Law Firm Challenge Created to Increase Alumni Giving

Businesses that achieve 100 percent participation get trophies, recognition

Robert C. Khayat Law Center. Photo by Robert Jordan/University Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Alumni of the University of Mississippi School of Law have a new way to feed their competitive side while giving back to their alma mater with the school’s newest initiative.

The UM Law Firm Challenge encourages 20 Mississippi law firms to reach 100 percent giving participation from alumni within the firm.

“During my time as dean, it has been evident that Ole Miss law alumni are very loyal and supportive of the law school, so I know that they will respond well to this initiative,” said Susan Duncan, dean of the school. “We are excited to see which firms come out on top.”

The goal of the competition is to increase the giving rate among the school’s 7,000 alumni, which runs about 4.4 percent. By increasing giving participation, alumni can help provide the school with vital scholarship and operational funds that will benefit our students during their legal education.

“We are at a time when private support is essential for law students,” said Suzette Matthew, development officer for the School of Law. “As we continue to transition into the new world of law practice and legal education, the law school’s success depends significantly on our generous donors.”

The challenge began July 1 and runs through June 30, 2018. Gifts can be made to any UM Law Fund, and gifts already given during these dates will be included.

Firms that reach 100 percent giving participation will receive a trophy, recognition on the school’s website and recognition in the alumni newsletter.

An incentive to reach full participation as quickly as possible also is in place. The challenge has been divided into four categories: firms with 41 or more alumni, firms with 11-40 alumni, firms with 3-10 alumni and other entities, which includes offices with Ole Miss law alumni that are not law firms.

The firm that reaches 100 percent first in its category will receive a personalized trophy and premium placement on the school’s website and the alumni newsletter.

To take the challenge, contact Carol Mockbee at ccmockbe@olemiss.edu or Suzette Matthews at suzette@olemiss.edu. For more information, visit https://law.olemiss.edu/alumni-friends/um-law-firm-challenge/.

Yale Law Professor and Author Set for Tuesday Lectures

James Forman Jr. to provide a critical look at the criminal justice system

James Forman Jr. Photo courtesy Harold Shapiro

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi will host James Forman Jr., author of the acclaimed new book “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” for a series of lectures and events Tuesday (Nov. 14) on campus.

Forman, a professor at the Yale Law School, will speak at the UM School of Law’s Weems Auditorium at 12:45 p.m., followed by a book signing. He speaks again at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, with a reception following. All events are free and open to the public.

Forman teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. He is particularly interested in schools, prisons and police.

“I’ve known James for all of my professional career as a lawyer,” said Tucker Carrington, UM assistant professor of law and director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project. “I was fortunate to be his colleague when we were both public defenders in D.C.

“Professor Forman will downplay his talent, but he was a superb trial lawyer – whip-smart, personable, thoughtful and deeply passionate about his clients and their plight. Juries got it immediately; they loved him. He has brought those same qualities to his teaching and to the subject matter of his new book: the complex reasons behind our national problem with over-incarceration.”

For the Overby Center program, Carrington will conduct a conversation on social issues with Forman.

“We believe it will be a provocative program and a strong way to wind up our fall series,” said Curtis Wilkie, the university’s Overby fellow.

After graduating from Brown University and Yale Law School, Forman clerked for Judge William Norris of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit and then for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the United States Supreme Court. He then joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

During his time as a public defender, Forman became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. In 1997, he, along with David Domenici, started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. The school has since expanded and is run inside D.C.’s juvenile prison.

“Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017) argues that law enforcement initiatives by black officials have had devastating consequences for black communities. The book has been listed on the National Book Award Longlist, among other critical praise.

For more information, contact Carrington at 662-915-5207 or carringw@olemiss.edu.

UM Law Students Win Bicentennial Moot Court Competition

Duo successfully defend client in fictional case

Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter (left) and his wife, Sharon (right), congratulate the Ole Miss law school’s winning moot court team, (from left) Meredith Pohl, faculty coach Chris Green and James Blake Kelly. UM photo by Jordan Thomas

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi law students recently successfully argued their case and won a moot court completion as part of the bicentennial of Mississippi’s judiciary and legal profession.

Third-year students James Blake Kelly, of Brandon, and Meredith Pohl, of Houston, Texas, defeated a team from the Mississippi College School of Law in the Sept. 27 event in Jackson. The winning team is coached by professor Chris Green.

The competition featured the largest panel of chief justices and chief judges in the state’s 200 years, Green said.

“It was a huge honor to be able to work with students as hard-working, bright, creative and with such appellate litigation talent as Meredith and James,” he said.

Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. presided over the competition and watched as Kelly and Pohl successfully defended the convicted plaintiff in the fictional “Millstone v. United States” case by proving that he was falsely convicted of criminal negligence.

“The opportunity to argue a case before such a distinguished panel of judges was incredible,” Kelly said. “They asked very challenging questions, which required us to think about and respond to a broad range of issues.”

Pohl said that her moot court experiences have prepared her for a career in appellate litigation.

“Appellate litigation is my chosen career path, and to have this kind of experience at 23 years of age is more than I could ever have dreamed,” she said.

The competition can be viewed online at https://livestream.com/supremecourtofms/Bicentennial-MootCourt. For more information on the Ole Miss School of Law, go to https://law.olemiss.edu/.

Tuition Program for Law School Available for Veterans

Initiative covers costs for those qualifying under Post-9/11 GI Bill

OXFORD, Miss. – Beginning this fall, veterans eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program who enroll at the University of Mississippi School of Law will have their tuition paid in full.

Using a combination of funds from the Department of Veteran Affairs, the VA’s Yellow Ribbon Program and the university, veterans who served at least three years of active duty since Sept. 11, 2001 can go to law school for free.

“We are honored to participate in this initiative to fund law school for our veterans,” said Susan Duncan, UM law dean. “We owe a great debt to those who have served, and we feel this is the least we can do to honor their commitment to this country.”

The opportunity to utilize the Yellow Ribbon Program is available for any student veteran who has been accepted to law school and who meets the criteria for 100 percent of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, said Andrew Newby, the university’s assistant director of veteran and military services.

For student veterans accepted to Ole Miss who qualify for any other chapter of the GI Bill, they will be eligible for a nonresident tuition scholarship that will pay the out-of-state portion of their tuition.

“There is no limit to the number of students that can use the Yellow Ribbon Program, and no limit for students using the nonresident tuition scholarship,” Newby said.

For more information, contact Newby at 662-915-5021 or andrew@olemiss.edu.

U.S. Circuit Judge to Speak at UM Law School

Wilkins to discuss development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins

OXFORD, Miss. – U.S. Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins will visit Oxford to speak Wednesday (Oct. 11) at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Wilkins serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was instrumental in the development of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. His book, “Long Road to Hard Truth,” tells the story behind the inspiration for the building of the museum.

Wilkin’s presentation, set for 12:45 p.m. in Weems Auditorium, Room 1078, is free and open to the public.

“Judge Wilkins is a good friend of mine; we were colleagues together in Washington, D.C.,” said Tucker Carrington, UM associate professor of law and director of the George C. Cochran Innocence Project. “It’s going to be great. He has a great story to tell, not only about the museum, but about the long road to construction.”

Wilkins’ presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Lunch will be provided. 

Following the event, Wilkins will sign copies of “Long Road to Hard Truth,” which will be available for purchase at the law school. The book signing is set for 2:30 p.m.

For more information about Wilkins’ visit, contact Carol Mockbee at carol@ms-ip.org or call 662-915-6000.

Law School to Host UM Constitution Commemoration

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law is honoring the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution by hosting the university’s Constitution Day commemoration at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 20) in Weems Auditorium.

Each year, the celebration features a panel, which is an edition of the school’s Student Legal Scholarship Exposition. Students will present their published and forthcoming works on specific constitutional issues, followed by responses from faculty and audience members.

“We have one of the most robust and thoughtful constitutions in the world,” said Michele Alexandre, the school’s associate dean who organized the event. “It is exciting to have such high-level engagement taking place on constitutional issues between our faculty and students.”

This year’s presenters are Allison Bruff, speaking on “Ripe for Rejection: A Methodology for States’ Departure from Utah v. Strieff and Its Poisonous Fruit” (Mississippi Law Journal, Volume 86); Catherine Norton, “Keeping Faith with the Fourth Amendment: Why States Should Require a Warrant for Breathalyzer Tests in the Wake of Birchfield v. North Dakota” (Mississippi Law Journal, Volume 87, forthcoming); and TreMarcus Rosemon, “Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones … But Symbols Hurt, Too: Government Speech and the First Amendment” (work-in-progress).

The faculty discussants are Chris Green and Matthew Hall.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Former Gov. Haley Barbour to Speak at UM Law School

Alumnus is final speaker in this year's series

Former Gov. Haley Barbour is the final speaker of the year in the LSSB Speaker Series. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Law School Student Body will host former Gov. Haley Barbour at noon Friday (April 21) in the Khayat Law Center, Room 2094, as part of the LSSB Speaker Series.

“We are very excited to have Gov. Haley Barbour as our keynote speaker for the final LSSB Speaker Series event of the year,” said Gregory Alston, LSSB president. “Gov. Barbour, having worked on the national stage and forefront of government policy and politics, is one of the university’s most distinguished alumni.

“Gov. Barbour has represented Ole Miss and the state of Mississippi with integrity, and we look forward to having him.”

An alumnus of the UM School of Law (JD 73), Barbour started his political career in 1968 working on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. He since has worked closely with many Republican candidates, including Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Barbour served as political director of the Reagan White House and cofounded BGR Group, a government affairs firm.

In 1993, Barbour served as chairman of the Republican National Committee and managed the Republican surge in 1994. This led to Republican control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In 2004, Barbour took office as Mississippi’s 63rd governor. The following year, after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Barbour earned national recognition for his quick and decisive response to the disaster.

He later published a memoir reflecting on his perspective and leadership lessons that came from the disaster.

UM Space Law Moot Court Team Wins North American Championship

Trio set to compete in international finals this fall in Australia

Marshall McKellar (left), Alexia Boggs, Kent Aledenderfer, Kyle Hansen and UM law instructor Andrea Harrington show off the Ole Miss team’s trophies from the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition-North American Region. The team will compete for a world title in September in Australia. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Space Law Moot Court Team won big at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition-North American Region, bringing home three awards and advancing to the world championships.

“I’d like to thank these students for their hard work and representing our school so well during their competition,” said Deborah Bell, interim dean of the law school. “I am incredibly proud of all of them.”

The competition, conducted March 31-April 1 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., featured 16 teams and was divided into two divisions of eight teams each.

The Ole Miss team consisted of second-year students Kent Aledenderfer of Huntsville, Alabama, and Kyle Hansen of Issaquah, Washington, and third-year student Alexia Boggs, from Nashville, Tennessee. Andrea Harrington, the school’s air and space law instructor, served as faculty adviser and third-year student Marshall McKellar, of Hattiesburg, was the team’s student coach.

“I am incredibly proud of our team, who worked with extreme diligence leading up to the competition,” Harrington said. “The team members acted with impressive grace and respect – both with regard to each other and their competitors – throughout the process.”

Each team submitted written briefs for both applicant and respondent positions and had an opportunity to compete on both sides in the preliminary rounds. Scoring in the preliminary rounds consisted of 50 percent briefing scores and 50 percent oral scores, and the result determined rankings going into the tournament-style rounds.

The UM team earned the highest score overall in the preliminaries and was ranked first in Division A. As the tournament progressed, the team competed in the quarterfinals against fourth-ranked University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Ole Miss then advanced to the semifinals, competing as the respondent against McGill University in a tight round. The team then progressed to the final round, arguing as the applicant against the University of Nebraska.

UM earned three major awards: team awards for Best Brief and Best Team, and Boggs received the Best Oralist award.

“The competition was an amazing experience and a true team effort,” Boggs said. “For months, Kent, Kyle and I have been learning from each other and refining our skills in legal research, clear writing and oral argument.

“Marshall was a huge asset because he went to the competition last year and has an enormous capacity for encouraging others. And of course, we would only have gotten so far without Professor Harrington, who was an excellent coach in pushing each of us to learn every crevice of international law and to apply it to the facts in as many ways as possible.”

The Best Team title allows the team to compete in the international finals, set for Sept. 26-28 in Adelaide, Australia. Competing teams include the champions from Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa.

“I am very pleased that I get to continue working with this remarkable group of students in preparation for the international finals,” Harrington said.

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.