Judge Daniel M. Coursey, Jr. is the recipient of this year’s Legal Pioneer Award, presented at the annual Bench and Bar reception.
Born and raised in DeKalb county, Coursey is a graduate of Avondale High School, attended the University of North Carolina, and graduated from Emory University. He earned his law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he graduated first in his class and served as class governor.
After university, Coursey served as a captain, trial counsel, and military judge in the Staff Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Air Force. He then moved into private practice, where he specialized as a civil trial attorney with the firms of Powell Goldstein and McLaughlin & Coursey. In 1982, he was elected superior court judge in the Stone Mountain judicial circuit from a field of five candidates. Re-elected eight times, Coursey is the longest-serving superior court judge in the history of the Stone Mountain judicial circuit.
Coursey has served as president of the Council of Superior Court Judges of Georgia, chief judge of the Stone Mountain judicial circuit, administrative judge for the 4th Judicial District, and a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia. He also served as chair of the Georgia Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competency, president of the judicial section of the Atlanta Bar Association, and a member of the Committee on Qualifications and Compensation of Defense Counsel, the State Board of Court Reporting, and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism.
Also active in his community, Coursey served as president of the Decatur Rotary Club, president of his neighborhood civic association, vice chair of the Board of the Atlanta Ministry to International Students, and a member of the DeKalb, Atlanta, Georgia, and American Bar Associations, the American Judicature Society, Atlanta Lawyers Club, Old War Horse Lawyers Club, DeKalb Lawyers Association, and Gridiron. He is a member of St. James United Methodist Church, where he has served as chairman of the administrative board, a member of the board of trustees, and president of his Sunday school class.
He is married to Heidi Schluter-Coursey and has four children, four grandchildren, and a golden retriever.