Judge Milburn attended the University of Chattanooga and Boston University before graduating from ETSU. From 1953-56 he served with Army Security Agency. In 1959 he received his doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and began practicing law as a partner with Bishop, Thomas, Leitner, Mann and Milburn. He is a member of the Chattanooga Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Tennessee Bar Association. In l973 he was appointed circuit court judge by Governor Winfield Dunn. He was appointed U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee by President Reagan where he served from June 1983 until October 1984. President Reagan appointed him Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in October 1984. He serves also as a member of the Chancellor's Roundtable at UT-Chattanooga. He was commencement speaker at ETSU's May 1987 graduation exercises.