History of Our Firm
In 1950, Joel P. Walker, our founding partner, graduated from the Ole Miss Law School after serving in the U.S. Navy and rented space in the upstairs of our building. Later he formed a partnership with Gerald Chatham, Sr. and moved into his office on the south side of the square. Not long after prosecuting the infamous Emmett Till case as district attorney, Mr. Chatham passed away and Mr. Walker moved back to our building and started his own firm which grew until it eventually became Walker, Franks, Rone, Bridgforth, Woods, Barbee & Buntin with additional offices in Olive Branch and Southaven.
In 1981 Mr. Walker’s daughter, Mary Lee Walker Brown, and son-in-law, William A. “Bill” Brown, began to practice with him and Walker, Brown & Brown, P.A. was incorporated. In 1984, they moved their practice to a building purchased on Commerce Street. In 1995, the firm returned to it's original "home" at 2540 Highway 51 South. Mr. Walker practiced law until the day he died in 2008.
Over the years the attorneys of Walker, Brown & Brown, P.A. have served in numerous leadership positions in state and local bar associations, as well as community organizations.
History of Our Building
Our office is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Hernando Methodist Church was built upon this site in 1839. In the late 1930's a new Methodist Church was built on Commerce Street and the property was sold to H.W. McIngvale, who tore down the church and erected the present building in 1940. The date appears above the front door. The building was built in a traditional commercial style but with art deco details in a Masonic theme which can still be seen near the top of the walls. Originally the downstairs had retail space and a café on the first floor with a mixture of offices and small apartments on the upper floor.
In the 1970s Mr. Walker’s firm purchased the building and undertook 1970’s style “improvements” to modernize the building including, lowering the ceilings, placing wood paneling over the plaster walls and installing the latest in shag carpet in a variety of colors popular in the 1970s. Many downstairs windows were bricked in and a copper roof was added to the front and side of the building. Later in the 1970s the firm split into several law firms and one of the other partners purchased the building, but Mr. Walker remained in the building as a tenant. Later the property was sold to the Hernando Bank which used the downstairs for office space and planned to eventually utilize the entire building. Afterwards, the Hernando Bank was purchased by Trustmark National Bank, which sold the building, and it became used as rental space for county offices.
When an opportunity arose to buy this building Bill and Mary Lee Brown purchased it in 1995 and began removing the 1970’s “improvements”. Unfortunately, no interior photos are known to exist and exterior photos showing any detail did not surface until recent years. During the course of renovations it became apparent that many interior walls had been moved over the years.
Presently, Bill and Mary Lee practice law in the building, in addition to Bill's mediation practice.