Ole Miss Law Makes History with Third National Title

Win makes third championship this year, a first in school history

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law made history this weekend by grabbing its third moot court national championship this year, the first time the law school has achieved such a milestone.

Second-year students David Fletcher of Jackson and Brett Grantham of Corinth, along with third-year Will Widman of Birmingham, Ala., won the National Professional Responsibility Moot Court Competition at Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

“This level of repeated success is really an extraordinary testament to both the depth and quality of our advocacy programs and our student body,” said Richard Gershon, the school’s dean. “Further, it demonstrates the commitment of our faculty to national-caliber instruction – and not just in the traditional classroom.”

The win came just weeks after national championships were obtained at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition and the Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition, both in New York. Ole Miss has won the environmental law championship three times in the past four years.

“This year has been a true testament to what we can accomplish when we work hard together from beginning to end,” said Irving Jones, chairman of the law school’s moot court board. “I am very proud to be a part of this organization and also very proud of how we have represented this university.”

The professional responsibility team competed against several nationally ranked moot court teams, including Chicago-Kent, Stetson and Florida Coastal in the final round. Widman won the Best Oralist Award in the final round and the team won the Best Brief Award for the respondent, which made them first seed going into the elimination rounds.

“We had been working on this problem since November, so it was a relief that all of the work that the team put in definitely paid off,” Fletcher said. “We’ve been mooting every day since February, twice a day during spring break, and even in Indianapolis with each other. If anything, I’ve learned what people mean when they say you can never be too prepared.”

The competition included a brief submission and oral arguments. Each brief was scored by a panel of judges to compile an average brief score, which was used throughout the competition.

During the preliminary rounds, each team’s score was determined by combining the brief (35 percent) and oral argument (65 percent) scores. During the elimination rounds, teams were scored solely on their oral argument performance, which were judged on reasoning and logic; ability to answer questions; persuasiveness; knowledge and use of the facts; knowledge and use of the controlling law; and courtroom demeanor and professionalism, according to McKinney School of Law.

“These three guys worked incredibly hard for weeks, through spring break, and beat Florida Coastal in the final round,” Jones said. “Winning this competition is an amazing achievement, and we are so proud of them for their success and dedication to the board.”

Ole Miss Law Moot Court Team Wins National Championship

Title is third in four years for law school team


Caroline Shepard, Professor David Case and Irving Jones pictured with John Hulsey’s painting of Storm King Mountain, which commemorates one of the pivotal court decisions inaugurating the field of environmental law. The original painting serves as the traveling trophy each year and goes home with the winner of the competition.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law took first place at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, held Feb. 22 at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y. The victory marks the third national championship in four years for the law school.

The school’s team, composed of second-year law student Caroline Shepard of Milton, Ga. and third-year law student Irving Jones of Washington, D.C., defeated 75 other law schools, including Yale and Indiana University in the semifinal round and LSU and the University of Utah in the final round.

According to Pace’s website, the competition is the largest interschool moot court competition in the nation, regularly attracting more than 200 students from various law schools to compete and 200 attorneys to serve as judges.

“The Pace competition is one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious law school moot court competitions in the country,” said David Case, the team’s coach and UM associate professor of law. “Winning a third national championship demonstrates that students of the Ole Miss law school can compete at the very highest level nationally.”

The competition tests skills in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy on issues taken from real cases. Before the competition, teams write and file a brief for one of three respective parties’ legal positions, and then the oral phase of the competition begins in February, where each team must argue all three sides, taking a different side during each of the three preliminary rounds. The teams with the highest combined scores for both the written brief and oral argument advance.

Shepard won the Best Oralist Award in first preliminary round, and Jones won in the second and third preliminary rounds. Judging the final round of the competition were the Honorable Lynn Adelman, judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin; the Honorable Malachy E. Mannion, judge of the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and the Honorable Randolph Hill, judge of the Environmental Appeals Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The entire law school community is proud of this championship,” said Richard Gershon, UM law dean. “Professors Case and Showalter-Otts have coached three different sets of students to the national championship at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. This is an indication of the strength of our advocacy program, in general.”

Coaches include Case and Stephanie Showalter Otts, both professors at the UM School of Law. Case is a nationally recognized scholar on environmental regulation and management topics, and holds a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies: environmental law, management and policy from Vanderbilt University. Otts is director of the National Sea Grant Law Center, a program that works to ensure the wise stewardship of marine resources through research, education, outreach and technology transfer.

For more information, contact Jenny Kate Luster at jkluster@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3424. For more information on programs at the UM School of Law, go to http://law.olemiss.edu/.

Expungement Clinic Set for UM School of Law

Participants can learn more about possibility of removing convictions from their records

UM School of Law

OXFORD, Miss. –The University of Mississippi School of Law is hosting an expungement clinic Feb. 22 for anyone interested in finding out how to erase their criminal record.

Set for 10 a.m.-noon in Room 1078 of the law center, the clinic is sponsored by the Magnolia Bar Association, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project and the School of Law’s Pro Bono Initiative and Black Law Students Association.

An expungement is the process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories related to criminal charges.Read the story …

Law School to Host Screening of New Independent Thriller

Film explores growing global concerns over privacy and technology

University of Mississippi School of Law

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law will host a public screening of a futuristic psychological and political thriller that explores legal issues surrounding a speculative new medical technology that can read people’s memories in video form.

“Justice Is Mind,” an independently produced Hollywood film, takes a look at what happens when a new technology provides evidence that a person has committed murder. The screening is set for 3 p.m. Monday (Oct. 14) in the UM law school, Room 1078.

Inspired by a 2009 “60 Minutes” segment that addressed mind-reading technology, “Justice Is Mind” premiered Tuesday (Oct. 8) at the Boston University School of Law. The film is produced, directed and written by Mark Lund, an award-winning magazine publisher and award-nominated screenwriter.

“Having ‘Justice Is Mind’ start its law school tour with such prestigious law schools and legal scholars is a great beginning to a film that revolves around new science and law,” Lund said.

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Law School’s Pro Bono Initiative Sets Free Legal Clinic

Event to help low-income Lafayette County residents with family law matters

Civil Law Clinic

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi program that provides free legal assistance to low-income people is teaming with the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer Project for a clinic to help qualifying Lafayette county residents with family law matters.

The clinic, set for 1-4 p.m. Sept. 5 at the UM School of Law, will help participants prepare court documents for divorce, custody, child support, name changes and emancipations. The event is organized by the law school’s Pro Bono Initiative.

Attorneys and law students will be available to help income-eligible persons to draw up the necessary court documents and to explain how to present their cases in court. Participation is limited to Lafayette County residents with an annual income of less than $14,363 for an individual, less than $19,388 for a household of two, or less than $29,438 for a household of four.

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Law School to Host Legal Program on MPB

Faculty and guests will discuss newsworthy legal issues

In Legal Terms

In Legal Terms

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law is preparing to launch a new radio program, “In Legal Terms,” with Mississippi Public Broadcasting. The show debuts July 2 and will air at 10 a.m. Tuesdays, featuring faculty members and guests providing expert commentary on newsworthy legal issues.

Ole Miss law dean Richard Gershon and Matthew Hall, associate dean for academic affairs, will be two of the experts regularly featured. Court trials, Supreme Court arguments, hearings and other legal topics will all be covered.

“MPB is a great resource of information for the state and region,” Gershon said. “We wanted to take a leadership role in providing information on the law, because law affects everyone. The law school is proud to partner with MPB in this effort.”

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