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Mr. James B. Outman

Program Co-Chair

Hester Outman LLC

James B. Outman received his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management degree in 1967 from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in November 1971 after receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.

Jim began the private practice of law in with the firm of Nall Miller & Cadenhead where he became a partner before leaving that firm in 1977 to become a partner with Hurt Richardson Garner Todd & Cadenhead. In 1979 he left private practice for a position in the General Counsel's office of Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and in 1986 he was promoted into management with Georgia-Pacific. In November 2000 he retired after 21 years with Georgia-Pacific and returned to private practice with a focus on adoption law.

In November 2000 Jim joined Ruth Claiborne and Lori Surmay in the firm of Claiborne Outman & Surmay PC and he retired from that firm in March 2010. In 2014 Jim joined Jerry and Justin Hester as of counsel with the new firm of Hester Outman LLC.

Jim and his wife, Mary Jane, adopted their late son in 1973 and that was the beginning of Jim's emphasis and expertise in adoption law. Jim has been the principal author of every piece of adoption legislation in Georgia since 1975, including the Adoption Act of 1977, which first introduced statutory forms and recognized the rights of the biological father of the adoptee. While working with Georgia-Pacific Jim was responsible for the drafting of the 1990 re-codification of Georgia's Adoption Code which had theretofore been the result of many amendments to an adoption law enacted in 1941. Jim was responsible for the legislation that, beginning in January 1998, utilizes Georgia's Putative Father Registry to provide notice to biological fathers of children who are involved in adoption and dependency proceedings.

Jim served as the principal author of the GCAL proposal that eventually became HB 159 and he and his GCAL colleagues spent over three years drafting, presenting, and advocating for the passage of H.B. 159 in the 2018 Session of the Georgia General Assembly. It was a comprehensive revision of Georgia’s Adoption Code which had been amended a total of 28 times since 1990. Jim served as the principal author of the GCAL proposal that became HB 154 that passed in the 2021 Session of the General Assembly and became effective July 1, 2021, which made several technical corrections to the recodification that passed in 2018.

October 2022 Jim has presented at all of the Adoption Law & Practice Seminars sponsored by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) since 1993 and has served as the Chair since 1995. He has also presented on adoption law to both the Superior Court Judges of the Seminars and the Law Clerk/Staff Attorney Seminars sponsored by the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education (ICJE) a total of 19 times since 1990.

Jim has participated in over 40 appellate cases, including the submission of 12 amicus briefs.

In 2002 Jim was invited to be an Adoption Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), which changed its name in 2018 to the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys; in 2020 Jim became an Honorary Adoption Fellow of AAAA.

In 2003, Jim was honored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute as an "Angel in Adoption."

In 2010 he became a founding Fellow of the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers (GCAL) and serves as Co-Chair of its advocacy committee; in 2021 Jim became an Emeritus Fellow in GCAL.

In 2016 Jim received the Outstanding Service to the Stonewall Community Award for his pro bono work on behalf of E.L. in filing amicus briefs on behalf of both AAAA and GCAL in the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, the Supreme Court of Alabama, and the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of E.L. v. V.L.

In May 2019 Jim was recognized as the 2019 Fellow of Distinction by the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) at its 30th annual conference held in Seattle, WA.

In November 2022 Jim celebrated his 51st anniversary as a member of the State Bar of Georgia.