Board of Bar Admissions honors retiring chair, welcomes new members

November 13, 2009

Ridgeland attorney James R. Mozingo was honored Thursday, Nov. 12, for 21 years of service on the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions, including seven years as chairman.

The Board of Bar Admissions on Thursday elected Jackson City Attorney Pieter Teeuwissen to serve as chair. Teeuwissen had served as vice-chair since Nov. 1, 2005. Justice James E. Graves Jr. first appointed Teeuwissen to the Board on March 25, 2002.

New members joining the board are attorneys Jeff Styres of Madison and Trey Byars of Oxford. Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. appointed Styres to the Board at the expiration of Mozingo’s term. Presiding Justice George C. Carlson Jr. appointed Byars to replace Marjorie T. O’Donnell of Oxford.

Justice Jess H. Dickinson reappointed attorney Ann Bowden-Hollis of Ocean Springs to serve a second term.

Chief Justice Waller thanked Mozingo for his 21 years of service during a reception at the Gartin Justice Building in Jackson. “You have devoted tireless hours,” he said.

Mozingo will continue his service to the bar in another capacity. Chief Justice Waller appointed him to the Bar Complaints Tribunal. “He has a lot to add to our profession, and we appreciate that,” he said.

Mozingo said, “The people who serve on this committee are here because they care about it and they care about the Bar....It has absolutely been a labor of love. I have often described this as either the best job you will ever hate or the worst job you will ever love. I never was quite sure which that actually was.”

Styres said, “ I believe that being an attorney should be and is a serious calling. Becoming an attorney also means becoming a part of one of the few professions that also sets its own standards and criteria for admission. I believe that those standards should be high, but should also be reliable and fair. In determining the admission standards for attorneys to practice in our courts, there is also a responsibility to protect the public. I am honored that Chief Justice Waller asked me to serve.”

Byars said, “It’s necessary to ensure that people of high character and fitness are admitted to the practice of law in the state of Mississippi.”

The Board administers the rules and statutes governing admission to the practice of law in Mississippi. The Board of Bar Admissions oversees the preparation, administration and evaluation of two bar examinations each year. The Board also, in conjunction with its Committee on Character and Fitness, oversees the investigation and evaluation of the character and fitness of each person who applies to become a member of the Mississippi Bar.

The Board of Bar Admissions is made up of nine practicing attorneys. Board members are appointed by the Supreme Court to staggered terms. Each member of the Supreme Court has an appointment on the Board. Three members’ terms expired Oct. 31, 2009. The membership of the Board elects its chair.

Teeuwissen is city attorney for the city of Jackson. He previously served as a special assistant to the city attorney. His private practice experience includes medical negligence, consumer, products liability, wrongful death, accident and personal injury litigation as well as domestic law. He also served as a staff attorney for the Department of Human Services from December 1990 to September 1991. He has served as a guest lecturer at Jackson State University, Howard University School of Law, and Clark-Atlanta University. Teeuwissen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tougaloo College and did post-graduate study in pre-medicine at Tougaloo. He earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Styres is senior associate counsel in the legal department of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company in Jackson. Before he rejoined Southern Farm Bureau, his private law practice was in life, health and disability litigation, insurance defense and pharmaceutical liability litigation. He is president of the Mississippi Corporate Counsel Association. He serves as an adjunct professor at the Mississippi College School of Business. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Samford University, a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a law degree from Mississippi College School of Law.

Byars practices in the areas of insurance defense, nursing home defense, products liability and public entity liability. He is a shareholder in the firm of Daniel Coker Horton and Bell. He is a graduate of Millsaps College and the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Bowden-Hollis is a member of the law firm of Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada. She works in the firm’s Gulfport office, where she is a member of the labor and employment group. She concentrates her work in the areas of policy manuals, staffing and employment contracts, compliance and problem-solving guidance. She previously served as chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Mississippi Bar, and previously served as president of the Harrison County Bar Association. She is a member of the Labor, OSHA and Human Resources Committee of the American Health Lawyers Association. She earned Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Mozingo was first appointed to the Board of Bar Admissions by former Justice Dan Lee on Nov. 1, 1988. Justice Waller reappointed him to successive terms. Mozingo became vice-chair on Jan. 24, 1992. Board members elected him chair on April 4, 2002. His term ended Oct.31, 2009. He also is former chairman of the Board’s Committee on Character and Fitness. He served on the Education Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and is a past member of the NCBE’s Multistate Essay Examination Policy Committee. He is a member of the Ridgeland firm Knight Mozingo and Quarles. His practice areas include business and commercial litigation, bankruptcy and construction law. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington & Lee University and a law degree from the Mississippi College School of Law.