About Lydia Quarles

Lydia Quarles, J.D., is truly a “Renaissance woman,” excelling in a wide variety of  endeavors, all stemming from her core as an accomplished attorney and an exceptional woman. She brings an unmatched level of vigor and determination to her varied pursuits,   such that her clients find the process almost as satisfying as the results achieved.

  • 2012 Joan Fiss Bishop Award winner
  • 2011 Susie Blue Buchanan Award Winner
  • Martindale Hubbell AV rated lawyer
  • Recognized by Martindale Hubble as a Preeminent Woman Lawyer in America


Bio LydiaLydia Quarles is a Senior Policy Analyst at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government, Mississippi State University. She joined the Stennis Institute in 2006, following 13 years of service to the Mississippi Workers Compensation Commission, including five years as the Commissioner of the Mississippi Workers Compensation Commission and eight years as an Administrative Judge. Prior to her work with the MWCC, she spent more than a dozen years in the private practice of law in Alabama and Mississippi.

Quarles is an active member of the bar and serves as co-chair of the Mississippi Supreme Court’s “Gender Fairness Implementation Study Committee.” She is a member of the Mississippi Supreme Court’s “Rule of Law Committee” and acts as the Chief Operating Officer of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Mississippi Bar. She is a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, a recipient of the Mississippi Bar’s Distinguished Service Award, and a member of the Mississippi School for Math and Science Foundation Board. Quarles has been honored by the American Bar Association’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, receiving the Mary C. Lawton Award for lasting contributions to the Mississippi Workers’ Compensation Commission in the areas of alternative dispute resolution and access for Hispanic workers.

She spends much of her time in Starkville and Jackson (MS), but widely travels in the course of her work, with clients throughout the state and region. Her zest for law, consulting and dispute resolution and her deep compassion and concern for clients and causes make her seem tireless, with an enthusiasm and optimism that are contagious – warranting her “Expect the Unbelievable” motto.


Earned Degrees

Juris Doctorate Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, 1975.
Master of Arts Communications; Mississippi University for Women, 1972,
summa cum laude, with specialization  in political rhetoric and
public address.
Bachelor of Arts Political Science and Communications; Mississippi University
for Women, 1971, cum laude.


Post Graduate Education

  • Graduate of National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada (administrative hearings  curriculum)
  • Completed class hours toward a Ph.D  in Public Administration, Mississippi State University.
  • Graduate of History of Workers’ Compensation Curriculum, University of New Brunswick, Canada
  • Workers’ Compensation Professional Certification, Michigan State University, School of Labor and Industry, Ann Arbor
  • Completed over 100 hours of mediation training; certified by the Mississippi State Supreme Court, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, and the Workers’ Compensation of the Mississippi Bar as an approved mediator
  • Roster member: NASD Arbitration Roster
  • Roster membership pending: AAA Arbitration Roster
  • Project Manager Professional Designation (pending); completion of 12 hours of project management training.


Professional Activities and Honors

Member/Co-chair of Chief Justice Jim Smith’s Gender Fairness Implementation Study Committee, tasked with identifying primary issues in gender fairness in Mississippi Courts, recommending remedial measures, and establishing implementation of training in remediation, 2006-2008.

Member of Chief Justice Jim Smith’s “Rule of Law Committee”.

Recipient of the American Bar Association’s Mary Lawton Award, given by the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section for outstanding service in the field of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, 2006.

Initiated as a Bar Fellow, Mississippi Bar Foundation, 2005.

Regent, International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, 2005.

Finalist, Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women, 2004.

Recipient of Distinguished Service Award from The Mississippi Bar, 2003.

Member, Foundation Board of the Mississippi School for Math and Science, 2002 to present.

Member, Mississippi University for Women Alumni Board, 2002 to present; currently serving as Parliamentarian for the Board.

Member, Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators, 2001 to 2002; co-chair, Administration & Procedures Committee, 2002-2004; chair, Administration & Procedures Committee, 2004 to present: chair, Adjudication Committee.

Member, International Association of Industrial Boards and Commissions, 2001 to present; member, Nominating Committee, 2003-2004; member, By-laws and Constitutions Committee, 2004-2005.

Member, Executive Committee of Workers’ Compensation Section of the Mississippi Bar, July 1998 to present; vice chair from July 2000 to 2001; chair July 2001 to 2002; ex officio July 2002 to 2003; Chief Operating Officer July 2003 for an indefinite term.

Member, Women in the Profession Committee of The Mississippi Bar, 2000 to 2004; co-chair, Gandy Lecture Series, 2004 and 2005; co-chair, Gandy-Phillips Mentoring Project, 2004 to 2005; committee chair, 2005-2007 bar years.

Selected as keynote speaker to North American Federation of Chiropractic Networks Annual Convention, 2001, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Selected to participate in Phase III of the Western Nations’ Advisory Seminar on environmental problems of the eastern European Countries in Kyoto, Japan, November, 1991, as a guest of the American delegation from Mississippi State University.

Selected to present a professional paper (published in conference proceedings) at the First International Chemical and Environmental Engineering Conference, Guangzhou (formerly Canton), People’s Republic of China, with additional speaking engagements at universities in Beijing, Shanghai,  and Nanjing, People’s Republic of China, June, 1992.

Selected to present a professional paper at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Social Sciences Association, April, 1991.

Selected to attend the Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference as the Guest of the Chief Judge, Northern District of Mississippi, 1987 and 1993.

Selected as Mississippi’s representative to attend the National Security Forum sponsored by the Air War University and the Pentagon Air Force Staff, 1982.

Selected as one of 30 outstanding young leaders in Mississippi by the Mississippi Economic Council, 1981.

Graduate of Leadership Mississippi, Leadership Starkville, and Operation Tomorrow (Columbus, MS).

Named an outstanding woman in America, 1975.


See Lydia Quarles’ complete resume