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Top 40: Ryan Beckett

Ryan Beckett says practicing law at Ridgeland firm Butler Snow is very special.

After all, the Oxford native began his legal career there fresh out of college and is now ensconced as one of Butler Snow’s commercial litigation attorneys. Beckett has represented Gov. Haley Barbour and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann in election litigation and oversees the firm’s lateral recruiting efforts.

However, he considers his work with the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project as his most important career accomplishment. For the past five years, the 36-year-old Beckett has served as director of the Homeless Legal Clinic, providing pro bono legal services for those who have seen better times in their lives.

“In my capacity as director, I’ve been able to participate in the day-to-day operations and legal case work of the clinic,” he said. “It’s been quite rewarding to help people in this way.”

As Butler Snow’s recruiting chairman, Beckett helped implement a plan to attract, recruit and hire more women and minorities.

“The firm is committed to diversity and during my tenure, we have become so in many measureable areas,” he acknowledged. “I believe we’ve made incredible strides to help bring more diversity at all levels to Butler Snow.”

La’Verne Edney says Beckett’s passion for his work, and his compassion for Jackson’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, is limitless.

“At the Homeless Legal Clinic, Ryan coordinates with other law firms to assure that indigent people of our state have access to the legal counsel and advice that they need,” said Edney, the organization’s general counsel. “He does so without compensation and never complains about the challenges involved in making that happen.”

In 2010, Beckett earned an AV rating from Martin-Hubbell in his first year to be eligible for the distinction. Considered by the legal profession to be the “gold standard,” attorneys aren’t eligible for the AV rating until they have practiced law for 10 years.

“When I found out I received the rating, I had practiced law exactly for a decade, so this was quite an honor,” he said. “To be honored in this way by your peers is very gratifying.”

Both of his parents were lawyers. His mother, Patricia Sims, earned her law degree following the tragic death of Beckett’s father in a 1978 automobile accident and later became a county court judge in Bolivar County.

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