Law professor to take over for Arkansas SC chief justice

By Jessica Karmasek | Aug 28, 2015


LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Legal Newsline) - A longtime law professor at the University of Arkansas will be filling the shoes of Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hannah when he retires from the court next week.

Howard Brill will serve as the next chief justice effective Sept. 1, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday. Hannah’s last day on the court is Aug. 31.

“Howard Brill has the respect of the Arkansas bar, the judges and the legal community in general,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Because of his fine mind and reputation, he has the capability of bringing the court together and elevating the court in everything it does.”

The governor continued, “I have known Professor Brill for more than three decades, and he is the one that lawyers seeking guidance call. He’s the one that judges seeking wise counsel call.

“He’s a legal scholar, he’s respected nationally and internationally, and he’s a great communicator. That’s a good combination for the court.”

The first Vincent Foster Professor of Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Brill teaches professional responsibility, remedies, civil procedure and domestic relations, as well as special topics courses on “Baseball and the Law” and Arkansas constitutional law.

In connection with the law school’s summer programs, Brill has taught in Cambridge, England, and St. Petersburg, Russia. He also has taught comparative constitutional law and legal ethics at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Hutchinson said Brill, who often prepares advisory ethics opinions for attorneys and judges and has served as a special associate justice of the Supreme Court on several occasions, will complete the remainder of Hannah’s term.

Hannah had more than a year left in his eight-year term when he resigned earlier this month to “focus full-time on addressing my immediate health condition.”

The chief justice did not provide any additional details on his condition, only describing it as a “significant health issue.”

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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