.

Mr. Jordan is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association, and formerly served as a member of the executive committee of the Real Property Section of the State Bar of Georgia. He is admitted to practice before the Georgia Supreme Court, and is a member of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta.

From 1994 to 1996 Mr. Jordan worked at the White House in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and served as Chief Legal Counsel to the Minority Caucus in the Georgia State Senate in 2002 and 2003. In 2003 he was selected as a “40 under 40 Rising Star” by Georgia Trend Magazine. In 2007 and 2009, Mr. Jordan was selected by other lawyers for inclusion as a “Rising Star” in the list of Georgia Super Lawyers.

Mr. Jordan graduated from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, cum laude, with a B.A. in 1993. He received his J.D. in 2000 from the University of Georgia.

Mr. Jordan and his wife Jennifer live in Atlanta with their two young children. They are members of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

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