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Local lawyer Risie Howard to run for circuit judge

Pine Bluff lawyer Risie Howard has announced her candidacy for judge of the 11th West Judicial Circuit, Division 4.

The position is currently held by Judge Leon Jamison, who is retiring.

Howard is with the George Howard Jr. Legal Center LLC, named for her late father, U.S. District Judge George Howard.

Howard has experience hearing cases and writing opinions. Before entering private practice, Howard completed an eight-month assignment on the Arkansas Appeal Tribunal and conducted more than 1,000 hearings, writing all her own opinions, according to a news release.

She worked as an intern with the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps at the regional base in Gulfport, Miss., where she assisted civil and criminal defense attorneys with pre-trial preparation, and in hearings and trials. She prepared wills, powers of attorney and other documents for deploying service members in the Navy, Air Force and Marines and other assignments in the civil division in Fleet and Family Services, where she designed a child-care agreement for use on naval bases throughout the Southeast, and was trained as the office expert on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, according to the release.

A 2010 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, Howard received the Class Public Service and the Dean’s Distinguished Public Service Awards.

She was named the 2010 Student Public Service Honoree.

Howard also completed summer legal studies at Trinity College of Law in Dublin, Ireland, where she studied “The Prosecution of Crimes Against Humanity” and “Freedom of Speech and Press.”

She holds licenses to practice in Arkansas, U.S. District Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Howard is a member of the American and Jefferson County Bar Associations.

Before law school, Howard taught junior college, college and secondary school science, physics and biology. She was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers three consecutive years.

Howard has also worked as a part-time statistician with the Department of Agriculture at Little Rock, as a bilingual claims representative for the Social Security Administration in Dallas, and in law enforcement with the Federal K-9 Security Agency.

Howard is a graduate of Pine Bluff High School, where she was elected vice president of the junior class, and was the first Black student to play on the women’s tennis team. Later, she played for the Michelob-Lite Tennis Team in Little Rock.

Howard is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.

She earned a certificate in comparative political and economic systems at the Georgetown University Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service while working in the Office of Kansas Congressman Daniel Glickman.

Howard also completed summer graduate studies with New York University in Spain and speaks Spanish.

In 2018 she was selected for membership in Lawyers of Distinction. She was named a Power Lawyer and appeared in The New York Times on June 16, 2019, and recently she was selected for the Top Attorneys of North America 2021-22 edition by The Who’s Who Directories.

She is a member of St. Peter Catholic Church, the St. Thomas More Legal Society, Stephens College Alumni Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Seabee Historical Society.

Howard says her clients gave her the suggestion of running for circuit judge. She said she believes justice is blind and all persons are innocent until proven guilty.

Howard also said she is not asking for donations but for votes and volunteers.