Hinds County Chancellor Denise Owens is the 2016 recipient of the Susie Blue Buchanan Award. The annual award presented by the Mississippi Bar’s Women in the Profession Committee honors an outstanding woman lawyer who has achieved professional excellence and has actively paved the way to success for other women lawyers.
The award is named for Susie Blue Buchanan, who a century ago became the first woman lawyer admitted to practice before the Mississippi Supreme Court. When Owens was elected to the Hinds County Chancery bench in 1989, she and Judge Patricia Wise became the first African American female chancellors in the state.
Owens has been a co-chair of the Access to Justice Commission for 10 years. She is stepping down as co-chair in July, but will remain a member of the Commission.
Owens is a pre-law program adviser and adjunct professor at Tougaloo College. She helped organize the Black Law Student Association and annual mock trial competitions for the Magnolia Bar Association. She has taught paralegal technology for many years at Hinds Community College.
Owens served on the Task Force on Gender Fairness, and the Gender Fairness Advisory Study Committee. She has served in leadership roles on the bench, holding every office except treasurer of the Conference of Chancery Judges. She became secretary of the Conference of Chancery Judges in 1996, vice-chair and program chairperson in 1998, and chair in 2000. She served as conference chair for two years.
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