2022 Lawyers' Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame Class – 2022
It is significant and appropriate that during what is traditionally considered Law Week, the first week of May, we honor and recognize the new group of inductees into our Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame. We have conducted nineteen induction ceremonies and with our current selectees we have now honored ninety lawyers from throughout the history of the State of Alabama.
The selection process for the Hall of Fame is both simple and complex. The committee seeks nominations from lawyers, the families of potential honorees, the nominee’s associates, historians, interested citizens, and the public in general. Anyone can complete the nomination form putting forth the names of lawyers who have by their accomplishments brought honor to themselves, the state, and the legal profession. Then the hard part begins where the
committee meets to review nominations, discuss lifetime achievements, and choose inductees.
Honorees must be preeminent exemplars of the legal profession. They have been nominated because they have had a distinguished career in the law. This is demonstrated through many different forms of achievement, leadership, service, mentorship, political courage, or professional success. Each inductee must have been deceased at least two years at the time of their selection. And them comes another challenge. Among the honorees, at least one must have been deceased a minimum of one-hundred years. This means that no one will have known the potential honoree personally and the committee will be solely dependent on history books, written records, and the results of their deeds subject to the judgment of time. Thus, we consider the totality of a person’s life. That places a tremendous responsibility on the committee.
Over the years we have recognized men and women, black and white attorneys, judges, both appellate and trial, both Federal and State, military heroes, public servants, law professors, a Clerk of the Alabama Supreme Court and Reporter of Decisions, Assistant U. S. Attorneys, Governors, Senators, Congressmen, Mayors, City Councilors, an Ambassador, a Speaker of the House of Representatives, and a Vice-President of the United States. But our largest single demographic is the group of lawyers, all outstanding individuals, who have labored in the field of private practice. All of our lawyer-inductees are the true giants, the mentors, and, yes, the heroes of our profession. Their plaques are located in the lower rotunda of the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building and together they form a very impressive collection.
Our twelve-member selection committee consists of the immediate past-president of the Alabama State Bar, a member appointed by the Chief Justice, one member appointed by each of the three presiding Federal District Court judges of Alabama, four members appointed by the Board of Bar Commissioners, the Director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History, the Chairman of the Alabama Bench and Bar Historical Society, and the Executive Secretary of the Alabama State Bar. This committee meets to consider the nominees and to make selections for induction. You will hear from some of the committee members today as we present the stories of our honored lawyers. Now at this time I ask that all members of the Hall of Fame Committee who are present today stand and be recognized by the audience.
I encourage anyone to consider making a nomination for our Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame. The nomination form and instructions can be found on the Alabama State Bar’s website. I say this each year, but remember, great lawyers cannot be considered for induction into the Hall if they have not first been nominated.
Here are the new inductees to the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame. We hope that all of their stories will serve to inspire the present and future citizens of Alabama.
Samuel A. Rumore, Jr.
Chair, Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame Selection Committee
- Harold Vaughan Hughston (1915-1981)
Harold Vaughan Hughston was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on August 15, 1915. He was a resident there his entire life, except during his service in World War II. He married Lucy Caroline Allison in 1948 and they became the parents of four children. Their two sons, Harold V. Hughston, Jr. and James D. Hughston, followed their father as members of the legal profession.
Harold Hughston was one of Colbert County’s most admired and prominent citizens. He attended Florence State College before graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1940. He began a distinguished legal career upon admission to the Alabama State Bar that same year. He was Colbert County Solicitor in 1942 when he enlisted in the United States Army where he served his country until honorably discharged as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 1946. He resumed practice in the law firm of Smith, Hughston, and Tompkins. He became Judge of the Colbert County Law and Equity Court in 1947. From 1948 to 1955 he served as Circuit Judge of the 11th and 31st Judicial Circuits. These positions resulted in him being known as “Judge Hughston” throughout his distinguished professional career.
He returned to private practice in 1955 with the firm of Kirk, Rather and Hughston and a successor firm of Hughston, Hughston, and Hughston up to the time of his death in 1981. His two sons had by then become lawyers and had joined him in practice to his great pleasure. The desire to practice law with his sons led to his decision to decline a nomination to be a United States District Judge in the Northern District of Alabama. This decision reflected his devotion and love for his family. After his death, his son, Harold Jr., would later become a Circuit Judge in the 31st Judicial Circuit and his grandson, Harold III, would be elected the District Attorney for the Circuit. These positions of public service were previously held by Judge Hughston. James D. Hughston and his son, Jameson, continue a Hughston law practice in Colbert County with the firm of Black and Hughston, more than 80 years after Judge Hughston began his legal career.
Judge Hughston, while dedicated to our legal system, contributed unselfishly in promoting the good within his community. He served on and chaired the Tuscumbia School Board. He was active in Kiwanis International, serving as District Governor for Alabama. The First Presbyterian Church was a beneficiary of his talents as both an Elder and a Trustee. He served the City of Tuscumbia and Colbert County as their attorney and was a director of local financial and insurance interests. He was a member of the Newcomen Society of North America.
The organized Bar at national, state, and local levels benefited from his involvement. He was President of the Colbert County Bar, Bar Commissioner for the 31st Judicial Circuit, and was serving as the 105th President of the Alabama State Bar at the time of his death. He was also a member of the Alabama Law Institute and the American Bar Association.
His loyal service to the University of Alabama and it’s Law School included membership on and chairman of the University President’s Cabinet. He was President of the University’s Law School Foundation, Law Alumni Association, and the Farrah Law Society. He was the 1970-71 President of the University of Alabama’s National Alumni Association. Judge Hughston was the 1979 recipient of the Tutwiler Award from the University, its highest honor, for his service. He had been named the University’s Distinguished Alumnus in 1978. Other memberships included Kappa Alpha Order, ODK, and the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity.
Judge Hughston’s was a life well lived. It reflected the best of the legal profession with his dedication to its highest standards and service to others. It should not be overlooked that while two of his children chose the legal profession, so have five grandchildren. One could not desire a better role model to emulate than one who had the admiration from within the profession, as well as the respect of his fellow citizens. Harold Vaughan Hughston’s life of integrity and service is legendary in the annal’s of the Alabama State Bar which proudly inducts him into the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame.
- James Taylor Jones (1832-1895)
James Taylor Jones was born in Richmond, Virginia, on July 20, 1832. His father was Richard Jones, a successful planter, and his mother was Ana Jane Taylor, a relative of President Zachary Taylor. When James was 2 years old, the Jones family moved to a plantation near Linden in the canebrake area of Marengo County, Alabama. After the tragic and untimely deaths of his mother, sister, and grandmother in 1840, Jones and his brothers moved to Demopolis where they were raised by their uncle and aunt.
Though his father was a man of limited schooling, he appreciated the value of a good education. In 1852, James received both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Princeton where he excelled in his studies and, in 1855, he was awarded a Law degree from the University of Virginia. He returned to Demopolis and was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1856. He became involved in the community and was elected Mayor in 1860. He practiced law with George Gaines Lyon until the outbreak of the War Between the States.
Jones married Ada Byron Vaughan in 1862 and they had four children, two of whom survived to adulthood. Ada died in 1873 and two years after her death, in 1875, he married Virginia Reese. The couple had nine more children, six of whom survived. Mrs. Virginia Reese Jones lived on in Demopolis for many years after the death of her husband and died on May 2, 1948 at the age of 100.
Jones and two of his brothers joined the Confederate Army in 1861. He enlisted as a Private, was promoted to Captain, and received wounds at the Battle of the Wilderness. He later served as Judge Advocate General of the Confederate War Department until the end of the war. He returned to Demopolis to practice law with Francis Strother Lyon, the uncle of his former partner. He was elected to the 1865 Alabama Constitutional Convention which abolished slavery and repealed the 1861 Alabama Ordinance of Secession.
Between 1877 and 1889, James Taylor Jones served four terms in Congress. He supported the development of Alabama’s waterways and increasing Federal appropriations for postal routes in Alabama. He also introduced legislation to ensure that all Alabama townships received the funds set aside to support public education from the sixteenth section land trusts.
Perhaps the most consequential achievement of Congressman Jones’ political career was his sponsoring of the land grant from the United States government to the University of Alabama as compensation for the burning of the campus at the end of the Civil War. The thousands of acres of Warrior Coal Field land transferred was worth an estimated $600,000 in 1884 and is today estimated at $40 million in value. These resources are still a part of the University’s endowment.
In his final term in Congress, Jones publicly supported the proposed Blair Education Bill which would appropriate funds for public schools, provided that schools for black children would receive a proportionate amount of funds as schools for white children. Jones reasoned that the government had the responsibility to aid the elimination of illiteracy among the voting and school populations. It was certainly an extraordinary position for a Southern politician to advocate public funding for black school children. Congressman Jones received fierce criticism from his Primary election opponent, and he decided to drop out of his re-election race.
After serving in Congress, Jones returned to Demopolis in 1889. However, he continued his public contributions to his community by being elected Circuit Judge, without opposition, in 1892. He served until his death in Demopolis on January 15, 1895.
James Taylor Jones was a skilled advocate, politician, and judge. His many contributions to the State of Alabama have stood the test of time. Due to his public service, integrity, and political courage, he is an exemplar for Alabama attorneys. And, he is most deserving of induction into the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame.
- Arthur Alexander Madison (1883-1957)
Arthur Alexander Madison was born in Montgomery, Alabama on November 11, 1883. His father, Eli Madison and his mother, Frances Madison, were both born into slavery. Arthur was one of twelve children. In 1880, Eli and thirteen other former slaves purchased 1000 acres of land in the community that became known and is still known today as Madison Park. Arthur Madison was raised in this predominately black community where residents started numerous businesses including a quarry and several mills. Eli donated two acres of land for a school to be built in the community.
Arthur Madison graduated from State Normal School which is now known as Alabama State University in 1905. He continued his collegiate studies at Howard University. He completed his collegiate career at Bowdoin College where he had applied and received a scholarship. He was the only black student in his class. At the time, there were only three black students out of a student body of 346. He graduated cum laude in 1910.
After graduation Madison incorporated the “Fred Douglass Shoe Company” in Massachusetts. He returned to Montgomery the following spring and opened “Madison’s Shoe and Dry Goods Store.” The store was located at 112 North Perry Street which is across from the present site of Montgomery City Hall. He and his brother also formed a real estate company, The National Realty and Investment Company.
In 1913, he married Mary Loveless. The couple moved to New York. He continued his education while working as a porter and earned a degree from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. A few years later, he enrolled at Columbia Law School. He started the “Arthur A. Madison Service Agency” in Harlem. The agency offered real estate, investment, room exchange and special services. Mrs. Madison offered courses in beading and embroidery. He earned his law degree from Columbia in 1923 and was admitted to the New York State Bar the following year.
Attorney Madison litigated various cases in New York. In 1926, he successfully defended a black couple who were accused of assaulting a police officer who had knocked on their apartment door and pointed a gun at the wife without identifying himself. He was also president of the Harlem Lawyers Association which is the oldest Black Bar Association founded in 1921. He was best known for representing a controversial religious leader who called himself “Father Divine.” In 1936, he helped organize the International Divine Righteous Government Convention. The platform of the convention denounced Nazi oppression of Jews and supported the abolition of the death penalty and the end of segregation in all walks of life.
In 1938 Attorney Madison was admitted to the Alabama State Bar. He and Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame inductee, Arthur Shores, were the only two blacks admitted to the Alabama State Bar at that time. Attorney Shores sought to increase black voter registration in Montgomery. The voter registration drive started in September 1943. On June 12, 1944, as many as 750 blacks went to the courthouse to register to vote. Attorney Madison remained outside of the building to answer any questions that the applicants might have. Many of the applicants were family members and school teachers. When a sizeable number of the registrations were rejected, Attorney Madison filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ola Galloway, his sister-in-law, and Willie Madison.
Attorney Madison learned that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies to threaten his clients. They were warned that they would lose their jobs if they did not withdraw their applications. Their homes and businesses were threatened to be destroyed. As a result of the threats and intimidation, six of his clients asked that their cases be withdrawn alleging they had never given Attorney Madison permission to represent them. Criminal charges were brought against Attorney Madison. Within a week, he was tried, convicted and fined $ 2500.00. Attorney Madison retained Attorney Shores to represent him on appeal. However, the conviction was upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court in 1945.
Attorney Madison continued his voter registration work. In 1945, in her third attempt to become a registered voter, Rosa Parks asked him and E. D. Nixon to accompany her. This time, she was added to the voter roll. He also continued to develop the Madison Park community.
Attorney Madison continued to practice law in New York until his death on January 21, 1957. He is buried in his Montgomery neighborhood community, Madison Park.
The following statement reflects Attorney Madison’s philosophy:
MY WHOLE PROGRAM IS TO MAKE THE SOUTH A SUITABLE PLACE FOR COLORED PEOPLE TO LIVE IN. THEY MUST ENJOY THE SAME RIGHTS PRIVILEGES, AND CONDITIONS AS THEY ENJOY IN THE NORTH. IT WILL MEAN AS MUCH TO THE WHITE SOUTH AND TO THE NEGRO SOUTH, FOR BOTH RACES TO LIVE IN PEACE AND ON CONDITIONS OF EQUALITY WHERE ALL CAN WORK TOGETHER FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUTH.
- Clarence Frost Rhea (1921-2005)
Clarence Frost Rhea, son of William Henry Rhea and Elvela (Frost) Rhea, was born on August 21, 1921. His parents were both from Attalla, Alabama. Mr. Rhea was married to Marie Cannon. He met Marie while she was serving in Karlsruhe, Germany as an Army nurse. They had three sons and a daughter. All three sons practiced law with Mr. Rhea before his death. Two of his sons continue to practice while one is a retired circuit judge in Etowah County. Their daughter practices dentistry in Eufaula.
Mr. Rhea earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in 1943 and his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1948. He passed the bar exam in Alabama and Virginia. Mr. Rhea was widely regarded as a community leader and patriot. Not only was he a “lawyer’s lawyer,” but he was also a veteran and a great civic leader.
During his time in the United States Army Air National Guard, Mr. Rhea served thirty-eight months of active duty in the 84th Infantry Division during World War II. He also fought in the Korean War where he served with the 31st Infantry Division. He served as commander of the 31st Infantry for five years. Following the wars, he was in the Alabama National Guard. He retired from the Army Air National Guard as a Brigadier General. After his retirement, he was chosen to serve as the first national president of the 84th Infantry Division Society. Following this appointment, he was also chosen to lead the 31st Infantry Division Society as their president. In 1976, the Fort Clarence Rhea Armory was built, and it was renovated and expanded to be the Fort Clarence Rhea Readiness Center in 2005.
During his legal career, he was the president of the Etowah County Bar Association. He was a member of the Alabama State Bar, the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the American Judicature Society. Mr. Rhea was admitted to practice before numerous federal courts and the United States Supreme Court. He served as judge advocate for Civitan International’s Alabama District North for 25 years. He also served as the City Attorney for Attalla and other municipalities for several decades. He practiced law in Gadsden for 53 years, and continued to practice until just days before his death on December 27, 2005.
Through his civic work, he served on the board of the Salvation Army for over 30 years, and he also worked closely with the Choccolocco Council of Boy Scouts. Additionally, he worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeastern Alabama. Mr. Rhea was also involved in the Sons of the American Revolution and the Retired Officers Association. As the chairman, Mr. Rhea headed the effort to build the Etowah County War Memorial at Noccalula Falls Park. Alongside his already lengthy civil service, he served the Eagle Scout Project and Board Review, and he was a member of the 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Masons and past master of the Gadsden Masonic Lodge.
Mr. Rhea was an active member of First United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday School for 25 years and represented the church as a delegate to the Conferences of the United Methodist Church.
Mr. Rhea’s life was one of service and leadership which is evident through the many awards that he received during his lifetime. He was named an “International Fellow” by the Civitan International Alabama District. This is considered to be the highest honor that a Civitan organization can bestow on one of its own members. The lawyers of Alabama now proudly honor him with induction into the Alabama Lawyers’ Hall of Fame.
- Janie Ledlow Shores (1932-2017)
Janie Ledlow Shores was born in Butler County near Georgiana on April 30, 1932, to John Wesley and Willie Scott Ledlow. In 1942, her father entered the Navy and the Shores family moved to Loxley in Baldwin County. After the family move, Janie attended school in Loxley, and then Robertsdale High School from which she graduated in April of 1950. On graduation day, a Friday, Janie took a Greyhound Bus to Mobile, found an employment office, and was sent on an interview the next day, a Saturday.
Her interview was with attorney Vincent F. Kilborn, Jr., a solo practitioner. Janie was proficient at shorthand and typing, indispensable skills at the time, and Kilborn hired Janie, age eighteen as his legal secretary. Little did she realize the profound impact that Vince Kilborn would have on her life. Kilborn expected perfection and promptness, which he got from Janie, who would take dictation from Kilborn sometimes for four hours at a time, after which she would transcribe what Kilborn had dictated which sometimes took as long as four days. One day, while taking dictation, Janie commented on the substance of the subject matter Kilborn was dictating. He told her that she ought to go to law school. Up to that time, Janie had not even contemplated going to college much less law school. But with Kilborn’s encouragement, she began taking courses at the University of Alabama Center in Mobile.
Shortly thereafter, Janie married Bill Ellzey and the couple moved to Selma where she continued to take undergraduate courses at the University of Alabama Center there. She then attended Judson College, a female-only school located in Marion, about an hour’s drive from Selma. After two years at Judson, Janie transferred to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. At that time, after completing ninety hours of undergraduate work, one could enter the law school and upon completing law school, one earned an undergraduate degree with a major in law.
Although the first woman had been admitted to the practice of law in Alabama in 1907, the Alabama legal world was male dominated. Female students faced challenges in law school that were different from those faced by male students. Women would not be expected to devote their working career to the law. Janie was the only woman in her law school class, but her fellow students respected Janie because when she was called upon by professors, she was always prepared and answered well. Not only that, but as an expert at short-hand, dictation and typing, she was able to take notes verbatim, a priceless asset in law school. After typing them, Janie freely shared her verbatims with the other students.
Graduating from law school in 1959 and automatically admitted to the practice of law, Janie was hired as a law clerk by Justice Robert T. Simpson of the Supreme Court of Alabama. While she clerked for Justice Simpson, she commuted back and forth between Selma and Montgomery. After her clerkship ended in 1961, Janie opened a law office in Selma and began practicing law. She was invited to join the local bar association which had to change their by-laws for her to join. While practicing in Selma, Janie and Bill Ellzey divorced amicably. Afterwards, she closed her law practice in Selma and moved to Birmingham where she found a job on the legal staff of Liberty National Life Insurance. She spent four years at Liberty National, and while in Birmingham Janie met Birmingham attorney Jim Shores. They married in May of 1962 and in 1964 their daughter, Laura Scott Shores, was born. When Laura was two years old, Janie joined the faculty of Cumberland School of Law as the school’s first female law professor.
While a professor at Cumberland, Janie was called upon to help Justice Simpson, who had been seriously injured in an automobile accident. Janie took on this task while at the same time teaching classes at Cumberland. It is generally recognized that Justice Simpson’s cases would never have been completed without Janie’s efforts. In 1972, Janie decided to run for the Supreme Court. Her opponents were Eric Embry, a noted Birmingham attorney, and James Faulkner from Shelby County. Faulkner won, but Janie was never a quitter. In 1974, she ran again and this time won the state-wide race. Not only was Janie the first woman on the Supreme Court of Alabama, but she was also the first woman to win election to a state supreme court. At the time, only two other states had female supreme court justices, but they had been appointed not elected.
Janie had an immediate impact on the Court. Having clerked for Justice Simpson, she had experience with the internal workings of the Court and helped in streamlining the process of decision making. Janie’s intelligence, assertiveness, and knowledge of the law earned her the respect of her colleagues on the Bench. She ran for reelection and won reelection in 1980, 1986, and 1992. In 1993, Senator Howell Heflin recommended Janie to President Bill Clinton for nomination to the United States Supreme Court. Janie made the “short list” of candidates, but Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsberg for the seat.
Janie retired from the bench in 2000 after serving twenty-five years on Alabama’s highest Court. Afterwards, she continued to receive awards including the Maud McLure Kelly Award in 2002, the Brewer/Torbert Public Service Award in 2013, the Sam Pipes Award in 2015 and, after her death, induction into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame.
Justice Janie Ledlow Shores died in Montrose, Baldwin County, Alabama on August 9, 2017. Few people have blazed a wider trail than Justice Shores. Born during the Great Depression, starting her career as a legal secretary in the 1950’s and becoming an attorney in a male-dominated and sometimes hostile profession, she soared to the top of that profession. She was the first female law professor in Alabama. She was the first female justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. All she asked of her fellow students, teachers, lawyers, and judges was to “take her and her cases seriously.” They did because she earned it with hard work. The Bench and Bar of the State of Alabama is proud and honored to induct Justice Janie Ledlow Shores into the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame.