Where Are the Lawyers?
Date of Event
Case Western Reserve University School of Law Centennial Medal Award Winner Judge Herbert E. Phipps presents an effort to call on fellow lawyers and judges to speak up and be courageous during today's pressing social injustice issues. Judge Phipps discusses the history and legal cases of social justice acts of the past 50 years, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He explains why the most important trait of a lawyer is to be courageous and why it is especially important for lawyers to speak up and be courageous now. Judge Phipps concludes that judges do not have the right to remain silent, as their clients do.
Judge Herbert E. Phipps (LAW '71) earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in political science, from Morehouse College. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, where he served as an editor of the Law Review. Judge Phipps was later awarded a Master of Laws in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law. He has traveled extensively in Europe and Asia and taught English at Thammasatt University and private schools in Bangkok, Thailand.
After law school, Judge Phipps returned to Albany, Georgia. to join the law practice of C.B. King. The firm emphasized civil rights litigation, including school desegregation, voting rights, jury discrimination, student rights, police brutality and discriminatory employment practices. From 1983 to 1995, Judge Phipps engaged in the solo practice of law.
Judge Phipps served for eight years as part-time magistrate and associate judge of the Dougherty County State Court. He served as judge of the Dougherty County Juvenile Court for seven years. Governor Zell Miller appointed him judge of the Dougherty Circuit Superior Court in 1995, and after being elected to a four-year term, he served in that court until Governor Roy Barnes appointed him to the Court of Appeals of Georgia in July 1999. He has been elected statewide to serve three six-year terms on the Court of Appeals. In 2010 he became a presiding judge of the Court, and he served as the chief judge of the Court of Appeals from July 2013 through June 2015.
In June 2015, Judge Phipps received the Randolph Thrower Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the State Bar of Georgia's Committee to Promote Inclusion in the Profession; the Tradition of Excellence Award by the General Trial Practice & Trial Section of the State Bar; and the Chief Justice Thomas O. Marshall Professionalism Award by the State Bar Bench and Bar Committee. The Logan E. Bleckley Distinguished Service Award was conferred upon Judge Phipps by the Litigation Section of the Atlanta Bar Association in May 2015. Judge Phipps was honored as a Legal Legend by the Georgia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society in November 2014. Judge Phipps received The Nestor Award from the Georgia Legal History Foundation in March 2014 "for a lifetime of distinguished service as a wise and honest Counselor and Mentor to the Bench and Bar." The State Bar of Georgia has recognized Judge Phipps with the Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service. He has been inducted into the Society of Benchers of Case Western Reserve School of Law.
Judge Phipps's commencement address to the Class of 2007 at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, "Lawyers - the Guardians of Truth and Justice," is published at 58 Case Western Reserve Law Review 483 (2008). Judge Phipps delivered the commencement address to the Class of 2014 of Atlanta's John Marshall Law School and was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.
Judge Phipps is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of SB&T Bank of Albany and Americus. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. He is a past president of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta. He is a member of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Albany, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Delta Delta Boule', The Inquiry Club, and the Old War Horse Lawyers Club.
Judge Phipps has served on Georgia's Judicial Nominating Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias, and the Georgia Indigent Defense Council Advisory Committee. He is a former member of the State Bar Board of Governors and past prreident of the Dougherty Circuit Bar Association. He has served as president of the Albany Association for Retarded Citizens (now Albany Advocacy Resource Center), the Albany Sickle Cell Foundation, the Faith Fund Foundation and The Criterion Club. He has served on the Albany Technical Institute Board of Directors, the Albany/Dougherty Chamber of Commerce, and the Southwest Georgia Home for Convalescent and Aging Persons.
Judge Phipps was born to J.W. Phipps and Marion Gadson Phipps in Baker County, Georgia. He and his wife, Connie Curry Phipps, have a son, Herbert E. Phipps, Jr., a daughter, India K. Epps, a son-in-law, Will J. Epps, a granddaughter, Zoë Olivia Epps, and a grandson, Evan James Epps.
civil rights; lawyers; judges; judges and civil rights; lawyers and civil rights
CWRU School of Law
Phipps, Hon. Herbert, "Where Are the Lawyers?" (2021). Conferences and Symposia. 702.