Business Law Network to Host Spring Conference

Event to feature CLE credit, reception

bus law conferenceOXFORD, Miss. – The Business Law Network at the University of Mississippi School of Law will host a conference April 22 at Regions Private Wealth Management in Memphis, Tennessee, offering three hours of CLE credit to attendees.

The conference and CLE begin at 1:30 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception sponsored by Regions Private Wealth Management, at 6200 Poplar Ave.

The CLE cost is $60 and has been approved both for Mississippi and Tennessee credit.

“We are very excited to finish the school year with our Business Law Network Conference and CLE,” said Gregory Alston, the network’s CEO. “This is the first time in the history of the Business Law Network that the network has expanded out of state for our annual conferences and CLEs, and we are very appreciative of Regions for sponsoring this event.”

Registration will begin at 1 p.m. Participants should RSVP to Alston at umbusinesslaw@olemiss.edu.

The Business Law Network’s mission is to connect students who have an interest in business law with practicing business law attorneys. The Business Law Network is composed of more than 50 student members of the Ole Miss law school.

For more information, visit http://law.olemiss.edu/event/business-law-network-spring-conference-cle-and-reception/.

Czarnetzky Named UM’s Teacher of the Year

'Kind, considerate and engaging' law professor receives 2016 Elsie M. Hood Award

UM Chancellor Jeff Vitter (right) congratulates John Czarnetzky at the university's annual Honors Day Convocation at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

UM Chancellor Jeff Vitter (right) congratulates John Czarnetzky at the university’s annual Honors Day Convocation at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – John Czarnetzky does more than teach the law; he infects his students with his enthusiasm for it.

The Mitchell, McNutt and Sams Lecturer at the University of Mississippi School of Law, Czarnetzky is known as a great communicator who earns praises for his ability to engage students in complicated subject matter and nuances of the law, UM Chancellor Jeff Vitter said Thursday evening (April 7).

For this, his passion and dedication to teaching, Czarnetzky has been awarded the 2016 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teaching Award, presented by Vitter during the 73rd annual Honors Day Convocation. Czarnetzky, who has taught undergraduate students as well as law students, was honored and humbled.

“I was in the car with my dear wife, and became emotional when the chancellor called and told me I was to receive the Elsie Hood award,” he said. “I am privileged to know a number of previous winners, from longtime colleagues at the law school through Bob Brown, last year’s winner. I was humbled deeply, and still have trouble believing, that with this award I am being grouped with those outstanding professors and colleagues.”

Colleagues affirmed that Czarnetzky is a perfect choice for the honor.

“John Czarnetzky is widely regarded as one of the law school’s best teachers,” said Debbie Bell, the school’s interim dean. “He is a spellbinding speaker and gifted teacher, with the added benefit of being one of the most entertaining lecturers I have ever heard. His students sing his praises. Being named as the Elsie M. Hood Award recipient is a well-deserved recognition.”

Czarnetzky joined the law faculty in 1994, after practicing bankruptcy and commercial law in Chicago and in Richmond, Virginia. He has been honored as outstanding professor four times by the law student body and serves as an adviser to several student organizations and to the Business Law Institute, an innovative collaboration between students and faculty that provides opportunities for students to develop skills in corporate, commercial, tax and business law.

The professor says this is the highest honor he could hope to receive.

“It always seemed out of reach for me,” he said. “Receiving it is the capstone of my 22 years here at the University of Mississippi, an institution I love. Going forward, my task will be to live up to this high honor.”

Students cited Czarnetzky’s enthusiasm and ability to stimulate a classroom amongst his traits that make him a great teacher.

“Few individuals have the ability to not just teach the law, but to animate the law,” one student wrote in a nomination letter. “His passion for the law and for the subject he is teaching is evident from the first moment of each class session, when he comes bounding into the classroom with a textbook – or nowadays, Kindle – tucked under his arm and a grin on his face.”

Another student called him “by far the most kind, considerate, engaging professor I have had throughout my undergraduate and law school tenure at Ole Miss.”

“The courses he teaches, including bankruptcy, civil procedure and secured transactions, are some of the most complicated ones at the law school, but that they are always in demand because he is such an engaging and effective teacher,” the student continued.

These students’ words are reflective of Czarnetzky’s teaching philosophy, which he says he’s developed over his tenure.

“My approach is to treat students as adults unless they are determined to prove me wrong, and to model civility and professionalism in the service of intellectual rigor,” he said. “I try to impart to students my enthusiasm for the subjects I teach and, perhaps more importantly, my dedication to them as persons.

“I also think a bit of humor in the classroom helps avoid the trap of taking ourselves too seriously all the time, whether in the classroom or in life. I am deeply gratified that students believe they benefit from my approach.”

Czarnetzky holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from M.I.T., where he was an offensive tackle on the football team. He served in the U.S. Army as a chemical officer and intelligence analyst before obtaining his law degree from the University of Virginia. He also served as executive editor of the Virginia Law Review and editor of the Virginia Journal of Environmental Law.

He was the first law professor invited to teach in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and helped establish a partnership between the two schools.

“He inspired a love of debating and defending my ideas, and empowered me to continue challenging my and others’ ideas throughout my life,” wrote a student in his Honors 102 class.

“He’s always available, and always has a smile on his face,” said Jess Waltman, law school student body president who also took several courses from Czarnetzky as an undergraduate honors student. “He genuinely cares about our students and our school and wants it to be the best it can be.”

In addition, Czarnetzky serves as a legal adviser to the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations. He has represented the Holy See in negotiations including the establishment of the International Criminal Court and several international treaties, including one on the rights of persons with disabilities.

His scholarly interests are bankruptcy, commercial and international law. Czarnetzky has published in the Notre Dame Law Review, Fordham Law Review and Arizona State Law Journal, and his scholarship also has explored the intersection of Catholic social theory and American corporate and commercial law.

Czarnetzky is married to Sylvia Robertshaw Czarnetzky, an Episcopal priest in the Delta town of Cleveland, where they reside.

Each year since 1966, the university has recognized excellence in teaching by presenting the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award. Based on nominations from both students and faculty, the award includes a personal plaque and a check from the chancellor. Recipients’ names are also engraved on a plaque listing previous winners, which is displayed in the university’s J.D. Williams Library.

UM Named Among Top 25 Law Schools for Practical Training

Rankings based on clinical experience, externships and other 'learn by doing' methods

The spring 2016 issue of the National Jurist magazine named the University of Mississippi School of Law among the top 25 nationally for practical training available to students.

The spring 2016 issue of the National Jurist magazine named the School of Law among the top 25 nationally for practical training available to students.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law has been named among the top 25 nationally for practical training available to students by The National Jurist magazine.

The publication crunched the numbers for all the schools’ statistics and issued a report card in its spring 2016 issue, awarding the Ole Miss law school an A- rating, placing 19th in the nation.

“Our multifaceted skills training program is one of the great strengths of the UM School of Law,” said Debbie Bell, the school’s interim dean. “We offer students opportunities to ‘learn by doing’ through in-house clinics, externships, practicums, simulation courses, the Skill Session and advocacy programs. I am so glad that the scope of our program has been recognized nationally.”

The School of Law has 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 income tax assistance for low-income families and learning to resolve disputes between undergraduate students. The Tax Practicum won the 2015 Beacon of Justice Award.

The magazine used data provided by the American Bar Association and individual schools to compile the rankings, which are based on five categories: clinical experience, externships, simulation courses, interschool competitions and other course offerings.

“We look at a number of factors, including which schools have the greatest percentage of students in clinics, externships and simulation courses,” the report said. “We also look at the most robust moot court options.

“However, this year, we also wanted to showcase how these programs do more than just get students out of sterile classrooms and away from their favorite Starbucks.”

Clinical experience was weighted the highest because it provides “particularly practical training,” the report said. Externships and simulations courses were also lauded for helping students develop professional skills.

“The (clinics) provide a great opportunity to experience the real-world practice of law with an actual client in need of representation,” said third-year student Derek Goff. “No traditional case book course allows a student to take on the role of a zealous advocate and hone essential (law practice) skills. The clinical programs are a great resume builder, but more importantly, they offer the unique chance for students to help clients in need.”

The Ole Miss law school also has enjoyed notable success in moot court competitions, collecting eight 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 is a world leader in air and space law training, offering an LL.M. program in the field. One of the school’s moot court teams won the international championship in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, held in Jerusalem in October 2015.

UM Law Student Featured in National Jurist Magazine

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

Olivia Hoff

Olivia Hoff

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 C.J. 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.

Ian Perry (left), C.J. Robinson, and Olivia Hoff

Ian Perry (left), C.J. Robinson, and Olivia Hoff

“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.

UM Law Students Win Second Straight Pace Competition

Triumph is school's 12th national or world title since 2011

John Juricich, Professor David Case, and Mary Margaret Roark

John Juricich (left) and Mary Margaret Roark (right) with their coach, David Case

OXFORD, Miss. –Mary Margaret Roark and John Juricich, both third-year students in the University of Mississippi School of Law, have won this year’s Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, held Feb. 18-20 at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York.

The win marks the second consecutive national title for the pair and the third straight for the law school.

In addition, the win means the Ole Miss law school has claimed five of the last six Pace competitions. It’s also the school’s 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 David Case, UM professor of law and team coach. “I’m pretty sure that has never happened in the 28-year history of the Pace competition.”

Roark, of Cleveland, and Juricich, of Anniston, Alabama, competed against more than 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 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 writing its brief in October. 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 were Steven M. Colloton, a judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; Lynn Adelman, judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; Malachy E. Mannion, judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and Beth Ward, judge on the Environmental Appeals Board for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stephanie Showalter Otts, UM professor of law and also an expert in environmental law, helped Case coach the team.

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.”

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

UM Alumna, Bush Staffer to Speak at Law Graduation

Address by Tobi Young to emphasize importance of community service

Tobi Young

Tobi Young

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.

National Sea Grant Law Center Helps with Ocean Debris Legal Research

Project may help speed removal of abandoned and lost fishing equipment

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Fishing for Energy Partnership has provided a $45,000 grant to the NSGLC at the University of Mississippi School of Law for the work.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fishing for Energy Partnership has provided a $45,000 grant to the NSGLC at the University of Mississippi School of Law for the work.

OXFORD, Miss. – Abandoned and lost fishing gear can cause tremendous damage to marine creatures, but the laws and regulations concerning the removal of derelict gear vary widely. The National Sea Grant Law Center is helping eliminate the confusion in one region of the country and expedite cleanup efforts.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fishing for Energy Partnership has provided a $45,000 grant to the NSGLC at the University of Mississippi School of Law for the work. The NSGLC 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.

“Our work is unique,” said Stephanie Showalter Otts, NSGLC director. “Rather than conducting research to build the strongest argument to achieve our client’s goal, we work with partners to solve challenging management problems through the provision of nonadvocacy research and outreach services on range of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources.”

The NSGLC is a leading resource for research on marine aquaculture, aquatic invasive species and public access to beaches.

Lost nets and other heavy fishing equipment can damage ecosystems as they are moved by tides and waves along the sea floor. They also can affect 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 abandoned fishing gear vary by fishery and state. The NSGLC will provide information on the legal framework governing derelict fishing gear removal and how existing state marine debris programs are authorized.

The NSGLC also will 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.

“This research is essential for the development of proactive programs in the region,” Otts said. The two-year project will provide marine debris managers with the information they need to undertake desired legal reforms and implement new control strategies, she explained.

The Fishing for Energy Partnership is supported by the Covanta Corp. 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.

For more information on the NSGLC, go to http://nsglc.olemiss.edu/.

Business Law Network to Host Winter Conference and CLE

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch to deliver keynote at Feb. 12 event in Jackson

Lynn Fitch

Lynn Fitch

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law‘s Business Law Network will host a conference Feb. 12 at the Fairview Inn in Jackson, offering three hours of CLE credit to attendees. Lynn Fitch, Mississippi state treasurer, will discuss the business law implications of her 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 more than 50 student members from the Ole Miss law school.

“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 UM School of Law, will speak about the roles and responsibilities of advising small business clients. Business Law Newsletter members Marie Wicks and Sam Kapoor also will make presentations.

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. For CLE credit, a $60 fee, which includes lunch, is payable by cash or check at the door. Attendees are asked to RSVP to Gregory Alston at umbusinesslaw@olemiss.edu.

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

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

Ole Miss Law Wins World Championship in Space Law

Team of three students triumphs over groups from India and Greece en route to victory

UM School of Law wins world championship at the 2015 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Jerusalem

A team from the UM School of Law wins the world championship at the 2015 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Jerusalem.

OXFORD, Miss – The University of Mississippi School of Law has won the world championship at the 2015 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Jerusalem. The team beat India’s Nalsar University of Law in the semifinals and triumphed over National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, today (Oct. 15) in the final round.

UM is one of three law schools in the world to offer a Master of Laws in Air and Space Law, but the only school to offer a certificate in remote sensing, air and space law at the Juris Doctor level, a distinction that contributed to the team’s success.

“The law school congratulates our team on their truly outstanding accomplishment – the University of Mississippi School of Law’s first international moot court championship,” said Debbie Bell, UM law dean.

“Success like this only further highlights the strength of our advocacy programs and space law program in general.”

The championship team includes Olivia Hoff of Gulfport and C.J. Robison from Lubbock, Texas, both third-year law students in the space law certificate program. Joining them is Ian Perry of Ellis County, Texas, a 2013 J.D. recipient who is working on his space law LL.M., and Michael Dodge, an adjunct assistant UM professor who graduated from the school’s space law program in 2008.

Competing at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the teams each argued a hypothetical case involving an asteroid mining dispute and liability for a failed attempt to divert an asteroid from colliding with the Earth. Three members of the International Court of Justice served as judges for the competition.

In its 24th year, the competition takes place under the guidance of the International Institute of Space Law, headquartered in Paris, and attracts more than 60 law schools from around the globe. Three members of the International Court of Justice served as judges for the competition.

The team won the national championship March 21 at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition at Georgetown University Law Center, which qualified them to compete in the world finals.

“I am so proud of our students,” said Jacquie Serrao, director of the university’s LL.M. program in air and space law. “Their hard work, determination, substantive knowledge and oral and written advocacy skills really set them apart from others in the competition. That, combined with the amazing professors at the law school who contributed so much of their time in mooting our students, really made the difference.”

This victory builds on a string of successes for the Ole Miss law school’s advocacy programs, which include winning the nation’s pre-eminent environmental law moot court competition in February for the fourth time in five years, winning four national championships in 2014 alone, earning a top 18 national ranking for the school’s moot court board in 2014, receiving second place at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition last fall, and achieving a top-eight finish at the moot court National Championship hosted by the University of Houston Law Center in January.

UM Team Wins North American Championship in Space Law

Title is second major victory for school's moot court teams this year

Ian Perry (left), C.J. Robinson, and Olivia Hoff

Ian Perry (left), C.J. Robinson and Olivia Hoff

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law has won its second national moot court championship for 2015, this time in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Technically, Ole Miss earned the title of North American Champion and with it, the right to represent the continent at the world finals in Jerusalem in October.

“A success like this, in the world’s oldest and most prestigious space law competition, stands out as a highlight on a student’s resume,” Dean Richard Gershon said. “As an international leader in this unique emerging area of law, Ole Miss helps propel students into careers at government agencies like NASA and the CIA, as well as position students for opportunities in the growing private space industry and at companies like Bigelow Aerospace and SpaceX.”

This victory, on March 21, builds on a string of successes for the law school’s advocacy programs, which include winning the nation’s pre-eminent environmental law moot court competition for the fourth time in five years, winning four national championships in 2014, earning a top 14 national ranking for the school’s moot court board in 2014, receiving second place at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition last fall and achieving a top 8 finish at the moot court National Championship in January at the University of Houston Law Center.

As North American space law champions, the Ole Miss team will compete in the world finals against schools from Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Three members of the International Court of Justice will serve as judges and hear arguments in a hypothetical case involving an asteroid mining dispute and liability for a failed attempt to divert an asteroid from colliding with Earth. In its 24th year, the competition takes place under the auspices of the International Institute of Space Law, headquartered in Paris, and attracts more than 60 law schools from around the globe.

On the road to the championship, the UM law school triumphed over a field that included teams from Georgetown, Nebraska, Hawaii, Temple, St. Thomas, Florida State, University of California at Davis, Arizona State, George Washington University, McGill (in Montreal) and Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota, Columbia).

While all these law schools focus on international law, Ole Miss stands out as one of just a few to offer a program devoted to the law governing aviation, space exploration and satellites. In fact, the School of Law pioneered the field of space law over 45 years ago and the New York Times has recognized it as “an international center for space law studies.” The school’s expertise is embodied in its Journal of Space Law, the conferences it hosts, the service of its graduates in the field and in its curricular programs.

Notably, the School of Law features both a J.D.-level certificate program on remote sensing, air and space law, and an advanced LL.M. degree in air and space law. Indeed, Ole Miss offers the only advanced law degree program in the United States combining both aviation law and space law. For more information on these programs, visit http://law.olemiss.edu/academics-programs/llm/ and http://law.olemiss.edu/academics-programs/certificate-programs/remote-sensing-air-space-law-certificate/

The UM championship team includes Olivia Hoff of Gulfport and C.J. Robison from Lubbock, Texas, both second-year law students in the space law certificate program. Joining them is Ian Perry of Ellis County, Texas, a 2013 J.D. recipient who is working on his space law LL.M.

“I believe a great deal of our success stems from our knowledge of general international law and space law,” Robison said. “Ole Miss has some of the best resources and professors in the country for such study. Our success is definitely a testament to the university’s leadership in this area.”

“I am extremely proud of these students,” said Jacquie Serrao, director of the LL.M. program. “I know they will represent North America and our law school brilliantly at the finals in October. C.J., Ian and Olivia are each examples of the caliber of space law scholars and future attorneys which the J.D. and LL.M. programs produce.”

For Hoff, a physics and mathematics graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, the space law certificate program offered a path to become a lawyer while staying focused on the sciences. “To some degree, pursuing the certificate makes me feel as if, even though I changed fields, I am still staying true to my roots.”

The team is coached by Michael Dodge, who graduated from the UM space law program in 2008 and teaches U.S. and international space law at Ole Miss. Joining Dodge as assistant coach is Michael Mineiro, an adjunct professor who holds a J.D. from North Carolina along with an LL.M. and D.C.L. from McGill University, and works on space law issues for numerous federal agencies and international organizations.

“I am tremendously proud of the team’s achievement,” Dodge said. “In the upcoming months, I look forward to working to prepare them for the next stage of the competition. I know they will compete admirably, and skillfully represent the University of Mississippi and its long association with space law.”

Dodge also praised the student body of the space law program and the school’s placement efforts.

“Our professors have decades of contacts in academia, government and private industry,” he said. “Accordingly, many of our graduates have gone on to realize their dreams, working for such diverse employers as NASA, the FAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, congressional offices, Bigelow Aerospace, Spaceport America, consulting firms, higher education and, of course, private law firms.”