Our Attorneys

Joseph B. Atkins

Joseph B. Atkins is Of Counsel at Downey & Cleveland where he represents governments, businesses, and individuals in matters involving land use, zoning, wireless telecommunications, permitting, storm water, infrastructure construction and maintenance, voting rights, redistricting, and governmental ethics. He also defends governments, individuals, businesses, and insurance companies in personal injury, premises liability, and property damage litigation. In addition to his tenure as a partner in a leading Georgia law firm, Mr. Atkins practiced thirteen years in the Cobb County Attorney’s Office, where he was both a Deputy and an Interim County Attorney. He has served as lead counsel in thousands of land use matters and hearings, hundreds of hearings and trials in state and federal courts, the Georgia Public Service Commission, and the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. Mr. Atkins has also counseled local governments and associations and lobbied legislators on their behalf on issues related to local government matters. In this capacity, he was instrumental in forging Georgia’s current wireless telecommunications statutes.


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, the University of Georgia, 1984
Juris Doctorate, the University of Georgia School of Law, 1987

Practice Areas

Local Government, Land Use, Zoning, Wireless Telecommunications, Permitting, Storm Water, Infrastructure Construction and Maintenance, Voting Rights, Redistricting, Governmental Ethics, General Tort Liability, Automobile Accident Liability, Premises Liability.

Court Admissions

Supreme Court of the United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
Supreme Court of Georgia
Court of Appeals of Georgia
Georgia Superior and State Courts


State Bar of Georgia
Lawyers Foundation of Georgia
Cobb County Bar Association
Lawyers Club of Atlanta

Publications and Continuing Legal Education Presentations

Local Government Regulation of High Voltage Electrical Transmission Lines, Metro City and County Attorney’s Seminar, 2003
Zoning of Churches, Institute for City and County Attorneys, 2005
Regulation of Cell Towers, Metro City and County Attorneys’ Seminar, 2013

Sampling of Published Decisions and Significant Matters

Crumly v. Cobb County Bd. of Elections and Voter Registration, 892 F.Supp.2d 1333 (N.D. Ga. 2012)
T-Mobile South LLC v. Cobb County, Ga., 2011 WL 336641 (N.D. Ga. 2011)
Cobb County v. Georgia Transmission Corp., 276 Ga. 367, 578 S.E.2d 852 (2003)
Smith v. Cobb County Bd. of Elections and Registration, 230 F.Supp.2d 1313 (N.D. Ga. 2002)
Johnson v. Hamrick, 196 F.3d 1216 (11th Cir. 1999)
Askew v. City of Rome, 127 F.3d 1355 (11th Cir. 1997)
Lead Zoning Counsel to Board of Commissioners of Cobb County for $1 Billion Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball Stadium and Mixed Use Project (2013-2014)
Advisor to Statewide Associations of Local Governments and Legislators Regarding Georgia’s Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development (BILD) Act (O.C.G.A. § 36-66B-1 et seq.) (2008-2014)
Lead Counsel to Board of Commissioners of Cobb County on Redistricting Matters Following Decennial Census (2002 & 2012)
Lead Counsel to Cobb County Government on Ethics and Pre-Clearance Matters Related to Tax Allocation District Referendum, Bond Referenda, and numerous SPLOST Referenda (2005-2012)

Community Involvement

Cobb County Ethics Board, Member
Boy Scout Troop 713, St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, Scoutmaster
Rotary Club of Marietta, Rotalight Editor
Peachtree Road United Methodist Church