Judge Michael P. Mills of Oxford is the recipient of the 2021 Judicial Excellence Award, which will be presented during The Mississippi Bar’s 2021 Annual Business Session held on July 16, 2021. The Bar’s Board of Commissioners established the Judicial Excellence Award to recognize judges who exceed the call of their judicial office. Judge Mills is receiving this honor for his outstanding leadership, efficiency in the field of jurisprudence, and his character and integrity.
Judge Mills attended Itawamba Community College and the University of Mississippi, where he received his Bachelor’s degree. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law before completing an LLM at the University of Virginia School of Law. Judge Mills began his law practice in Aberdeen, Mississippi. He served in the Mississippi House of Representatives (serving District 21 Itawamba and Monroe counties) from 1984 to 1995. While serving in the Mississippi legislature, he was appointed as Chairman of the House Judiciary “A” Committee.
In 1995, Governor Kirk Fordice appointed Judge Mills to the Mississippi Supreme Court, where he served for five years. In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated him for a federal district judgeship, and the United States Senate confirmed him in 2001. Judge Mills served as Chief Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi from 2007 to 2014.
Judge Mills has published a collection of short stories and essays titled Twice Told Tombigbee Tales in which he recounts in good humor and with much fondness many of the memorable and charismatic Mississippi characters he has met over the years. He has also written several legal articles published by the Mississippi Law Journal.