Five outstanding alumni were inducted into the University of Mississippi School of Law Hall of Fame during Law Alumni Weekend. This year’s inductees included Raymond Brown (LL.B. 62), David Houston (JD 69), Joe Meadows (LL.B. 62), Bob Weems (JD 66), and Allen Pepper (JD 68), who was inducted posthumously.
Raymond L. Brown
Born in Clarksdale, Raymond Brown spent his early years in Greenville. At Greenville High School, Brown was a student leader serving as president of the student council. He was also a four-sport athlete, playing as quarterback and captain of a state championship football team, being named most valuable player in what was high school’s Big 8 Conference and first team high school All-American.
Following his high school career, Brown enrolled at the University of Mississippi on a football scholarship. During his time as a student athlete, he played both football and baseball. In football, he earned All-Southeastern Conference honors, having led the SEC in passing in 1956 and in total offense in 1957. In 1958, he was named the Sugar Bowl Most Valuable Player, the only MVP in the bowl’s history to be chosen unanimously. His 92-yard run in that game remains a Sugar Bowl record. He finished his college football career by playing in the Senior Bowl and the College All-Star Game. Off the field, he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, president of the business school, and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. He was also selected as a member of the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame.
In 1958, Brown walked away from Ole Miss with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He left Oxford to play for the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League. During his three years as a professional football player, he was a starting defensive back, the team’s punter and the backup quarterback. The Colts also won two overall championships with Brown on their roster. While he was playing professional football, he also found the time to attend both the University of Maryland Law School and the University of Mississippi School of Law. As a law student, Brown was inducted into Phi Delta Phi honor fraternity and was selected to serve as business manager of the Mississippi Law Journal. He earned his law degree in 1962 and went to Washington, DC to clerk for Justice Tom Clark in the United States Supreme Court.
Brown is also active within his community. He is a member of First United Methodist Church in Pascagoula, where he has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is also a past Chairman of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, where he has served many years as a board member. Brown has also served as President of the Pascagoula Rotary Club and as President of the Jaycees. In 1964, he was named Pascagoula’s Young Man of the year. For 30 years, he served as attorney for the Pascagoula Municipal School District and has also been a board member of Hancock Bank in Pascagoula. Presently, he serves on the Gautier Historic Preservation Commission.
In the legal industry, his leadership includes a term as President of the Young Lawyers of Mississippi (then known as the Junior Bar). He was also state Chair and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Regent (representing Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas). Brown was also elected President of the Mississippi Bar just before his 42nd birthday, making him the youngest person to serve as the Bar’s president. Both the Mississippi Bar and the Mississippi Defense Lawyers have honored Brown with their Lifetime Achievement awards.
Loyal to his alma mater, Brown served as President of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and was later honored with induction into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the MS Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
Raymond and his late wife Lyn Shoemaker Brown have three children, Allison Brown Buchanan, Raymond L. Brown, Jr. and Beverly Brown Dees, as well as eight grandchildren.
David W. Houston III
David Houston arrived at the University of Mississippi as an undergraduate student and obtained his degree in accountancy in 1966. As a student, he was a member of Sigma Chi social fraternity and was chair of the Associated Student Body’s Student Judicial Council. He was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma, an honor society for first-year students in all disciplines, as well as Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. He was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, a business administration honor society, where he served as president. Within the accountancy program, he was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, and he was treasurer in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. Houston was also named Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Upon graduating from Ole Miss, he enrolled in law school. As a law student, he was on the Law School Honor Council, the Moot Court Board and was a member of Phi Alpha Delta, the largest professional legal fraternity. In 1969, he obtained his J.D. from the School of Law.
Following law school, Houston went to Washington, DC to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent. During his time with the F.B.I., he received seven letters of commendation, including one incentive award from Directors J. Edgar Hoover and L. Patrick Gray. In 1972, he returned to Mississippi to work at the Aberdeen law firm of Houston, Chamberlin and Houston. During this span, he also served as Municipal Judge for the City of Aberdeen, and he served a stint as Aberdeen’s City Attorney. He would also become Assistant District Attorney for the First Circuit Court District in Mississippi. In 1983, he was selected to serve as the United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi. In addition, he presided over cases in the Southern District of Mississippi, the Middle District of Louisiana, and the Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas. He conducted trials in numerous consumer and complex commercial cases, authoring hundreds of published opinions. From 1997-2013 he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Committee on the Budget for the Judicial Conference of the United States. During this time he also chaired the Subcommittee on Congressional Outreach. He also served for nine years on the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. In 2013, he retired from the bench after 30 years of service. Following retirement, he joined the Tupelo law firm of Mitchell, McNutt & Sams, P.A. and has also served as an adjunct professor at the Ole Miss law school teaching bankruptcy skills. He is a past chairman of the Lamar Order.
Houston received the Bierce Distinguished Service Award in 2003, the highest honor conveyed by the National Conference for Bankruptcy judges. In 2011, Houston was the recipient of the Mississippi Bar’s Judicial Excellence Award. He was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame in 2013. He has been a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, where he currently serves on its Board of Trustees.
Houston and his wife, Debi, have four children; Laura Houston Collins, David Houston IV, Beth Houston Smith, and Morgan Locke Houston, three of whom are Ole Miss law alumni.
Joseph R. Meadows
A product of Quitman High School, Joe Meadows made his way to Ole Miss where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance in 1961. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He then enrolled in the University of Mississippi School of Law, graduating with his law degree in 1963. During his time as an Ole Miss student, Meadows served Clarke County in the Mississippi House of Representatives with a term in 1960 followed by a 1964 term. He is also a veteran in the United States Army, serving 16 months in Korea.
Meadows has been appointed to service numerous times in his career. He was appointed in 1978 as attorney for the City of Gulfport. In 1989, Gov. Ray Mabus appointed him to serve an unexpired term as District Attorney for Harrison, Hancock and Stone counties. In 1990 he was appointed attorney for the Harrison County Board of Supervisors and served until he retired from that position in 2009. In 2015, he would be appointed to serve another unexpired term on the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.
His professional involvement has been immense. Locally he would serve as President of the Gulfport Young Lawyers in 1970. In 1972, Meadows served as President of the Mississippi Young Lawyers. He was Chair of the Mississippi Bar Law Day committee in 1972 and 1973, receiving a national award from the American Bar Association (ABA) for his service. He was also national Chair of the Disaster Emergency Relief Committee within the Young Lawyers Section of the ABA. Meadows has been generous with his time in service to the Mississippi Bar as well. From 1973 to 1978, he served as Chair of the Bar’s Ethics Committee. He was Chair of the Bar’s State Convention from 1976 to 1978. In 1978, he served for three years as Chair of the Bar’s Lawyer Referral Committee and was elected in 1982 to the Board of the Mississippi Bar Commissioners. In 1984 he was a member of the Bar’s Legal Education Committee and became a member of the Board of Governors of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association. He was then elected in 1987 as President of the Mississippi Bar. He later would serve as President of the Fellows of the Young Lawyers of the Mississippi Bar in 1999. His loyalty to his alma mater would not fade as he also returned to his law school to serve as Lamar Order Chairman from 1997 to 1998. In 2011 he was appointed Chair of the Eighth Chancery Court District Liaison Committee by Senior Chancellor Sanford R. Steckler.
Meadows has been a mediator since 1996, serving as mediator in numerous cases, including wrongful death, contract dispute, government/citizen dispute, domestic relations and personal injury. From 2009 to 2010 he served as Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Mississippi Bar.
Meadows’ devotion to his community and profession has not gone unnoticed. In 1971, he was chosen Outstanding Young Man of Gulfport by the Gulfport Junior Chamber of Commerce. The Boy Scouts of America awarded him the Pine Bur Award in 1978, the Good Shepherd Award in 1979 and the Silver Beaver Award in 1981. In 1983, the Gamma Iota Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha selected him as a member of their Hall of Fame. Since 1989, he has been named to “Outstanding Lawyers of America.” In 1999 the NAACP presented him their Legal Services Award, and in 2004 he was the recipient of Boss of the Year from Gulfport Coast Association of Legal Support Professionals.
Meadows and his wife, Carole Lynn, reside in Gulfport where he has practiced law since 1965 and is presently member and founder of Meadows Law Firm. They are proud parents of Kathryn Lynn Meadows and Joseph R. Meadows, Jr. and doting grandparents of Victoria Meadows and Meredith Meadows Kajdan.
William A. Pepper, Jr.
Allen Pepper took the oath of Office as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi on July 21, 1999, having received the nomination on March 8, 1999. Before his appointment to the bench, he maintained a solo law practice for 30 years in Cleveland. A native of Belzoni, he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology in 1963. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, and he participated in the Concert Singers and Army ROTC. Following two years active duty as an officer with the 101st Airborne Division of the U. S. Army, he returned to Mississippi and received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1968.
Allen maintained an AV rating in Martindale-Hubbell for 15 years and was listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in the field of Civil Trial Practice.
He was a nominee for the office of President of the Mississippi Bar in 1991, and served two terms as a Director of the Young Lawyers Section; was on the Lawyer Referral Committee, the Admission Study Committee, the Complaints Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Legislative Committee, the Disciplinary Review Committee, the Law Office Management Committee, the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee and the Complaints Tribunal. He was also President of the Mississippi Bar Foundation.
Pepper was elected President of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association in 1985 following service as Continuing Legal Education Chairman, Secretary, Vice President, and member of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee.
He was chairman of the Lamar Order and a director of the University of Mississippi Law Alumni Chapter. Pepper was a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, where he was also a Trustee and a member of the Grants Committee. He held membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates and American Inns of Court, was a member of the American Bar Association, was a State Committeeman for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, a Fellow of Young Lawyers Association of the MS Bar, and has been a frequent speaker at legal education seminars.
Pepper was a Public Defender for 26 years, was a member of the Mississippi Public Defenders Association, and was a participant in the Mississippi Pro Bono Project. He held membership in both the National and the Mississippi School Board Attorney’s Association and was an Adjunct Professor at Delta State University. Active in civic affairs, he was Chairman and was a 12- year member of the Bolivar County Elections Commission, was President of the Lions Club, the Crosstie Arts Council and the Bolivar County Ole Miss Alumni Club. He was Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Foundation and a director of the Delta State University Booster Club and Sunburst Bank of Cleveland, now Regions Bank.
He was vice president of the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association, on the board of directors of the Federal Judges Association, a former member of the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council, and a member of the American Inns of Court. Pepper also served as Chairman of the Administrative Board, Finance Committee, and Pastor Parish Relations Committee of the First United Methodist Church, where he was a Sunday School teacher, choir member, Habitat for Humanity Volunteer, and served as Scout Master of the Cub Scout Pack. In 1996, he was recognized for his contributions to the community by being chosen King of the Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball.
He and the former Virginia (Ginger) Brown of Jackson married in 1967, and they have one son, William (Will) Allen Pepper III, who is married to Samantha Minga Pepper.
Robert A. Weems
Born in Morton, Miss., Bob Weems grew up in Jackson. Following his graduation from Central High School, he enrolled at Millsaps College. In 1959, Weems earned his degree in Mathmatics. Upon graduating from Millsaps, he served in the United States Army Security Agency, stationed in Turkey and in Germany. In 1962, he returned to Jackson and began his career as an educator, teaching math at Chastain Junior High School. It was during his time as a math teacher that he married the former Janis Mitchell of Corinth.
In 1964, Weems enrolled at the University of Mississippi School of Law. As a student, he was an assistant editor of the Mississippi Law Journal. He was also inducted into membership in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. In August of 1966, Weems’ time as a law school student came to an end when he graduated at the top of his class.
After graduating from the Ole Miss law school, Weems moved to Vicksburg to start his career as a practicing attorney. He joined the firm of Brunini, Everett, Grantham and Quin where he was an associate for five years. In 1971, he became partner at Brunini, Everett, Beanland and Wheeless. During his time in Vicksburg, Weems’ two children, Margaret and Robert, were born.
In 1977, the University of Mississippi School of Law called him back to Oxford to serve as a member of the faculty. For more than a decade, he was an associate professor teaching Torts, Wills and Estates, Evidence and Trial Practice. In 1989, he was promoted to Professor and Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada Lecturer in Law, a post he held until he retired from teaching full time in 2013. Weems may be best remembered by alumni for the continuing legal education seminar he presented with his friend and colleague, Guff Abbott, titled “Recent Developments in Mississippi Civil Law.” The two of them presented this CLE from 1984 until 2011. One of his proudest accomplishments as a scholar was in 1992 when he had the opportunity to co-author with his son Mississippi Wills and Estates, Cases, Statutes and Materials; Mississippi Law of Interstate Succession, Wills and Administration of Estates; Proposed Mississippi Uniform Probate Code. After 40 years of teaching at the Ole Miss Law School, Weems announced that after the 2017 fall semester, he would fully retire.
His success as a classroom teacher did not go unnoticed. He was awarded the law school’s Outstanding Law Professor Award in 1980, 1989, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003. In 1994, he was awarded the most prestigious honor an instructor can receive at the University of Mississippi when he was presented the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award. In addition to his teaching duties, he served for a decade on the university’s Athletics Committee; as faculty athletics representative and as chairman.