Rising Stars 2014: Paul Vranicar | 34

By Paul Shea

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  • Associate, Holland & Knight
  • Bard College, language and literature, 2001
  • Emory University School of Law, 2006

Let's jump ahead to see what the future might look like for Paul Vranicar.

"Paul will be part of the next resurgence of legal/civic statesmen in 10 years," predicts Bharath Parthasarathy, deputy general counsel at Georgia State University, "following in the steps of Ben Johnson, Lawrence Ashe, Chilton Varner, Leah Ward Sears and other lawyers who provided elite legal counsel to their clients while recognizing the importance of serving their greater community."

Not a bad path to walk, but let's come back to today and a different trail: the Atlanta Beltline. Vranicar represented Atlanta Public Schools against taxpayer challenges to the funding mechanism APS agreed upon regarding funding of the Beltline.

It's the same funding structure currently causing strife between the city of Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools, Parthasarathy says, adding that "such efforts illustrate Paul's ability to merge zealous advocacy for his clients with a greater purpose of civic engagement and civic resurgence."

The case, which Vranicar says is the work he is most proud of in his career, ultimately upheld the constitutionality of tax allocation districts. "I managed to do a lot of heavy lifting in preparing the arguments that convinced the trial court to grant summary judgment," Vranicar says, "along with Lem Ward and Charles Johnson, and also assisted Norman Fletcher and Lee Carter in preparing the appeals."

Vranicar's civic work began around the time he joined Holland & Knight in 2008 when, as he puts it, "one of our young partners decided to run for mayor."

That would be Kasim Reed.

Vranicar says he was always interested in things like transportation infrastructure and economic development. When Reed offered him an opportunity to work on his policy team, he jumped at the chance.

"I got a bit excited about the possibility of our ideas becoming the actual policy of the city in which I lived," he says, "and so we just put in a lot of late nights and weekends—we all kept our day jobs—getting the work done."

Vranicar also serves on the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. This service, Parthasarathy says, has placed Vranicar in the thick of discussions about the redevelopment of intown Atlanta, the role of professional sports in Atlanta and the creation of public-private partnerships for economic growth, all at a relatively young age.

Google's public policy and government relations senior counsel, Amol Naik, who worked with Vranicar on Reed's campaign, agrees.

"The thing about Paul's civic involvement that is particularly remarkable is the breadth and depth of his political engagement," Naik says. "Over the past several years, Paul has played an instrumental role in numerous federal, state and local political campaigns in Georgia. As a result, Paul has a very strong network of political contacts statewide. Paul is a trusted adviser to many elected officials across the political spectrum, which is rare and extremely valuable."


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