Profile: Judge Clyde Reese

Judge Clyde Reese spent more than 20 years in a variety of legal jobs prior to his appointment on December 1, 2016 to the Court of Appeals. Judge Reese answered some questions about his first year on the bench of the Court of Appeals of Georgia.


Please tell us a little about your background.  Where did you grow up?  What’s your educational background?
Judge Clyde ReeseJudge Reese: I was born in Florence, S.C. and moved to Atlanta when I was ten.  I have a B.A. in world history from Georgia State University with a minor in economics.  I have a J.D. from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.  In my legal career, I was briefly an Assistant Attorney General, in-house General Counsel for two state government health agencies, and a Governor appointed executive branch agency Commissioner.  I was owner and managing partner of a health care regulatory private practice law firm from 2003 to 2007.  I served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health in 2010, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Services from January 2011 to June 2013.  I served a second turn as DCH Commissioner from July 1, 2013 to November 30, 2016.  I was appointed to the Georgia Court of Appeals by Governor Nathan Deal.  I began my term on the Court on December 1, 2016.

How did your previous job prepare you to serve on the Court of Appeals?
Judge Reese: During my 20+ years as an agency General Counsel, private attorney, and as a Commissioner, I worked extensively with the Georgia Administrative Procedure Act.  I issued well over 500 administrative orders and determinations.  I reviewed administrative hearing officer decisions pursuant to statutory Commissioner review procedures, applying legal standards of review to final agency decisions.  I felt well suited to a role on an appellate court when appointed by Governor Deal.  I have also used my previous executive and management experience to organize my Chambers and the duties of my staff.

What motivated you to study law?
Judge Reese: After receiving my undergraduate degree, I worked in the residential real estate business.  Upon entering law school, my aim was to become a real estate closing attorney.  Circumstances led me to a rewarding career in health care law.

What are your passions when you are off the bench?
Judge Reese: I have five children ranging in age from 34 to 15.  I have always focused heavily on being a father and doing things for and with my children.    I now have two grandchildren as well.  I am a big sports fan and follow football, basketball, and baseball from all angles.  I enjoy reading political and diplomatic history, along with espionage novels.  I also enjoy exploring new restaurants locally and while traveling.

What do you enjoy most about being a judge or greatest reward of your job?
Judge Reese: I enjoy working together with other Judges at the Court, particularly those on my panels.  We all work together to, as we say, "Get it right."  I enjoy the legal scholarship necessary to be an effective member of the Court.

Who has influenced your career as a judge?
Judge Reese: Supreme Court Justice Harold Melton was one of my supervisors when I began working at the Georgia Attorney General's office under Mike Bowers.  Justice Melton has always been helpful and available to me throughout my career.  I consider him my judicial mentor.  In my first year on the Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Stephen Dillard has been most kind and gracious in helping me get acclimated to the Court.  His law review article on the inner workings of the Georgia Court of Appeals has been my bible as I established my method of working on the Court's business. 

After a year on the job, what do you feel is the most rewarding part of being a Court of Appeals Judge? Hardest part of the job?
Judge Reese: After a year on the Court, the most rewarding aspect has been immersing myself in what I call, pure law, without the added demands of executive and administrative duties required to lead an executive branch agency.  I enjoyed being a Commissioner and feel I was good at it.  However, being an appellate court judge is a good fit for me.  The hardest part has been navigating the process to be re-elected.  That is truly a new environment for me.

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