Joseph W. Hatchett
Joseph W. Hatchett
Co-Chair, Appellate Practice
106 East College Avenue
12th Floor
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Joseph W. Hatchett serves as co-chair of Akerman's Appellate Practice and co-chair of the firm's Diversity Committee. Immediately prior to joining Akerman in 1999, he served as Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Florida, Georgia, and Alabama). Prior to congressional creation of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, President Jimmy Carter appointed Joseph to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama).

Joseph became the first African-American elected to the highest court of a state since Reconstruction when Governor Reuben Askew appointed him to the Florida Supreme Court in 1975. He continued to serve on that court after a successful statewide election in 1976. After a career as a civil rights lawyer in Florida, he served as Chief Assistant United States Attorney and Conscientious Objector Hearing Officer for the Department of Justice and as a full time United States Magistrate Judge, all in the Middle District of Florida.

Joseph served as the Chief Judge of the federal three judge court that drew the Florida legislative reapportionment plans in 1980 and in 1990. After leaving the bench in 1999, he led the litigation team in both the state and federal litigation related to the legislative reapportionment of 2000. In 2005, because of his experience in Florida, the federal three judge court of Georgia appointed him to aid the court in drawing the redistricting plans for the Georgia House and Senate.

In 2005, the National Bar Association inducted Joseph into its Hall of Fame in recognition of more than 40 years of dedication to the cause of justice and equality before the Courts of the United States of America, and on behalf of the African-American community. The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession awarded him the Spirit of Excellence Award, which is presented annually to exceptional lawyers who have made significant contributions to the promotion of racial and ethnic diversity within the legal profession.

The Best Lawyers in America 2009-2014, Listed in Florida for Appellate Law
Super Lawyers Magazine 2006-2013, Listed in Florida for Business Litigation, Appellate, and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Florida Trend's Legal Elite 2010, Listed for Appellate Practice
ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, Spirit of Excellence Award, 2007
Inducted into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame, 2005
Anti-Defamation League, Jurisprudence Award, 2003
Leadership Florida, Leroy Collins "Lifetime Achievement Award", 2001
The Florida Bar Foundation, Medal of Honor, 2000
Howard University, Honorary LL.D., 1998
Florida A&M University, Honorary LL.D., 1996
Stetson Law School, Honorary LL.D., 1980
Florida Memorial College, Honorary LL.D., 1978
National Bar Association, 1977
Howard University, Post Graduate Achievement Award, 1977
Broward County National Bar Association, "Most Outstanding Citizen" Award, 1976
Edward Waters College, Community Service Award, 1976
Florida A&M University, Bicentennial Award, 1976
Bethune Cookman, Medallion for Human Relations, 1975
Tampa Urban League, An Accolade for Juristic Distinction, 1975
Florida Jax Club, "Man of the Year" Award, 1974
Who's Who in America
Notable Americans
Who's Who Among Black Americans
Notable Black Americans
Who's Who in American Law
Who's Who in the South and Southwest
The American Bench

1 George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal, 1, Author, "Is Reaching Unitary Status Enough?", Spring, 1990
XI Florida Endowment for the Humanities Florida Forum 1 & 2, Speaker, "An Effective Judiciary," Spring/Summer 1988
The Florida Bar, Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Speaker, "Extraordinary Writs in Federal Courts," September 1987
Florida State University College of Law, Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Speaker, "Decision Making in the Eleventh Circuit," 1985

Judicial Nominating Commission, Florida Northern District, Member
International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Board of Directors
The Florida Bar, Member
American Bar Association, Member
American Judicature Society, Member
Federal Magistrate Judges Committee, Member, 1984
Jacksonville Bar Association, Member
D.W. Perkins Bar Association, Member
Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules, Member
National Bar Association, Member
National Council of Federal Magistrates, Member
United Negro College Fund, Volusia County, Co-Chairman, 1962
Jacksonville Naval Reserve Training Corps, Committee Selection, Member, 1971
Jacksonville Opportunities Industrialization Center, Board of Directors, 1972-1975
Veterans of Foreign Wars

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, 1981-1999; Chief United States Circuit Judge, 1996-1999
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, United States Circuit Judge, 1979-1981
Supreme Court of Florida, Justice, 1975-1979
United States Marine Corps Reserve, Lieutenant Colonel, 1973-1978; Retired, 1988
Middle District of Florida, United States Magistrate, 1971-1975
Middle District of Florida, First Assistant United States Attorney, 1968-1971
Conscientious Objectors, Department of Justice, Special Hearing Officer, 1967-1968
Middle District of Florida, Assistant United States Attorney, 1966-1968
Daytona Beach Urban Renewal Department, Consultant, 1963-1966
Masons of Florida, General Counsel, 1963-1966
City Attorney, Daytona Beach, Special Assistant, 1963-1966
NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Cooperating Attorney, 1960-1966
United States Army, 1st Lieutenant, 1954-1956
United States Marine Corps Reserve, J.A.G. Corps, Retired
United States Marine Corps Reserve, Judge Advocate Division, Military Judge, Retired

Associated News, Events and Publications

Joseph W. Hatchett


LL.B., Howard University School of Law, 1959; with honors
B.A., Florida A & M University, 1954; Political Science

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