Looking back on entering Emory University as a freshman in the fall of 1930, Randolph Thrower says he wanted to become a lawyer because it “promised to be a unique platform to serve the community and pursue an interesting and challenging career. My interests were stimulated by the careers of lawyers who had served their community, state and nation in so many ways while effectively representing their clients. I also looked forward to participating in the fellowship that exists among members of the bar.”
The young, Depression-era freshman, now a venerated senior partner in the Atlanta office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan has, for nearly seven decades lived up to the challenges and been an example of service to not only to his clients but to the profession and the community. In recognition of his lifelong professional, intellectual and moral leadership, Mr. Thrower was presented the American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Eleventh Circuit by Judge Susan Black at the Eleventh Circuit Judicial Conference in May 2003.
Randolph W. Thrower graduated from Emory University, receiving a B.Ph in 1934, and his J.D. 1936 with first honors. He was awarded an honorary LL.D. by Emory University in 1984. He has served in the FBI as a Special Agent from 1942 to 1943 and in the United States Marine Corps with rank of Captain with overseas service in the Philippines and Okinawa from 1944 to 1945. From 1969 to 1971, he served as U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. He joined the Sutherland law firm in 1936 and has practiced in the firm's Washington and Atlanta offices.
From 1980 to 1992, Mr. Thrower served as chair of the Ethics Committee of the City of Atlanta. He has served as Trustee on the Boards of Clark College and Reinhardt College, is a Trustee and former Chair of the Board of Wesleyan College of Macon, Georgia, and is an Emeritus Trustee of Emory University. He is a past-President of the Metropolitan Atlanta and Georgia Mental Health Associations, and past chairman of the Fulton County Advisory Board on Mental Health.
Throughout his legal career, his work has primarily been in the areas of federal taxation, including civil and criminal tax controversies, litigation, estate planning and administration, general corporate and individual tax-related matters. He is widely regarded as one of the leading tax practitioners in the Eleventh Circuit.
Mr. Thrower is a past president of the American Bar Foundation, and served for 10 years on its Executive Committee. He was a long-time member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates, past chair of the Section of Taxation, member of its Task Force on Minorities in the Law, and on the Council of the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities. He was a member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession from 1986 to 1992. He was a member and chair of Georgia's Committee on the Involvement of Women and Minorities in the Profession, and one of the founders and the first President of the Court of Federal Claims Bar Association. He is currently an advisory member of the ABA Council of the Fund for Justice and Education and former chair of its Committee on Restructuring.
Among other offices, he has served as President of the Atlanta Bar Association, the Atlanta Lawyers Club, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and he has also chaired the Georgia Wilderness Institutes (a unit of Associated Marine Institutes providing education and rehabilitative services for criminally delinquent youth in outdoor environments). He is a member of the Executive Committee of Associated Marine Institutes. He is a past President of the Metropolitan Atlanta and Georgia Mental Health Associations, and past chairman of a Fulton County Advisory Board on Mental Health.
In 1993, Mr. Thrower received the American Bar Association Medal, the ABA's highest honor, for his public, professional and government service. He was the recipient in 1995 of the Court of Federal Claims Special Service Award and received the Tax Section's Distinguished Service Award for 1996. In 1992, he received the Leadership Award of the Atlanta Bar Association and more recently the Segal-Tweed Founders Award of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
On March 20, 1998, he was honored as one of three persons selected as "Heroes, Saints, and Legends" by the Wesley Woods Center on Aging, which is associated with the Medical Center of Emory University. He received the 1998 Ben F. Johnson Jr. Public Service Award from Georgia State University College of Law. On February 16, 1999, he received the John Wesley Award from Reinhardt College. In May, 1999, he received the Lifetime Anti-Defamation League Achievement Award, and in June, 1999, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, he received a special tribute from the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.