Pine Bluff Attorney Efrem B. Neely Sr., who specializes in criminal defense, domestic relations and personal injury law, announced Friday that he will run for the Pine Bluff District Court Division 2 judge's seat.

The position is currently held by District Judge John Kearney.

Neely has served as the managing attorney of the Neely Law Firm and the managing partner of the Neely and Guynn Law Firm in Pine Bluff since 2011.

According to a news release, his firm is “one of the top law firms in Central Arkansas, has a superb success record of favorable verdicts in both criminal defense, domestic relations and personal injury cases.”

Neely not only practices solo, he also serves as a contract attorney ad litem and full-time city attorney for the City of Altheimer.

In the past, Neely has also worked as an associate attorney at Ronald L. Davis, Jr. Law Firm PLLC, was a law clerk in the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, and a law clerk with Nolan, Caddell, & Reynolds, P.C.

“In my lifetime, I have seen Pine Bluff change in many ways, some good and some bad. Well, I decided a long time ago that I wanted to be a part of the good,” Neely said in the news release.

“I practice law because this is where I best serve the citizens. I feel that I could make the best impact by providing diligent legal representation and service in this next chapter of my career.”

As a special judge to the Jefferson County Circuit Court, the Jefferson County District Court, and the Pulaski County District Court, he is no stranger to serving on the bench.

According to the news release, Neely has “seamlessly executed the duties of a Special Judge in the sitting judge’s absence, under oath, and supporting the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, the Constitution of the United States, and the statutes of the State of Arkansas.”

He said he has “the experience and expert knowledge to make sound decisions in cases and do so with utmost fairness and integrity. I was born in Pine Bluff. I graduated from the historic University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff formerly Arkansas AM&N. Prior to attending the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville, I worked as a Superintendent at Tyson Foods in Pine Bluff.

“After graduating from law school, I’ve practiced law and served the citizens of Pine Bluff since being admitted to the Arkansas Bar. I am not only licensed in Arkansas State Courts, I am licensed to practice law in the Eastern and Western Districts of the Arkansas Federal Courts, and I do so with the utmost integrity. Undoubtedly, our past sets the tone for our future, and I will strive to make a difference in what that future looks like, one case at a time.”

Neely said he prides himself on being in touch with the community he aims to serve.

“I am committed to the work to be done in the Pine Bluff District Court and am excited to bring EXPERIENCE, INTEGRITY AND COMPASSION to the bench,” the news release said.

Neely’s platform is focused on offender accountability, mental health awareness, domestic violence awareness and drug abuse diversion. Having worked as a board member for Better Community Development, Neely said he has been committed to drug treatment, urban development and renewal, social justice and community support.

As a district court judge, Neely said he intends to be a role model for Pine Bluff youth, especially males.

“Young males in Pine Bluff need someone they can emulate, someone like them who can relate to the issues they are facing daily,” he said in the news release.

“I believe that the district court is in a great position to be a diversionary vehicle for repeat offenders. The district court is on the front line for misdemeanor offender to be guided away from repeat and or escalated behaviors. My top priority is proper sentencing for low risk offender, diversionary programs for first time offenders, accountability for repeat offenders and to protect the interest of the public and victims. In essence, I want to ensure that justice is parallel across the board”.

Neely was recognized as one of Arkansas Life Magazine/Arkansas Democrat Gazette’s Top 55 Attorney nominees for five consecutive years and his firm was recognized by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Economic Research and Development Center as the Most Promising Business.

Neely is a current or past member of the following organizations: Jefferson County Bar Association, Pulaski County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Better Community Development, Inc. (Board Member), Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, W. Harold Flowers Law Society and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Neely is the son of Verdell Neely (Partee) a native of Pine Bluff, who is a proud graduate of Southeast High School class of 1966. Both his mother and father, the deceased James B. Neely, Sr., attended Arkansas AM&N currently known as the University of Arkansas of Pine Bluff. Attorney Neely resides in Pine Bluff, and is the father to one son, Efrem B. Neely Jr.