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Learning about the endangerment of leatherback turtles may not have been what Leigh Horn expected when she began Law School, but it’s one of the many things she experienced as an intern in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) General Counsel’s office. The highly competitive internship took place this summer in Silver Spring, Maryland at the NOAA headquarters.

Horn, a third year law student, was not always interested in environmental law, but after taking a few courses, she found her passion in Ocean and Coastal Law and began considering a career in it.

NOAA Headquarters

“I took Professor Stephanie Showalter Otts’ class, Ocean and Coastal Law, on a whim, and I really enjoyed it,” she explained. “Then, I took Water Law from Professor Catherine Janasie. NOAA came up all the time in both of those classes.”

Both Otts and Janasie’s classes peaked her interest, so Horn took an independent study class with Otts and began focusing on water law. She applied for the NOAA internship expecting not to hear back from them. Horn was chosen as the intern for the Fisheries and Protected Resources section of the General Counsel office. Because the internship was unpaid, she worked with Hans Sinha, director of the Clinical Externship Program, to receive class credit for her internship.

“It was an incredible experience,” said Horn. “I learned a lot about how the federal government works and all these interesting things that NOAA does.”

One of the most interesting experiences was working with Congress.

“We took statutes that Congress had recently passed, and it was the Agency’s job to take it and turn it into regulation,” said Horn. “They work with a group of NOAA policy makers and scientists as well as the General Counsel’s office to form concrete regulations to accomplish the goals of the statute.

“We also met with ambassadors from other countries on international fishery issues. If a country is not following the fisheries regulations that they are supposed to, we can have trade sanctions against them.”

Otts hopes that other students interested in ocean and coastal law will be inspired by Horn’s story to work hard and secure an internship.

“Pursuing a career in ocean and coastal law is challenging. Students must master complex scientific and legal concepts and break into a small network of employers,” said Otts, director of the National Sea Grant Law Center. “Here at the National Sea Grant Law Center, we are always encouraging our students to tackle those challenges and helping them follow their passions.

“Leigh worked hard during her second year to build a resume that would be attractive to the agencies and organizations that the Law Center works with. It was very exciting to see that hard work rewarded with a summer internship in NOAA General Counsel’s office.”

The University of Mississippi School of Law honored the signing of the Constitution by hosting the annual Constitution Day Commemoration. This year’s event, held September 19 at the Law School, celebrated the scholarly successes of published student authors with expertise in constitutional law.

Madison Coburn, Alexandra Bruce, and Katherine Portner, all members of the Mississippi Law Journal, each presented their recently published and forthcoming articles on cutting-edge issues in constitutional law to an audience of faculty, students, and other visitors.

The Law School has hosted the University’s Constitution Day Commemoration for the past decade. Senior Associate Dean Jack Nowlin, the event’s organizer, says it is important to honor the Constitution.

“I think I most want students to understand that the Constitution is not just a historical document,” said Nowlin. “We continue to debate important constitutional issues in the courts every day. Our law student presenters are published authors who have written pieces on cutting-edge issues in constitutional law – live controversies currently being litigated by lawyers in the courts.”

Each student’s presentation was followed by a question and answer session led by a faculty discussant.

Bruce, the alumni coordinator and articles editor of the Mississippi Law Journal, presented her publication “Stevens, R.A.V., and Animal Cruelty Speech: Why Congress’s New Statute Remains Constitutionally Problematic,” which was published in the Gonzaga Law Review. Her faculty discussant was Nowlin.

“I thoroughly enjoyed contributing to legal academia through the writing of my article, and further presenting my research during the Constitution Day Panel,” said Bruce. “I cannot thank Professor Nowlin and the Mississippi Law Journal’s Comment Writing Program enough for providing so many Ole Miss Law students with these opportunities.”

Coburn’s article “The Supreme Court’s Mistake on Law Enforcement Mistake of Law: Why States Should Not Adopt Heien v. North Carolina,” was published in the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy. Coburn is the associate articles editor and alumni coordinator of the Mississippi Law Journal. Coburn’s faculty discussant was Professor Matthew Hall.

“It was an honor to be a part of Constitution Day,” said Coburn. “As a member of the Mississippi Law Journal and published author, it was exciting to share with others the ideas I have developed related to Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, and specifically police mistake of law, that have both real and practical effects for citizens.”

Portner, the executive articles editor of the Mississippi Law Journal, discussed Heckler’s Law in her publication “Tinker’s Timeless Teaching: Why the Heckler’s Veto Should Not Be Allowed in Public High Schools.” It will be published in the forthcoming Mississippi Law Journal. Portner’s faculty discussant was Professor Christopher Green.


Professor Cliff Johnson, sporting his Ole Miss shirt, in Stockholm with fellow lawyers participating in the conference from China, Iran, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Professor Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center, is currently in Stockholm, Sweden serving as the moderator for the annual conference “Developing a Human Rights Toolbox – An International Session for Practicing Lawyers.” Attorneys from around the world participate in the conference to discuss international human rights law and how to pursue and promote human rights when they return to their home countries.

“The ‘Developing a Human Rights Toolbox’ workshop for practicing lawyers from developing countries is an innovative initiative operated as a joint venture between the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Mannheimer Swarling, the leading business law firm in Sweden,” said Rolf Ring, deputy director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and one of the conference organizers. “The collaboration is an effort to merge the extensive practical experience of a law firm that has a demonstrated commitment to human rights with RWI’s experience in development cooperation and expertise in the international system for the protection of human rights.

“Cliff Johnson from the MacArthur Justice Center, previously a Fulbright Scholar at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, has over the past eights years been instrumental in coaching and inspiring the participants and sharing his vast practical experience when it comes to litigation.”

Issues such as the right to fair trials, corporate social responsibility, prohibitions on torture and unlawful detention, and freedom of expression are discussed. This year, participants hail from China, Iran, Mongolia, Turkey, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Thailand.

“The opportunity to delve into both theoretical and practical aspects of human rights advocacy with lawyers from around the world really is a gift,” said Johnson. “I always return home with renewed passion for the work we do at the MacArthur Justice Center and newfound appreciation for the opportunity to work within a legal system where civil rights advocacy can result in meaningful change.

“I often am frustrated by the difficulty of winning the cases we handle, but sitting down to dinner with lawyers from China, Iran, and Vietnam and hearing about the challenges they face reminds me that ‘difficulty’ is relative. It is one thing to worry about an unfavorable ruling from a judge, but it is quite another thing to fear that your advocacy could get you arrested – or worse.”

OXFORD, Miss. – The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently conducted a session at the University of Mississippi School of Law, hearing cases and spending time with students in more informal settings.

Judges Grady Jolly, Rhesa Barksdale and Leslie Southwick made up the panel that heard cases at the school. UM is the only law school that the Fifth Circuit, which includes Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, visits on a regular basis.

“A big component of us visiting Ole Miss is to Judge Jolly’s credit,” Barksdale said. “He’s been on our court for 34 years, and he is the senior judge on our court. He wants to make sure that we sit here if we can at least once every three years so that while you’re here in law school, at least one time, you’ll see our court.”

Students got to sit in on cases throughout the day to experience how a federal appellate court works.

“So much of what the students get in law school is through classwork, through instruction, and actually seeing what they’re being taught, seeing how an appellate court actually operates at least in a courtroom environment, is a practical side to what they’re hearing in their classrooms that I think adds a fair amount to the experience and a benefit of law school,” Southwick said.

Besides seeing the judges, “they see people they more readily can identify with, and that’s the advocates, very good lawyers in most of these cases,” he said. “I think they can place themselves in that role and maybe get more comfortable with what it will be like in a few years trying to do what these lawyers are doing.”

While this is an experience that not all law students get, Ole Miss law students were able not only to view the process, but also to visit with the judges.

“I am thrilled that our students had the opportunity to visit with the judges in addition to observing the oral arguments,” said Deborah Bell, dean of the law school. “I appreciate how generous the judges were with their time, meeting with our students for lunches and question-and-answer sessions and in informal receptions.”

The court has been visiting UM since 1983 and is a popular destination among the judges, Jolly said.

“When it comes to Oxford, everybody wants to come,” Jolly said. “It’s a pleasant little respite from the ordinary routine of our court, and it’s a lovely little town to come to. We all feel very welcome here, and this law school runs the Fifth Circuit’s operational requirements with great efficiency.”

Both Jolly (LL.B. 1962) and Barksdale (JD 1972) graduated from the school and continue to have a close relationship with it. Barksdale, who graduated first in his class, attributes his successes to both his time at the school and his professors.

“I received a clerkship with Justice Byron White on the Supreme Court of the United States, in large part due to it being suggested to me by three of my law school professors and their encouragement and assistance, so I owe a great deal to the law school,” he said. “I loved law school from the moment I started, and those three people changed my life.

“Professors here have an interest in their students. I’m not saying they don’t in other law schools, but they particularly do here. That’s always been a trait of the Ole Miss law school, so I’m extremely indebted to them, one of them being Robert Khayat.”

Barksdale also praised Bell’s leadership of the school.

“You’ve got a wonderful facility, a very dedicated faculty and very interested students I’ve observed in these past few years,” Barksdale added. “I think there’s a happy feel about the Ole Miss law school, one of interest, and one of faculty and students that really mesh well. I think it’s got a lot of really good things going for it.”

The school was recently ranked 24th nationally in securing federal judicial clerkships. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has several UM graduates as law clerks, Barksdale said.

“We have a close relationship with the law school who furnishes us the applications of the top students,” Jolly added. “We usually hire someone from Ole Miss because they encourage their students to clerk on a court of appeals and because they are fully capable of performing the work.”

Both Jolly and Barksdale noted that several of their former clerks have become Ole Miss faculty members.

Aside from hearing cases, the panel of judges met with several student groups.

“The Q&A session was a wonderful educational opportunity for our students,” said moderator Jack Wade Nowlin, senior associate dean at the school. “The judges shared their insights on a variety of topics, including the clerkship application process, what makes for good legal writing, common mistakes lawyers make in appellate advocacy and the role of the courts in the separation of powers.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, often referred to as the Fifth Circuit, is one of 13 federal appellate courts. The court’s home is the John Minor Wisdom United States Court of Appeals Building in New Orleans. The Fifth Circuit is authorized 17 active judges, but has 15 active judges and nine senior judges.

Angela Grayson (JD 2001) was recently interviewed by Above the Law in honor of the fifteen year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. During 9/11, Grayson was working as a patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and the Pentagon was visible from her window. In the interview, Grayson talks about her time at Ole Miss Law and gives advice to current law school students.

Read the full story.

The University of Mississippi School of Law is honoring the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 19.

Three UM Law School students, Alexandra Bruce, Madison Coburn, and Katherine Portner, will be in the spotlight at this ceremony. These students have recently published articles about cutting- edge issues in constitutional law.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution than having our student authors, part of the next generation of America’s constitutional lawyers, present their published work on important constitutional issues,” said Senior Associate Dean Jack Nowlin.

The event will last from 12:30 pm to 2:10 with refreshments.

For more information please call 662-915-7361 or visit here.

Professor Cliff Johnson was interviewed as the legal expert on WAPT, a Jackson news station. Johnson was asked how the arrest of the Hinds County District Attorney could affect the county’s cases.

Watch the clip.

Kristine Simpson, the recent recipient of the 2016-2017 Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging, will work in partnership for one year with the North Mississippi Rural Legal Services (NMRLS) starting August 2016 to help elderly citizens in North Mississippi.

The Borchard Fellowship is awarded by the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging, one of the centers of the Borchard Foundation, which is located in Woodland Hills, California. Its mission is to help improve the quality of life for elderly people, including those who are poor or otherwise isolated by lack of education, language, culture, disability or other barriers.   Their mission is closely aligned with that of NMRLS, which is to provide vulnerable citizens of North Mississippi with the highest quality of legal and technical assistance.

The Fellowship will enable NMRLS to expand its Elder Law Project by helping NMRLS develop an interdisciplinary network model approach for responding to instances of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. In this approach, Simpson will invite service providers who work with elderly clients to attend information-sharing sessions that will promote dialogues on the strengths, weaknesses and obstacles in providing assistance to clients who are victims of elder abuse.

Simpson will host information sessions, primarily in two of the 39 counties served by NMRLS: Lafayette and Lee. It is anticipated that this new program will be replicated in other Mississippi counties and possibly in other states.

Simpson’s goal is to create resource materials that outline the available community resources for addressing elder abuse, neglect and exploitation and the steps to take in reporting any cases. She also plans to present her work at workshops and collaborate with the University of Mississippi School of Law and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project in an effort to expand pro bono representation of elderly clients.

Simpson is a December 2015 graduate of the University Of Mississippi School Of Law. While in law school, she was an editor for both the Mississippi Law Journal and the Mississippi Sports Law Review. She also was involved in a legislation and policy clinic, assisting Mississippi’s WINGS committee with research and reform recommendations concerning the state’s guardianship and conservatorship policy and practices. It is through this work that she discovered her passion for elder law.

The prestigious Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging offers a select-few graduates of law schools across the country the opportunity to work with an organization to carry out a substantial project related to law and aging. The Fellowship, which is awarded annually, was awarded to four individuals this year. In addition to Simpson in Oxford, the Fellows were selected from Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

Simpson will work under the leadership of Catherine Kilgore, creator of NMRLS’s Elder Law Project. Kilgore has received numerous awards and accolades, including the receipt of the 2011 National Aging and Law Award, the University of Mississippi School of Law Public Service Award and the Mississippi Bar Legal Services Lawyer of the Year Award.   She has many years of experience in working for NMRLS and providing training in organizing community legal education programs. As such, she developed the NMRLS Elder Law Conference nearly 25 years ago.   The Elder Law Conference is North Mississippi’s primary conference that provides information to the elderly and Continuing Legal Education for attorneys and social workers.

Kilgore has served many years as Adjunct Professor for the Elder Law Clinic (at Ole Miss) providing hands-on experience for law students in the area of laws that impact the frail and elderly. She has developed manuals and brochures on health care and public benefits available in Mississippi as a resource for the general public, social workers, and attorneys. She is highly recognized as the leader in the public interest law community in Mississippi in the area of Elder Law.

Professional Sports Agent James “Bus” Cook is speaking at the University of Mississippi School of Law September 16 at 12:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Sports Law Society.

Cook, an alumnus of the Ole Miss Law School, has represented athletes in the NFL, MLB, and NBA. His clients include Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Calvin Johnson, and Steve McNair. With 20 years of experience as an attorney and agent, his negotiations have resulted in multiple record-breaking deals, including the NFL’s first $100 million contract for NFL MVP Brett Favre.

Bus is a native of West Virginia, but he now resides in Hattiesburg with his wife Jeanine and their two children.

Read more about James “Bus” Cook.

View event details. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently highlighted the National Sea Grant Law Center, housed at the University of Mississippi School of Law, as one of the featured stories on their webpage. The story discusses NSGLC’s work with the western states to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by boats.

Read the full article.

Visit the NSGLC’s website.

Six students at the University of Mississippi School of Law have been elected Law School Student Body (LSSB) officers for the 2016-2017 school year. LSSB represents the law school student body to the law school and university administrators. Gregory Alston leads the LSSB as president.

Gregory Alston

Alston is a third year law student at the University of Mississippi School of Law where he currently serves as CEO of the Business Law Network. Prior to being elected president, he served as senator and treasurer of LSSB and is also a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council. Alston attended Ole Miss for undergraduate school where he majored in public policy leadership.

A native of Hattiesburg and lifelong Mississippian, Gregory was elected on Feb. 19, 2013 as the Associated Student Body President of the University of Mississippi. Prior to being elected, Gregory served on the ASB Senate his freshman year representing Stockard residence hall and his sophomore year representing the School of Liberal Arts. He was named Senator of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year and served as the director of Athletics on the cabinet of his predecessor. Alston was also selected by fellow Mississippi Student Body Presidents to serve as the president of the Mississippi Public Universities Student Body Presidents Council and was inducted into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame in January 2014.

He has served as an intern for the Ole Miss Athletics Department and in the office of United States Senator Roger F. Wicker in Washington, D.C. He is an Eagle Scout, a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and is also a

Senior Staff member of the Mississippi American Legion Boys State. Gregory has worked on a number of political campaigns in Mississippi including campaigns for the late U.S. Representative Alan Nunnelee, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, Gov. Phil Bryant, and he served on the Governor’s inauguration staff, “Imagine Mississippi.” Gregory clerked for Barbour Griffith Rogers Group in Washington, D.C. the summer of 2016, and is currently interning for United States Senator Thad Cochran in Oxford.


Allison Bruff

Allison Bruff, a native of Union City, Tenn., serves as this year’s vice president. She attended Rhodes College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, Cum Laude in 2014. Bruff is a staff editor for the Mississippi Law Journal, a member of the Mississippi Sports Law Society, Law Association for Women and the Dean’s Leadership Council. Before being elected to serve as LSSB vice president, Bruff served as LSSB senator. She expects to graduate May 2018 and pursue a federal clerkship before pursuing a career in civil litigation.


Chloe Kennedy

Chloe Kennedy, a second year law student from Albertville, Ala., was elected treasurer. She attended Jacksonville State University where she earned a Bachelor of Sciences degree in accounting in 2015. While at Jacksonville State University, Kennedy received the Robert Trathen Memorial Award for encompassing leadership skills and integrity. She is a member of the Business Law Network, Law Association for Women, and the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. She expects to graduate May 2018.


Shanice Mitchell

Third year law student Shanice Mitchell, of Los Angeles, California, serves as this year’s secretary. The mother of a one-year-old son, Mitchell attended Delta State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English, Cum Laude in 2014. While at DSU, Mitchell was initiated into the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society as well as the Lambda Iota Tau American International Honor Society for Literature. She was mentioned in the 2012 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges for her various academic achievements. Mitchell is a member of the Alumni Relations and Networking Committee, Black Law Students Association, Business Law Network, and Public Interest Law Foundation. Along with being elected to serve as LSSB secretary, Mitchell also holds the position of Christian Legal Society secretary, Law Association for Women secretary, Mississippi Entertainment Law Organization treasurer, and Trial Advocacy Board Administrative vice chair. Mitchell interned with the Law Library of Congress the summer of 2016, and is currently working as a research assistant for Attorney David Rozier at the Rozier Law Firm in Oxford. In August 2016, she was sworn in to the limited practice of law in connection with the University’s Elder Law Clinic. She expects to graduate May 2017 and pursue a career in both Elder and Healthcare Law.


Fredricka Brown

Fredricka Brown, a third year student from Greenville, Miss., was elected attorney general. Brown attended Mississippi State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with Leadership Honors in 2014. While at MSU, she received the President’s Service Award in 2013 and the Spirit of Service Award in 2014. Brown is the historian of the Black Law Students Association, and a member of the Public Interest Law Foundation, Law Association for Women, and the Dean’s Leadership Council. Before being elected to serve as LSSB attorney general, Brown served as LSSB secretary. She expects to graduate May 2017 and pursue a career in criminal litigation.


Kelley Killorin

Kelley Killorin, a second year law student from Columbus, Georgia, serves as the social chair. She currently serves as a staff editor for the Mississippi Sports Law Review, and previously has held the position of Associated Student Body senator for the law school. Killorin attended the University of Mississippi and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in public policy leadership. She expects to graduate May 2018.

Grady Tollison (JD 1971) almost wasn’t able to go to Law School. After serving in the military at a time when the United States was not at war, he was unable to use the G.I. Bill to fulfill his lifelong dream of going to Law School. With undergrad debts piling up from his time at Southwestern College (now Rhodes College) in Memphis, TN, Tollison moved to Coahoma County where he coached high school football from 1962-1969.

Tollison, however, was meant to be a lawyer. When the stars aligned, and the military decided to retroactively approve G.I. Bills, he enrolled in the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Tollison, the senior partner in Tollison Law Firm, P.A. in Oxford, MS, has enjoyed a lengthy and very successful career, and he attributes this to his time at the Law School. To show his appreciation, he recently donated $200,000 over three years for student scholarships at UM Law. The Grady Tollison Law Scholarship will be awarded to five Law students during the 2016-2017 term.

“To this day I feel indebted to the Law School and my professors,” said Tollison.

During his time at Ole Miss, Tollison was the Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal, the recipient of the Dean Robert J. Farley Award for the highest grade point average in his graduating class, and he received the Mississippi Bar Foundation Award for the highest grade point average among the three graduating classes.

However, he didn’t spend all his time in the Law School. He was also in the work-study program, and he filmed the Ole Miss football games.

“I knew very little about photography, but I knew a lot about football,” he laughed. “This was at the time when Archie played.”

His accolades didn’t end after graduation. Tollison was recognized as the 1988-1989 Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Mississippi School of Law, and he is a previous Chairman of the prestigious Lamar Order. In 1978-79 and 1989-90, he taught as an adjunct professor at Ole Miss Law.

He is a member of the Lafayette County Bar (President, 1985), American Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association (President, 1993), Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association (Parliamentarian in 1986-87, Secretary in 1987, and Treasurer in 1988-90), and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (State Delegate from 1984-86 and Governor to the National Board in 1990).

Tollison is also a charter member of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a recipient of the Masters in Trial Award given by ABOTA.

As a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi School of Law, Tollison wants for current students to have the experiences that he had as a student.

“My advice for law school students is to always be honest and keep your integrity,” he said. “Mississippi is a small lawyer state and having a reputation for integrity is very important.”

The National Sea Grant Law Center, housed at the University of Mississippi School of Law, was mentioned in a media brief from the White House. The brief entitled “Obama Administration Announces New Policies to Promote Conservation and Build Resilience to Climate Change, with a focus on Pacific Islands” discusses the Symposium on Climate Displacement, Migration, and Relocation the National Sea Grant Law Center is collaborating on. According to the memo, “the Symposium will provide an opportunity for stakeholders, researchers, policy experts, indigenous leaders, and local, State, and Federal, government officials to explore legal and policy opportunities and challenges arising from climate displacement.”

Read the full brief.

Learn more about the National Sea Law Grant Center.

The University of Mississippi School of Law mourns the passing of James (Jim) McClure, Jr. (LL.B 1953), who passed away in his sleep, after a brief illness, on July 8, surrounded by his children.

“We were very sad to learn of the passing of James McClure, Jr.,” said Deborah Bell, dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law. “He was a strong advocate for and supporter of the Law School, and he will be greatly missed.”

Jim McClure arrived at the University of Mississippi in 1942, but left at the end of his freshman year after receiving his appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point from Congressman Jamie L. Whitten. He had aspirations of becoming a lawyer, and his father, a graduate of Ole Miss Law, encouraged him to return to Mississippi to begin his legal career.

“His dad told him that if he wanted to be a successful lawyer in the state of Mississippi, he needed to go to Ole Miss Law School,” said Jimmy McClure (JD 1991), Jim McClure’s son.

He eventually returned to the University of Mississippi to attend Law School, where he was President of the Law School Student Body, Chairman of the Honor Council, Chairman of the Moot Court Board, President of the legal fraternity Phi Delta Phi, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society.

Jim McClure’s Legacy lives on in the support he has given to the Law School. He established the James McClure, Sr., and Helene Powell McClure Memorial Scholarship in Law in memory of his parents. The Scholarship is awarded each year to a deserving law student, with preference given to Panola Couny, Mississippi, residents and to residents of counties contiguous to Panola County.

He and his sister Mrs. Tupper McClure Lampton also established the James McClure Memorial Lectures, in memory of their father. James McClure, Sr. was the senior member of the law firm of McClure, McClure, and May, a member of the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, chairman of the Mississippi State Oil and Gas Board, and president of the University of Mississippi Alumni Association.

Former McClure Lecturers include Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court; Professor Walter E. Dellinger III, Duke University; Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court; Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S.  Sen. Thad Cochran, and General Vernon Walters.

Jim McClure was instrumental in getting Justice Scalia to visit the Law School multiple times. On Justice Scalia’s last visit, he and fellow United States Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan spoke together. Senior Associate Dean Jack Nowlin moderated the event.

“Moderating the conversation with Justices Scalia and Kagen was one of the most memorable moments of my career,” said Nowlin. “This lecture series is a fantastic resource for the Law School, and we are so thankful to the McClure family for their generosity in providing it.”

Jim McClure and Justice Scalia struck up a friendship, which began over their mutual love of tennis and hunting.

“Justice Scalia wanted to hunt, so the first time we asked him to come down, he said he couldn’t come,” said Jimmy McClure. “Dad called his secretary and said ‘tell him to come in the spring, and we’ll take him turkey hunting.’ When he got the message, he called back himself saying he’d be there. That’s how we used to get him down here; he loved to hunt.”

Jim McClure enjoyed a long and successful career in Mississippi. During his time as a Mississippi State Senator from 1952 – 1956, he. served as the chairman of the Mississippi Commission on Interstate Cooperation. However, he always claimed that his most important accomplishment as a Senator was meeting his wife, Angele’ Kazar, whom he was married to for 53 years. Together they had four children: Circuit Judge James (Jimmy) McClure III, Angele’ Anne McClure Thompson, Susan McClure Mays, and Jay Justin McClure (JD 1989).

Jim McClure practiced law in Sardis for more than 60 years as a partner of McClure and Shuler in Sardis, MS, and as the Sardis City Attorney. He stayed actively involved in the Ole Miss Community, following his father’s footsteps by serving as the Alumni Association President in 1985. Jim McClure was inducted into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame in 2007 and the inaugural class of the University of Mississippi School of Law Hall of Fame in 2010. He was the Chairman of the Lamar Order, a member of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, Chancellor Search Committee, Chancellor’s Trust, and the Ole Miss Loyalty Committee.

The University of Mississippi School of Law hosted a number of judges and lawyers from all over the State of Mississippi during the annual James O. Dukes Law School Professionalism Program, a half day program conducted by the Mississippi Bar Association as a part of the Fall Orientation.

The program, which began in 1999, was named for former Bar President James O. “Jimmy” Dukes, who had a vision for mentoring law students on professionalism in their career.

“Jimmy was instrumental in helping the Bar and our profession focus on the importance of high standards and civility in our practice,” said W. Briggs Hopson, III, current president of the Mississippi Bar Association, addressing the 1L students. “It’s never too early to start talking about the importance of professionalism. The challenges that we face as attorneys are the same challenges that you will face as a law student.”

Justice Ann Hannaford Lamar, Associate Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, delivered the Keynote Address of the program.

“I hope you all recognize that this is a calling,” she said. “Those of us who have the privilege to be a part of this profession know that it is an honorable profession with the highest tradition of service to our communities and to our fellow man. Lawyers are confidants, and they are counselors who represent clients during the most difficult times of their lives.”

As part of the Dukes Professionalism Program, students participated in breakout sessions, facilitated by lawyers and judges from all over Mississippi. The students were given real world scenarios and were asked how they would handle the situations.

“Take a good look at these distinguished judges and lawyers who have taken the day out of their very busy practice to come to Oxford and to take part in this professionalism program,” said Lamar. “They are here to help you understand that ethics and civility and professionalism are not just buzzwords that we use. They are what we strive for in our profession.”

The program concluded with a luncheon sponsored by the Ole Miss Law Alumni Chapter.

After the luncheon, 1L students participated in the Professionalism Oath Ceremony and Pinning Ceremony. This is the first year that incoming law students have taken the Professionalism Oath and received a University of Mississippi School of Law lapel pin. Macey Edmondson, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, incorporated the Professionalism Oath and Pinning Ceremony with Orientation for a number of reasons.

“It’s important to stress why being professional, courteous, and trustworthy is so important to the legal community. Attorneys represent clients’ interests; an attorney’s own reputation should not hinder the ability to represent the client effectively,” she explained. “Furthermore, we are a self-regulating profession. Attorneys must conduct themselves and hold other attorneys to high standards. Finally, professionalism begins from day one of law school. A Student’s legal reputation begins at Orientation, and we felt that the Professionalism Oath put them on notice of what is expected in the legal profession.”

Professor Ronald Rychalk will appear in National Geographic’s film Pope vs. Catholic.The special details Hitler’s invasion of the Vatican and Pope Pius XII’s secret counter plan. Rychlak is the author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope, and he is an advisor to the Holy See’s delegation to the United Nations. In 2006 the Society of Catholic Social Scientists awarded him the Blessed Frederic Ozanam Award for Social Action, and in 2007 he was an honoree at the U.S. Holocaust Museum for this work on inter-faith dialogue. The movie airs on National Geographic September 4 at 8:00 (CT).

About the film: In the darkest days of World War II, St. Peter’s was shrouded in the shadow of the swastika. But even as the Führer surrounded him, the Pope was plotting a secret counter-offensive. Wartime Pontiff Pius XII has been derided for his public silence about the Holocaust. But evidence suggests his silence may have been subterfuge. And the man branded as “Hitler’s Pope” may actually have wanted to eliminate him.

View the movie promo.

Professor Mercer Bullard was recently featured on WalletHub’s piece “2016’s Best and Worst Cities to Retire.” Under the “Ask the Experts” section of the article, Bullard answered questions and gave tips about the factors that go into planning for retirement.

Read the full article.

Ole Miss Law Alumna Alysson Mills (JD, 2008) was recently named the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year by the Louisiana State Bar Association. The award is given each year to a young lawyer who has made exceptional contributions to the legal profession and the community. 

Mills is a partner of the New Orleans law firm Fishman Haygood, where her practice includes First Amendment, securities, and general commercial litigation.  She also regularly represents indigent criminal defendants in federal court.

According to Ole Miss Law faculty, the award was well-deserved.

“We have a former student that within just a few years is not only practicing successfully in her region, but she is also becoming a major player in First Amendment policy,” said Tucker Carrington, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project.

In addition to her practice, Mills co-teaches a course on First Amendment and media law at Tulane University. While a student at Ole Miss Law, she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal.

Professor Ben Cooper

The University of Mississippi School of Law was well represented at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco last week. Professor Ben Cooper, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Alumnus Randy Noel (JD 1978), attorney at Butler Snow in Memphis, served on the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services. Cooper worked as a Reporter to the Commission, and Noel was one of the 30 members of the Commission, which was comprised of lawyers, judges, and academics from across the country.

“The ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services is addressing issues critical to the legal profession and legal educators,” said Deborah Bell, dean of the Law School. “It is an honor for the Law School to be represented on the Commission by one of our distinguished graduates as well as Associate Dean Cooper.”

Since 2014, the Commission has been examining how to make legal services more accessible and affordable. . The culmination of the group’s work came with the Final Report, which Cooper had a hand in drafting. He also helped present the Report at the Annual Meeting.

“Working on these critical issues with this amazing group of innovative thinkers has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career,” said Cooper.

Randy Noel

The Commission’s Report made a number of findings concerning the market for legal services in the United States and then offered a series of recommendations aimed at making legal services more accessible and affordable. You can read the full report here.

With the conclusion of the conference, the Commission’s work is now complete, but some of the Commission’s work will be carried forward by the new ABA Center for Innovation, an idea that was recommended by the Commission in its Final Report.

Read the full report.

Each year, the Ole Miss Alumni Association recognizes outstanding alumni of the university by inducting them into the Hall of Fame. Constance Slaughter-Harvey (JD 1970) has been selected as part of this year’s class and will be recognized at Homecoming 2016. 

Slaughter-Harvey, former Assistant Secretary of State and General Counsel, is founder and president of Legacy Education and Community Empowerment Foundation, Inc. She was the first African American female to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi and the first female African American to serve as a judge in Mississippi. The Black Law Student Association at the University of Mississippi School of Law was named in her honor, and she received the Law School’s Public Service Award, becoming the first female and the first African American to be honored. She was an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College for more than 36 years. She serves as the Scott County Bar president and the Scott County Court prosecutor.

Slaughter-Harvey is the recipient of ABA’s Margaret Brent Award and Mississippi Bar’s Susie Buchanan Award, which are the highest honors bestowed on female attorneys; the R. Jess Award, National Legislative Black Caucus Nation Builder Award, and Woman Lawyer of the Year. Slaughter-Harvey is a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Magnolia Bar Association/Foundation, National Bar Association, American Bar Foundation, Mississippi Bar Foundation, NAACP and Girl Scouts. She was inducted into the Halls of Fame for Tougaloo College, National Bar Association and the University of Mississippi School of Law. She is featured in a documentary, “Standing on My Sisters’ Shoulders,” which received honors and recognition at the Kennedy Center in New York in 2004. She received the Rabbi Perry Nussbaum Civil Justice Award in 2016 and the 2016 Heritage Award.

She is the mother of Constance Olivia Burwell (James) and the grandmother of James A. Emmanuel “Tre” Burwell III.

The Alumni Association will host a reception for the honorees on Friday, September 30, at 6 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss. A dinner for the award recipients will follow the reception at 7 p.m. Those interested in attending the dinner should register in advance by calling the Alumni Association office at 662-915-7375 before 5 p.m., Friday, September 16. The cost of the dinner is $50 per person, or tables of 10 are available for $450.’

Read more about the Alumni Association’s Awards.