News

Six new members appointed to Access to Justice Commission

June 28, 2018


The Mississippi Supreme Court recently appointed six new members to the Access to Justice Commission and reappointed two members.

New members of the Commission are Court of Appeals Judge Virginia C. Carlton of Jackson, Circuit Judge Lisa P. Dodson of Gulfport, Itawamba County Chancery Clerk Michelle Clouse of Fulton, attorney John Max Edwards Jr. of Pontotoc, attorney Kathryn Dickerson Clay of Waynesboro, and attorney Patricia C. Gandy of Madison, who serves as pro bono counsel for Butler Snow LLP. Judge Dodson, Clay, Clouse, and Gandy were appointed for three-year terms that will end June 30, 2021. Judge Carlton will serve a one-year term and Edwards will serve a two-year term. They filled vacancies on the Commission.

The Supreme Court also reappointed Faith Garbin, law librarian for the Pascagoula Public Library, and attorney Charliene Roemer of Biloxi to three-year terms that will end June 30, 2021.

The Supreme Court thanked outgoing members of the Commission including Court of Appeals Judge Donna Barnes of Tupelo, who served on the Commission since its inception, Rep. Thomas Reynolds of Charleston, Jamie Bardwell of Jackson, retired WLBT News Director Dennis Smith of Jackson and health care professional Michael L. Jones.

Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. said in orders filed May 29 and June 8 that the court “offers its sincere thanks to those outgoing Commissioners for their dedication to access for all persons to the courts of Mississippi.”

Former Commission member Nicole McLaughlin of Tupelo took on a larger role, becoming commission executive director March 12. McLaughlin said, “I am excited about the opportunity to help expand access to justice for all Mississippians.”

The Access to Justice Commission this year has spearheaded efforts to organize free family law clinics across the state. Thirty free family law clinics were scheduled during June, which is Access to Justice Month. More clinics are scheduled during the summer and fall. A list of upcoming clinics is at this link: https://courts.ms.gov/Legal/CivilLegal.php.

The Access to Justice Commission has worked for the past 12 years to develop a unified strategy to improve access to justice in civil legal proceedings for the poor in Mississippi. The Mississippi Supreme Court created the Commission on June 28, 2006.

For more information about the Access to Justice Commission, contact Executive Director Nicole McLaughlin at 601-960-9581 or nmclaughlin@msbar.org.

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