Chief Justice William L. (Bill) Waller, Jr., is a native and current resident of Jackson. After graduating from Murrah High School, he received his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University in 1974 and his law degree from the University of Mississippi in 1977. He practiced law with the firm of Waller and Waller in Jackson for more than twenty years. He served as a Municipal Judge for the City of Jackson from 1995 to 1996.
Waller was elected to the Mississippi Supreme Court in November 1996 and was re-elected in 2004 and 2012. He served as a Presiding Justice from January 2004 until December 2008. He became Chief Justice in January 2009.
Waller has worked to bring various reforms to the legal system. He supported the adoption of mediation rules for civil litigation; served as Chairman of the Mississippi Public Defender Task Force from 2000 to 2005; and chaired the Supreme Court Rules Committee from 2001 to 2008. Waller was also the principal architect behind legislation that created the Office of Capital Post Conviction Counsel, the Office of Indigent Appeals, and the Comprehensive Electronic Court Systems Fund. In 2012, he led efforts that resulted in the passage of judicial compensation reform legislation. Waller has also promoted statewide expansion of Drug Courts, which focus on rehabilitation and save millions of tax dollars. He has written articles for the Mississippi College Law Review, the Mississippi College School of Law’s Amicus publication, and The Mississippi Lawyer magazine. He speaks regularly at civic clubs, public events, and continuing education seminars.
Waller has been recognized for his service and leadership. He received the Judicial Innovation Award for 2003-2004 from the Hinds County Bar Association and the Jackson Young Lawyers Association; the Chief Justice Award in 2005 for his work as chairman of a special study committee to develop a statewide electronic filing and docket management system; the Mississippi State University Pre-Law Society’s Distinguished Jurist award in 2009; the Judicial Excellence Award for 2011-2012 from the Capital Area Bar Association and the Jackson Young Lawyers Association; and the Mississippi Bar Association’s Judicial Excellence Award for 2013. In 2012, Waller was inducted as a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and was the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree by Mississippi College. Waller serves as an adjunct faculty member at the Mississippi College School of Law and the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Waller’s service extends beyond the Court. He has more than 30 years commissioned service in the Mississippi Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve and is presently assigned to the Retired Reserve. Waller is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and a recipient of the Legion of Merit. He attained the rank of Brigadier General while serving as the Commander of the 66th Troop Command, Mississippi Army National Guard. He is also currently a member of the Stennis Institute Advisory Board at Mississippi State University. Waller and his two sons are Eagle Scouts.
Waller and his wife, Charlotte, are members of First Baptist Church Jackson. They have three adult children.