Helen Shores Lee

Woman of Inspiration
Author and Circuit Court Judge

THE LATE HONORABLE HELEN SHORES LEE was appointed Circuit Judge of the Tenth Judicial Court of Alabama by Governor Don Siegelman and assumed the bench in January 2003.  Judge Lee became the first African-American woman to serve in the Civil Division of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County.

Prior to the practice of law, Judge Lee served as Magistrate for the city of Birmingham, Alabama (1986-87).  Judge Lee practiced law in the Birmingham community for more than sixteen years with the firm of Shores and Lee until her judicial appointment in January 2003.

She was a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.  She received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California and the Juris Doctorate from Samford University, Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama.

She was a member of the American Bar Association, Alabama State Bar, Birmingham Bar, Magic City Bar and National Bar Association.

Mrs. Lee served from 1996-2000 as a member of the Alabama State Ethics Commission and as its chairwoman from 1999-2000.

Judge Lee dedicated her life to community service.  Her past service includes:

  • Chair of The Advisory Council of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Minority Health and Research Center (MHRC)
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama (BC/BS)
  • Campfire Inc.
  • Trustee, Leadership Birmingham
  • American Red Cross
  • United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
  • National Board of Governors, American Red Cross
  • AmSouth Bank
  • Civil Rights Institute
  • United Way
  • Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA),
  • Birmingham Airport

Judge Lee was happily married to Bob Lee for over 50 years.  This was blessed with two sons, one daughter and five grandchildren.  She and her family were members of First Congregational Church where she served on the Board of Trustees.  Judge Lee truly lived up to her father’s legacy, the late Arthur Shores, attorney and civic leader.  He too was a pioneer because of his active involvement in many civil rights cases, including the integration of the University of Alabama as well as Brown vs. Board of Education.

When she was not on the bench, Judge Lee enjoyed traveling and deep-sea fishing. She said “there is no greater way to relax than being out on the ocean catching red snapper and amberjack.”

When it came to her personal philosophy, she had this to say:

As a child, I learned from my parents early the importance of giving back to the community. As an adult, I have found that giving of your time and service can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. If I am to promote the welfare of my community and make my city a better place to live, then I must get involved and I must give of my time, my service and myself for the benefit of others. This is the model I follow in my professional career and personal life.

Judge Lee lived her life in service to others until her death in 2018. She is greatly missed.


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