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The Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series

Photo of Lenore Prather

October 12, 2000     Video

Chief Justice Lenore L. Prather was born on September 17, 1931, in West Point, Clay County, Mississippi to Byron Herald and Hattie Hearn Loving. She graduated in 1949 from West Point High School. In 1953, she graduated from Mississippi University for Women and was selected for inclusion in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities.

Chief Justice Prather graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1955 with a Juris Doctor degree. Following law school, she was in private practice from 1955 until 1971 practicing with her father and subsequently with her husband, Robert Brooks Prather. In 1965, she was appointed as Municipal Judge in West Point, Mississippi, and served as a Municipal Judge until September of 1971.

In 1971, Governor John Bell Williams appointed Chief Justice Prather as Chancery Judge for the 14th Chancery District which consists of Lowndes, Clay, Oktibbeha, Noxubee, Webster and Chickasaw Counties. She was the first woman to hold the Chancellorship in Mississippi. Following her appointment as Chancellor, she attended the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.

Governor William F. Winter appointed Chief Justice Prather to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1982. She was the first female Justice for the State of Mississippi. Chief Justice Prather became a Presiding Justice in January of 1993 and Chief Justice in January 1998. During her tenure on the Supreme Court, she has received instruction in appellate matters at New York University.

Chief Justice Prather was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame in 1986, and in 1995 she was selected as the Ole Miss Law Alumna of the Year. In 1990, she received the Medal of Excellence from Mississippi University for Women, and in 1993 was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award from Mississippi University for Women.

Chief Justice Prather is a member of The Mississippi Bar, The Mississippi Bar Foundation, the Conference of Mississippi Judges, the Charles Clark Chapter of the American Inns of Court, the American Bar Association and the American Judicature Society. She is also a member of Rotary International and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Additionally, Chief Justice Prather is a member of Junior Auxiliary, the Daughters of the American Revolution and is a former member of Pilot International. She has been included in Who's Who in America from 1984 through 1998. Chief Justice Prather resides in Columbus, Mississippi and is a communicant at St. Paul's Episcopal Church where she has served as a member of the Vestry.

Chief Justice Prather is the widow of Robert Brooks Prather. She has three daughters and two grandchildren.