Mississippi Court of Appeals Chief Judge Donna M. Barnes, the first woman Chief Judge of the state Court of Appeals, is the recipient of the 2019 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 of Brandon, who in 1916 became the first woman lawyer qualified to practice before the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Chief Judge Barnes was appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph to lead the Court of Appeals in February 2019. She has served on the Court of Appeals for 15 years.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982 from the University of Mississippi, summa cum laude, with majors in classical civilizations and English. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1985. She is a member of the University of Mississippi Lamar Order. She practiced law in Tupelo for more than 18 years. A member of Magdalene College, she earned her Master of Law from the University of Cambridge in 1997.

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