Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Conference of Chancery Judges selects officers

October 30, 2018

Chancellor Lawrence Primeaux of Meridian was elected chair of Mississippi’s Conference of Chancery Judges on Oct. 25 at the Fall Trial and Appellate Judges Conference in Jackson.

Chancellor Haydn Roberts of Brandon was elected vice-chair, and Chancellor Robert Q. Whitwell of Oxford was re-elected secretary-treasurer of the Conference of Chancery Judges.

Chancery Judges selected officers

Judicial conferences meet in April and October for continuing education training, and periodically during other times of the year to discuss legal, procedural and judicial issues. They make recommendations on issues affecting state courts.

Judge Primeaux was elected to the Twelfth District Chancery Court in 2006 and took office Jan. 2, 2007. The district includes Lauderdale and Clarke counties. He previously served as vice-chair of the Conference of Chancery Judges.

For more than eight years he has published The Better Chancery Practice Blog, The ABA Journal in November 2016 named it among the nation's 100 best blogs for a legal audience, and in 2017 the blog placed first in the Expert Institute's Best Legal Blog Contest and second overall among all blog contestants.

Judge Primeaux attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana and Nicholls State University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, sociology and anthropology from the University of Mississippi in 1971, and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1973.

He practiced law for two years in Memphis, then worked as an appeals officer for the U.S. Civil Service Commission in Atlanta for four years. He was managing attorney for the former East Mississippi Legal Services office 1978-1981. He was in private law practice in Meridian for 25 years. He previously served as attorney for the city of Meridian, the Meridian Airport Authority, the Meridian Transportation Commission and the Meridian Civil Service Commission.

He is a former president of the Lauderdale County Bar Association and former chairman of the State Charity Hospital Board. He served on the East Mississippi State Hospital Community Advisory Committee, and on the boards of directors of the Lauderdale County Group Home, St. Fancis Homes Inc., and Friendship Center. He is former president of United Way of Lauderdale County and of the Mental Health Association of Lauderdale County. He is a former director of the Meridian Rotary Club.

Judge Roberts has served for almost three years as Rankin County chancellor. He was elected to a newly created Twentieth Chancery District judgeship in November 2015 and took office in January 2016. He previously served for almost eight years as a Rankin County Chancery Court staff attorney, and for six months as court-appointed family master in Chancery Court. Judge Roberts is a 2003 Hall of Fame inductee and graduate of the University of Mississippi and 2007 graduate of Mississippi College School of Law.

Judge Whitwell was appointed to the Eighteenth District Chancery Court on Aug. 7, 2013. The Eighteenth District includes Benton, Calhoun, Lafayette, Marshall and Tippah counties. He previously served as U.S. Attorney for the Norther District of Mississippi, having been appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He also served as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice. He served as municipal court judge in Horn Lake 1975-1985. He was a partner in the firm of Farese, Farese & Farese before his appointment to the Chancery bench.

Judge Whitwell earned a bachelor’s degree from Delta State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi. He received the Outstanding Civil Litigation Award in 1992 from U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr. He is a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation.