Justice Robert Benham, a life-long resident of Georgia, was born to Jesse Knox Benham and Clarence Benham in Cartersville, Georgia. He graduated from Summer Hill High School in Cartersville in 1963, and Tuskegee University (B. S. Political Science) in 1967; attended Harvard University; and graduated from the University of Georgia, Lumpkin School of Law (J. D. Degree) in 1970; University of Virginia (LL. M. Degree) in 1989.
After completing law school, Justice Benham served in the U. S. Army Reserve, attaining the rank of Captain. He then served briefly as a trial attorney for Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., later returning to Cartersville, where he engaged in the private practice of law, served as Special Assistant Attorney General, and served two terms as President of the Bartow County Bar Association.
On April 3, 1984, Justice Benham was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Joe Frank Harris. He won the statewide election and served on the Court of Appeals for five years. In December 1989, Justice Benham was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia by Governor Joe Frank Harris. He won the statewide election to a full term on the Supreme Court on July 17, 1990.
He is married to the former Nell Dodson of Cartersville and they have two sons, Corey Brevard Benham and Austin Tyler Benham. Nell is a graduate of Albany State College, and she is employed by the Department of Labor in Cartersville, Georgia. An avid woodworker, Justice Benham spends his leisure time with his sons, making wooden toys and music boxes.
Justice Benham holds membership in numerous professional organizations, including eight national, state, and local bar associations, the American Judicature Society, the Lawyers’ Club of Atlanta, the National Criminal Justice Association, the Georgia Bar Foundation, the Georgia Legal History Foundation (Trustee), and Scribes – The American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects. He is a former vice president of the Georgia Conference of Black Lawyers, a former board member of the Federal Lawyers Association and of the Georgia Association of Trial Lawyers. He is the former chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Drug Awareness & Prevention, a member of the State Bar Task Force on the Involvement of Women & Minorities in the Profession, the Georgia Commission on Children & Youth, the National Association of Court Management, and a member of the National Conference of Chief Justices, a member of the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee, Pres. of the Society for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Chairman of the Judicial Council, Chairman of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. and a member of the Governors Southern Business Institute.