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John Juricich, Professor David Case, and Mary Margaret Roark

OXFORD, Miss.–Third year students Mary Margaret Roark and John Juricich have again won the the Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y. Feb. 18-20.  The win marks the second consecutive national title for the pair, third for the law school.

In addition, the win means Ole Miss Law claims five out of the last six Pace competitions, and adds another national championship, making its 12th national or world advocacy title since 2011.

“Having two second year students win a competition like Pace and then return to win the competition again as third year students is absolutely amazing,” said Professor David Case, team coach.   “I’m pretty sure that has never happened in the 28 year history of the Pace competition.”

Roark of Cleveland, Miss., and Juricich of Anniston, Ala.,  competed against over 50 law schools from around the country, beating the University of Alabama and University of Houston in the final round. The team won the Best Brief – Petitioner (Save Our Climate) award and John Juricich was awarded runner up Best Oralist for the competition.

The Pace competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country.  It provides a rigorous academic experience, testing skills in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy, involving issues drawn from real cases, and providing first-hand experience in environmental litigation.

“This year there were six issues to argue for three different parties and more teams were going noteless,” Roark said. “The teams were definitely better in terms of performance.”

Overall, the competition requires intense preparation, including researching and analyzing challenging legal environmental issues, writing persuasive arguments about how the issues should be resolved, arguing the issues orally and having their performances evaluated and critiqued by practicing attorneys at the competition.

The Ole Miss team began in October by writing their brief. After filing it in November, they began practicing oral arguments intensely with their coaches.

“We prepared the same, but we were more relaxed because we knew what it took to achieve the end result,” Juricich explained.

“We were able to more efficiently use our time.”

Judging this year’s championship round was the Honorable Steven M. Colloton, judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; the Honorable Lynn Adelman, judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; the Honorable Malachy E. Mannion, judge, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and the Honorable Beth Ward, judge, Environmental Appeals Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Coaching the team were the law school’s two national experts in environmental law, Professors David Case and Stephanie Showalter Otts.

“Both Professor Case and Otts play such a large role in helping us get prepared,” Roark said.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to build a relationship with Professors Case and Otts that I otherwise would not have had,” Juricich added.

A benefit to participating in a competition of this nature is the payoff it provides students after graduation.  Both students said it helped them find their niche.

“It helped me find a joy and thrill in litigation,” Juricich said.

“I started off not having any interest in environmental law, but I grew to love it,” Roark said.  “It’s made me want to pursue a career in environmental law, in regulatory administrative work.”

“I’ve learned how to tackle issues I might know nothing about, meet deadlines, and have picked up certain writing skills I would not have had.”

Learn more about the Pace competition by visiting their website.

Alexia Boggs and Clayton Adams

Team of two students are members of the school’s Negotiation Board

OXFORD, Miss.– University of Mississippi School of Law students Clayton Adams and Alexia Boggs took the title in the Tulane Professional Football Negotiation Competition hosted by Tulane University Law School January 29-30, 2016.

The competition consisted of 20 total teams from 18 different schools.

“The competition was exciting and a great learning experience,” Boggs said.

“When Clayton and I started prepping for the competition, I knew next to nothing about actual NFL players, much less their contracts. Aside from solidifying my love of contract drafting and negotiation, the experience benefitted me as a legal professional by teaching me how to successfully advocate for my client, even when I am starting from scratch.”

The teams went through three rounds before entering the championship round against Fowler School of Law. The competition is hosted by the Tulane Sports Law Society, and is a simulated contract negotiation using real life scenarios and actual upcoming NFL free agents.

The competition is designed to help students hone their negotiation skills while learning about actual NFL contracts. Judges included professionals in the NFL world, including the vice presidents of football administration for the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints, and football administration coordinator for the Chicago Bears.

Boggs, a second year student, and Adams, a third year, participated as part of the law school’s Negotiation Board, housed in the Business Law Institute.  The Business Law Institute was developed to specifically train business lawyers through active learning, like the negotiation competition.

“As to being on the Negotiation Board, I think the benefit to a law student is that it is as close to real deal making as someone can get,” says Douglas MacKimm, chair of the Negotiation Board. “There is an expectation for modern attorneys to be strong negotiators, and this Board allows us to develop a very practical skill that has value in whatever type of career follows law school.”

For more information on the competition, visit Tulane’s website.

By: Meghan Burnett

Olivia Hoff

Olivia Hoff is among 25 students selected for inaugural Law Student of the Year feature

OXFORD, Miss.–A University of Mississippi law student is among 25 featured in the National Jurist magazine’s inaugural Law Student of the Year feature, showcasing the many talents and accomplishments of law students across the country.

Olivia Hoff’s name was submitted by the School of Law to be considered for one of the coveted 25 spots.

Hoff, a December graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi. She chose to attend the UM law school because of her interest in air and space law, and the opportunities offered by the Ole Miss program, including a chance to participate in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court.

“I am extremely honored the law school nominated me for this recognition and am grateful National Jurist magazine chose to accept their nomination,” Hoff said. “The news of my selection came as a bright spot amidst prepping for the bar exam.”

Hoff and fellow students CJ Robinson and Ian Perry, along with their coach, Michael Dodge, competed in Washington, D.C., in the North American round of the Manfred Lachs International Space Law Moot Court competition, where they took first place in March 2015. The team advanced to the international round in October in Jerusalem, where Hoff and her teammates clenched first place in the final round, beating out Greece.

Dodge said he could see Hoff’s work ethic shine during the preparation for the moot court championships.

“There were several students who impressed me during my time teaching, but I can say that Olivia, and all the hard work and go-to gumption she exuded in her courses and extracurricular work, will leave distinct memories for me,” Dodge said.

Hoff moved to Washington, D.C., in summer 2015 to complete an externship with the Air Force JAG Corps at Joint Base Andrews. During the fall, she completed another externship, also in D.C., with the Department of Homeland Security’s Administrative Law Branch. She considers both these assignments among her greatest achievements

“She represents the best of what we try to cultivate in law school, and I have every confidence she’ll continue to do herself, and Ole Miss, a great deal of honor,” Dodge said.

A Gulfport native, Hoff is also a member of the Trial Advocacy Board, Phi Delta Phi, the Society for Law of Outer Space and Aviation, Public Interest Law Foundation and the Dean’s Leadership Council, where she helps mentor first-year law students, serves as an ambassador for the law school and gives tours to potential students.

National Jurist magazine, published quarterly, is one of the leading news sources in legal education. Besides delivering top-quality news, the publication shares information and tools useful to law students on its website.

Oxford, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law’s Clinical Programs has been named by National Jurist magazine as one of 56 best law schools for practical training.  The magazine examined the ratio of simulation, clinic and externship placements to number of students to determine the rankings.

“The UM Clinical Programs are one of the school’s strengths,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean.  “We can offer every student a clinical experience in a wide range of offerings, from litigation to child advocacy to transactional work.”

The story and ranking with grades will appear in the spring issues of The National Jurist and preLaw magazines.

The Clinic’s mission is to teach practice skills and professional responsibility to students by serving high-quality representation to underserved clients. The program is an in-house law firm with 11 practice areas, a clinical externship program, and a pro bono program:

“Law schools continue to make changes and improvements to make legal education a better hands-on experience for the majority of their students,” said Jack Crittenden, editor in chief of The National Jurist. “It has been exciting to see the gradual improvement from year to year.”

On January 29, 2016, Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth of Lafayette County hosted the UM Clinical Programs’ swearing-in ceremony for 45 second and third-year students under the Mississippi Law Student Limited Practice Rule, recently proposed by the Access to Justice Commission (AJC) and adopted by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Tiffany M. Graves, executive director of the AJC, said, “The new rule will expand the limited practice opportunities of law students by allowing them to provide limited legal services as part of a clinical legal education course, law school legal internship program, or through a volunteer legal services program under the supervision of licensed attorneys. Now, substantially more students will be able to participate in programs and initiatives that provide civil legal services to the poor.” The UM Clinical Programs consist of nine professor-directed clinics (and two in-house practicums), which allow students to “learn by doing” under the direct supervision of experienced attorney/clinicians by actually representing indigent and low-income clients with a wide variety of legal problems.

Tobi Young

Address by Tobi Young to emphasize importance of community service

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law welcomes alumna Tobi Young, general counsel and staff secretary for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, as the featured speaker at the school’s graduation, set for 11 a.m. May 14 in the Grove.

Young will speak at the law school’s individual ceremony, which will follow the main university Commencement at 9 a.m.

“The law school is pleased to have as our speaker one of our outstanding women graduates, particularly since this year marks a century since the first woman was admitted to the Mississippi bar,” said Debbie Bell, the law school’s interim dean. “Tobi has a remarkable career in public service.”

Young also serves as President Bush’s designated Presidential Records Act representative. She previously served as special assistant to the president and associate counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel.

“I am looking forward to returning to Oxford, and I’m honored to join the law school graduates and their families during this time of celebration and accomplishment,” Young said. “I remember well the anxiety and excitement that comes with this time, so I hope to share lessons learned on my journey from Ole Miss to the White House and to encourage them to use their skill set to build better communities and a stronger country.”

Before joining the White House staff, Young was a trial attorney and counsel to the assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. She also served as a law clerk to Judge Jerome A. Holmes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Young graduated magna cum laude in 2003 from the UM School of Law, where she was selected by the faculty as the Outstanding Senior Law Student for the Phi Delta Phi award. She also attended Dartmouth College and graduated magna cum laude from George Washington University.

For more information about the law school’s commencement, visit the school’s graduation page.

By Jenny Kate Luster

Oxford, MS (February 4, 2016) – In November, the National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law received a grant award of nearly $45,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fishing for Energy Partnership. The NSGLC’s project, “Increasing Awareness of the Legal Framework Governing Removal of Marine Debris and Placement of Fishing Gear in the New England Region,” will help New England managers to assess the feasibility of implementing innovative derelict fishing gear removal strategies in their states.

Lost nets and other heavy fishing equipment can damage ecosystems as they are moved by tides and waves along the sea floor, as well as impact navigational safety, damage active fishing equipment and boats, and cause economic repercussions for coastal industries and communities across the country. The laws and regulations governing the removal of derelict fishing gear vary by fishery and state. As part of the grant project, the National Sea Grant Law Center will provide information on the current legal framework governing derelict fishing gear removal and how existing state marine debris programs are authorized. The Law Center will also partner with the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program at the Roger Williams University School of Law to perform research on vessel navigation laws and restrictions on the placement of commercial fishing gear within shipping and boating lanes.

The Fishing for Energy Partnership is supported by the Covanta Corporation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program. The Partnership, launched in 2008, reduces the amount of abandoned fishing gear that accumulates in U.S. coastal waters by offering commercial fishermen a no-cost opportunity to dispose of old, lost or unusable fishing gear at designated locations throughout the country. Collected gear and debris is recycled and processed to generate electricity at Covanta Energy-from-Waste facilities. The partnership also awards grants that prevent gear loss, minimize the impact of lost gear, and remove derelict gear from the ocean.

 

UM law professor Ron Rychlak among nine representatives on panel BY

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference has appointed nine individuals from campuses across the SEC to form a working group to review and discuss issues concerning compliance with NCAA regulations and effective operation within the NCAA governance process.

Commissioner Greg Sankey announced the creation of the group Thursday. He had announced in July 2015 at the SEC’s annual Football Media Days that he would convene the SEC Working Group on Compliance, Enforcement and Governance, a collection of campus leaders to review and discuss NCAA issues.

“This working group will work to renew and strengthen the commitment the conference membership made more than 12 years ago to a culture of compliance in the SEC,” Sankey said. “These campus leaders will review and update the principles which formed the foundation of that commitment and establish effective procedures for the SEC’s participation in the new NCAA governance structure.”

Jere Morehead, president of the University of Georgia, will serve as chair of the working group, which includes Ron Rychlak, professor of law and Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government at the University of Mississippi. Rychlak also serves as the faculty representative on the university’s Athletics Committee.

Remaining members of the working group are R. Stuart Bell, president, University of Alabama; Mitch Barnhart, director of athletics, University of Kentucky; Ray Tanner, director of athletics, University of South Carolina; Michael Sagas, faculty athletics representative, University of Florida; Samantha Huge, senior woman administrator, Texas A&M University; Rich McGlynn, executive associate athletics director for compliance, Auburn University; and Jon Fagg, senior associate athletics director for compliance, University of Arkansas.

“Compliance with NCAA regulations and the development of processes for effective participation by the SEC in NCAA governance are critical to the future of this conference,” Morehead said. “This working group is a proactive initiative to put the SEC in position to be a leader for many years to come in the development and enforcement of NCAA rules and regulations while solidifying our culture of compliance with those rules.”

The working group will develop new strategies for renewing and strengthening the conferencewide commitment to NCAA compliance while continuing to fulfill the conference competitive objectives.

Also, the group will review the updated enforcement model, which is expected to include dialogue with the NCAA vice president for enforcement; establish best practices for enforcement within the SEC; and update minimum penalties established by the conference for certain Level III and Level IV rules violations.

In addition, the group will develop strategies intended to enhance the conference legislative process, including development of a proactive legislative agenda to be advanced by the SEC. The group will analyze the new NCAA governance structure and its implications for the SEC, with the purpose of developing meeting schedules, committee participation, policy development and effective communication strategies.

The group will also seek to improve interaction among the autonomy conferences as part of the NCAA legislative and governance process and address other related issues as determined by the working group.

Updates will be provided to key SEC leadership groups at regular intervals, with an initial report submitted for review and discussion by the SEC membership in the spring of 2016 with the working group expected to conclude its work before the SEC’s spring meetings in 2017.

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law’s Business Law Network will host a conference on Friday, February 12, 2016 at the historic Fairview Inn in Jackson, Mississippi, offering 3 hours of CLE credit to attendees.  Lynn Fitch, Treasurer of the State of Mississippi, will speak on the business law implications of the Treasurer’s office.

The Business Law Network’s mission is dedicated to connecting students who have an interest in business law with practicing business law attorneys. The Business Law Network is composed of over 50 student members of the University of Mississippi School of Law.

“We are very excited to have the State Treasurer of Mississippi and University of Mississippi School of Law alum Lynn Fitch featured as the keynote speaker for our winter conference,” said Gregory Alston, CEO of the Business Law Network.  “Treasurer Fitch has been a great leader for the state bringing positivity and accountability to the Treasurer’s office and we are looking forward to giving her the opportunity to speak in front of students and attorneys from around Mississippi.”

Marie Cope, clinical professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, will speak about the roles and responsibilities of advising small business clients. Business Law Newsletter members Marie Wicks and Sam Kapoor will also make presentations during the conference.

Registration will begin at 10:30 a.m. There is a $60 fee for CLE credit payable by cash or check at the door, which includes lunch.  Please RSVP to Business Law Network CEO Gregory Alston at umbusinesslaw@olemiss.edu. Past keynote speakers include Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, and Supreme Court Justice Randy Pierce. 

For more information, please visit http://law.olemiss.edu/event/2016-business-law-network-winter-conference-and-cle/

The University of Mississippi School of Law follows all winter weather procedures of the University of Mississippi.  Please visit http://www.olemiss.edu/emergency/  for up to date weather information.

Weather Alert: 08:15 AM, Thursday, January 21

Winter Storm Warning

Winter Storm Warning issued for Oxford effective at midnight through Friday 9pm. If traveling, check weather and travel conditions.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for many counties in the Midsouth, including Lafayette County and Oxford City. The warning is in effect starting tonight (Thursday) at midnight and is in effect through Friday at 9:00 p.m. Current predictions indicate that the weather system will move through the Midsouth early Friday morning and into Friday.

Predictions can change. If you are traveling back to Oxford, please check travel and weather conditions along your route and in Oxford before you travel, and make plans accordingly (e.g., plan to arrive ahead of the weather system).  This winter storm will affect large portions of the region and nation, please plan accordingly.

The Crisis Action Team is in contact with local Emergency Management Administrators and the National Weather Service. They will continue to monitor the predictions. Any change to the university’s schedule will be posted at emergency.olemiss.edu. Messages also will be sent using RebAlert, email, and Twitter (@RebAlert). Additionally, a message will be available at 915-1040.

Story originally featured on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s website.

By Stephanie Showalter Otts, National Sea Grant Law Center

Food production, whether by land or sea, is heavily regulated, and the legal information needs of the country’s agricultural community of producers, processors, retailers, attorneys, and policy-makers, as well as Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension professionals, are vast and complex. Since its establishment in 2002, the National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law has become a leading source for objective information on the legal framework governing marine aquaculture operations around the country.

A fisherman on the docks of Newport, OR. Image: Oregon State University.

In 2015, the National Sea Grant Law Center helped launch, with the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, the Agricultural & Food Law Consortium. The Consortium is a national, multi-institutional collaboration designed to enhance and expand the development and delivery of authoritative, timely, and objective agricultural and food law research and information. Other Consortium members include the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law at Penn State Law and the Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University. The National Sea Grant Law Center contributes expertise on a range of topics to the Consortium efforts including, aquaculture, fisheries, seafood labeling, direct marketing, and water quality and quantity. For more information about the Consortium, visit the Consortium website.

A bushel of blue crabs Samuels & Son Seafood. Image: Delaware Sea Grant.

In the coming months, as part of its Consortium efforts, the National Sea Grant Law Center will be expanding its research and projects related to marine aquaculture and water quality and quantity. Current research focuses include organic aquaculture standards, animal welfare standards for commercial aquaculture operations, and interstate groundwater disputes. For those interested in learning more about the Consortium’s work and members, the National Sea Grant Law Center’s role and current projects, and upcoming events, the National Sea Grant Law Center and the Consortium both host webinars series. For more information on the National Sea Grant Law Center’s 2016 Webinar Series, visit the National Sea Grant Law Center’s website. For more information on the Consortium’s webinar series, visit the Consortium’s webinar webpage.

The National Sea Grant Law Center, along with other Consortium members, also organize an Annual Mid-South Agricultural and Environmental Law Conference held at the University of Memphis Cecil M. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information on the conference, please visit the conference website.

Professor Will Berry

Professor Will Berry, along with co-authors Paul C. Weiler of Harvard University and Gary Myers of the University of Missouri, recently completed the fifth edition of Entertainment, Media, and the Law: Text, Cases, and Problems. West Publishing Company published the new edition in December 2015, and the book is available for the Spring 2016 semester. The textbook is widely used in law schools across the United States.

Justice Randy Pierce

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law is pleased to announce that Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Randy Pierce will join the law school as director of the Mississippi Judicial College.  Pierce’s role will begin Feb. 1, 2016.

“Justice Pierce brings to the Judicial College and the law school a rich knowledge of the Mississippi judiciary, experience as a state legislator and experience in accounting and business administration,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean.  “He is widely respected for his commitment to the state, his integrity in practice and on the bench, and his thoughtful leadership.”

The Judicial College provides continuing legal judicial education and training for some 2,800 court-related personnel, including supreme court justices, judges and court referees, administrators, clerks and reporters.

“The judicial college touches every corner of our state,” Pierce said. “The training the college provides impacts all 82 counties and is critical to an effective judicial system. I look forward to continuing the success of the college, while at the same time being innovative in the way we bring training to the college’s participants. The judicial college has an outstanding staff, and I look forward to joining the team.”

According to the Mississippi Supreme Court site, Pierce is an associate justice serving the Southern District, place two, covering twenty-seven south Mississippi counties. He co-chairs the Commission on Children’s Justice and chairs the Rules Committee on the Legal Profession.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the judicial college,” Pierce said. “I am also looking forward to being a part of the law school and university community.”

Previously, Pierce served as chancery court judge for the Sixteenth Chancery Court District of Jackson, George and Greene counties. He is a former state representative for District 105 in the Mississippi Legislature, where he served as chairman of the House Education Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Education.

Pierce is a member of the Mississippi Bar, Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration, both from the University of Southern Mississippi. He received his juris doctor degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he served as student body president.

By Stephanie Otts, National Sea Grant Law Center

Working waterfronts are more than the physical infrastructure – the docks, piers, and equipment. Working waterfronts are also social and cultural features of their host communities; they are integral to how community members define and distinguish themselves. When working waterfronts are threatened, communities often initiate efforts to preserve access rights. Working waterfronts across the country have been preserved through purchase, designation as historic districts, and zoning techniques.

In 2014, the National Sea Grant Law Center, Maine Sea Grant, and NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management received funding through the NOAA Preserve America Initiative to capture and preserve oral histories showcasing working waterfront preservation efforts. This project was an outgrowth of the National Working Waterfront Network’s Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit, which was funded by the Economic Development Administration and released in May 2013. The Sustainable Working Waterfronts Toolkit is an online information portal that contains a wealth of information about the historical and current use of waterfront space, the economic value of working waterfronts, and legal, policy, and financing tools that can be used to preserve, enhance, and protect these valuable areas.

Ten working waterfront champions were invited to share the story of their community’s working waterfront initiative. These are the people behind the scenes – the land use planners, port directors, community organizers, legislators, property owners – making the programs work. The interviews strived to gather information on the “how” – how did the community preserve their working waterfront or water access? What tools and strategies did they use? What was their secret to success?

The resulting “Preserving the Working Waterfront” oral history collection includes audio recordings of the full interviews, transcripts of the interviews and audio slideshows highlighting key elements of the oral history. The audio slideshows are available on the National Working Waterfront Network website and the audio files and transcripts are archived in the NOAA Voices of the Fisheries database.

University of Mississippi School of Law Clinical Programs Celebrates 25 Years

OXFORD, Miss.–North Mississippi Rural Legal Services (NMRLS) and the University of Mississippi School of Law will host an anniversary celebration at the law school January 21 at 4 p.m. on the University’s Oxford campus.  The celebration will recognize NMRLS’s 50 years and the school’s Clinical Programs’ 25 years of legal service to north Mississippians.

Special guests will include Presiding Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jess H. Dickinson, University of Mississippi School of Law Professor Emeritus John Robin Bradley, former law school student and professor Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, and Constance Slaughter-Harvey, Esq., the first female African American to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.  A reception will follow the presentations.

The event will celebrate the commitment that both organizations have had to the communities they serve.

“The 1960s marked the beginning of our commitment to assist in providing legal aid to the underprivileged.  Now, 50 years later, the need is just as great and the clientele is much more diverse.  It is my hope that NMRLS as well as the clinical programs at Ole Miss Law can continue on this quest for justice,” said Ben T. Cole II, executive director of NMRLS.

Both NMRLS and the Clinical Programs provide legal services for low income individuals in Mississippi.  NMRLS’s mission is to provide attorney representation and advocacy for the most vulnerable members of society. Some examples of their work include preserving and retaining habitable and affordable housing for families; protecting children and families in matters of safety and health; promoting economic security and financial independence of families; and helping the disabled, vulnerable and elderly maintain autonomy and dignity.

The Clinical Programs mission is to teach essential practice skills while providing high-quality representation to underserved clients.  It has 11 practices areas including Child Advocacy, Criminal Appeals, Elder Law, Housing, Legislation and Policy, MacArthur Justice Clinic, Conflict Management, George C. Cochran Innocence Project, Street Law, Tax and Transaction, in additional to the Pro Bono Initiative and the Clinical Externship Program.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Ethel Gilmore at egilmore@nmrls.com  or 662-234-8731 or visit http://www.nmrls.com/.

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law is pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Cooper, Frank Montague, Jr. Professor of Legal Studies and Professionalism, as the new Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, effective January 25. He will succeed Matthew Hall, who has served as associate dean since 2011 and will return to the law school’s faculty.

“We appreciate the service of Dean Hall, his tireless energy, and the many contributions he made to the law school,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean.  “We also look forward to the upcoming leadership of Ben Cooper.  He is a well-respected teacher and scholar who is involved with the Mississippi bar as well as the American Bar Association.”

In his new role, Cooper will oversee the curriculum and academic programs.  He will also work with the Offices of the Registrar, Admissions, Student Affairs and Career Services, assist with issues related to bar passage, and with special projects as assigned by the Dean.

“I’m really excited about this position and to have the chance to work with Dean Bell,” Cooper said.  “I can’t imagine a better leader for our school.  I look forward to working with her and to devoting more time to improving our outstanding law school in every respect.”

Cooper is currently serving as co-reporter for the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, and is a member of the Mississippi Bar’s Ethics Committee, the Mississippi Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules, and the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility. In addition, Professor Cooper serves as the United States reporter for the reports, comments and notes section of the international journal Legal Ethics.

Prior to joining the faculty in 2007, Cooper practiced commercial litigation and higher education law in the private sector, first at Kirkland & Ellis in New York and then at Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia, and gained partnership at each firm. He had previously served as a trial attorney in the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division and as a law clerk for the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

To date, Cooper has taught Legal Profession, Civil Procedure, an Advanced Legal Ethics seminar, and Property. He writes and speaks on legal ethics and the law governing lawyers.

Oxford, Miss.–Alexis Farmer, who graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2011, was interviewed recently by a U.S. News weekly podcast program called “I Am the Law.”  The show seeks to educate current and prospective law students about various areas of the law, to help them choose the most fulfilling legal career.  Farmer discussed her work in tax law with the Mississippi Taxpayer Assistance Project.

Listen to the podcast. 

OXFORD, Miss.–Seven Ole Miss Law students, along with Professor Desiree Hensley, have volunteered to work with the Mississippi Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) Committee by providing research and information needed to produce a report and recommendations for adult guardianship and conservatorship reform.  Mississippi WINGS is a committee which proposes systemic reforms to support the rights, dignity and autonomy of adults who have diminished decision making capacity.  Unfortunately, the law students have discovered that Mississippi law does not adequately support the ability of those with diminished capacity to retain a degree of autonomy over their own lives and decisions. 

The students have conducted research and drafted issue briefs regarding some of the problems in Mississippi, including a lack of uniform, statewide case tracking, unclear standards for determining incapacity, a lack of focus on protecting people through less restrictive alternatives than use of a court ordered decision maker, a lack of a statewide system to provide guardians for the poor, and a lack of programs and services to monitor, train, and support guardians. The full WINGS committee met September 18 in Jackson to discuss these issues, and prioritized the committee’s work.

“Mississippi’s current law on guardianship and conservatorship is structurally convoluted and has not been revised to reflect current thinking about the rights of people who have diminished capacity,” said 3L student, Kris Simpson. Some of the reforms that will be proposed by the clinic students will be to simplify and clarify the law in Mississippi, to ensure that those with diminished capacity have full due process rights in court, to educate guardians and conservators who are appointed decision makers so that they have the tools they need to do a good job, and to provide publicly funded guardians for low-income people.

The committee’s goal is to protect adults with diminished decision making capacity from abuse and neglect without unnecessarily depriving them of important personal rights.  The people who need this assistance are those who, for reasons other than being a minor, are unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions to such an extent that the individual lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care, even with appropriate assistance.

The next WINGS meeting will be December 11, where they will discuss the report and recommendations. The report will be finalized and published December 18 on mswings.org.

 

 

OXFORD, Miss.–Three Ole Miss Law students were inducted into the University’s chapter of Phi Kappa Phi recently, the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines.  John George Archer, Alexandra Bruce and Katie Portner were all selected to join.

“We are very proud that these outstanding students have been recognized for their achievements,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean for the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Membership is based on a student’s sound character and academic standing. Graduate students must rank in the top 10 percent of their class.  Law school students are nominated by faculty members.

Students were inducted into the society in a ceremony held at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 1.

Katie Portner, John George Archer and Alexandra Bruce.

Phi Kappa Phi hosts chapters at more than 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. plus a few abroad.

 

OXFORD, Miss.- The University of Mississippi School of Law hosted the Region 7 Preliminary Moot Court Competition in Oxford on Nov. 13-14. Eleven teams from around the southeast traveled to Oxford to compete in the competition, with hopes of advancing to the finals of the 66th Annual National Moot Court Competition in New York City from Feb. 9-12.

The University of Mississippi and the University of Tennessee made the semi-finals, while Belmont University and the University of Alabama advanced to the finals. Alabama took home the championship for the region.

“This competition, along with all moot court competitions, gives students a chance to act as true advocates, just like they will as attorneys,” said UM Law Moot Court Board Chair, Mary Margaret Roark.

“By participating in competitions like these, law students are better equipped with the skills they need when they graduate law school.”

The team representing Ole Miss Law worked for six weeks prior to the competition, writing their briefs and preparing for oral argument. This year’s competition presented two issues to the competitors, one dealing with insider trading and the other addressing the admissibility of grand jury testimony.

Ole Miss had the opportunity to host this year’s preliminary rounds for the first time since the school moved to its new facility. In addition to hosting the competition, the school provided judges for each round. Over 60 attorneys from around Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama volunteered to grade the briefs and judge oral arguments.

The national competition for law students is co-sponsored by New York City Bar Association’s National Moot Court Competition Committee and the American College of Trial Lawyers.

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