Law School Launches Effort to Encourage Collaboration, Innovation

Affiliated faculty program designed to boost scholarship and teaching across disciplines

John Green

John Green

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law has approved its first four affiliated faculty as part of the school’s new affiliated faculty program, which is designed to spur interaction between the school and other university’s other academic units.

The inaugural affiliated faculty members are John Green from the Department of Sociology, Robert Mongue from the Department of Legal Studies, Steven Skultety from the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and John Winkle from the Department of Political Science.

“The law school’s new affiliated faculty program is meant to promote creative collaborations in teaching, research and service between law faculty and other UM faculty,” said Jack Nowlin, associate dean for faculty development and a professor at the school. “There is so much scholars from different fields can learn from working with each other. Our work only gets better when we collaborate across disciplines.”

Law school officials hope this program will increase interdisciplinary participation in the school’s academic workshop program, joint sponsorship of speaking events, joint research projects and team-teaching.

UM faculty recognized as law school affiliates appear on the school’s faculty page with that title and also receive invitations to attend law school speaking events and participate in workshop programs.

Robert Mongue

Robert Mongue

Each of the school’s four new affiliated faculty members is an outstanding scholar with a solid history of interdisciplinary collaborations with the law school.

Green is an associate professor of sociology and director of the UM Center for Population Studies. His interests include community development, health and health care, limited resource and minority farmers, and the social dimensions of disaster. He has worked with the law school’s transactional clinic and engaged in joint research projects with Desiree Hensley, assistant professor of law.

“I am elated to be an affiliated faculty member with the School of Law,” Green said. “As a research center director and faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, I am working on a wide range of applied programs in community development, agrifood systems and health. This association with the School of Law has expanded the reach of my work and my professional connections.”

Mongue, associate professor of legal studies, has had more than 30 years experience practicing law in addition to his academic accomplishments. He specializes in paralegal education and is the author of the “Empowered Paralegal” book series. His collaborations with the law school include giving guest lectures, organizing interdisciplinary speaking events and working on projects to better integrate graduate and undergraduate legal education.

Steven Skultety

Steven Skultety

“I look forward to the opportunity to strengthen the bond between the law school and the legal studies department, especially the Paralegal Studies program,” Mongue said. “While my previous communications have focused on those of our students who intend to apply for admission to law school, I think that it would be just as helpful to both paralegal students preparing for careers as paralegals and law students preparing for careers as attorneys to engage each other during their education for purposes of improving their working relationships when that education is complete.”

Skultety is an associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. His interests lie in ancient philosophy, especially the work of Aristotle, and in republican and democratic theory. Skultety’s collaborations with the law school include co-sponsoring speaking events and regularly participating in the law school’s faculty writing groups.

“Philosophy and law both rest on an ability to make clear and persuasive arguments,” Skultety said. “Whenever I work with my colleagues in the law school, I’m struck by how much we have in common. Anyone who attends one of our co-sponsored events – like our annual Constitution Day talk or the Jack Dunbar lecture in philosophy and law – will also see the similarities. As an affiliated faculty member, I’m looking forward to continuing my own collaboration with law professors, and I’m also excited to search for new ways the law school and the Department of Philosophy and Religion can work together.”

John Winkle

John Winkle

Winkle is professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science. Over his 40-year career, he has taught courses on constitutional law, judicial politics the American legal process and many other topics. He has published numerous articles on wide range of subjects, including lobbying by federal judges before Congress, state-federal judicial councils and the political role played by the administrative office of U.S. courts. Winkle’s long history of collaborations with law faculty includes team-teaching, participating in joint speaking events and circulating drafts to law faculty for comment.

“I am delighted to be a law school faculty affiliate and look forward to continued work with my colleagues in the law school,” Winkle said. “Some of my fondest associations over the years have been with active and retired law school faculty whom I am pleased to call my friends.”

UM faculty interested in collaborative opportunities with the law school should contact Nowlin. Faculty members can apply for affiliated faculty status by sending Dean Richard Gershon a curriculum vitae along with materials highlighting recent collaborative activities with law faculty. A copy of the law school policy is available at Affiliated Faculty Policy.

Learn more about these affiliated faculty members on the faculty directory page.


Students Place Second in National Sports Law Competition

Showing continues string of impressive finishes for law school teams

Matt Peters (left) and John Michael Allen (right) garnered  second place at the 2014 National Sports Law Negotiation Competition in San Diego.

Matt Peters (left) and John Michael Allen (right) garnered second place at the 2014 National Sports Law Negotiation Competition in San Diego.

OXFORD,Miss. – Two University of Mississippi School of Law students finished second in the 2014 National Sports Law Negotiation Competition in San Diego.

Matt Peters of Birmingham, Alabama, and John Michael Allen of Big Stone Gap, Virginia, both third-year students, competed Sept. 19-21 against 36 teams from across the nation.

“I am very proud of the performance by Matthew Peters and John Michael Allen at the 2014 National Sports Law Negotiation Competition in San Diego, California,” said Brad Ryan, chair of the law school’s negotiation board. “The continued successes of the Negotiation Board and all of Ole Miss Law’s advocacy boards is a testament to the students’ hard work, faculty members’ coaching and the comprehensive education we receive here in Oxford which allows us to compete with law schools nationwide.”

The competition’s purpose is to give law students a great experience, competition and place to meet like minds in the sports law world, the event’s website notes. It focuses on current issues in the sports world each year and facilitates students, coaches and judges to negotiate and make decisions on sports topics in an academic setting.

“This achievement is especially exciting when combined with the championship success of Drew Taggart and Brad Cook at last year’s Law Meets Transactional Negotiation Competition in New York,” said Brad Daigneault, a third-year law student and secretary of the law school’s negotiation board.

“When the board was created just a few years ago, the members believed that through hard work and proper preparation our members could be competitive with students from all across the country. Our recent successes show how far we have come in a short period of time and we look forward to continuing to compete in various external competitions while representing our law school proudly.”

Peters and Allen competed against two different Florida A&M University College of Law teams in rounds one and two, and against the University of Maryland School of Law in the finals. Round topics included “Preserving Torrey Pines” (City of San Diego vs. Municipal Golf Committee), “Behind the Mask” (World Umpires Union vs. Wilson Equipment) and “Serving up Supplements” (Fabiana Claudino vs. BPI Sports).

“We were judged by reputable business people across California, California state court judges and federal judges,” Peters said. “They all gave us invaluable insights into the real world that we’ll be able to carry forward as we begin to practice.”

Final round judges included Roger T. Benitez, U.S. district judge, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California; Joan K. Irion, associate justice, Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One, California Court of Appeal; and Browder A. Willis III, superior court judge, Superior Court of California, County of San Diego.

Law School to Host Annual Mississippi Sports Law Review Symposium

Event to focus on modern communications and sports broadcasting

The Sports Law Symposium is hosted annually by the Mississippi Sports Law Review, the only sports legal publication in the SEC.

The Sports Law Symposium is hosted annually by the Mississippi Sports Law Review, the only sports legal publication in the SEC.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Sports Law Review will host its annual Mississippi Sports Law Review Symposium from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 17 in Weems Auditorium at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

This year’s topic is “Current Telecommunications Issues and Their Impact on Sports Broadcasting.”

“We are excited again to be welcoming a fantastic panel of experts for our fifth annual sports law symposium,” said William Berry, the publication’s adviser and assistant professor of law. “It should be a wonderful discussion that those interested in the intersection between sports and media will not want to miss.”

Each year, the publication brings in speakers to discuss a hot topic in the sports law arena. This year’s panelists include Babbette Boliek, professor at Pepperdine University School of Law; Robert Frieden, professor at the Penn State law school; Kristi Dosh, author of “Saturday Millionaires: How Winning Football Builds Winning Colleges” and a contributor to ESPN, Fox Sports and Forbes; and Terence High, attorney and NFL agent.

The Mississippi Sports Law Review is a biannual scholarly publication related to the intersection between the law and sports. This student-edited review contains articles from legal scholars, professionals and students addressing a wide range of issues affecting the sports law field.

“The MSLR is the only sports-related legal publication in the Southeastern Conference,” said Connor Bush, the review’s editor-in-chief. “The event attracts prominent members of the sports industry to the University of Mississippi School of Law, in part, because of the various resources attributed to an SEC university and to the law school’s continued support of the sports law specialization.”

The symposium is open to the public. Two hours of free CLE will be offered.

The MSLR and Sports Law Society will host a luncheon on at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at the law school with Charlie Hussey, associate commissioner of SEC network relations. The event, in Weems Auditorium, is open to the public.

For more information about the event or the Mississippi Sports Law Review, contact Connor Bush at or visit

New Center and UM Law Clinic to Advocate for Human Rights and Social Justice in Mississippi

Mississippi attorney Cliff Johnson hired as director

Cliff Johnson

Cliff Johnson

OXFORD, Miss. – The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, a public interest law firm that advocates for human rights and social justice through litigation, has opened an office at the University of Mississippi School of Law, where the new MacArthur Justice Clinic will provide law students with opportunities for hands-on experience under the direction of experienced litigators.

Veteran Mississippi attorney Cliff Johnson has been named first director of the MacArthur Justice Center, and he has joined the faculty of the law school. He is an assistant professor of law and supervises law students participating in the MacArthur Justice Clinic.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Johnson prosecuted civil and criminal fraud cases in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi from 1996 to 2001. Most recently, Johnson was a partner for 13 years at the Jackson law firm of Pigott & Johnson, where he handled a wide variety of complex civil and criminal matters.

“I am pleased to see our School of Law engage in the issues of social justice,” Chancellor Dan Jones said. “It is yet another way the university is reaching beyond our campus to transform the world around us.”

“The MacArthur Justice Clinic at Ole Miss law will have a positive impact on the lives of the people of Mississippi, while providing a wonderful learning experience for our students,” said Richard Gershon, law school dean. “It is an honor for us to partner with the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation in this important endeavor.”

The MacArthur Justice Center at the law school will work in collaboration with the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago and the new MacArthur Justice Center in New Orleans.

Since its founding in Chicago in 1985 by the family of J. Roderick MacArthur, the MacArthur Justice Center has played a prominent role in bringing Chicago police misconduct and torture to the public’s attention and has helped several wrongfully convicted men and women win multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements as compensation for the time they were imprisoned wrongfully. Among its many cases, the center has won major reforms to protect juvenile parolees previously subjected to arbitrary detention and imprisonment, has challenged the detention of terrorism suspects without trial or access to the courts, and helped lead the fight that ended capital punishment in Illinois.

The MacArthur Justice Center opened its New Orleans office last year. It is the lead counsel in Jones v. Gusman, the federal lawsuit alleging pervasive violations of prisoners’ constitutional rights in the Orleans Parish Prison. The center’s New Orleans staff is working to ensure the OPP abides by a consent decree to ensure prisoner safety and adequate staffing at the jail. In addition, the New Orleans office also has worked on capital punishment cases, including advocating for public disclosure of information about drugs Mississippi plans to use to carry out executions by lethal injection.

“There is a historic connection between Mississippi and Chicago, which traces back to the great migration. We are committed to fighting injustice in both locations,” said John R. MacArthur, lead board member of the MacArthur Justice Center. “We look forward to building on the success of our Chicago office at Northwestern law school as we establish a similar partnership with the University of Mississippi.”

“Cliff Johnson is the perfect choice to lead the MacArthur Justice Center at Ole Miss,” said Deborah H. Bell, associate dean for clinical programs and professor of law. “He has a long history of outstanding practice in Mississippi and has the state’s best interests at heart. We hope he will inspire generations of Ole Miss law students to make the state a better place.”

“I am thrilled to join the MacArthur Justice Center and this prestigious law school, and I look forward to beginning a collaborative relationship with the very talented lawyers at the center’s offices in Chicago and New Orleans,” Johnson said. “This will be a formidable alliance of experienced, savvy and successful litigators working with smart and committed law students who have been trained by the best and are enthusiastic about putting what they’ve learned into practice.

“During the past two decades, I have enjoyed a challenging and rewarding litigation practice. I have represented dozens of people in federal courts around the country who have blown the whistle on fraudulent schemes undertaken to wrongfully obtain taxpayer dollars, represented inmates facing death sentences and enduring deplorable prison conditions, and helped wage court battles against discrimination. I also gained valuable experience and insights handling criminal jury trials on behalf of the Department of Justice and, later, representing criminal defendants in federal courts.

“I’m looking forward to engaging in the same kind of fervent advocacy at this new Center and helping train the next generation of attorneys committed to the fight for human rights and social justice,” Johnson added.

Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Mississippi College in 1989 and a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1992. During 2005-2006, he was a Fulbright Scholar working as a professor at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the Lund University School of Law in Lund, Sweden. Since 2006, Johnson has lectured in Sweden on numerous occasions, including speeches at the Nobel Museum and Wallenberg Institute graduation ceremonies.


Law School’s Tax Clinic Has Best Year Yet

Student preparers helped more than 250 clients obtain $212,000 in refunds


The University of Mississippi School of Law Tax Clinic records best year to date.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law VITA Tax Clinic continues to provide valuable work and service to the Oxford community, with this tax season bringing more success than ever.

Student preparers helped clients with 199 Federal e-files, 55 federal paper returns and 254 total returns this year, said Adrea Watford, student director of the clinic. These returns brought refunds totaling $212,145. Both the number of returns and the refund amount are up from last year.

“I think our number is slightly higher this year because last year was our first year operating as a full-service VITA site, and word about our service hadn’t had the opportunity to spread,” Watford said.

Watford serves as the liaison between the school and its Internal Revenue Service agent. She plans, organizes, supervises and promotes all aspects of the clinic.

The VITA program is an overall initiative of the IRS, with the law school’s clinic managing this particular site. The clinic serves Oxford-area residents with a combined household income of $52,000 or less. It files federal and state returns electronically.

“This is truly an amazing accomplishment for 12 students and one professor,” said Debbie Bell, a UM professor of law who manages all the school’s clinical programs. “It returns money to the community and provides a much-needed service.”

Student preparers also can be certified at three levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. In conjunction with their law school coursework, students are required to be certified through the advanced level. They may then receive additional certification for more complex returns, including those involving cancellation of debt, health savings accounts, military, international and foreign student certifications.

“This year, we had volunteers who received each certification, so we were equipped to prepare a multitude of returns,” Watford said.

At the clinic, clients were asked to complete an intake form. They then sat with a preparer, whose work was checked by a quality reviewer. Once that was complete, an e-file was created, the return was printed and the client authorized the e-file.

“This is incredibly beneficial for Oxford because there are several low-income residents who are intimidated by the tax filing process,” Watford said. “We were able to alleviate some of that pressure and make return filing easier for them.”

Besides the community service aspect, the clinic is one of the law school’s many programs to provide hands-on experience for students, said Donna Davis, an associate professor of law who helps supervise the clinic and teaches Tax I.

“The clinic gives these students an opportunity to build so many new skills,” she said. “They are applying and explaining what they are learning in a tangible way.”

The clinic requires dedication from its students, who engage in class time, plus certification, as well as the actual work hours spent in the clinic. This year’s group prepared returns two afternoons a week from February to April.

“This year’s group was fantastic,” Davis said. “I was impressed with their commitment, their willingness to work and their compassion. I am just so proud of them.”

Ole Miss Law Moot Court Ranked 14th in Nation

Year included three national championships, two other finalist teams

Members of the 14th-ranked Ole Miss Law Moot Court program.

Members of the 14th-ranked Ole Miss Law Moot Court program.

OXFORD, Miss. – The final moot court rankings are in, and the University of Mississippi School of Law placed 14th in the nation for 2014. With three national championship teams and two other squads finishing as national semifinalists and quarterfinalists, the law school expected a strong finish.With a top 15 ranking among approximately 175 law schools with moot court programs, the School of Law earned an invitation to the Moot Court National Championship, set for January 2015 in Houston.”Being ranked among the top programs in the country demonstrates that our students can compete with anyone,” said Matthew Hall, senior associate dean and faculty adviser to the moot court board. “Earning this ranking with five separate teams demonstrates the extraordinary depth of talent at Ole Miss.”The ranking, compiled by University of Houston Law Center, is based on scores from moot court competitions around the country. In moot court, law students submit written briefs and then perform mock supreme court arguments to panels of expert judges.This year’s nationally-ranked Ole Miss teams are:- National Champions at the Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition

– National Champions at the Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition

– National Champions at the National Professional Responsibility Moot Court Competition 

– National Semifinalists at the Prince Evidence Moot Court Competition

– National Quarterfinalists at the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition

“This has been an amazing year for the moot court board and our ranking as 14th best program in the country would not have possible without the help of so many truly dedicated people,” said Irving Jones, chair of the school’s moot court board.

For each competition, two or three students spend weeks writing a brief. Then, with the help of student, professor and practitioner coaches, the team practices for oral arguments.

“Winning three national championships and placing well in several others has been incredibly rewarding, and I could not be prouder of the way we represented Ole Miss on a national level,” Jones said.

In addition to the teams that earned points in the ranking system, the moot court board fielded seven other teams and claimed a semifinalist spot at the National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition and a quarterfinalist spot at the Rendigs Products Liability Moot Court Competition.

The moot court board is not the only program at the Ole Miss law school enjoying success. The school’s negotiation board also won a national championship at the 2014 National Transactional LawMeets, the country’s largest contract negotiation and drafting competition. Students on the law school’s three journals have also enjoyed success, producing some 40 student articles in journals at the school and 20 student articles in law reviews around the country in the last two years.

“There is a lot of talent here at the law school, and given the support for our advocacy programs, I am certain our success will continue,” Jones said.

Fourth National Championship Underscores Law School’s Success

Student team bests squads from 13 other finalist schools

Patrick Everman, chair of the Negotiation Board and student coach; Drew Taggart; Brad Cook; and Professor Mercer Bullard, faculty coach

Patrick Everman, chair of the Negotiation Board and student coach; Drew Taggart; Brad Cook; and Professor Mercer Bullard, faculty coach

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law continues to pile on the accolades, recently winning its fourth national championship this year.

The latest championship, coming at the hands of Brad Cook and Drew Taggart, both third-year law students, was captured at the 2014 National Transactional LawMeets Competition April 4 in New York City.

Cook and Taggart, from Stonewall and Madison, respectively, beat 13 other national finalist teams including Boston College, Cornell University, Emory University and University of Tennessee, and won one of seven regional competitions involving 84 teams to earn a spot at nationals.

“This victory powerfully reflects the strength of the student body at the School of Law, as you can see from the quality of the other teams at the national finals in New York,” said Matthew Hall, senior associate dean and adviser to the moot court board.

“It represents an enormous success for Brad and Drew, who poured hours into this competition, but it is also a product of the efforts of the entire Negotiation Board, Professor Mercer Bullard and of the team. We are so proud of all of them.”

The national rounds were hosted by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York office. The competition asked teams to represent one of two sides in drafting and negotiating an acquisition of a biotechnology company. Over the past several months, the students drafted agreements, interviewed their clients and marked up opposing teams’ drafts. The national rounds of the competition culminated with rounds of face-to-face negotiations April 3-4.

“The problem was released mid-December and a lot of work was put in speaking with attorneys figuring out what to put in the acquisition,” Taggart said. “It was one of the most effective practical experiences I’ve had as a law student.”

Fourteen senior practitioners served as judges at the national rounds, hailing from workplaces such as Safeguard Scientifics, Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Pfizer, Rothschild Inc. and Bloomberg Law, among others.

“Some of the most encouraging words we received were from the judges who said they were willing to put us up against some of their fifth- and sixth-year associates,” Taggart said. “That was unbelievably encouraging.”

The UM law school’s Business Law Institute provides Taggart and other students with opportunities such as this. The institute, whose mission is “to train great business lawyers,” ties together a number of initiatives including:

– A Business Law certificate

– Negotiation Board that fields several intercollegiate competition teams

– 1L Skill Session course devoted to Contract Drafting and Negotiation

– Upper-level courses on Lawyers as Entrepreneurs, Client Interviewing and Counseling, and How to Do a Film Deal

– Transactional and Taxpayer Assistance Clinics

– Externships with governmental agencies that regulate business

– The Mississippi Business Law Reporter, a brand-new journal

– Business Law Network, a student group that recently organized the inaugural Business Law Conference

This structure, in combination with victories such as this latest triumph, seems to set Ole Miss law students apart.

“It’s a great opportunity for our students to work with faculty very closely, to write and to argue,” said Richard Gershon, the school’s dean. “This fourth championship was at Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the top law firms in the world, and our students were chosen to be the best. That says a lot.”

Taggart agrees with the significance of the win.

“My favorite part about this whole experience was learning that we can compete with anyone nationally,” he said. “I definitely learned people respect us.”

Famed Civil Rights Leader to Speak at Law Commencement

U.S. Rep. John Lewis recognized as one of the nation's equal rights pioneers


U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law welcomes U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) as the featured speaker at the school’s graduation, set for 11 a.m. May 10 in the Grove.

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

“Congressman Lewis is a hero of the civil rights movement,” said Richard Gershon, law school dean. “He is a great speaker, and I know our graduates will benefit from him being here.”

Lewis, often called one of the most courageous people of the civil rights movement, is known for his efforts in protecting and securing human rights and civil freedoms. He is a nationally recognized leader and was one of the main players in the March on Washington in 1963.

“Lawyers can accomplish a great deal to build a more fair, more just society, and my history is living proof of their ability to help transform America for the better,” Lewis said. “I feel very honored to be asked to deliver the commencement address at the University of Mississippi law school.”

Lewis is the winner of numerous awards, including the highest civilian honor granted by President Barack Obama, the Medal of Freedom, as well as the Lincoln Medal from the historic Ford’s Theatre, the Golden Plate Award given by the Academy of Excellence and the Preservation Hero award given by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

He is senior chief deputy whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, a member of its Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, and ranking member of its Subcommittee on Oversight.

“As a member of Congress, he has had an impact on the law and has worked to make sure that every citizen enjoys the rights and protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution,” Gershon said.

The law school will graduate 152 students at the ceremony, which includes the keynote speaker, an address by Gershon, and an address by Marcus Williams, the law school student body president. Mississippi Bar President Guy Mitchell will also speak to graduates.

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

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 or 662-915-3424. For more information on programs at the UM School of Law, go to