Athens, Ga. – J. Stephen Shi, a University of Georgia law graduate with experience in teaching and practicing employment, environmental and safety law, is the new director of the university’s Equal Opportunity Office. Shi succeeds Len Davis, who retired March 31 after 28 years as EOO director.
Shi, who earned his law degree from UGA in 1977 and a master’s in law from the University of Virginia law school in 1984, has since 2000 maintained a sole practice emphasizing employment, environmental and land use law. Much of his practice involves advising clients on compliance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations.
Previously he was a partner with the Atlanta law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton L.L.P. and with other firms in Atlanta and North Carolina. He also had a 33-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps as both a combat infantry officer and a judge advocate. During his military career, he conducted numerous investigations into alleged criminal or other inappropriate conduct by military members and civilians employed by the Department of Defense.
Since 2002, he has held adjunct appointments in the UGA law school, where he teaches a course on military and international law, and the Terry College of Business, where he teaches a course on employment and labor law.
UGA President Michael F. Adams said the university “is very fortunate to have attracted someone to lead the Equal Opportunity Office with the background and ability of Steve Shi.
With experience in private practice out of state and at Kilpatrick Stockton, one of Atlanta’s finest firms, he comes to us not only as a UGA alumnus concerned with the institution’s well-being, but also as someone committed to ensuring equal treatment and equal opportunity for all.”
The EOO is responsible for UGA’s compliance with federal and state laws dealing with access to employment, enrollment and other programs and services. The office assists the university in compliance matters with the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The office also administers the university’s Affirmative Action Plan, and maintains the University System of Georgia Applicant Clearinghouse, a job placement referral service for colleges and universities in the system. Beginning Oct. 1, the EOO also will be responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment at UGA, and enforcing the university’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy.
Davis will continue working part-time for two months to help with the leadership transition in the office.
As a partner in the Kilpatrick Stockton environmental practice group, Shi handled compliance, permitting, transactional and litigation matters involving state and federal environmental laws. He also dealt with litigation concerning product liability, commercial real estate and land use.
Previously he headed the environmental practice group in the Atlanta office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart. He was also a partner with Petree Stockton L.L.P. in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he established a 15-person environmental practice group.
While in North Carolina, he was an adjunct professor in a joint law-MBA program at Wake Forest University and taught in the continuing legal education programs at the University of North Carolina and Georgetown University law schools. He also has been an instructor for the State Bar of Georgia professional education program
He has been listed in the publication The Best Lawyers in America since 1992 and has received the highest rating for experience and ethics by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.
As a Marine officer, Shi commanded a special operations/reconnaissance unit in Vietnam, where he was wounded and decorated for valor. He later participated in the Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns and was a special advisor to the U.S. Special Operations Command.
He twice served as commanding officer of the Law of War Training Unit that trains U.S. and foreign military personnel in the laws of war. He also headed a joint military-civilian team that conducted training programs in rules of law for civilian and military government officials of the government of Hungary.
He taught international and operational law at the Air Force Air University and the Air Force Judge Advocate’s General School, and also taught in the Navy ROTC program at the University of Virginia.
Shi has written articles for legal and business publications and conducted training programs for numerous organizations. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and its international, environmental law and litigation sections, and is admitted to practice in U.S. District Courts in Georgia, the 4th and 11th circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.