On November 2, 2018, the Brazoria County Bar Association sponsored the retirement reception of the Honorable Jerri Lee Mills.
Photographs, with permission and courtesy of, Ann Edwards:
Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate and honor Judge Mills’ 24 years of dedicated service to Brazoria County!
“…On January 1, 1995, Judge Jerri Lee Mills became the first female judge of Brazoria County—she is very proud of this fact. She was one of three County Court at Law Judges. In the 24 years serving the citizens of Brazoria County, Judge Mills never drew an opponent. She would like to think this is due to her doing a good job. Indeed, she worked very hard at the duties of ensuring advocates to both sides of an issue would walk away feeling they got a fair shot in the courtroom, regardless of whether they prevailed on their particular issue.
While not only serving the citizens of Brazoria County, she also, with Mark Jones, Deron Harrington, and a few others, reinvigorated, and outright saved, the Brazoria County Bar Association. Judge Mills strongly believed and believes in the Bar Association as a means to serve not only the people of Brazoria County, but the lawyers who protect and represent their respective client’s interests.
Judge Mills wanted to bring new life to and refocus the Bar Association to provide high-quality C.L.E. locally, so members did not have to travel far for their continuing education requirements. She wanted to further fellowship amongst the local Bar, to further encourage what our county is famous for amongst lawyers—that we are cordial to one another, even when we have to aggressively pursue our respective client’s legal position.
She also helped direct the Bar Association’s path of providing services to non-lawyers. When the Bar Association became solvent again, she encouraged the opportunity to provide merit-based scholarships to high school seniors applying to college based on their written essay submissions, and donations to area non-profits that provide meaningful services to the county’s populace.
She has inspired the members of the Bar Association Board to continue this tradition. The Brazoria County Bar Association is bringing even more and better services to its members—more high-quality C.L.E. and events throughout the year, a modern website, and we are continuing to provide scholarships and support to area charities. The Bar Association could not have done this, nor would the Association be here today, without Judge Mills.
While Judge Mills will not be done with her Bar Board term for another year, we wanted to present her a token of our appreciation on this meaningful day–and while plaques are all very well and good, the Brazoria County Bar Association Board was inspired to find a way to thank her for all that she has done not only for the Bar, but the good people here in Brazoria County. We wanted a way to honor her year after year.
Therefore, it is the Bar Association’s great honor to announce the creation of the “Judge Jerri Lee Mills Law Student Scholarship”. Many scholarships that exist focus on students entering college–comparatively, there are very few scholarships available to law students. In the fashion of the high school scholarship contest, students from Brazoria County applying for law school may apply for this special scholarship, which will be merit-based and will be applied for based on an essay prompt. The Board has approved this scholarship to be $2,000. We hope to continue this scholarship annually in perpetuity to a well-deserving law student who has Judge Mills’ similar character and work ethic.
While Judge Mills has encountered many souls before her, whether in criminal, family, civil, probate, or juvenile hearings, each person before her has been impacted by her rulings and her signature on Orders. Judge Mills never took that responsibility lightly or flippantly.
We know this is not the end to her positive impact and service to Brazoria County. It is just the end to the beginning. On behalf of the Bar Association of Brazoria County, we wish to thank her for her desire for fairness to get each one of her rulings right, her dedication, service, work ethic, and her inspiration.
--Excerpt of speech honoring Judge Mills by Brazoria County Bar Association President-elect David Smith, edited for context