Mississippi Bar honors Chief Justice Mike Randolph with Judicial Excellence Award
July 25, 2023
Chief Justice Mike Randolph of Hattiesburg was honored with the 2023 Judicial Excellence Award on July 20.
Newly inducted Mississippi Bar President Jenny Tyler Baker and outgoing Bar President Blake Teller presented the award during the annual business session at the Mississippi Bar Convention in Biloxi.
The Bar’s Board of Commissioners established the Judicial Excellence Award to recognize judges who exceed the call of their judicial office. Recipients exemplify judicial excellence through leadership in advancing the quality and efficiency of justice and possess high ideals, character and integrity.
Teller said, “It is difficult to name a judge who has done more to advance justice and set an example for judicial excellence during the pandemic than did our Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph. After only one year as Chief Justice, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and created challenges for our courts and judicial system that we had never imagined or experienced. During all of the challenges, Chief Justice Randolph led the judicial system with a steady and supportive hand to ensure the courts across our state fulfilled their constitutional and statutory duties. He kept them open while balancing the need to keep the public, attorneys, court staff and our judges safe....Throughout the past three years, he has not wavered from doing what was necessary to advance the quality and efficiency of justice.”
Teller quoted Chief Justice Randolph, who said early in the pandemic, “Especially in times like these with a national emergency, nerves are frayed and people are scared. That’s when the courts have to be at their strongest.” Teller said, “During this national emergency, our Bar was fortunate to have a strong leader, Chief Justice Randolph, leading our courts.”
Reflecting on his 19 years of service on the Supreme Court – a fourth of his life – Chief Justice Randolph told the audience at the Bar Convention, “I’ve never had anything I have ever done that I’ve enjoyed as much, as challenging as it is.”
Randolph was appointed to the Mississippi Supreme Court by Gov. Haley Barbour on April 23, 2004. He is in his third term on the Court, having been elected three times to the Court’s Southern District – in 2004, 2012 and 2020. He is the longest currently serving member of the Supreme Court. He became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on Feb. 1, 2019.
He was decorated for heroism in Vietnam, where he served with the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One, before he was honorably discharged. During law school, he received an appointment as a Reserve officer in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General Corps. He is a graduate of the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., with a B.S. degree in business administration. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he served as president of the Law School Student Body.
He began practicing law in 1975 in Biloxi with the firm of Ross, King and Randolph. He then practiced with the firm of Bryan, Nelson, Allen and Schroeder on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He opened a Hattiesburg office for Bryan, Nelson, Allen and Schroeder in 1976. He later formed the firm of Bryan Nelson Randolph, PA., serving as President and CEO until his appointment to the Supreme Court in April 2004.
He has homes in Hattiesburg and Ocean Springs.