UM Issues a Firm Challenge

Law school challenges firms to support university

Author and UM law school alumnus John Grisham takes questions from Ole Miss law students in the Khayat Law Center. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law is challenging 20 Mississippi firms to show their support for education by achieving 100 percent giving participation from their attorneys who are Ole Miss alumni.

Recently, Adams and Reese LLP of Jackson became the first firm to reach 100 percent giving to the 2018 UM Law Firm Challenge.

William C. Brabec, a 1983 UM law graduate and partner with Adams and Reese, worked to encourage all Ole Miss alumni within his firm to participate. He credits law school Dean Susan Duncan for inspiring him to become a donor.

“Dean Duncan informed us of the importance of alumni giving in the law school evaluation process,” Brabec said. “She said that only about 4 percent of the school’s 7,000 alumni give back regularly to the school.”

The school hopes to triple that percentage by the end of this year’s challenge on June 30. Private giving supports the school with vital scholarship and operational funds.

Gee Ogletree, also a partner with Adams and Reese, helped encourage participation, a challenge met in only five weeks.

“We quickly accepted Dean Duncan’s challenge to us,” Ogletree said. “We believe that fundraising will play an increasingly important role in the future of all law schools, and we support Dean Duncan as she continues the law school’s tradition of excellence and takes it to new heights.”

The UM Law Firm Challenge was created as a way to get alumni involved in giving back, Duncan said.

“We are so proud of Adams and Reese for being the first firm to achieve 100 percent giving among alumni,” she said. “Lawyers there truly took the challenge to heart and did a great job quickly getting their alumni to support the initiative.

“We hope their success will encourage other firms to reach 100 percent.”

Adams and Reese based its participation on the firm’s core values, which include growth, respect, excellence, accountability and teamwork. These values drove Brabec through the process.

“Our firm always encourages excellence and philanthropy,” he said. “Also, being a regional firm with alumni from all over the Southeast, there is a competitive spirit among the alumni of the various SEC schools.”

Adams and Reese has set the bar for the other 19 Mississippi law firms. Firms that reach 100 percent participation receive a personalized trophy, recognition on the School of Law website and in the alumni newsletter.

To participate in the 2018 UM Law Firm Challenge, alumni can give to any UM law school fund by clicking here or by contacting Suzette Matthews at 662-915-1122 or suzette@olemiss.edu. Or, checks with the fund noted in the memo line can be sent to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

Law Journal to Publish Special Issue Focused on State’s Legal History

Edition set to come out in April with articles focusing on people who helped shape state law

Antonia Eliason

OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Law Journal is putting together a special issue featuring several works focused on Mississippi legal history, including articles written by Antonia Eliason, a University of Mississippi law professor, U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James L. Robertson.

“We are very excited to be publishing this special Mississippi-focused issue,” said James Kelly, the journal’s editor-in-chief. “The articles in the book tell the stories of people who have helped shape our state’s history and law.

“We are so proud to be bringing these stories to print and are very grateful to the authors for sharing them.”

Eliason’s article, titled “Lillian McMurry and the Blues Contracts of Trumpet Records,” focuses on a Jackson-based record company established and run by Lillian McMurry from 1950 to 1955. McMurry was a pioneering businesswoman who discovered and signed some of the most prominent artists in the blues genre, including Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James.

“Lillian McMurry has become a hero of mine; her picture hangs in my office to remind me of the strength of character and compassion that she demonstrated as the head of Trumpet Records,” Eliason said. “After spending so much time in the archives reading her correspondences with the artists that she signed, I feel like I’ve come to know her personally.

“She had a remarkable ear for talent despite a lack of musical training, and supported her artists, even after the record label dissolved.”

Drawing on archival material, the article demonstrates a progressing level of sophistication for the young record label, as well as the ways in which McMurry’s business practices helped promote increased fairness and transparency in recording contracts.

“At a time when there were so few female players in any capacity in the recording industry, she broke barriers while avoiding the rapacious practices of many record label executives,” Eliason said. “She also treated all of her artists the same, irrespective of race, even though she was operating the highly segregated milieu of 1950s Mississippi.

“I hope that through my article, more people will come to know Lillian McMurry’s story. She was a truly exceptional woman and someone who will remain a source of inspiration in my life.”

The article “Dry September Revisited,” written by Mills, chronicles the stories of a group of Mississippi legislators who stood up against Walter Sillers, the powerful speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, after he invited Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker to address the Legislature.

The legislators opposed Walker’s speech because of his role in working to block James Meredith’s entry into UM.

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James L. Robertson’s work, “Only People Were Slaves,” recounts the story of an early freedom-by-residence case brought by a group of slaves. The case, decided in 1818, is notable as the first known instance in which the court of last resort in a Southern slave state ruled that the slaves were free.

The article features the first publication of several original archival sources and is adapted from a chapter in Robertson’s forthcoming book, “Heroes, Rascals and the Law: Constitutional Encounters in Mississippi,” which is being published by the University Press of Mississippi.

The themed edition of the Mississippi Law Journal is slated for release in April.

Spark Series Covers Starting an Online Business

Free event is Tuesday at Jackson Avenue Center

OXFORD, Miss. – The process seems simple: Launch a business online; make money.

Except the process is not that straightforward, and the next Spark Series at the University of Mississippi covers what business owners need to consider before starting their online ventures, including avoiding pitfalls, digitally marketing their businesses smarter and more.

“Questions You Should Ask Before Launching Your Business Online” is set for 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday (March 20) at the Jackson Avenue Center, Auditorium A.

The free panel discussion is open to the public with no registration necessary. The panel includes Allyson Best, director of the UM Division of Technology Management; Stacey Lantagne, assistant professor of law at the UM School of Law; Neil Olson, former general counsel with mortgage technology company FNC Inc., and startup and tech business consultant; and Jennifer Sadler, UM instructional assistant professor of integrated marketing communications.

The event is intended for any new or existing business, any nonprofit or other organization, or any individual who is interested in a website, app or other digital effort.

“Life online is continuously evolving,” Lantagne said. “It’s important to think about how the law affects the ways you want to use the internet to grow your business. We want to make sure you make the law work for you.”

After the presentation, experts from around campus and the community will be available for individual conversations during an ask-the-expert reception.

The first Spark Series event in late February discussed questions potential business owners need to investigate before forming a limited liability company. The event was well-attended by new businesses and existing ones, and by members of the UM campus and the local community, Best said.

“Now we are going to spark a discussion on another critical point: doing business online,” Best said.

A number of issues should be considered when doing business online, such as contractual and intellectual property considerations, work-for-hire issues when designing a website or app, and security requirements for protecting a business.

“Copyright is as old as our Constitution, yet it still seems to have surprises in store for new entrepreneurs,” Olson said. “Let us show you how you can avoid some of the more unpleasant surprises so you can get on with making your new online presence a success.”

Tuesday’s discussion also includes Sadler, an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship.

Digital marketing starts and ends with the consumer, and in an era of big data, business owners can target their exact audience and reach them as they browse online, Sadler said. Some keys to doing this are researching the consumer, understanding their online behavior and providing an easy way to solve any problems they may have.

User-friendly websites and audience-tailored advertisements also help business owners when it comes to digital marketing, but making money online is still hard work.

“Many entrepreneurs believe that once the website or app is up that orders will immediately start coming in – instant success,” Sadler said. “The truth is that it rarely happens that way. It can take a new business roughly six to nine months to reach the top of Google search pages, and that’s only if you have the right website to reach your audience.

“We want to give attendees the tools they need to start strong and grow fast. From forming the business/website name to getting it online, we are aiming to equip entrepreneurs with information they can use today.”

The Spark Series – intended to inspire, discover and transform – will continue in the fall.

Sponsors of this Spark Series event include the Division of Technology Management, School of Law, Insight Park, Meek School of Journalism and New Media, Mississippi Law Research Institute, Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Mid-South Intellectual Property Institute.

UM to Host Discussion Aimed at Business Beginners

Spark Series is intended to inspire, discover and transform

OXFORD, Miss. – Business experts from the University of Mississippi and the local community will lead a Wednesday (Feb. 28) discussion about questions potential business owners need to investigate before forming a limited liability company.

Part of the Spark Series, the panel discussion is titled “Questions You Should Ask Before You Begin Your Business.” The event, set for 4 p.m. in the Jackson Avenue Center, Auditorium A, is free and open to the public with no registration necessary.

The panel includes Marie Saliba Cope, UM assistant dean for student affairs, assistant clinical professor at the UM School of Law and director of the Transactional Clinic; Neil Olson, former general counsel with mortgage technology company FNC Inc., and startup and tech business consultant; Will Wilkins, director of the Mississippi Law Research Institute; and Allyson Best, director of the UM Division of Technology Management.

Following the presentation, the panel will be available for individual conversations during an ask-the-expert reception.

“The local community is fortunate to have so many resources for entrepreneurs and technology commercialization efforts, but if you’re new to this world, it can be a little daunting,” Best said. “We have noticed there are critical points in the process where it’s valuable to stop and consider your options. This series is intended to spark those conversations.”

The event will attempt to answer a number of questions and cover scenarios aspiring owners should investigate before proceeding. Topics for the Wednesday panel include ownership rights and control, independent contractors vs. employees, intellectual property ownership, investor funding and tax issues.

Allyson Best

“(This event) has been created to educate entrepreneurs about legal issues,” Cope said. “For our first event, our hope is that attendees will begin to address the issues that arise when one begins a business.

“We have found that people begin working and jump into business relationships without defining the ownership interest or roles that the members or partners will hold. Our goal is to assist people in planning before they start so that they can avoid conflicts that may arise from misunderstandings.”

Another Spark Series event is scheduled for March, time and place to be announced. The event will focus on e-commerce, with topics including legal considerations, digital marketing and more.

The Spark Series – intended to inspire, discover and transform – is not intended to be a typical training session, Best said. And Wednesday’s event is important for anyone interested in forming a business entity, even if they have already filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State.

Sponsors of the Spark Series include the Division of Technology Management, School of Law, the Mississippi Law Research Institute, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Insight Park, the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and the Mid-South Intellectual Property Institute.

Law School to Host MLK Day Commemoration Event

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law will host a panel discussion in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 31) in Weems Auditorium.

This year’s program focuses on “Slavery, Civil Rights and King’s Legacy.” Panelists will discuss slavery and its connections to King’s legacy.

“This year marks our eighth annual Martin Luther King Day commemoration panel, and we feel it is important to host this event each year to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King,” said Michele Alexandre, the law school’s associate dean. “This year, we have an excellent panel who focus their scholarship and research on slavery and civil rights.”

Panelists for the event, all members of the UM Slavery Research Group, are Jeffrey T. Jackson, associate professor of sociology; Marc H. Lerner, associate professor of history; Jennie Lightweis-Goff, instructor of English; and Anne Twitty, associate professor of history.

The event is free and open to the public. Off-campus attendees should obtain a visitor parking permit before arriving.

For more information, visit https://law.olemiss.edu/event/martin-luther-king-day-commemoration-panel-6/.

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.

Aviation Law Expert to Speak Wednesday at UM

Paul Fitzgerald to discuss landmark trans-Atlantic alliance

Paul Fitzgerald

OXFORD, Miss. – Canadian aviation law expert Paul Fitzgerald visits the University of Mississippi School of Law on Wednesday (Nov. 1) for a discussion of a major trans-Atlantic pact between Air Canada, Lufthansa and United Airlines.

His talk, titled “Introducing A++, A Global Mega Airline You’ve Never Heard Of,” is set for 12:45 p.m. in Room 1115 of the law center. The lecture is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be provided.

A member of the Canadian Transportation Agency and professor at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, Fitzgerald has served as an adviser to the government on aviation, rail and marine matters.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for our students to have someone of Dr. Fitzgerald’s international reputation come to Ole Miss to not only speak to our students and faculty, but also to run a workshop in one of our aviation courses,” said Andrea Harrington, associate director of the law school’s LL.M. program in air and space law.

The UM law school has a concentration program in remote sensing, air and space law for J.D. students and an LL.M. program in air and space law for advanced students. Home to the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law, it is the country’s only law school to have a program in aviation.

For more information on Fitzgerald, visit https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/members#fitzgerald. For more information on the air and space law program at Ole Miss, visit http://www.spacelaw.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/.

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.