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Michael H. Trotter papers

Identifier: Y001.PUBLIC

Scope and Content of the Papers

The Michael H. Trotter papers are comprised of correspondence, reports, speeches, articles and newspaper clippings, certificates, bound volumes, resolutions and proclamations spanning more that forty years of civic activism. The materials reflect Trotter's interest and involvement in Atlanta matters from 1962 and 2016 through his work and service with a variety of committees and nonprofit organizations. The papers document Trotter's service in leadership role for Atlanta Action Forum, Atlanta Committee for Public Education, Good Government Atlanta, and Research Atlanta, and his commitment to addressing the city's educational and social problems.


  • Creation: 1962-2016


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research use. Access to materials in this collection is restricted for 15 years after the dates of their respective creation.

This finding aid represents the portions of the collection open in 2016. Consult archivist for more information.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.

Biography of Michael H. Trotter

Michael H. Trotter was born in Atlanta in 1936 and attended the Clark Howell School and later the Henry Grady High School. He trained at Harvard University's School of Law and was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1961. He has extensive experience as a securities lawyer and with business acquisitions, debt financing, and family businesses. In addition to authoring legal articles and teaching, Trotter, who also earned a Harvard master of arts in history, researched and wrote a historical analysis of the legal profession based on several Atlanta firms. Profit and the Practice of Law: What's Happened to the Legal Profession? (University of Georgia Press, 1997) is considered the definitive work on growth and change in the legal profession in America from 1960 to 1995. His articles on law firm management issues have appeared in the American Bar Association Journal, the National Law Journal, Southern Legal History, and the Fulton County Daily Report.

Trotter received the Distinguished Service Award of the Atlanta Business League in 1986 for his contributions to improving racial relations in Atlanta. In 2000 he was awarded the Igniting a Passion for Justice Award of the Southern Regional Council for his work in public school reform and for the creation of Good Government Atlanta, Research Atlanta, and the Atlanta Committee for Public Education. Mike Trotter is a leading corporate and finance attorney, and has been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America since 1998. Mr. Trotter has spoken on numerous occasions to civic clubs in Atlanta including speeches to the Atlanta Rotary Club and the Hungry Club Forum of the Butler Street YMCA.

He has also been involved in state and local politics. Mr. Trotter was active in Jimmy Carter's successful 1970 campaign for Governor. He served the first two mayoral campaigns for Maynard Jackson (1973, 1977) as the Co-Chairman of the group Lawyers for Maynard Jackson. He has served in numerous other campaigns for Atlanta mayor, City Council seats and presidency, the Fulton County Commission, and the Atlanta Board of Education.

Mr. Trotter has been an Adjunct Professor of Law and Research Fellow at the Emory University School of Law. He has taught courses in securities law, as well as in legal service delivery and law practice economics with a focus on how law firms can provide their clients with more cost-effective legal services. Mr. Trotter has often written and spoken on the topics of law firm economics, the cost-effective practice of law, various topics concerning corporation and securities laws, and on good government, public education, poverty and racial relations.

Being a native Atlantan, Trotter's concern involved a wide variety of community and political affairs. Trotter's civic engagement has included establishing a number of committees and groups, including being a founding member of the Atlanta Action Forum, a committee comprised of civic minded businessmen working to resolve social problems facing Atlanta. He served as its secretary, 1971-1992. Mr Trotter has worked tirelessly to reform and improve the Atlanta Public School System. Presently he serves as President and Director of Good Government Atlanta, a committee working to improve the public schools, and is a member of the Atlanta Committee for Public Education. A founder of the committee, he served as its secretary, 1994-2002. Good Government Atlanta has actively participated in the last four Atlanta City elections by seeking able candidates for the Board of Education and supporting them.

Mr. Trotter has been a partner in the law firm of Alston, Miller & Gaines (now Alston & Bird); and other law firms as Trotter, Boudurant, Griffin, Miller & Hishon; and Trotter Smith & Jacobs; he is currently Of Counsel to the firm of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP. Mr. Trotter's wife, Sue, has been a member of the Board of the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), and was one of the co-founders of the Science and Technology Museum of Atlanta (SciTrek).


32.9 Linear Feet (in 81 boxes)

Language of Materials



Michael H. Trotter (born 1936) has been dedicated to civic and educational reform in his home city of Atlanta. In addition to his career as an attorney, professor of law, and legal historian, he has participated in such civic groups as the Atlanta Action Forum, the Atlanta Committee for Public Education, and Good Government Atlanta, earning recognition for his work toward racial equality and school reform. Trotter's papers, 1962-2016, document civic reform in Atlanta with minutes, correspondence, and printed material such as reports.


The papers are arranged into nine series:

  1. Series I: Atlanta Action Forum, 1971-2016
  2. Series II: Atlanta Urban Design Commission, 1990-2008
  3. Series III: Education Committees, 1971-2009
  4. Series IV: Good Government Atlanta, 1966-2010
  5. Series V: Research Atlanta, 1965-2005
  6. Series VI: Buckhead Coalition, 1989-1991
  7. Series VII: Civic and Personal, 1962-2008
  8. Series VIII: Education files, 1990-2010
  9. Series IX: Audiovisual and Visual Materials, 1968, 1988-2007

Acquisition Information

Donated by Michael H. Trotter in multiple accessions Y2006-01, Y2007-01, Y2009-02, and Y2016-01.

Related Archival Materials Note

Related Materials in this Repository

  1. Nell H. Trotter papers (W036)

Separated Materials note

During processing, printed books and reports were separated to the Special Collections and Archives book collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Hilary Morrish at the file level, 2011-2012. Update conducted when additional materials were donated in the summer of 2016.

Michael H. Trotter:
A Guide to His Papers at Georgia State University Library
Hilary Morrish
1 March 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2881 (Fax)