UM Law School to Host Third Race and Sustainability Conference

Former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. headlines opening dinner

A C Wharton Jr.

OXFORD, Miss. – “Vulnerability, Historical Memory and Healing” is the theme of the third Race and Sustainability Conference, set for March 29-31 at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The event kicks off at 3 p.m. Wednesday (March 29) with a civil rights-themed tour of Oxford and an opening dinner at the Burn-Belfry Museum. A C Wharton Jr., civil rights attorney, former Memphis mayor and a 1971 graduate of the law school, is the keynote speaker for the event.

“The Race and Sustainability Conference seeks to create a deeper understanding among communities in the region and across the nation,” said Michele Alexandre, UM professor of law and the conference organizer. “Together, the participants collaborate to provide solutions and models for improving the conditions faced by marginalized communities.

“This conference continuously attracts scholars, activists, students and community members from across the United States and abroad.”

Rita and Bill Bender, civil rights attorneys, activists and educators, will deliver the opening lecture “Historical Memory, Archival Findings and Mississippi” at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 1115.

Following the opening lecture is a series of panel discussions featuring scholars, activists, students and community members, all set for various locations at the law school. Topics for the panel discussions include “Immigration and Access to Sustainable Life,” “Historical Memory Across Disciplines and Regions,” “Historical Memory, Trauma and Incarceration” and “The Environment: Where We Go From Here.”

Devin Carbado, professor of law at UCLA will deliver the conference keynote on “Understanding the Dynamics of Marginalization, Connections and Healing Moving Forward” at 4:15 p.m. Thursday in Weems Auditorium. Carbado is the 2017 McClure Lecturer at Ole Miss.

Partnering with the School of Law to present the conference are several co-sponsors: the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, UM Center for Population Studies, Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, UM School of Education, Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and the UM Law Journal.

For more information about the conference or to register, visit http://law.olemiss.edu/sustainability-conference-series/2017-2/ or email Michele Alexandre at malexand@olemiss.edu.

UM Law Students Win Southeastern Tax Competition

Team tops field of SEC law and accountancy programs for inaugural championship

UM second-year law students Kyle Carpenter (left), Devin Mills and Patrick Huston won first place in the inaugural Southeastern Regional Tax Challenge presented by the University of Missouri schools of Law and Accountancy. Photo courtesy University of Missouri

OXFORD, Miss. – A team of students from the University of Mississippi School of Law won first place in the inaugural Southeastern Regional Tax Challenge presented by the University of Missouri schools of Law and Accountancy.

All Southeastern Conference universities were invited to send teams of law and accountancy students to participate in the Feb. 11 competition.

The Ole Miss law school team of Kyle Carpenter, from Jackson; Patrick Huston, of Milton, Florida; and Devin Mills, of New Albany, brought home first place after two days of competition. They also won Best Presentation, and Devin Mills won second place in the Best Presenter category.

“It was an amazing opportunity that would not have been possible if not for professor Green and all the other professionals involved,” Mills said.

Each team was given a set of facts that dealt with the potential acquisition of an up-and-coming pharmaceutical company by a venture capital company. The team had two weeks to prepare its oral and written presentations for the judges – attorneys, accountants and professors from throughout the Southeast – who acted as clients.

The presentations broke down each possible acquisition method, along with the pros and cons, and also focused on the tax consequences of each acquisition method.

“It was a nice opportunity for students to think about a real-life transaction that happens quite regularly,” said Karen Green, UM professor of law who coached the team. “The students were given only about 10 days to prepare, so they were under the pressure of researching the acquiring company’s options and preparing their oral and written presentations.

“They weighed all the different options from both the tax law and the corporate law sides, and they had to prepare projections of the tax benefits depending on which way the transaction was structured. They really did a great job.”

Teams were allowed only two practice sessions. To help her team prepare, Green enlisted the help of Oxford tax attorneys Jack Nichols, Gray Edmondson, Josh Sage and Brandon Dixon, along with law school faculty members Donna Davis, Richard Gershon, K.B. Melear and Jason Derek, to quiz the students and challenge their arguments.

On the first day of competition, the team competed twice before different panels of judges. After the scores were compiled, they were notified that they were one of the top four teams and would advance to the final round.

This was the first time the UM School of Law has competed in a tax law competition.

UM Law Tax Clinic Assists Oxford Community

Students help residents navigate legal issues and maximize their refunds

Students from the UM School of Law’s Tax Clinic are available to help local residents complete their income tax forms twice weekly at the Oxford-Lafayette Public Library. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Students enrolled in the tax practicum at the University of Mississippi School of Law are getting real-world experience by assisting Oxford residents with their taxes this season.

Fourteen students in the law school’s Tax Clinic manage and staff an IRS-funded Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program twice a week at the Oxford-Lafayette Public Library. Each student is IRS-certified, and Donna Davis, associate professor of law, oversees the clinic.

Sessions run 3:30-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, except March 14 and 16, which fall during spring break.

“Personally, my favorite part of the clinic is how Professor Davis encourages the project to be student-led,” said John George Archer, a site coordinator and third-year law student. “It is very much a team effort each clinic day to complete tax returns and resolve the gamut of issues that we can encounter any given day. It’s pretty fast-paced and engaging.

“At the end of the day, it feels good to help people understand their taxes and maximize any refunds they may have.”

The clinic is geared to assist low-income clients. Participants need to bring a photo ID, Social Security card and any tax documents they have. The students take it from there.

“I really appreciate how the clinic has given us the opportunity to interact with the taxpayers who rely on us to do our jobs well,” said Peter Liddell, a site coordinator and third-year student. “The nature of our work requires us to handle sensitive information and ask personal questions.

“It has been an excellent opportunity to learn how to engage people in a professional manner, which will be an invaluable skill for our careers as attorneys.”

The clinic continues through April 6. The students also plan to conduct a special Friday clinic March 31 at the law school.

UM Law School Hosts Boyce Holleman Debate

Topic to address globalization and inequality concerns

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law is hosting the 2017 Boyce Holleman Debate Series, which focuses on concerns about globalization, Wednesday (March 1) in the school’s Weems Auditorium.

This year’s debate will feature Robert Howse, law professor at New York University School of Law, and Antonia Eliason of the Ole Miss law faculty. The debate, which begins at 12:45 p.m., is titled “Globalization and its Institutions: Reset, Reform or Reject.”

“Globalization has become something of an epithet in recent years, both in the Global North and in the Global South,” Eliason said. “Recently, calls for disruption of institutions linked with globalization, like the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF, have increased.

“This debate engages with questions of how the legal frameworks of global institutions can be used to address concerns with globalization, and to what extent disruption is necessary to address inequality and to save globalization from itself.”

Howse is the Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law at NYU School of Law and the 2017 Boyce Holleman Lecturer.

Eliason is an assistant professor of law at UM, where she teaches International Trade Law, International Business Transactions, European Union Law, Law of Armed Conflict and Contracts. Her research focuses on international trade law, international finance, EU law and Roma rights.

The Boyce Holleman Debate Series was established in 2003 by Tim and Dean Holleman in memory of their father. Boyce Holleman earned both undergraduate and juris doctor degrees from Ole Miss and enjoyed a long law career as a district attorney and criminal defense attorney on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Boyce Holleman Debate Series is open to contributions from individuals and organizations. Donors wanting to provide support may do so at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift or by mailing checks to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677. Checks should be made payable to the foundation, and donors should note “Boyce Holleman Debate Series.”

UM Business Law Program Named Among Nation’s Best

Program provides unique opportunities to learn, network and compete

The Robert C. Khayat Law Center is home to the School of Law.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Business Law program at the University of Mississippi School of Law was featured recently in preLaw Magazine as one of the country’s top programs. In an article entitled “Top schools for business and corporate law,” UM was one of only four schools to earn a perfect score of A+ in the area of business law.

“We appreciate the recognition of our extraordinary program, which provides a broad range of practical learning opportunities and unprecedented student-faculty interaction,” said Mercer Bullard, professor of law and director of the Business Law Institute. “With four wins this year, our Negotiation Board is cementing its position as one of the nation’s best, and our student-taught CLE program is unique among U.S. law schools.”

At the heart of the law school’s stellar business law program is the Business Law Institute. The institute offers interested students a chance to obtain a concentration in business law during their legal education careers.

After completing all requirements, students can graduate with the concentration to give them an edge in the increasingly competitive marketplace.

Also housed in the Business Law Institute is the Negotiation Board, an advocacy board that focuses on developing essential lawyering skills in a simulated environment. The Negotiation Board was formed to compete in negotiation but has since expanded to include arbitration and mediation. Members of the board compete in competitions all over the country.

“The competitions typically consist of each team strategizing and analyzing their client’s interest in order to reach an agreement to build a new business relationship or mend an existing relationship in conflict,” said Rachel Smith, a third-year law student from Grenada and chair of the Negotiation Board. “Members are challenged to draft contracts, proposals and exhibits to aid judges in understanding their respective client’s position in seeking a resolution.”

The Negotiation Board is composed of 20 members who are chosen through internal competitions. The board has won numerous awards, including four national championships this year.

Another standout component of the Business Law Institute is the Business Law Network, a student organization with the primary mission to connect members with practitioners in the field of business law. With more than 50 members, the Business Law Network is one of the school’s most active organizations.

“The Business Law Network is one of the premier student organizations at the University of Mississippi School of Law and provides an excellent platform for network members to meet with attorneys, businessmen and political leaders,” said Hattiesburg native Gregory Alston, a third-year law student and CEO of the Business Law Network.

The organization brings in successful individuals in the business law arena for monthly flash classes. Members not only get a chance to hear these success stories, but they also have opportunities to network following the presentations.

Students also can present to practicing attorneys during the network’s CLE conferences. CLE conferences are held each year in Oxford, Memphis and Jackson, and network members present their written pieces in relevant areas from the Business Law Newsletter at the sessions.

“The Business Law Network provides a unique and rare opportunity among law schools across the country for students to offer CLE credit to practicing attorneys through student presentation,” Alston said.

Rounding out the opportunities students have in the business law program is the Transactional Clinic. Students in the Transactional Clinic get real-world experience by assisting low-income entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations to foster economic development, increase access to capital and promote job growth in the state.

Duties of the students include entity formation, contract negotiation, commercial leasing and other legal matters.

“Students learn that the legal world goes far beyond the world of lawsuits and litigation,” said Marie Cope, clinical assistant professor of law. “Lawyers play an important role in advising clients about business development and navigating the complex world of compliance with state and federal regulations.

“The Transactional Clinic brings nonprofit corporations into existence and gives our students experience in contract drafting and anticipating the pitfalls that may lie ahead for their clients.”

For more information on the Business Law Institute, visit http://law.olemiss.edu/organizer/business-law-institute/.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Visits UM Law School

Students get opportunities to view proceedings, visit with judges

Judge Rhesa Barksdale, Judge Grady Jolly, and Judge Lesley Southwick made up the panel of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges that heard cases at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Judge Rhesa Barksdale, Judge Grady Jolly, and Judge Lesley Southwick made up the panel of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges that heard cases at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

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.

For more information about the UM School of Law, go to http://law.olemiss.edu/.