When asked about her path to Mercer Law, Judge Shondeana Crews Morris, '97, will tell you she did not always plan to become a lawyer. “I thought I was going to be a doctor or things of that nature,” she says. Once she arrived on campus, Morris says that Mercer Law was one of the greatest experiences she's had, and the relationships and coursework prepared her for her life and legal career.
As a law student, Morris found guidance from Court of Appeals Judge Yvette Miller, '80. Having Judge Miller as a mentor was one of Morris' most memorable experiences during her time in law school, and she is a big believer in the Law School's alumni network. Her advice to current law students is to “get outside your comfort zone” and get to know faculty, alumni, and lawyers in the community because relationships built during law school are crucial to success as a young lawyer. Morris after seventeen years of practice, still receives advice and guidance from her other Mercer Law mentors, Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, and Professor Anthony Baldwin.
Morris serves as one of four judges appointed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to oversee DeKalb County's newly created traffic court, which is replacing Recorder's Court and will handle around 175,000 cases per year. In February, the Georgia General Assembly approved House Bill 300, which abolished Recorder's Court, with its functions absorbed into DeKalb State Court.
Prior to her appointment to the bench, Morris served as the Deputy District Attorney in Fulton County. As Deputy District Attorney, she is most proud of her work with the Crimes Against Women and Children Division (CAWAC). Morris says it was a rewarding experience for her to seek justice for child victims and build relationships with them as they go through the healing process.
Judge Morris was recently appointed to the State Bar of Georgia Board of Governors and serves on the Suicide Awareness and Prevention Committee.Morris is also an active volunteer and a proud member of many organizations, including the Atlanta Bar Association, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA) the Junior League of DeKalb and Leadership DeKalb (2016). In addition, she is a board member of the International House of Women and an advisory board member for the criminal justice program at Atlanta Technical College.
In addition to her Juris Doctor, Morris holds a master's degree in criminal justice from Albany State University, as well as an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. She most enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, and their two young children.