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Fred L. Banks

Phelps Dunbar, LLP

While Fred Banks has earned a reputation as an outstanding attorney, he has also been called a great person who contributes a vast amount of his time and energy in the legal, civic and professional arenas.

Just in the past 18 months, the former presiding judge of the Mississippi Supreme Court and now litigator extraordinaire with Jackson law firm Phelps Dunbar has been recognized more than some lawyers in a lifetime.  Consider these accolades:

Inducted into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame in 2009 during the NBA’s 84th-annual convention.  The induction recognized Banks’ ample contributions to the African American community and the significant dedication he’s made to the cause of justice during his more than 40 years of practicing law

Honored with the prestigious Justice and Leadership Award by the Howard University School of Law for his distinguished service to the legal profession and as a trailblazer and champion of justice and equality in the field of law

Elected to the board of directors of Sanderson Farms Inc. for a three-year term by the company’s stockholders

Awarded an honorary doctorate of laws by Millsaps College last spring

Today, Banks continues his legacy as a senior partner in the general litigation group at Phelps Dunbar, where he practices in the areas of commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, legislative and governmental relations and appellate law. He retired as Presiding Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1991. Previously, he served as a circuit judge in Hinds and Yazoo counties.

From 1976 until 1985, Banks was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives where he chaired the Ethics Committee, a Judiciary Committee and the Legislative Black Caucus.  A member of the Mississippi Board of Admissions for several years, Banks also served on a number of advisory commissions at the state and federal level.

Banks is also active in the community and has served on the board of directors for the NAACP (national board), Capital City Convention Center Committee and numerous other non-profit community improvement activities.

“Fred is an inspiration to many and he’s given back so much to the legal community in Mississippi,” said Thomas Siler Jr.  “As a former judge, he uses his skills to offer clients a perspective that most lawyers can’t.

“Fred Banks is very deserving of the recognition he’s received.”

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More on Fred L. Banks:

Birthplace: Jackson

Family: Married with children

One word to describe himself: Modest

Donates his time to: NAACP, Community Foundation of Greater Jackson

Favorite place to travel: Florida panhandle

Role models: Father, uncle

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