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John B. Clark for Receives of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association Lifetime Achievement Award

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By Mike Ellingburg
March 2008

John graduated from the University of Mississippi with distinction in 1963 and obtained his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1966. Following his clerkship with United States Circuit Court Judge Coleman, in 1967 John joined Daniel Coker Horton & Bell where he has continuously practiced law to this day. In 1967 John also joined the military reserve where he served until 1975.

As an attorney he has been recognized by his peers through an AV rating in Martindale Hubble; through his induction into the American College of Trial Lawyers and service as its State Committee Chair; through his recognition as a Master of the Bench in The Charles Clark American Inn of Court; and through his service in and election as President of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association in 1992. John has also been named in "Best Lawyers in America®" in his primary area of practice. This recognition by the Bar is consistent with the character and integrity John has consistently demonstrated as one of the leaders of our firm. The confidence of his fellow owners in the firm is reflected by the fact that John served as firm President from 1990 through 2001.

As a trial lawyer who has primarily represented the defendant in hundreds of serious cases during his approximately 40 year career, John has consistently provided that rare combination of an objective attorney who can fairly evaluate a case and bring to bear formidable negotiating skills, or equally formidable trial skills, as appropriate to meet his client's needs. In this capacity John has tried hundreds of cases to conclusion in the Mississippi state and federal courts before scores of judges. Despite this level of exposure to the bench and the bar, one would be hard pressed to find a judge who did not appreciate John's decorum, professionalism, and respect toward the court, or an adversary who did not recognize him as an ethical, talented, and consistently prepared opponent.

Beyond his accomplishments as an attorney, John's personal life reflects an attitude of service with a consistent focus on giving back to the larger community in which he has practiced. This attitude reflects positively on John and on the Defense Bar as a whole. He has been a faithful member of Northminster Baptist Church where he has served as a deacon and as Chairman of the Board of Deacons. He was also involved in the formation of the Salt and Light Ministry Foundation with which he has traveled to Honduras almost every year since 1995 to help bring food, shelter, education and spiritual support to some of the poorest people in Central America. Along the same line, John has actively participated in Habitat for Humanity since it became active in the Jackson area approximately 20 years ago. Finally, John has served on the Board of Friends of Mississippi Public Broadcasting since 1981.

We believe that John's character and achievements, demonstrated over a lifetime of law practice, epitomize what we should all strive to accomplish in our careers as defense attorneys. Were we able to do so, it would significantly elevate the public perception of the legal profession generally and of the defense bar specifically.