The Honorable Richard L. Young, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, is pleased to announce the appointment of New Albany attorney Van T. Willis as part-time United States Magistrate Judge.

Judge Willis took his oath of office in a private ceremony on Friday, May 15, 2015. Judge Willis fills the vacancy created by the passing of the Honorable Michael G. Naville, who served the court from November 1995 to September 2014.


Judge Willis presides over preliminary criminal proceedings in the New Albany Division of the Southern District of Indiana. He also continues to practice civil law as a senior partner with the firm of Kightlinger & Gray, LLP.

He has been with the firm since 1991, and his primary areas of practice are civil rights, corporate and business law, employment, insurance defense litigation, trademark and copyright infringement, and worker’s compensation. From 1989 to 1991,

Judge Willis served as a law clerk to United States District Judge Gene E. Brooks.

Judge Willis was born and raised in Franklin, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky for both his undergraduate and law degrees.

Judge Willis was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1988 and is also admitted to practice before the Indiana Bar; the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Indiana, Western District of Kentucky, and Eastern District of Kentucky; and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Judge Willis is also engaged in many civic activities, currently serving as president of the Governing Board of Floyd County Head Start; vice-president of the Board of Trustees of Our Lady of Providence High School; and as a member of the Board of Directors of Goodwill of Southern Indiana. Judge Willis and his wife, Kathy, have been married for 26 years and have four children.

Part-time Magistrate Judges are appointed by the Judges of the United States District Courts for terms of four years and are eligible for reappointment to successive terms.