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September 28, 2009

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” -- Milton Berle

South University Newsroom

Erica Usher
Savannah, Georgia
Employment: Mental Health Court Coordinator for the Chatham County Superior Court

Her husband calls her steadfast, her children call her mom, her boss calls her amazing as well as the one who can, and has, accomplished “mammoth” achievements. 

In 2005, Erica Usher graduated from South University with her degree in Legal Studies.  As a full-time student at South University, she took night classes, raised her two young children, and cared in-home for her elderly grandmother, who has suffered with Alzheimer’s. 

Today, Erica presses on and is also the Mental Health Court Coordinator for the Chatham County Superior Court.  In addition to pursuing her legal career, she has also started the MBA program at South University.  Ultimately, she plans to enter law school by 2011.

“I want to be the best wife I can, raise healthy, responsible children who will give back to society and be productive citizens.  Career-wise, I want to make policy changes as high up as I can and to advocate for causes that I know deserve attention and legal revisions.  I want to see that justice is done, as much as I can,” Erica shares.

Unbeknownst to her, people have been watching and admiring her enthusiasm for legal procedures.  Her hard work and dedication to “doing what’s right” is hard to miss if you spend anytime working with, or just getting to know, Erica.

Judge Penny Haas Freesemann of the Chatham County Superior Court observes, “Each and every day, Erica works incredibly hard to build a collaboration between the mental health and legal communities.”

Judge Freesemann nominated Erica for the Liberty Bell Award in 2009, which Erica won hands-down. 

“I had no idea I was in the running, but I was so honored when I heard I won,” Erica admits. Issued yearly by the Savannah Bar Association to a non-lawyer, The Liberty Bell Award recognizes a constituent who has shown “outstanding initiatives” within the legal system. 

“It’s a great honor to have been nominated, and even a greater honor to be the recipient,” Erica says.

In her “spare” time, Erica has also received commendation for writing a pro-se conviction manual for the Georgia Council of Court Administrators.

“It was a great experience and I learned a lot by writing the manual, and I’m happy to hear Chatham County won The Most Innovative Program of the Year Award for the work.”

Erica is a strong believer that “you get out of life what you put into it.”  She’s a hard one to settle for “just getting by” in life.

“Well, my husband says I’m steadfast, others may call it determination, or even persistent.  I just know that when I hit roadblocks, I don’t stop.  I just try to figure out a way to keep going, and find the answer.  That’s something incredibly important to seeing justice happen in life.”