Five alumni of the University of Mississippi School of Law have been inducted into the 2012 Law Alumni Hall of Fame. The inductees are: the late William M. Champion and the late Thomas R. Ethridge, both of Oxford; Lawrence J. Franck of Madison; Frank D. Montague Jr. of Hattiesburg; and Lenore L. Prather of Columbus.
Champion, a 1961 graduate and professor of the law school, was a dedicated faculty member from 1965 until his retirement in 1998. During that time, he was selected as Outstanding Teacher of the Year and served as chairman of the admissions committee, as associate dean and as acting dean. In 1997, Champion was named the Ole Miss Law Alumnus of the Year.
Ethridge was a Mississippi state senator from 1948 to 1954. He served as attorney for the city of Oxford and was the first full-time U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Mississippi. Besides many other positions, Ethridge was commissioner of the Mississippi Bar Association and was the university attorney for UM, where he secured intellectual property protection for the university’s symbols and name. Ethridge was inducted into the UM Alumni Hall of Fame in 2006.
Holding a number of noteworthy positions during his career, Franck practiced with Jackson law firm Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada. He was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, president of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association and president of the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit. As an undergraduate, Franck was selected for the university’s Student Hall of Fame. He has won numerous awards, including the Mississippi Bar Lifetime Achievement Award. His law article “Practice and Procedure in Mississippi: An Ancient Recipe for Modern Reform” helped prompt the adoption of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.
Montague practiced civil litigation and general civil practice in Hattiesburg with Montague, Pittman & Vernado, where he was president until 2001. He served as city judge of Hattiesburg in 1956-60 and as city attorney. Among numerous other career honors, Montague was selected for inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America” for 25 consecutive years. As an Ole Miss undergraduate, he was president of the student body and was chosen for the Student Hall of Fame. In 1977, Montague became the third recipient of the Ole Miss Law Alumnus of the Year award.
Prather is a former chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court and a 1955 graduate of the School of Law. She was the first woman in Mississippi to serve as chief justice and as chancery judge for the 14th Chancery District. Prather was a 1986 inductee of the UM Alumni Hall of Fame and was selected in 1995 as the Ole Miss Law Alumna of the Year. In 2009, Gov. Haley Barbour awarded her the Mississippi Medal of Service.