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The University of Mississippi School of Law recently announced that beginning this fall, veterans eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program will have their tuition paid in full.

By using a combination of funds from the Department of Veteran Affairs, the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program, and the University of Mississippi, veterans who served at least three years in active duty since September 11, 2001, and who attend law school full time, can have their tuition and fees fully covered.

“We are honored to participate in this initiative to fund law school for our veterans,” said Susan Duncan, dean of the law school. “We owe a great debt to those who have served, and we feel this is the least we can do to honor their commitment to this country.”

According to The University of Mississippi’s Assistant Director of Veteran and Military Services, Andrew Newby, the opportunity to utilize the Yellow Ribbon Program is available for any student veteran who has been accepted to the Law School who meets the criteria for 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. For those student veterans accepted to Ole Miss who qualify for any other chapter of the GI Bill, they will be eligible for a non-resident tuition scholarship that will pay the out-of-state portion of their tuition.

“There is no limit to the number of students that can use the Yellow Ribbon Program, and no limit for students using the non-resident tuition scholarship,” said Newby.

For more information, contact Newby at (662) 915-5021 or

University of Mississippi School of Law alumni have a new way to feed their competitive side while giving back to their alma mater with the school’s newest initiative. The UM Law Firm Challenge has been created to challenge 20 Mississippi law firms to reach 100% giving participation from alumni within the firm.

“During my time as Dean, it has been evident that Ole Miss law alumni are very loyal and supportive of the law school, so I know that they will respond well to this initiative,” said Susan Duncan, dean of the law school. “We are excited to see which firms come out on top.”

The goal of the competition is to increase the giving rate among the school’s 7,000 alumni, which is currently at a rate of 4.4%. By increasing giving participation, alumni can help provide the school with vital scholarship and operational funds that will benefit our students during their legal education.

“We are at a time when private support is essential for law students,” said Suzette Matthew, development officer for the School of Law. “As we continue to transition into the new world of law practice and legal education, the Law School’s success depends significantly on our generous donors.”

The challenge runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Gifts can be made to any UM Law Fund, and gifts already given during these dates will be included. Firms that reach 100% giving participation will receive a trophy, recognition on the UM Law website, and recognition in the Alumni Newsletter.

There is also an incentive to reach full participation as quickly as possible. The challenge has been divided into four categories: firms with 41 or more alumni, firms with 11-40 alumni, firms with 3-10 alumni, and other entities, which includes offices with UM Law alumni that are not law firms. The firm that reaches 100% first in their category will receive a personalized trophy and premium placement on the UM Law website and the Alumni Newsletter.

To take the challenge, contact Carol Mockbee: or Suzette Matthews: For more information, visit the website:

The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins will visit Oxford and will speak at the University of Mississippi School of Law on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 12:45 p.m. in Weems Auditorium.

Judge Wilkins currently serves on the Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit, and was instrumental in the development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. His book, Long Road to Hard Truth, tells the story of the 100-year mission to build the Museum.

“Judge Wilkins is a good friend of mine; we were colleagues together in Washington D.C.,” says Tucker Carrington, Associate Professor of Law and director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project. “It’s going to be great. He has a great story to tell, not only about the museum, but about the long road to construction.”

The lecture will be held at the University of Mississippi School of Law, located at 481 Chucky Mullins Dr., in Room 1078. Judge Wilkins will speak for an hour, followed by a Q&A session. Lunch will be provided. Following his lecture, Judge Wilkins will sign copies of his book, Long Road to Hard Truth. Copies will be available for purchase at the Law School. The book signing will begin at 2:30 p.m.

For additional information about Judge Wilkins’ visit, contact Carol Mockbee at, or call 662-915-6000.

Suzette Matthews (right), development officer for the Ole Miss Law School, visits with Barbara Corsale at her home in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Ask Joe Corsale the secret to a successful life and he’d say it’s knowledge.

The Saratoga Springs, New York, native sought knowledge whenever and wherever he could.

“He had a passion for learning anything and everything from playing a guitar, to using a computer, to attending a three-week course in Maine where he learned the trade of building houses,” said Barbara Corsale, the late Joe Corsale’s wife.

He even learned the law, earning a juris doctorate from the University of Mississippi (UM) in 1964, but he used his degree only for a short time. There was too much to learn, too much to see, too much to do.

“You’d ask Joe, ‘Joe, what are you doing?’ and he’d say, ‘A little bit of this and a little bit of that,’” said Ken Reynolds, who became friends with Corsale when they were freshmen together at Western Kentucky University.

Among his many occupations and pastimes, Corsale was the owner of J.N. Corsale, Jr. Real Estate Company, an insurance salesman, a licensed auctioneer, a school teacher, a gun broker, a city commissioner for Saratoga Springs and periodic seller of pari-mutuel tickets at the local horse track. And there was, of course, the railroad — Corsale’s first and longest love. Long before law school, he worked on the railroad and when he retired after 55 years, he was the nation’s oldest freight conductor.

In addition to Corsale’s undergraduate and law degrees, the lifelong learner had diplomas from the State University of New York (SUNY) and the World Wide College of Auctioneering. It was perhaps his great love of knowledge that inspired Corsale to include the UM School of Law in his estate plans, leaving the university a $100,000 gift to establish the Joseph N. Corsale Family Scholarship Endowment. The scholarship is available to first-year law students with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and with first preference given to students from New York.

“He wanted to give it to somebody who needed the money, people who are struggling, but not just to students who are there only for the sake of being a lawyer,” Barbara Corsale said. “He wanted it to go to students who want to work with people and who are interested in their community. You know, ‘What are you going to do when you get out? How are you going to put your talents to good use?’ He was very giving in his lifetime and he wanted to help someone in law school who would profit from a little bit of assistance.”

Throughout his lifetime, Corsale made frequent financial contributions to the Ole Miss Law School and was a member of the Lamar Order, a designation given to those who make a minimum $10,000 commitment to the school, payable within 10 years.

“I think he chose the school for several reasons,” said Corsale’s classmate Robert Khayat, UM chancellor emeritus. “I suspect that among well-respected law schools, Ole Miss would’ve been the right size and the right price with the right admissions standards. I think it was the overall appeal of Ole Miss and Oxford, in the sparse population, in the way things move so slowly and in classes that were fun and teachers who were terrific.”

Barbara Corsale agreed, saying her husband, who had always wanted to experience the South, researched many schools before selecting Western Kentucky and then Ole Miss. But it’s likely his life would have taken a different track altogether if he hadn’t sustained a serious injury while working on the railroad.

“He fell off the trestle and broke his back,” Reynolds said, adding that during his physical therapy, Corsale became friends with a tobacco warehouseman from Cynthiana, Kentucky. “This gentleman told Joe that he was too smart and too dumb to stay working for the railroad, that he ought to go to college and get an education and make something of himself.”

Corsale intended to stay in Mississippi after law school. In fact, he was hired by an Oxford law firm. But when his father fell ill a few months into his employment, Corsale felt obligated to return to New York where he began to work for an Albany law firm preparing briefs to be presented to the state legislature.

One day, on his way to work, Corsale stopped at a bank in Mechanicsville, New York, to invest in a certificate of deposit. There, he met and later charmed the bank’s vice president into becoming his wife.

“I remember saying to my daughter, Tammy (from a previous marriage), ‘I’ve got a date’ and she says, ‘With who?’ and I says, ‘He’s one of my customers at the bank’ and she says, ‘Does he have his own apartment?’ and I says, ‘No, he lives with his mother.’ … She looked at me and says, ‘What’s wrong with him?’” Barbara Corsale recalled, laughing. “But they got along very, very well. He loved her and she loved him.”

After eight years as a lawyer, Corsale returned to the railroad and later became a general chairman of the United Transportation Union. He also worked with Walter Rich, president of the New York, Susquehanna and Western (NYSW) railroad in labor relations between Cooperstown and Washington, DC.

“He was funny and smart and always had a great big smile on his face,” Khayat said. “He really developed an affection for the school and its people. Occasionally he would make contact either in person, call or send a note. He always stayed in touch. Joe was really an Ole Miss person and identified with his university so closely that I know he was like an ambassador for Ole Miss wherever he went. That was his personality.”

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Joseph N. Corsale Family Scholarship Endowment by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, Miss. 38655; or contacting Suzette Matthews at 601-937-1497 or

By Bill Dabney

Activities include moot court competition, reception with Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law is participating in the bicentennial of Mississippi’s judiciary and legal profession Wednesday (Sept. 27) in Jackson.

Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. will be on hand for the celebration, and a full day of events, including a moot court competition between law students from Ole Miss and Mississippi College, is planned.

“We are so excited to have the chance to take a selection of our students to Jackson for this once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Susan Duncan, UM law dean. “Not all law students are able to interact with a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to meet with some of the top legal minds in our state and country, and in turn, we are eager to show off the caliber of students we have at our law school.”

Students from the UM School of Law and Mississippi College School of Law will have a chance to meet Chief Justice Roberts on Wednesday morning at the Mississippi Supreme Court. The Ole Miss law school also is hosting a networking reception at the Supreme Court building for Jackson-area attorneys and law students from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m., before the moot court competition.

Third-year students James Blake Kelly of Brandon, MS and Meredith Pohl of Houston, TX will represent UM in the competition, with professor Chris Green serving as their coach.

The competition will be judged by a panel including Chief Justice Roberts, Chief Justice William Waller of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Chief Judge Carl Stewart of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee of the Mississippi Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Sharion Aycock of the Northern District of Mississippi and Chief Judge Louis Guirola Jr. of the Southern District of Mississippi.

“It has been enormously rewarding and a great honor to work with students as talented, poised and hard-working as Meredith and James and dig with them into issues of criminal negligence in the Clean Water Act and corruption in the federal witness-tampering statute,” Green said.

“They will be sure to have the experience of a lifetime arguing in front of one of the most experienced and prestigious panel of judges – surely the largest collection of chief justices and chief judges – assembled in our state’s 200 years.”

Following the competition is a reception and banquet hosted by the Mississippi Bar Association at the Hilton Jackson.

Moot Court group heads to Australia to compete for university’s second international title

OXFORD, Miss. – Since winning the North American championship in April, the moot court team at the University of Mississippi School of Law has been busy preparing for its next challenge: the World Championship.

The team’s win at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition at Georgetown University Law Center earned it the right to compete in the international finals this month in Adelaide, Australia. The team began preparing immediately, but with two members graduating in May and everyone going different directions for summer break, they had to find ways to continue practicing remotely.

The Ole Miss team consists of third-year students Kent Aldenderfer of Huntsville, Alabama, and Kyle Hansen of Issaquah, Washington, and recent graduate Alexia Boggs (JD 2017), from Nashville, Tennessee. Andrea Harrington, the school’s air and space law instructor, serves as faculty adviser, and recent graduate Marshall McKellar (JD 2017), of Hattiesburg, is the team’s assistant coach.

“Over the summer, it was difficult to get many practices in, but we did fit in a few practices on Google Hangout because everyone was pretty much in a different city,” Harrington said. “But once we got back from the break, we had a couple of practices on campus with Kent and Kyle and a couple of online practices with Alexia.

“We also scheduled the week of Labor Day for Alexia and Marshall to come back, and we had an intensive week of practices.”

During the week the team was all back in Oxford, it conducted two practices a day most days. Several professors came to judge the team and give members a variety of perspectives. After the week concluded, the team will have a few more online practices before leaving for Australia.

Although the moot court problem is the same from the North American Championships, this round features unknown factors for the team.

“The way this competition is different from a lot of moot courts is you have to prepare both sides of the argument, so you have to prepare a brief for both sides and oral argument for both sides, which is why there are three on the team,” Boggs explained. “Once we’re there, it’s a flip of the coin as to which side we will argue each round.”

The preparations were greatly enhanced by help of several faculty and staff members as well as the dedication of McKellar, who was a member of the 2016 team, Harrington said.

The team is scheduled to arrive in Australia on Sept. 22 and 23 and begin in-person practices once they are all there. The semifinal round of the competition is Sept. 26, and the final round is Sept. 28.

The team will be vying for the university’s second world championship in the competition. An Ole Miss team won the 2015 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Jerusalem, beating teams from India and Greece.

Dear colleagues:

The Law School has received the results for the July 2017 administration of the Mississippi Bar Exam and are much higher than the state average.  There were 41 University of Mississippi graduates who were first-time candidates.  Within this group, 31 passed.  In other words, first-time candidates from Ole Miss registered a  75.6% passage rate.  (Note: This is exactly the same percentage as July 2016).  Among all the 55 graduates of our school who took the Mississippi Bar Exam in July 2017, 36 passed which translates to 65.6%

Overall state statistics compared to ours are:

University of Mississippi


First time takers

31/41 (75.6%)

80/124 (64.6%)

Repeat Takers

5/14 (35.8%)

16/48 (33.4%)

All takers combined

36/55 (65.6%)

96/172 (55.9%)

Although we celebrate our alumni that passed the bar, we will continue to evaluate how to get that percentage even higher.  Bar passage is a top priority for me as Dean.  We plan to take a comprehensive look at what we are doing including what courses students take in law school as well as critically assessing our internal bar prep course in order to better prepare our students.  Our focus has always been and will continue to be preparing our students for life after law school and giving students the keys they need to succeed both on the bar exam and in practice or their chosen careers.

Please join me in congratulating our graduates on their success on the Mississippi Bar Exam.


The University of Mississippi School of Law is honoring the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by hosting UM Constitution Day Commemoration Wednesday, September 20 at 12:30 p.m. in Weems Auditorium.

Each year, the celebration features a panel, which is an edition of the school’s Student Legal Scholarship Exposition. Students will present their published and forthcoming works on specific constitutional issues, followed by responses from faculty discussants and audience members.

“We have one of the most robust and thoughtful Constitutions in the world,” said Associate Dean Michele Alexandre, who organized the event. “It is exciting to have such high level engagement taking place on constitutional issues between our faculty and students.”

This year’s presenters are Allison Bruff, Ripe for Rejection: A Methodology for States’ Departure from Utah v. Strieff and Its Poisonous Fruit (Mississippi Law Journal, Volume 86); Catherine Norton, Keeping Faith with the Fourst Amendment: Why States Should Require a Warrant for Breathalyzer Tests in the Wake of Birchfield v. North Dakota (Mississippi Law Journal, Volume 87, forthcoming); and TreMarcus Rosemon, Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones… But Symbols Hurt, Too: Government Speech & the First Amendment (Work-in-progress). The faculty discussants are Chris Green and Matthew Hall.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.



Continuing his legacy of support to the University of Mississippi (UM), retired state Supreme Court justice Reuben Anderson’s most recent gift will provide scholarships for full-time law students.

Since becoming the first African-American graduate of the UM Law School in 1967, Anderson of Jackson, Mississippi, and his wife Phyllis have committed more than $200,000 to the law school, to the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“The law school gave me so much. If it wasn’t for the law school, I probably wouldn’t be a lawyer. The people I had contact with when I was there played a major role in my life and I want them to be remembered,” said Anderson, specifically naming Josh Morse, former law dean.

“But probably more than anything else, I think it’s important that the law school stay strong, attract Mississippians and develop our leaders for the future,” Anderson continued. “They’ve always done that and a little help on the scholarship end can be beneficial. I think it’s important that we continue to attract people to stay in Mississippi and not leave.”

Anderson is a senior partner at the law firm of Phelps Dunbar LLP. He attended Jackson Public Schools and received a bachelor’s degree in history from Tougaloo College in 1964 before enrolling in law school. In 1967, he was admitted to the Mississippi State Bar. His professional experience includes Mississippi Associate Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., 1967-75; a partner with Anderson, Banks, Nichols & Stewart, 1968-77; municipal judge for the City of Jackson, 1975-77; county court judge for Hinds County, Mississippi, 1977-82; Circuit Court judge for the 7th Circuit Court District of Mississippi, 1982-85; Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, 1985-90; and Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government at UM, fall 1995.

“All of it can be attributed to the fact that I got a solid legal education at the Ole Miss law school,” Anderson said, adding, “I’ve always thought the law school was a great institution. I think it’s world-class. It has a great faculty and leadership and a great incoming new dean.”

Dean Susan Duncan is grateful for Anderson and other alumni and friends who choose to support the law school.

“We are so appreciative of Reuben Anderson and his support to the law school,” she said. “Gifts like his enable us to offer scholarships to our students, which help alleviate the financial burden of a legal education. Mr. Anderson is truly making a difference with his contribution.”

Anderson received a wealth of recognitions throughout his legal career. Among others, he is the first African-American to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court, the first African-American president of the Mississippi Bar, and listed in The Best Lawyers in America. He was inducted into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame in 2009, the UM School of Law Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995. He was presented the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and is the namesake for the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Society at Tougaloo College. He also provided leadership as president of the state Chamber of Commerce (MEC), 2001, and as a member of the UM Foundation board of directors.

Anderson has served on the boards of directors of AT&T, Dallas, Texas; The Kroger Company, Cincinnati, Ohio; MINACT, Inc., Jackson, Mississippi; Trustmark National Bank, Jackson, Mississippi; Mississippi Chemical, Yazoo City, Mississippi; Burlington Resources, Houston, Texas; and BellSouth, Atlanta, Georgia.

Anderson is a member of the 100 Black Men of Jackson and the U.S. Supreme Court, the American, Mississippi, Hinds County, Magnolia, National and U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals bar associations.

The Andersons have three children — Vincent, Raina and Rosalyn — and two grandchildren, James and Anderson.

“We are at a time when private support is essential for law students and ultimately the stability of the law school itself,” said Suzette Matthews, development officer for the school. “Mr. Anderson’s vision for the future will impact the lives of hundreds of law students and help to shape law practice in Mississippi in the future. We are deeply grateful for his generous support.”

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Reuben V. Anderson Law Scholarship Endowment by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, Miss. 38655; visiting or contacting Suzette Matthews at 601-937-1497 or

By Bill Dabney

Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

Susan Duncan, dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law, recently announced promotions for two of the school’s faculty members. Associate Dean Ben Cooper has been promoted to Senior Associate Dean, and Professor Michele Alexandre has been promoted to Associate Dean for Faculty Development.

As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Cooper worked to expand course offerings, recruit new adjunct professors, advise students, and assist the dean, faculty and students on policy matters. He also worked closely with the Offices of Admissions, Careers Services, the Registrar, and Student Affairs.

“Ben is a major asset to the law school. His incredible work ethic, kind disposition, and depth of knowledge of the school and legal education make him an ideal person to undertake this role,” said Duncan. “I look forward to working with him on overall strategic initiatives and efforts to advance the law school.”

Prior to being named Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Alexandre served as the chair of the Speakers and Faculty Scholarship Committee working with committee members to bring faculty lectures and writing workshops to the Law School. Her teaching and scholarly areas include constitutional law, international law, civil rights law, disability law, critical race theory, human rights, and gender, and she has published numerous law review articles, book chapters, and op-eds.

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

“Michele shares her passion for research by unselfishly motivating and encouraging others to engage in creative activity and is always willing to assist her colleagues,” said Duncan. “I look forward to Michele implementing new initiatives that will raise the research stature of our law school.”

For more information on Cooper and Alexandre, visit their faculty bios at

Dear Law School Community,

As we begin another academic year, I want to welcome you back or welcome you to the law school for the first time. I am deeply honored to serve as your dean and am looking forward to a wonderful year. I am excited to get to know all of you and do whatever I can to help this school and each of you reach your highest potential. So many good things are happening here, and we are going to build upon these successes to reach new heights.

In contrast with my excitement for the new school year, I am deeply saddened by this weekend’s horrible events in Charlottesville. I want to reiterate Chancellor Vitter’s statement:

The University of Mississippi vehemently condemns the racism, bigotry, and the acts of violence committed by hate groups in Charlottesville this past weekend. There is no place for violence and intolerance – not in our communities, on our campuses, or in our country. No words can adequately express how saddened we are by these acts. We stand with the University of Virginia community and send our sympathies to all victims of this tragedy. Please join us in keeping Charlottesville and UVA in our thoughts as they heal, find unity, and move forward. We ask members of the UM community to support one another, follow the principles of our Creed, and access campus resources should they be needed. 

I personally find the views expressed by the extremists at the UVA rally abhorrent and against my own core values. However, I also recognize that our laws allow people to express their own personally held beliefs in certain circumstances. To that end, our classrooms need to be places where vigorous debate can occur in a setting that honors everyone’s right to have and express their beliefs. Sometimes the beliefs of others may conflict with our own beliefs and even be offensive to us. But let me make clear that differences of opinions should be resolved through persuasion and never by intimidation or violence.

As attorneys, we are held to a higher standard, and I am confident that all of us at the University of Mississippi School of Law will rise to and abide by this standard. And I honestly believe that Justice Louis Brandeis was correct when he said, “In differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress.” Attorneys should be leading the way in showing people how to address conflict and difference of opinions with civil and respectful discourse. We must protect the rule of law and never allow anyone to undermine it. Law students and attorneys well understand that there may be multiple ways to view an issue or to solve a societal problem. The best attorneys carefully consider opposing viewpoints in order to craft more effective arguments. Therefore, let us strive together to create an environment where deeply held views can be expressed and challenged in an honest and constructive manner.


Susan Duncan, Dean of the Law School

Ronald Rychlak, the Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government at the University of Mississippi, is the new president-elect of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS). His term as president will run from August 2018-August 2019.

“It’s a great honor,” said Rychlak on being elected president. “This is an organization that I really appreciate. It helps develop young scholars and advance the legal profession.”

Rychlak has been on the Ole Miss law school faculty since 1987, and he serves as the university’s faculty athletics representative and chair of the Athletics Committee. He previously served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the law school. Earlier this year he received the Ben Hardy Faculty Excellence Award from the law school.

Rychlak is an officer (secretary) on the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Executive Committee and an advisor to the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations. He is a member of the committee appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court to revise the state criminal code and of the Mississippi Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. He is the author, co-author, or editor of ten books. His newest book, which was co-edited by Jane Adolphe, is The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East: Prevention, Prohibition, & Prosecution (2017).

SEALS is an association of 102 law schools. Institutional members are from the southeastern section of the United States, but affiliate members can come from anywhere. SEALS hosts annual meetings in late July or early August each year. The meetings offer workshops, panels, and discussion groups that focus on pedagogy and a host of cutting-edge legal topics. Rychlak is the fifth president from Ole Miss in the 70-year history of SEALS. Previous presidents include Professors John Fox and Larry Bush as well as deans Parham Williams and Sam Davis.

Jeep Peden with recipients of the Stennett, Wilkinson and Peden Scholarship, Davis Vaughn (left) and Rod Hickman (right).

James “Jeep” Peden (JD 1970) knows the value of scholarships. During both his undergraduate and law school years at the University of Mississippi, he was selected for several prestigious scholarships.

“I was very fortunate throughout my educational career as I was able to pay for most of my education through the generosity of scholarships endowed by others,” said Peden. Now a successful attorney in Jackson, Mississippi, Peden gives back to his alma mater so that others may receive support from scholarships like he enjoyed.

In 2015, James “Jeep” Peden created the Stennett, Wilkinson and Peden Scholarship at the Ole Miss School of Law, named for his law firm in Jackson. The scholarship provides assistance each year to a second- and third-year law student. Recipients are chosen by the Law School dean and faculty based on academic achievement, financial need and an interest in local government. Peden’s most recent gift in 2017 brings the scholarship to just under $50,000.

As an Ole Miss undergraduate student, Peden received the Carrier Scholarship, and he was a member of the University Scholars, the predecessor to the Barksdale Honors College. He graduated summa cum laude with a triple major in history, political science and Latin, ranking first in the class of 1966. Peden was also a recipient of the Taylor Medal, the university’s highest academic award.

After graduating, Peden was recognized with a a coveted Fulbright Scholarship to study British government and politics at the University of Bristol, before becoming a recipient of the Ford Foundation Law Scholarship at the Ole Miss School of Law.

While in law school, Peden served on the board of the Mississippi Law Journal. Upon graduating, he joined law firm Stennett, Wilkinson and Ward, which has since been renamed Stennett, Wilkinson and Peden. There he served on the staff of attorney William Winter who was elected governor and is nationally recognized as a champion for education and for racial reconciliation.

In addition to his law practice, Peden is a past president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Mississippi Bar, past president of the Fellows of the Young Lawyers of the Mississippi Bar, chair of the Mississippi Law Institute, bar commissioner for the Seventh Circuit Court District and charter member of the Governor’s Judicial Nominating Committee. He also served on the Mississippi Air National Guard as a staff judge advocate for more than 30 years. Upon retirement, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He is a graduate of the Air War College.

Peden has been listed for many years in “Best Lawyers in America” in the specialties of land use and zoning law. Since 2009, he has helped prepare future attorneys as an adjunct professor at the Mississippi College School of Law, where he teaches a course on land use controls.

The Stennett, Wilkinson and Peden Scholarship is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. A check with the fund’s name in the memo line can be mailed to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or made online at For more information, contact Suzette Matthews, development officer for the UM School of Law, at or 601-937-1497.

Professor Michele Alexandre has been selected as an SEC-U Academic Leadership Fellow. The award honors faculty who are academic leaders in their fields at Southeastern Conference universities. The SEC Academic Consortium Academic Leadership Development Program (SEC-U ALDP) aims to “the identify, develop, prepare, and advance faculty as academic leaders in and for the Southeastern Conference universities.”

“This is such an incredible program and I am honored to represent our University,” said Alexandre. “I look forward to the workshops and to getting to know the other fellows participating. It is so wonderful that this program assembles rising academic leaders from all over the SEC to meet each other, discuss important issues, and learn how to improve in their work.”

Membership in the ALDP Program requires two regional meetings per year, at Louisiana State University and Auburn University, respectively. The meetings strive to prepare selected members to meet the challenges of academic leadership by developing the leadership, managerial and organizational skills to lead complex organizations, as well as stimulating academic leaders to think critically about the future of their prospective universities.

Michele Alexandre joined UM Law School’s faculty in 2008. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School, and is also an accomplished author and publisher of several books, law review articles, and op-eds. Her upcoming civil rights textbook, entitled THE NEW FRONTIERS OF CIVIL RIGHTS LITIGATION (Carolina Academic Press), is scheduled for 2018.

For more information on Michele Alexandre, visit her bio at

The University of Mississippi School of Law is honoring the school’s pioneering African-American graduated by hosting a weekend of events to commemorate 50 years of diversity at Ole Miss Law.

“The Law School is excited to host this event celebrating 50 years of diversity, says Associate Professor of Law Donna Davis. “Please join us in hearing from our graduates. We are honored to have the opportunity to recognize them and their contributions.”

The event will take place from August 24-26 and will kick off with a welcome reception hosted by the Law School’s new dean, Susan Duncan. The rest of the weekend will include panels where the school’s earliest graduates will discuss their experiences during the years following desegregation and reflect on how those experiences shaped their lives. Graduates from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s, will also share their recollections and how their experiences changed across the decades.

To register, visit A full schedule of the weekend’s events is available at Accommodations can be made at the Inn at Ole Miss by requesting the Recollections and Reflections: Celebrating 50 Years of Diversity block of rooms. For additional information on the event, contact Sandra Cox-McCarty at

University of Mississippi School of Law graduate, Pshon Barrett (JD 1979), received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association. The award celebrates her 37 years of work as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.

“I was deeply honored, surprised, and humbled when I found out I was going to receive this award. I looked up a list of people who have received it in the past, and each one of those individuals is someone I feel great respect for,” said Barrett.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Barrett works to enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as litigates cases involving criminal and civil debt collection on behalf of the Government, plus a general civil caseload, which may include land matters or tort cases. Barrett holds a juris doctorate degree from the University of Mississippi Law School, which she received in 1979.

A premature birth caused Barrett to be born blind. She attended the Mississippi School for the Blind from elementary school through high school, before attending Belhaven University and later receiving her bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University. Her decision to attend law school was motivated by an interest in politics and a possible political career.

“I went to law school to study that field because I felt strongly about constitutional law and the importance of disability laws,” Barrett said.

Barrett is a member of the Attorney General’s advisory committee on Disability Employment at the Department of Justice. In addition to handling Americans with Disabilities Act cases in the Southern District of Mississippi, she also lectures frequently about the ADA and its requirements and regulations for various organizations. She is also on the board of directors for Mississippi Industries for the Blind, American Association of Visually Impaired Attorneys, and Good Will of Mississippi.

The Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association aims to empower and encourage women’s leadership in the legal profession. The organization’s theme is “Working Together to Shatter The Ceiling: Celebrating 40 Years of Encouragement, Empowerment, and Leadership.”

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The University of Mississippi School of Law will host a summer writing retreat for its faculty, and other affiliated colleagues, from July 21 – July 23. The retreat will provide faculty the opportunity to allot specific time to achieving writing goals or to work on special projects.

“The purpose of our faculty writing retreat is to really foster productivity and intellectual engagement,” says Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Michèle Alexandre. “We’ve found that it fosters intellectual enrichment and high productivity, but also has the added benefit of making a richer form of collegiality among us.” Previous retreats have produced dissertations, book manuscripts, law review articles, etc. The writing retreats have also encouraged interdisciplinary collaborations. For example, faculty members from the Philosophy and Religion Department and from the Center for Population Studies have taken part in the retreats.

The retreat, located on campus at the UM School of Law, will take place over the course of three days from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Faculty may participate for the entire length of the program, or any combination of days and times that fit their individual schedules. At the end of each day, participants will come together to brainstorm and discuss any questions or stumbling blocks they encountered throughout their writing or research.

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Mississippi today announced a settlement agreement in their federal class-action suit Burks v. Scott County, Mississippi, which challenged the county’s practice of detaining people who can’t afford an attorney for as long as a year without appointing counsel and without formally charging them with a crime.

The settlement agreement and the accompanying order issued by United States District Judge Henry T. Wingate require Scott County and three other counties to end this practice by appointing public defenders at arrest. Providing legal representation so much earlier in the process will ensure that arrestees have attorneys at their first bail hearings to argue for lower bail amounts and release until trial. The settlement agreement and court order also prohibit the counties from detaining felony arrestees solely because they can’t afford money bail, a blow to unconstitutional wealth-based incarceration.  The settlement further affirms defendants’ fundamental right to release prior to trial on the least restrictive conditions needed to secure defendants’ presence at trial.

The case was filed on behalf of Josh Bassett and Octavious Burks, who were detained in Scott County, Mississippi for 8 and 10 months, respectively, without ever being charged by indictment or appointed a lawyer.  The policy in Scott County and the three other counties involved in the settlement was that no lawyer would be appointed until after arrestees were indicted, despite the fact that obtaining indictments in these rural counties often takes up to a year.  Unlike in the federal system and in most states, Mississippi places no limit on how long a person can be held in jail before the prosecution obtains an indictment. The plaintiffs languished in jail because a local judge set cash bail at amounts neither could afford, and they had no attorney to argue for their release.

“Mississippi has been locking up poor folks without a lawyer and without the ability to make bail for as long as anyone can remember. Desperate and hopeless, many people plead guilty to offenses they didn’t commit just to get back to their families,” said Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law. “We should be ashamed of ourselves. My hope is that other Mississippi counties also will decide to abide by the Constitution and implement similar changes.”

For the settlement and other information about Burks v. Scott County, Mississippi, click here.

For more information about The Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center at University of Mississippi School of Law, visit the website.

Interim Assistant Dean for Admissions and Scholarships Macey Edmondson recently served as Conference Co-Chair of the inaugural National Association of Law Student Affairs Professionals (NALSAP) Conference. Edmondson who serves as secretary of NALSAP, also presented a session entitled “Student Development Theory Crash Course for Law School Student Affairs Professionals.” The conference was held June 1-3 at UCLA School of Law.

NALSAP was founded in 2016 and serves as the professional home for those who support law students by providing leadership, professional development, and student affairs resources. Edmondson, who was previously the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at UM Law, was one of the founding members of the organization. Over 160 law school professionals attended the conference from 94 ABA-accredited law schools representing 34 states, Washington D.C., and Canada.

The conference featured four plenary sessions and 15 concurrent sessions with 31 speakers presenting. For more information on the conference, visit NALSAP’s website. The second annual NALSAP Conference will be held at Indiana University, McKinney School of Law, June 28-30, 2018.

Professor George Colvin Cochran, 45-year law professor at the University of Mississippi, died June 19, 2017, at the age of 80. The cause of death was complications from melanoma.

An educator and civil rights scholar, Cochran leaves a singular, enduring legacy with the law school and a half century’s worth of its graduates.

According to Interim Dean Debbie Bell, “It is hard to imagine the law school without George Cochran. His students remember him for his intense, challenging classes and his amazing memory of materials and cases. Over the years, he was quietly generous to students in need, a fact a number of our graduates have mentioned to me in the last two years.”

Cochran was born December 1, 1936 in Maysville, Kentucky. He graduated from Cranbrook School in Michigan and from North Carolina State, where he studied textile engineering, played football, and was active in student politics. In his early 20’s, he worked briefly for his family’s Kentucky textile mill before serving two years as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army Airborne infantry at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Cochran graduated first in his class from the University of North Carolina Law School and served as Editor in Chief of the law review. He was inducted into the Order of the Coif, the premier legal honor society. He clerked for US Supreme Court justices Stanley Reed and Earl Warren, including service on the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.

Professor Cochran practiced law with Steptoe and Johnson between 1966 and1968. That year, he and his wife Nancy Newbold Cochran welcomed his only child, daughter Reed. Though he and Nancy ultimately divorced, Cochran considered her to be his greatest love and their daughter to be his crowning accomplishment.

Cochran worked as Director of the Duke Center on Law and Poverty from 1968 until 1972, when he accepted a faculty position at the University of Mississippi of Law School. There, he found his true calling as educator and scholar.

Professor Cochran arrived in Oxford while Mississippi was still resisting the outcomes of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the legislature having expelled faculty members who supported the Supreme Court decision. As one writer has observed, “Professor Cochran joined the law faculty at a turning point. From early in his career he played an important role in transforming the law school from a parochial institution into a nationally respected” law school. He taught constitutional law, federal jurisdiction, Supreme Court practice and related seminars. For nineteen years, he also taught during the summers at Fordham Law School in New York. Also in New York, he collaborated with the Center for Constitutional Rights, considering one of its founders, Morton Stavis, to be among his greatest friends and mentors.

Altogether, Cochran was attorney of record in seventeen constitutional law cases. He and his good friend Wilbur Colom successfully challenged single sex education at Mississippi public universities in the U.S. Supreme Court. Cochran was also one of the nation’s leading experts opposing punitive actions against public interest attorneys. And he was instrumental in establishing the Mississippi Innocence Project, which was renamed the George C. Cochran Innocence Project by unanimous vote of the faculty in 2015.

To his students, Professor Cochran was best known for his spirited and provocative lectures on constitutional law, civil liberties, and especially free speech. Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, one of his students, wrote: “He offended liberals and conservatives alike. He taught us that the price for living in a free society is that we will be offended. Get over it. This is what democracy does. We can’t be frightened by speech.”

While the professor was notorious for his gruff demeanor and salty language, Cochran’s students never doubted his devotion. He continued teaching after retirement, through this spring. Indeed, he was in the classroom only a few weeks prior to his passing.

Cochran’s favorite hobby was sailing. He and Nancy owned “Young Tiger” in the early years of their marriage on the Chesapeake Bay. Later, he and Wilbur Colom would sail “Misty” to Cuba, by legal invitation, with their daughters Reed and Niani among the crew.

Professor Cochran is survived by his daughter Reed Cochran, his sister Frances Cochran Sanders, niece Ann Sanders Anderson-Behrend and nephews William Henley Sanders, John Poyntz Cochran and William Duffield Cochran IV.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS, designated for the George C. Cochran Scholarship in Law Endowment or to the George Cochran Innocence Project.

Visitation is scheduled from 5 pm to 7 pm on Thursday, June 22 in West Hall at Waller Funeral Home, and services will be at 11 am on Friday, June 23, also at Waller Funeral Home. A memorial service and celebration will be held at the University of Mississippi at a date to be determined.

In honor of Mr. Cochran’s service to our country, the flag of the United States Army will be flown at  Waller Funeral Home.

For more information, visit Waller Funeral Home’s webpage.