Tim Watson was appointed to one of three circuit judge positions within the 3rd Judicial District of Arkansas, including Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp counties. The Supreme Court allowed the three judges to divide the courtroom duties within the district. Watson will complete the term of Judge Phil Smith, who currently covers Division 2. His work will focus on civil cases, domestic relations, probate cases and more. Traditionally, Circuit judges serve six year terms. Judge Phil Smith has a remaining three years left of his term. As he retires, there was no time for an election. Therefore, Governor Asa Hutchinson is responsible for filling the vacant seat until the next scheduled election. He chose Watson as the appointment for a one year term. Watson will not run for the judicial seat in the next election. Appointments are not allowed to run and unfortunately the age limitation is 70 years of age. Tim Watson is 73. “I am honored at the opportunity, but will look forward to returning to private practice after the year,” explains Tim.   
    Watson was approached and asked to apply for the appointment. “Honestly, it is not something I have ever really considered doing. I love the practice of law; the clashing of ideas and the research,” states Watson. After being approached and asked to apply, Watson decided to pursue the appointment. There were three attorneys in the district to apply. Watson was chosen of the three applicants. Watson was notified the first part of November of the Governor’s decision. When asked if the Governor was partial to Watson, Watson said that he did not know Governor Asa Hutchinson on a personal level and had only met him possibly once. “But, most political appointment are political,” he laughs.
    Tim Watson is the father of two sons, Timothy and Todd Watson, both attorneys. When asked about the support of his sons, Tim emphasized that the other Watson attorneys thought it was a great opportunity for their father. Todd Watson left the firm in October to join the ranks of active duty military as a JAG –Judge Advocate General Corps- as a Judge Advocate. He is currently studying military law at the University of Virginia and will finish in February. Timothy remains in Newport for the time being and will run the law firm while his father serves on the bench. Timothy’s future may take him to either the west coast, California, where he has already passed the bar exam, or head east to New York. Betsy and Tim Watson have much to be proud of in their two sons. Both young attorneys with a limitless future, consisting of few unconquerable obstacles.

    Tim Watson will be sworn in by Judge Harold Erwin, his second cousin, on January 2nd at the Jackson County Courthouse. That Tuesday is Tim Watson’s first day as a Circuit Court Judge. The short ceremony will take place shortly before 9 am. The cousins have practiced law in Newport for decades, Watson since 1970. Newport is well represented within the circuit district. Many great law minds are born within this community and the tradition continues in the Watson family.