Questions with the Judge – Jim Davidson

Chancery Judge H. J. “Jim” Davidson
Chickasaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha & Webster Counties
14th Chancery District

Judge Davidson was elected as Chancery Judge on November 21, 2006. Judge Davidson has 35 years of practice primarily in the Chancery Court and also served as a tenured Professor at Mississippi University for Women for 32 years. He also served as a trained Arbitrator and Mediator for over 16 years. Judge Davidson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Mississippi and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1974.

Judge Davidson has been active in his community serving as President of the Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science Foundation, the Lowndes Community Foundation, and the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

Judge Davidson and his wife, Jamie, have three adult children and two grandchildren.

1. What do you like most and least about being a judge?

I like the feeling I have when a newly adopted three year old toddles out of my office with his/her new parent(s) having come oftentimes from desperate circumstances. I know that by entrance of the Decree, I have helped bring legitimacy to completely change his/her life. I also like the fact that my fellow lawyers now either take or promptly return my phone calls. I dislike the feeling of isolation and sometimes the inability to really say what is on my mind!

2. Identify one judge, living or dead, whom you admire the most and explain why?

I always held Judge L.T. Senter, Jr. in very high regard. One of my first Court appearances was before Judge Senter when he was a circuit judge. Things did not go well for me, but he treated me as if I was a peer and though could have exposed my inexperience publicly, instead was gracious in his remarks and did so with respect for the profession. I vowed that if I ever was lucky enough to serve in this capacity that I would follow Judge Senter’s example. He was a fine man and a fine judge. Judge William E. Bearden,, former Chancellor from Lowndes County, now deceased, would be up there also.

3. What three suggestions would you give to a lawyer about how to improve their writing?

(a) Read vociferously. You can learn so much by reading accomplished writers. (b) Practice by typing yourself. If a lawyer merely dictates to a secretary, he will not develop the actual process of coordinating words and thought on paper. (c) Make buddies with a good writer and submit papers to your pal for critique. I once wrote an article for the Mississippi Lawyer and thought I had done so well until I submitted it for proofing to MUW English professor, Dr. Bridget Pieschel. Needless to say, I told her not to worry about me vying for her job!

4. What three suggestions would you give to a lawyer about how to present an effective case in your court?

(a) Be precise and to the point. i.e. don’t polevault over mouse droppings. (b) Be prepared and know your case. (c) Be candid with the Court particularly in custody cases where you know a fact that literally may mean life or death to a child and your good advocacy skills keep it out of the record and hence not considered by the Court.

5. If you could change any law or rule, what would it be?

In my eight plus years on the bench, I have attended many judges’ conferences. Just like here at home, we all have an opportunity to discuss how it is done in “our state” To my surprise, I have found that the State of Mississippi has some really good ways of handling a myriad of issues. I have been quite proud to let them know that we do have shoes and do most things right. I have some law and rules that I think could be applied differently, but do not have a strong feeling about changing them.

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