Judge James E. Graves, Jr. L’80, G’81 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to Give Commencement Address

Posted on Thursday 3/23/2017

Dean Craig M. Boise has announced that Judge James E. Graves, Jr. L’80, G’81 of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will give the College of Law’s Class of 2017 Commencement Address. Judge Graves was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2011 by President Barack Obama, having previously served for ten years on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“Judge Graves has a distinguished career as a justice and a lawyer in a number of diverse roles, providing him with a wealth of experience from which to draw on for his address,” said Dean Boise. “His dedication to serving his community, particularly its youth, makes us proud to have such an exemplary alumnus back with us to inspire our graduates as they begin their legal careers.”

Judge Graves’s own legal career has included positions as a staff attorney at Central Mississippi Legal Services; in private practice; as legal counsel for both the Health Law and Human Services Divisions of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office; and as Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Mississippi. He was a Mississippi Circuit Court Judge from 1991 until his appointment to the state Supreme Court in 2001.

He is an active legal educator, having served as a Teaching Team Member of the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School since 1998.  Judge Graves has held the position of adjunct professor at Millsaps College, Tougaloo College, and Jackson State University, and has also coached high school, college, and law school mock trial teams. 

Judge Graves has a long history of giving back to the College of Law. He has served as a volunteer judge of several Moot Court competitions, as a guest speaker and lecturer, and as a Jurist-in-Residence.

In addition to a J.D. from the College of Law, Judge Graves holds a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Millsaps College.

Commencement will take place Friday, May 12 at 1 P.M. in the Carrier Dome.