Randy Kessler nominated as Man of the Year

From an auto titan to a real estate maverick, the men who have shaped Atlanta’s past—and its future—couldn’t be more different in their professions and approaches, but they all share one common trait: a no-holds-barred approach to what they do. Along with actor Ed Helms, we celebrate 11 other gents we deemed Men of the Year.

Randall M. Kessler Law

A few years ago, during a break in a child-support trial in front of a jury, boxer Evander Holyfield started shooting the breeze with family-law attorney Randall M. Kessler and his partner, Marvin Solomiany. Soon enough, Holyfield was demonstrating a boxing technique, playfully throwing shadow punches that came within a hair of Solomiany’s face. “You’re not going to hit my partner, are you?” Kessler jokingly asked the pugilist, to which Holyfield responded, “I don’t hit anybody for free.” Here’s the thing: They were opposing him in court. “It’s been my experience that these celebrities have thick skin,” Kessler says. The lawyer’s personal practice involves about 25 percent high-profile athletes, rappers and other celebs. He’s represented more than a 100 NBA and NFL players, and gone up against Michael Jordan, Usher, Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Smith, T-Pain and many others he can’t reveal. He maintains collegial relationships with many of these men—sometimes even goes to games with them. Kessler fights against the stereotype that divorce cases have to be bloodsport, and that he’s out to eviscerate the opponent. “My job is to motivate the other side, as well as my client, to get matters resolved out of court in a fair way,” says Kessler.