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Newsmakers in business: Dawson public defender McNeill earns state honors
Rob McNeill

Rob McNeill, the chief assistant public defender in Dawson County, was recently named Assistant Circuit Defender of the Year for the state of Georgia at the Georgia Public Defender Council’s annual conference in Savannah.

It is the third time in five years that an attorney from the Northeastern Judicial Circuit has been named Assistant Circuit Defender of the Year following Travis A. Williams in 2011 and Brett M. Willis in 2013.

The office represents criminal defendants who cannot afford lawyers in Hall and Dawson Counties.

McNeill was awarded a Juris Doctor degree from the Baylor University School of Law in 1989. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1976.

He has practiced criminal law for more than 26 years. As the chief assistant in Dawson County, he oversees representation of indigent criminal defendants in more than 500 cases annually. McNeill is also heavily involved in Dawson County’s Drug Court. He joined the public defenders office in August 2006.

Brad Morris, who heads up the circuit public defender’s office, noted McNeill has shown empathy for the less fortunate.

“One cold Saturday, he was working in his office and a homeless woman with no resources or place to stay wandered into the office,” Morris said. “This person was not a client, but Rob called around until he could find a resource to assist her, and drove her to this safe spot.

“Rob has done this type of thing for many people. He is a truly caring, contributing citizen and a real asset for our office and the community.”