Attorney - Sam L.  Brannen, Jr.


Sam L. Brannen, Jr.
Attorney at Law
HBS Atlanta Office

P: 404-586-6638
F: 678-539-1582
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A native Georgian, Sam brings unique work and educational experiences to the Firm from his representation of local governments, their officers and employees, and Constitutional county officers. He has experience advising local governments of all types in matters including, but not limited to: appellate advocacy, liability, state and local taxes, government affairs, Clean Water Act issues, financing (including bonds, TADs, TANs, and utilities), retirement plan compliance, and drafting of varied local ordinances. In addition, he has provided formal training to municipal and county officials and employees. His practice has spanned from the courtrooms of Southern Georgia to the courtrooms of the District of Columbia.
On a personal level, Sam lives with his wife in the midtown Atlanta community. Both are involved with local civic organizations, are fans of the University of Georgia, and enjoy running. He is a past graduate of Leadership DeKalb and a current member of the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, where he serves as Chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. They attend church in Buckhead.

Practice Areas

Alternative Dispute Resolution/Arbitration

Sam is experienced representing clients in mediation and arbitration, bringing his diverse experience to help clients achieve cost-effective resolution of matters outside of the traditional litigation realm. He is trained and registered in Georgia as a General Civil Mediator. 


Sam represents local governments, their officers and employees, and Constitutional officers in both state and federal appellate courts. He is particularly knowledgeable and skilled in appellate practice, having briefed and argued numerous cases before state and federal appellate courts with a high level of success.

Business Litigation

Sam represents clients in business disputes at the administrative, trial, and appellate level on issues ranging from contract disputes to state and local property tax issues.


Sam represents local governments in employment disputes, including claims alleging discrimination, from the trial level to the federal appellate level. He was the principal drafter of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on the issue of qualified immunity in the employment context. He has experience representing local governments before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Further, Sam has federal tax experience relating to employment from his work assisting local governments with administration and compliance issues related to qualified retirement plans. 

Government Affairs

Sam represents local governments, Constitutional officers, and other clients in matters before the Georgia General Assembly and various state agencies, both by drafting and editing proposed legislation and providing comments to proposed regulations. He has experience serving as a registered lobbyist. He has experience filing amicus curiae briefs and pursuing intervention on behalf of clients with important interests at stake in matters pending in the state and federal appellate courts. In addition, Sam is experienced in assisting local governments in their economic development efforts through the use of tax allocation districts and authorities. Sam has represented local governments in a variety of public finance matters, working as or with issuer’s counsel, in conjunction with bond counsel, underwriter's counsel, disclosure counsel, borrower's counsel, letter of credit bank's counsel, and trustee's counsel. These public finance matters have included issuance of general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, and certificates of participation, as well as bond refundings.

Governmental Liability

Sam represents local governments and Constitutional Officers in all types of liability claims, both at the trial and appellate level. He has drafted numerous trial and appellate court briefs on the issue of liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, one of which led to a decision of first impression on whether a Sheriff acts with final policymaking authority for the county or the state in the context of an action under § 1983. He was co-drafter of a Response to a Petition for Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on this issue. His work has also included the defense of inverse condemnation claims, eminent domain actions, and land use and contracting matters. He has experience successfully litigating disputes involving the Clean Water Act, including MS4 and NPDES permitting requirements. Further, Sam represents local governments and their officers and employees in matters relating to state and local taxes, including issues relating to sales taxes (e.g., LOST, SPLOST, HOST), ad valorem property taxes, transfer taxes, occupation taxes, and motor fuel taxes. Recently, Sam was instrumental in the successful defense of a Constitutional challenge relating to local option sales taxes and transportation funding.


J.D., University of Georgia School of Law, 1996
M.B.A. coursework, Georgia State University, 2000-2003
B.S., Major in Psychology with minors in Political Science and Philosophy, Georgia Southern University, 1992


State Bar of Georgia
Georgia Superior Courts
Georgia Supreme Court
Georgia Court of Appeals
U.S.D.C., S.D. Ga.
U.S.D.C., N.D. Ga.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, S.D. Ga.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Ga.
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Cir.
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fed. Cir.


Certified Georgia Civil Mediator, November 2014
Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chair, 2016
National Association of Bond lawyers, 2014-2015
Leadership DeKalb, Class of 2010
Chair (2006-07), Taxation Law Section, State Bar of Georgia


Revised and presented Occupation Taxes and Regulatory Fees publication for Georgia Municipal Association


Georgia Municipal Clerks and Finance Officers Association, 2015
Georgia Association of Business Tax Officials, 2015
DeKalb Municipal Association (Legislative Update), 2015
Georgia Municipal Association City Attorney's Section, 2015
Tax Commissioners' Technology Development Council, May 2007
Georgia Association of Tax Officials, July 2005