Attorney Nina R. Hickson currently serves as Vice President and General Counsel for The Atlanta BeltLine Inc., the most comprehensive transportation and economic development revitalization effort undertaken by the City of Atlanta, expected to result in more than $10 billion in economic development. Prior to assuming this role, she served as the Ethics Officer for the City of Atlanta from 2012 until April of 2016. In this role she was responsible for educating all city officials and employees of the requirements for conducting city business in compliance with the City’s Code of Ethics. She also oversaw the City’s financial disclosure process and prosecuted violations of the Ethics Code.
Immediately prior to this appointment, Attorney Hickson served as Interim City Manager for the East Point, Georgia, where she had been the City Attorney for six years. She was appointed October 17, 2005 by the Mayor and City Council of this city of 40,000 residents. As the chief legal officer for the municipal government, she provided legal services related to all civil litigation, administrative hearings, economic development initiatives, legislative proposals and commercial transactions for the City. During her tenure as City Attorney, she created a legal department with an outstanding reputation for professionalism and responsiveness. Her broad range of skills and effectiveness led her to serving as Acting Human Resources Director as well as Acting City Manager in the absence of these officials.
Prior to assuming the role of City Attorney for East Point, Attorney Hickson was the inaugural Chief Assistant Public Defender for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit and Director of the Juvenile Division of the office which provided indigent defense for citizens in six counties in southeast Georgia. She was hired to help establish this office under the recently-formed Georgia Public Defender’s Standard’s Council.
In May of 1999, the Honorable Nina R. Hickson was appointed as Judge to the Fulton County Juvenile Court, where she served from 2002-2004 as its Chief Presiding Judge. At that time, the Court had the largest juvenile court caseload in the state of Georgia.
During the Georgia General Assembly’s 2001 session, she was a key proponent of legislation which made the pimping of minors a felony offense under Georgia law. Prior to March of 2001, the offense was a misdemeanor. Her public stance on this issue was also instrumental in the indictment and eventual federal prosecution of 15 of the most notorious pimps in Fulton County under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) statute, the first such prosecution in the nation. Additionally, her fervent public education effort on the tragedy of child prostitution was also crucial to the establishment of “Angela’s House,” a safe house for girls who have been sexually-exploited.
Before her judicial appointment in May of 1999, Judge Hickson practiced law for 15 years in a variety of capacities including Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, General Counsel for the Atlanta Housing Authority, General Counsel and Vice President for Atlanta Life Insurance Company, the first African American female Vice President and Associate General Counsel to Primerica Financial Services, a subsidiary of the Citigroup Corporation. She also was an Adjunct Professor at Emory University School of Law from 1992 through 1997.
Her extensive community involvements have included the membership on the former Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers Board of Directors, the Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates Program Board, the Georgia Board for the Covenant House, the Community Advisory Board of the Atlanta Junior League, the Board of Metropolitan Atlanta Boys and Girls Club, and the Advisory Board to the Sister-to-Sister mentoring program which she initiated with the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys and first time juvenile female offenders. She is a member of the 2004 class of Leadership Atlanta. She was a member of the Board for the Fulton Leadership Academy Charter School.
She is a member of the Buckhead/Cascade City Chapter of The Links Incorporated where she serves as Parliamentarian, Chair of the Legislative Issues and Public Affairs Committee and a member of the national Communications Committee.
Her commitment to community service has resulted in her receiving numerous awards including the Big Voice for Children Award, the Pearl Award, the Mary Drake Human Rights Award, Outstanding Legal Advocacy Award from the National Association of Counsel for Children; the inaugural Vision in Action award from the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention ; Romae T. Powell Award from the Georgia Association of Independent Juvenile Courts; the Delta Torch Award from the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Citizen of the Year from the Citizens for Community Values.
In addition to being a public speaker on issues of juvenile justice and child welfare, she was a presenter at the White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children. Her television appearances have included 20/20 Primetime, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Pure Oxygen and CNN’s Talk Back Live.
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and her Doctor of Law degree from Emory University of Atlanta.
Family is very important to Attorney Hickson, who is the daughter of the late Dr. W.F. Hickson, Jr. of Orangeburg, South Carolina and Dr. Charlestine R. Fairley of Annapolis, Maryland. She has two brothers, William Franklin Hickson, III of Lynchburg, Virginia and George Gregory Oneal Hickson of Riverdale, Georgia.
However, she is most proud of her role as mother to her eighteen-year old daughter, Wesley Victoria.