Batesville’s Phillips qualifies for high court race

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Richard “Flip” Phillips, a prominent Batesville attorney, will seek the Mississippi Supreme Court post to be vacated this year by Justice George Carlson’s retirement.
The non-party election will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Phillips, 64, reportedly made his mark as a corporate defense attorney but early in his career was well-known as a plaintiff’s lawyer. He is a former president of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers, now named the Mississippi Association for Justice.
Phillips’ entry into the race comes with news that Bobby Chamberlin, a DeSoto County chancery judge, will not be a candidate. Starkville attorney Lydia Quarles said she’s still in and ready to begin her campaign soon.
May 11 is the qualifying deadline for court candidates.
The North Mississippi district covers roughly the top third of the state, from Attala and Winston counties to the Tennessee line.
Supreme Court justices serve eight-year terms. Its nine justices are elected, three each from three geographic districts.
To be a candidate, the person must be registered to vote in Mississippi, at least 30 years old, a practicing attorney and a state resident for five years.
Phillips is a partner in the firm Smith Phillips Mitchell Scott & Nowack LLP with offices in Batesville and Hernando. At the University of Mississippi Law School, he was president of its student body.
He gained a national reputation as lead counsel in vanishing premium and deceptive sales practices life insurance litigation in individual and class actions from California to Massachusetts.
When Carlson announced he would not seek another term, Court of Appeals judges Jimmy Maxwell of Oxford and Donna Barnes of Tupelo reported they did not plan to be candidates.
On Thursday, Chamberlin told the Daily Journal that spending time with his ninth-grade son was “too important” to be away from home that much.
“I guess the timing is just not right,” he said.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com