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By: William Pomeroy and Autumn Breeden

On March 28th, 2016 the Mississippi Sports Law Journal partnered with the Law Association for Women to a host a forum about Women in Athletics. Speakers included Lynette Johnson, Ann Carr, Kathryn Fowler, and Jordan Woolums. Lynette Johnson is in her 27th year overall with Ole Miss Athletics and is in her 18th year as a Sport Administrator and Senior Woman Administrator. Ann Carr is a 13 year veteran in athletic administration at Mississippi State, she currently serves as a Senior Associate Athletic Director of Women’s Sports, and she is a former Lady Bulldog athlete. Kathryn Fowler is a current second year Law Student, and was a four-year member of the Ole Miss Golf Team. Finally, Jordan Woolums is a current first year law student at Ole Miss and is a former soccer player at Indiana University.

Topics ranged from the current state of women’s sports in college to professional opportunities for female student-athletes beyond college. Mrs. Johnson spoke of the positive evolution that she has witnessed throughout her career in athletics. She spoke of witnessing the first women to hold head coach and administrative positions, as well as increased support for female athletes. She also stated that the best way to combat lesser attendance and coverage for female athletic events is to simply keep playing the sports. Networks, such as the SEC Network, have given rise to increased exposure of female athletics, which can only help increase interest in women’s sports. Both Ms. Carr and Mrs. Johnson used the recent success of women’s softball as an example of how television exposure has had a positive impact on a sport as a whole. Ms. Carr spoke of the need to provide female staff members at different universities a more welcoming atmosphere and increased support when they are placed in an unfamiliar setting. Issues that face both Ole Miss and Mississippi State in recruiting female coaches and administrators often revolve around family support, including things like on campus day care and employment opportunities for a spouse. Both Kathryn and Jordan spoke fondly about their experiences at Division I schools, and felt their athletic achievements had a positive effect on their educational and professional opportunities.

Overall, the event was attended by approximately 50 students and faculty who asked questions and listened attentively to the forum speakers. It was a positive conversation focusing on continuing to improve opportunities for female athletes, coaches and administrators.


Attendees at the forum.

Presenters at the Women’s Athletics Forum

By: Professor Phil Broadhead

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), in partnership with North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, once again is offering tax preparation assistance to families in the Oxford-Lafayette County area. This effort by law students is directed by Professor of Law Donna Davis, who supervises 12 students at the local public library.

“I thought it was good idea to get this hands-on experience to see the different kinds of basic issues in tax,” Davis said. “It’s been busier than I thought it would be, especially early on. We had tons of people. For me personally, almost every person I dealt with was a new learning experience. I’ve encountered very unique situations that I didn’t think I would encounter.”

Third-year law students Austin Emmons and Brennan Black are the site coordinators for the tax clinic.

“It’s class credit through the school, but I also enjoy it because it gives you practical skills that you don’t necessarily get from the classroom,” Emmons said. “You get used to interviewing people and get a feel for does the client feel comfortable with what you’re doing, do they understand what you’re doing. It’s also about helping the community.”

The clinic’s public service was recognized by an article in last Sunday’s Oxford Citizen, as well as by the Mississippi Bar Association’s Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer’s Project, who awarded the VITA program the annual Beacon of Justice Award in 2015.

OXFORD, Miss.–The first Intellectual Property Student Scholarship Symposium was held at the University of Mississippi School of Law on February 19th. The Symposium was sponsored by the Mid-south Intellectual Property Institute, which is a collaborative effort of the Law School and FNC, Inc.  Students and professionals came together to discuss and share knowledge on the latest developments in intellectual property.

The forum discussed a wide array of topics from collegiate licensing and trademark enforcement, to product design and more.  The scholarship included:

  • “Trade Dress:  An Unsuitable Fit for Product Design in the Fashion Industry” by Shayna Giles
  • “Why Can’t my Waiter Sing Happy Birthday to Me:  The Chilling Effect of Corporate Copyright Control” by Rachel Smith
  • “Alice’s Wonderland:  Patentable Subject Matter in the Wake of The Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. Decision” by Lindsey Sullivan
  • “Issues in Collegiate Licensing and Trademark Enforcement” by Katie Diem

Students who wrote papers on these topics made individual presentations that were followed by discussions on their topic with other students and lawyers.

“This symposium gave me the chance to discuss some concrete examples of how copyright protection allows corporations to restrict our free speech, rather than encouraging creative expression,” said Rachel Smith, current law student.  “Many of the audience members provided me with interesting questions and concerns with policies I addressed and proposed.”

“Overall, this experience was beneficial right now for my academic legal growth, but potentially in the long run as well considering it introduced me to people I may work with in the IP field one day.”

With help from the moderators Stacey Lantagne, assistant professor, and Will Wilkins, director of the Mississippi Law Research Institute, the students were able to receive positive academic critique and gain valuable experience throughout the process.

By: Meghan Burnett

OXFORD, Miss.–Suzette Matthews has a passion for education, and since Feb. 1, 2016, the former Teach for America staffer has turned her talents in fundraising and education to the law school as the new director of development.

Previously the senior director of development for Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, Matthews grew individual donations substantially for the organization, often 300 times an original gift amount, and increased overall gifts by 150 percent.

“We are lucky to have Suzette Matthews join our team,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean.  “She comes to us with a strong background in fundraising in Mississippi, a love for her adopted state, and great enthusiasm about the law school’s future.”

The Texas native taught high school English in Ruleville, Miss., with Teach for America for two years prior to joining their development staff. She worked with individual corporations and foundations mainly in the Delta and Jackson areas, and cultivated relationships she believes will be beneficial for the law school.

“I think alot of the relationships and networks I was able to build will overlap,” she said.  “It’s my goal to invest our alumni in our students’ work and raise an additional $500,000 for scholarships, as well as double the percent of alumni giving.”

Though her focus has primarily been secondary education, Matthews is excited about transitioning her work to the university and law school.

“I really wanted to get back into higher education,” she said.  “And, when I look at who is influential in making decisions for our state’s future, it’s Ole Miss law alumns.  We have so many great things happening here.”

Suzette Matthews. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Matthews graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and obtained her master’s degree in education from Delta State while in Cleveland.   She was named Ruleville Central High School Teacher of the Year in 2010 and Sunflower County School District Teacher of the Year.

She is a graduate of Leadership Mississippi and the Delta Leadership Network.  She served on the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits board, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce executive board and Mississippi Economic Council Board of Governors. She also founded and served as president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Young Professionals and is a member of the Mississippi Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In addition to education and fundraising, Matthews and her husband Matty own Delta Dairy, a frozen treats shop in Cleveland.  She enjoys running and spending time with her husband and dog, Tchula.

“I’m really excited about this position, and I really look forward to meeting everyone,” she said. “Please feel to contact me anytime.”

Suzette may be reached by e-mail or phone: 601-937-1497.

OXFORD, Miss.–Seventeen University of Mississippi School of Law alumni were named as Leadership in Law by the Mississippi Business Journal recently.  They make up a group of the state’s most successful lawyers nominated based on the following nomination criteria: exemplifying the noble tradition of the legal profession; are astute, wise, knowledgable and successful; win cases and solve problems with utmost integrity; inspire and lead others with their skills and character; are role models and mentors; and are passionate and aggressive on behalf of clients and the community.

Among those chosen were the following:

  • Watts C. Ueltschey, Lawyer of the Year (Brunini, Granthan, Grower & Hewes)
  • Robert A. Biggs, II (Biggs, Ingram & Solop)
  • Katrina Brown (Brown Bass & Jeter)
  • Yancy Brian Burns (Burns and Associates, PLLC)
  • Mark P. Caraway (Wise Carter)
  • C. Greg Copeland (Copeland Cook Taylor Bush)
  • John Cox (Cox and Moore, PLLC)
  • Joe Deaton (Deaton & Berry)
  • Trey Dellinger (Wells Marble & Hurst)
  • Sean Wesley Ellis (Young Wells)
  • Emiko Faust (Mississippi Attorney General’s Office)
  • Kathryn Gilchrist (Gilchrist Donnell PLLC)
  • B. Stevens Hazard (Daniel Coker Horton & Bell, PA)
  • Henry Laird (Jones Walker)
  • Kimberly W. Nailor (Law Offices of Kimberly W. Nailor)
  • David M. Ott (Bryan Nelson, PA)
  • Thomas Suszek (Holcomb Dunbar)
  • Rocky Wilkins (Rocky Wilkins Law Firm, PLLC)

In addition to the distinction, recipients were honored with a reception and awards celebration. Nomination and submission information for the 2016 class may be found on the Mississippi Business Journal‘s website.


By: Professor Phil Broadhead

During Spring Break, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, in conjunction with the Mississippi Public Defenders Association, conducted a two-day conference entitled, “Taking the Fear Out of Forensics.”  The conference drew attendees from Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama who heard presentations from a group of nationally-recognized experts on topics involving the applied sciences commonly used in criminal prosecutions, including “The Lawyer’s Guide to Understanding Mobile Forensics”, “Challenging Eyewitness Testimony”, “Basic Scientific Principles of Cognitive Bias”, “Pattern Evidence: Firearm and Toolmark Analysis”, and “False Confessions”.  All of the presentations were very informative to those who practice criminal law, but Friday morning’s multiple sessions on cell phones and digital device evidence was a particularly fascinating and cutting-edge topic.  Since the UM School of Law offers a concentration in criminal law, we have national DOJ programs (such as last summer’s Gideon’s Promise training) choosing to come to Oxford for their regional conferences.

Left to right: Kellie Grizzell, Sparkle Jennings, Ashton Fisher, Jacob Waldo, MacArthur Justice Center Director Cliff Johnson, Breanna Goff, Sampada Kapoor, Rob Noland, Michael Shoptaw, and Naura Guillaume

Left to right: Ashton Fisher, Sampada Kapoor, Michael Shoptaw, Naura Guillaume, Kellie Grizzell, Breanna Goff, Jacob Waldo, Sparkle Jennings, Rob Noland, and MacArthur Justice Center Director Cliff Johnson

On March 9, 2016, members of the MacArthur Justice Clinic conducted an inspection of Death Row at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman as part of the monitoring component of the MacArthur Justice Center’s recent settlement of its lawsuit against the State of Mississippi addressing the conditions of confinement on Death Row.  In addition to conducting an inspection of the facilities, Clinic participants interviewed Death Row inmates “cell-side” regarding the State’s compliance with the terms of the settlement.  Following their work at Death Row, Clinic members visited the gravesite of Fannie Lou Hamer in Ruleville, Mississippi.  Hamer was a heroine of the Civil Rights Movement who embodied the strength and influence of the “ordinary people” who have been the backbone of the fight for equality in Mississippi.  Hamer is perhaps best known for her lament, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Professor Hans Sinha

The third edition of Learning From Practice was released last month, and contains a new chapter, “Criminal Justice Placements”, co-authored by Prof. Hans Sinha. Covering topics important to law students working externships, in-house clinics, and other experiential courses, the text is intended for assist students working in real practice settings succeed in their work, reflect on their development, and plan for their lives as lawyers. The text is one of West Academic Publishing’s best-selling textbooks on experiential legal education.

By: Professor Phil Broadhead

The UM Clinical Programs were recently named among the Top 50 law schools for practical training offered to students, and the Spring 2016 issue of The National Jurist magazine crunched the numbers for all of the schools’ statistics, which awarded the University of Mississippi School of Law an A- rating, placing nineteenth in the nation. “The American Bar Association now releases ample data on how many students participate in clinics, externships and simulation courses. The National Jurist used this data to measure which law schools are delivering when it comes to practical training,” the magazine said. “We looked at the percent of full-time students in clinics, externships and simulation courses, also looked at student participation in interscholastic skills competitions, such as moot court tournaments. We again placed the most weight on [the] clinical experience, since experts say it is a particularly effective practical training tool. Students, under faculty direction, work with clients in a number of legal areas. However, clinics are the most costly [programs] for schools to incorporate.”

The University of Mississippi School of Law has created and maintains nine in-house clinics, including Child Advocacy, Criminal Appeals, Elder Law, Housing Clinic, MacArthur Justice Clinic, The George C. Cochran Innocence Project, the “Street Law” Clinic, Transactional Law Clinic, the Clinical Externship Program, and the Pro Bono Initiative. The Pro Bono Initiative was recently honored by the Mississippi Volunteer Project’s Beacon of Justice Award for public service. Additionally, two practicums, Tax and Conflict Management, offer law students opportunities to learn through experience, providing low-income families income tax assistance and the University law students are trained to resolve disputes between undergraduate students. The Tax Practicum also won the 2015 Beacon of Justice Award.

The School of Law has also enjoyed notable success in moot court competitions, collecting ten national competition championships in two years, including back-to-back championships in the Pace Environmental Law competition and, most recently, the Tulane Professional Football Negotiation Competition. The School of Law offers an LL.M. program in Air and Space Law, and its moot court team won the international championship in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, held in Jerusalem in October of 2015.


On February 12, the Transactional Clinic, led by Clinical Profs. Marie Cope and Cameron Abel, participated in the Business Law Network’s Winter Conference & CLE at the Fairview Inn in Jackson, which featured Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch as the keynote speaker. The advanced students in the Clinic, Elizabeth Robinson and Jessica Rice, at the direction of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office prepared and conducted a presentation on Limited Liability Company (LLC) formation and the Revised Mississippi LLC Act of 2013. Prof. Marie Cope also gave the attendees a brief overview of the Transactional Clinic, and two other TC students, Marie Wicks & Sampada Kapoor, also made a presentation at to the conference.

The student-lead presentations discussed the main steps of formation and the requirements of compliance enforced by the Secretary of State’s office. The students pointed out the new online services on the Secretary’s website and gave a step-by-step explanation on how business owners can create usernames, passwords, and file Certificates of Formation & Annual Reports. They also highlighted how these filings can now be completed online, and concluded the presentations with a discussion with the group of the differences between the superseded LLC Act and the Revised LLC Act.

Student presenters Marie Wicks, Sampada Kapoor, Jessica Rice, and Izzy Robinson are pictured with State Treasurer Lynn Fitch.

Marie Wicks, Jonathan Clay, and Kristen Schalter

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 Past keynote speakers include Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, and Supreme Court Justice Randy Pierce. 

For more information, please visit

The University of Mississippi School of Law follows all winter weather procedures of the University of Mississippi.  Please visit  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 Messages also will be sent using RebAlert, email, and Twitter (@RebAlert). Additionally, a message will be available at 915-1040.