MERIDIAN – Chancellor Lawrence “Larry” Primeaux may work in a 1905 building, but his perspective is totally 21st Century.
The 66-year-old former private-practice attorney is an Internet blogger, a rarity for an active judge in Mississippi.
“In about 2005 or 2006, the Legislature amended the state’s adoption statute, but a couple of years later, I found that some attorneys were still using the old statute,” he said, explaining where the blog idea came from.
“One day another judge called me to ask if I were having troubles with this issue and we talked about how to fix it.”
Primeaux was a fan of an Oxford attorney’s newsy blog, and he said, “a lightbulb went off in my head.” He could develop his own Internet blog and provide insights and information to the legal community.
“If I got a question about an issue, I could say, ‘Go read my blog,’” Primeaux decided.
Enters “The Better Chancery Practice Blog” found at https://chancery12.wordpress.com.
It’s posted daily in straight-forward, no-nonsense language.
“This is a blog for lawyers and judges in Mississippi’s chancery courts,” the site states. “The content is intended as a resource for the legal community. Lay persons are free to roam its pages, but with the understanding that it does not replace legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances. Also, as a Mississippi trial court judge, I am strictly prohibited from giving legal advice.”
It’s searchable, too, on topics of interest from adoption and alimony to statutes and the South. Also, it’s archived to find every previous post.
Jackson attorney Rebecca Lee Wiggs with Watkins & Eager likes Primeaux’ blog for several reasons, one because she doesn’t practice too often in chancery court.
“While I’m an experienced litigator, I don’t do much chancery practice,” she says. “For that reason, this blog is especially useful to me. I can use its archive to find topics I need specifically, but beyond that, it’s an inspiring example of the kind of lawyer we all want to be: effective and respected.”
But she also likes the judge’s attitude – while taking the law seriously, he “reminds us not to take ourselves too much so.
“From photos of Mississippi’s courthouses, to Dispatches from the Farthest Outposts of Civilization, to thought-provoking observations on our surroundings, he reminds his readers that there is more to life than just a caseload.”
Philip Thomas of Jackson, an attorney who blogs (Mississippi Litigation Review & Commentary www.mslitigationreview.com), terms Primeaux’ online posts “great.”
“I read every new post – they are informative and thoughtful,” Thomas says. “It’s a great resource for chancery court practice.
“He has a new post every business day. As an active blogger, I know how hard that is to do.”
Primeaux, who started his career as a Legal Services attorney, insists he’s seeking the practical.
“I always bring it back down to a practical level,” he says about his posts. “I always think, ‘How does this affect you?’”
He may be the only Mississippi judge with a blog.
“I’m not aware of any other judges doing this,” the Louisiana native speculates. “Some may feel like it’s just too much work … or perhaps they’re reluctant to be so public with ideas.
“I make it clear that it’s just my point of view,” noting he absolutely never writes specifics about cases before him in the 12th chancery district, which includes Clarke and Lauderdale counties.
With 33 years of legal practice before coming to the Lauderdale County chancery bench in 2007, Primeaux has a lot to share.
“The blog offers a lot of practical information for lawyers,” he said.
He also seeks public comments, although he deletes the ones asking him for legal advice.
“This isn’t that type of blog,” he said.
With the ebb and flow of courtroom activity, Primeaux says he uses breaks in the docket to write his blog posts, sometimes more than one to ensure a steady flow of daily subject matter.
“I want to be productive in the office, and I want to be available, so when a case settles, I have time to work on the blog.”
He says he’ll continue blogging so long as he thinks the content is useful and he has something to say.
• • •
Judge Larry Primeaux
- Born 1949, Abbeville, La.
- Ole Miss Law School grad, 1973
- President 1994, Lauderdale County Bar
- Previously attorney for City of Meridian, Airport Authority, Transportation Commission, Civil Service Commission
- Married, three adult children, two grandchildren
- Elected chancellor in 2007
• • •
Examples of what Primeaux has to say in his blog:
“Some of the reasons include: being accountable for so many small details; having to work constantly and compete with peers; exhaustion from the constant conflict; the stress; the very high cost for making mistakes in mundane matters; the pay is not enough; student loans.”
“If you don’t seek out and find oases of peace and contentment the practice of law will eat you alive.
More advice …
“If you’re going to take on representation of someone in a statutory appeal case, a good starting point is to read the statute. Let me reiterate that: read the statute. Everything you need to know to represent your client is there: the court with jurisdiction; the time limit to appeal; what you need to do (e.g., file a bond) to perfect your appeal; the basis for an appeal; and anything else pertinent to your representation is right there. And while you have your nose stuck in the book, peruse the annotations.”