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

University of Mississippi Law award named in honor of Judge Henry Lackey

March 6, 2020

The University of Mississippi School of Law Trial Advocacy Board has created an award to honor the integrity, commitment and advocacy of the late Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City.

The Henry Lackey Trial Advocacy Board Award will be presented to a graduating law student for the first time shortly before graduation this spring. The award will be given annually.

“That award will go to a third year law student who best exemplifies those core values of integrity, commitment and advocacy,” said Bryan M. Davis, chair of the Trial Advocacy Board.

Chief Justice Mike Randolph

Judge Lackey’s son, Kevin Lackey of Ridgeland, director of the state Administrative Office of Courts, was presented with a copy of the award at a Feb. 14 dinner at the Law School during the Southern Classic National Trial Competition. Judge Lackey’s nephew, Joe Hill, and Hill’s wife Susan, both of Darden Lake in Union County, attended the ceremony.

Kevin Lackey said, “ On behalf of my family, I would like to thank the Trial Advocacy Board. I know that my father would be truly honored to be remembered this way.”

Judge Lackey left his mark on the judiciary with an unwavering commitment to judicial integrity.

Judge Lackey was a Circuit Judge for 17 years in the Third Judicial District of Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Lafayette, Marshall, Tippah and Union counties. He served on the judicial disciplinary Commission on Judicial Performance for six years. He was chairman at the time he retired in December 2010.

The goal of the Trial Advocacy Board is to develop law students’ advocacy skills and commitment to the jury system, Davis said. Lackey became Calhoun County prosecuting attorney shortly after he earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1966. After serving four years as a prosecutor, he accepted an appointment for a year as the state’s first public defender. Judge Soggy Sweat oversaw the pilot program at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Lackey and three senior law students represented indigent defendants in the seven counties of the Third Circuit District. The pilot program helped lay the groundwork for the Legislature to give counties authority to designate funds for public defenders.

Davis said, “That’s exactly the kind of values we want to honor.... Our goal is to produce quality advocates in the courtroom.”

Professor Hans P. Sinha said, “We believe that Judge Lackey stood for the best that our legal profession had to offer. He was both a true Southern gentleman, an outstanding and courteous jurist, and he put the integrity of our profession ahead of anything else.”

Sinha, clinical professor and director of the Externship Program at the University of Mississippi School of Law, recalled Judge Lackey’s cordiality the first time that he as a new arrival at Ole Miss sought out the jurist to ask about placing students in externships. “He was just such a gracious, nice man. I’ve always respected and admired him.”

“We could not think of a better role model for our law students to emulate as they join the Mississippi Bar,” Sinha said.