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.

Law School Participates in Bicentennial Event

Activities include moot court, reception with Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr.

Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Law is participating in the bicentennial of Mississippi’s judiciary and legal profession Wednesday (Sept. 27) in Jackson.

Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. will be on hand for the celebration, and a full day of events, including a moot court competition between law students from Ole Miss and Mississippi College, is planned.

“We are so excited to have the chance to take a selection of our students to Jackson for this once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Susan Duncan, UM law dean. “Not all law students are able to interact with a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to meet with some of the top legal minds in our state and country, and in turn, we are eager to show off the caliber of students we have at our law school.”

Students from the UM School of Law and Mississippi College School of Law will have a chance to meet Roberts on Wednesday morning at the Mississippi Supreme Court. The Ole Miss law school also is hosting a networking reception at the Supreme Court building for Jackson-area attorneys and law students from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m., before the moot court competition.

Third-year students James Blake Kelly, of Brandon, and Meredith Pohl, of Houston, Texas, will represent UM in the competition, with professor Chris Green serving as their coach.

The competition will be judged by a panel including Roberts, Chief Justice William Waller of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Chief Judge Carl Stewart of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee of the Mississippi Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Sharion Aycock of the Northern District of Mississippi and Chief Judge Louis Guirola Jr. of the Southern District of Mississippi.

“It has been enormously rewarding and a great honor to work with students as talented, poised and hard-working as Meredith and James and dig with them into issues of criminal negligence in the Clean Water Act and corruption in the federal witness-tampering statute,” Green said.

“They will be sure to have the experience of a lifetime arguing in front of one of the most experienced and prestigious panel of judges – surely the largest collection of chief justices and chief judges – assembled in our state’s 200 years.”

Following the competition is a reception and banquet hosted by the Mississippi Bar Association at the Hilton Jackson.

Space Law Team Prepares for World Championship

Moot court group heads to Australia to compete for university's second international title

The UM moot court team celebrates its North American championship at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition at Georgetown University. The team includes (from left) assistant coach Marshall McKellar, Alexia Boggs, Kent Aldenderfer, Kyle Hansen and Andrea Harrington, the team’s faculty adviser and coach. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Since winning the North American championship in April, the moot court team at the University of Mississippi School of Law has been busy preparing for its next challenge: the World Championship.

The team’s win at the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition at Georgetown University Law Center earned it the right to compete in the international finals this month in Adelaide, Australia. The team began preparing immediately, but with two members graduating in May and everyone going different directions for summer break, they had to find ways to continue practicing remotely.

The Ole Miss team consists of third-year students Kent Aldenderfer of Huntsville, Alabama, and Kyle Hansen of Issaquah, Washington, and recent graduate Alexia Boggs (JD 2017), from Nashville, Tennessee. Andrea Harrington, the school’s air and space law instructor, serves as faculty adviser, and recent graduate Marshall McKellar (JD 2017), of Hattiesburg, is the team’s assistant coach.

“Over the summer, it was difficult to get many practices in, but we did fit in a few practices on Google Hangout because everyone was pretty much in a different city,” Harrington said. “But once we got back from the break, we had a couple of practices on campus with Kent and Kyle and a couple of online practices with Alexia.

“We also scheduled the week of Labor Day for Alexia and Marshall to come back, and we had an intensive week of practices.”

During the week the team was all back in Oxford, it conducted two practices a day most days. Several professors came to judge the team and give members a variety of perspectives. After the week concluded, the team will have a few more online practices before leaving for Australia.

Although the moot court problem is the same from the North American championships, this round features unknown factors for the team.

“The way this competition is different from a lot of moot courts is you have to prepare both sides of the argument, so you have to prepare a brief for both sides and oral argument for both sides, which is why there are three on the team,” Boggs explained. “Once we’re there, it’s a flip of the coin as to which side we will argue each round.”

The preparations were greatly enhanced by help of several faculty and staff members as well as the dedication of McKellar, who was a member of the 2016 team, Harrington said.

The team is scheduled to arrive in Australia on Sept. 22 and 23 and begin in-person practices once they are all there. The semifinal round of the competition is Sept. 26, and the final round is Sept. 28.

The team will be vying for the university’s second world championship in the competition. An Ole Miss team won the 2015 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Jerusalem, beating teams from India and Greece.

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 State Supreme Court Justice Supports Law Students

Reuben Anderson hopes gift will help develop future leaders

Reuben and Phyllis Anderson. UM photo by Bill Dabney

OXFORD, Miss. – Continuing his legacy of support to the University of Mississippi, retired state Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson’s most recent gift will provide scholarships for full-time law students.

Since becoming the first African-American graduate of the UM School of Law in 1967, Anderson and his wife, Phyllis, have committed more than $200,000 to the law school, to the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation and to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“The law school gave me so much. If it wasn’t for the law school, I probably wouldn’t be a lawyer. The people I had contact with when I was there played a major role in my life and I want them to be remembered,” said Anderson, specifically naming Josh Morse, former law dean.

“But probably more than anything else, I think it’s important that the law school stay strong, attract Mississippians and develop our leaders for the future. They’ve always done that and a little help on the scholarship end can be beneficial. I think it’s important that we continue to attract people to stay in Mississippi and not leave.”

Anderson is a senior partner at the Phelps Dunbar LLP law firm in Jackson. He attended Jackson public schools and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Tougaloo College in 1964 before enrolling in law school. In 1967, he was admitted to the Mississippi State Bar.

His professional experience includes serving as Mississippi associate counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. in 1967-75; a partner with Anderson, Banks, Nichols & Stewart, 1968-77; municipal judge for the city of Jackson, 1975-77; county court judge for Hinds County, 1977-82; judge for the Seventh Circuit Court District of Mississippi, 1982-85; Mississippi Supreme Court justice, 1985-90; and the Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government at UM, fall 1995.

“All of it can be attributed to the fact that I got a solid legal education at the Ole Miss law school,” Anderson said. “I’ve always thought the law school was a great institution. I think it’s world-class. It has a great faculty and leadership and a great incoming new dean.”

Dean Susan Duncan said she is grateful for Anderson and other alumni and friends who choose to support the school.

“We are so appreciative of Reuben Anderson and his support to the law school,” she said. “Gifts like his enable us to offer scholarships to our students, which help alleviate the financial burden of a legal education. Mr. Anderson is truly making a difference with his contribution.”

Anderson received a wealth of recognitions throughout his legal career. Among others, he is the first African-American to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court and the first African-American president of the Mississippi Bar, and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

He was inducted into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame in 2009, the UM School of Law Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 1995. He was presented the Mississippi Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and is the namesake for the Reuben V. Anderson Pre-Law Society at Tougaloo College. He also provided leadership as president of the state Chamber of Commerce in 2001 and as a member of the UM Foundation board of directors.

Anderson has served on the boards of directors of AT&T in Dallas; The Kroger Co. of Cincinnati; MINACT Inc. and Trustmark National Bank, both in Jackson; Mississippi Chemical of Yazoo City; Burlington Resources of Houston, Texas; and BellSouth in Atlanta.

Anderson is a member of the 100 Black Men of Jackson and the U.S. Supreme Court, the American, Mississippi, Hinds County, Magnolia, National and U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals bar associations.

The Andersons have three children – Vincent, Raina and Rosalyn – and two grandchildren, James and Anderson.

“We are at a time when private support is essential for law students and ultimately the stability of the law school itself,” said Suzette Matthews, the school’s development officer. “Mr. Anderson’s vision for the future will impact the lives of hundreds of law students and help to shape law practice in Mississippi in the future. We are deeply grateful for his generous support.”

Individuals and organizations may make gifts to the Reuben V. Anderson Law Scholarship Endowment by mailing a check with the designation noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; visiting https://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift/ or contacting Suzette Matthews at 601-937-1497 or suzette@olemiss.edu.

Gift Honors Life of UM Alumnus Stephen Moore

Phil Hardin Foundation expands educational opportunities at UM law school

Members of the Moore family were honored on the Oxford campus, including, front row from left, daughter Alison Moore Abney of Madison, widow Joan Moore of Meridian, daughter Melissa Moore Blackburn of Vicksburg and Hardin Foundation board president Robert Ward; back row, foundation board member Kacey Bailey, interim dean of law Debbie Bell, and foundation executive director Lloyd Gray.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The late Stephen Moore, of Meridian, was the epitome of a lifelong learner, always with a book in his hand. That, and his deep commitment to education, are reasons the Phil Hardin Foundation is honoring its board member and treasurer with a gift in his memory to the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The Hardin Foundation’s gift of $250,000 will support the Business Law Institute at the school, where Moore earned a Juris Doctor in 1971 and was active on the Mississippi Law Journal staff. That’s after receiving an undergraduate degree from Millsaps College and earning a fellowship with Duke University Graduate School.

The businessman’s name will always be linked with education.

“The reason Steve was elected to the Hardin Foundation board was because of his care and concern for education,” said Robert Ward, board chair of the foundation, also of Meridian. “This gift was made to order for his interests – perfect for what we wanted to achieve in his memory.”

The university applauds the foundation’s decision to honor Moore through higher education, Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said.

“The University of Mississippi values our extensive philanthropic partnership with the Hardin Foundation,” Vitter said. “We deeply appreciate the foundation’s many significant investments in a number of areas on our campus.

“This new gift to honor Stephen Moore’s life is particularly moving, as this alumnus was truly a champion for education, placing great energies and service toward enriching initiatives. His legacy will be expanded through students and faculty in our Business Law Institute.”

Dedicated to improving educational opportunities for Mississippians, the Hardin Foundation’s goal for the gift is to pay tribute to Moore’s almost 30-year service. This plan was put in motion weeks before his death in August 2016, when Moore was briefed on the foundation’s intentions and asked where he would want the gift directed, said Ward, who described his longtime friend as a man of “quiet dignity” who was respected by many.

“Steve and his wife, Joan, had a very meaningful experience while on the Oxford campus for Steve’s law school years, and they came to love Ole Miss more and more through the lives of their daughters and sons-in-laws who all graduated from there,” Ward said. “The Moores became immersed in the university community and their enjoyment of the culture increased with each passing year.”

Moore, a community leader, also was a former board member for the Meridian Public Schools, where he and Ward co-chaired a bond issue campaign in the early 1980s that resulted in $4 million for repairs and renovations for the schools.

“Steve would have been very pleased,” said his widow, Joan Moore, of the foundation’s gift to the law school. “He never planned to practice law but used his legal knowledge as a trust officer in the banking field and later as a financial planner. Steve always said that law school teaches people how to be critical thinkers.”

The foundation’s support will strengthen the Business Law Institute, an innovative program that places the faculty’s top business law experts in office space shared with students. The close proximity of faculty and students facilitates continuous access, collaboration and engagement, an educational model that maximizes active learning.

The institute also houses organizations in the student-run experiential programs: the Negotiation Board, Business Law Network and Tax Clinic. These offer negotiation competitions, professional outreach and real-world practice opportunities to develop students’ business law skills through hands-on activities and practice.

“The Hardin Foundation is interested first in improving educational opportunities at every level for Mississippians,” said Lloyd Gray, executive director of the foundation. “While we are committed to helping build programs, we also like to recognize and reward established programs that are effective.

“In this case, we feel this gift will help accelerate an initiative that has already proven its capacity to equip law students with exceptional preparation and hands-on experiences.”

Gray explained that the Hardin Foundation’s seven board members make long-term commitments – such as the service of Moore – and when members retire or pass away, the foundation has historically honored them in a way that is appropriate to their life and contributions. Several endowments have been created at Ole Miss for Hardin board members.

“Steve enjoyed his work on the Hardin Foundation board and was always pleased to see how the resources impacted educational opportunities,” said Joan Moore, a former speech and language therapist. “He particularly enjoyed traveling around the state to see the Hardin Foundation’s gifts in action.”

Among those involved the Hardin Foundation’s generous support of Ole Miss’ and Millsaps College’s faculty members when they sought to shelter chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors organizations.

“Steve and I attended the ceremonies when Ole Miss and Millsaps College received their Phi Beta Kappa charters,” Moore said. “He was so proud that both institutions were able to recognize their students with this academic distinction.

“Steve was an advocate for learning – a true intellectual – and he read all the time. He majored in history and was so well-versed in history. He also loved the University of Mississippi.”

 The circle of Stephen Moore’s impact on his community widened with his service on the boards of the Meridian Community College Foundation, Kings Daughter’s Nursing Home, Care Lodge and Boy Scouts of America. He was an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, serving in numerous roles, as well as a trustee of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.

Professionally, he was the trust officer for First National Bank of Jackson and then senior vice president and trust officer for Merchant and Farmers Bank and the Bank of Meridian. He retired as a financial planner at Revels Securities and Smith Barney.

“Steve was a very humble and quiet man,” his wife said. “When he said something, people listened. He loved our family and was my best friend.”

The Moores’ family includes two daughters and sons-in-law: Alison Moore Abney and husband, Luke, of Madison, and Melissa Moore Blackburn and husband, Jeb, of Vicksburg; and five grandchildren, Simms and Owen Abney and Caton, Ali and Emerson Blackburn.

The Hardin Foundation was created by Phil B. Hardin, an entrepreneur who built the highly successful Hardin Bakeries Corp. from a bankrupt business he purchased in the 1930s. In 1964, he founded the Phil Hardin Foundation, which is dedicated to improving education for Mississippians. It is one of the three largest foundations in the state and has provided Ole Miss with more than $3.4 million in support of the schools of Business Administration and Education, College of Liberal Arts and more.

The Stephen Moore Endowment for Business Law is open to gifts from individuals and organizations. A check with the fund’s name in the memo line can be mailed to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655, or made online at http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift. For more information, contact Suzette Matthews, development officer for the School of Law, at suzette@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1122.

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.

Susan Duncan Named UM Law School Dean

Experienced leader and administrator brings entrepreneurial approach

Susan Duncan

OXFORD, Miss. – After a national search, Susan Duncan has been chosen as the new dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law. She is scheduled to join the university Aug. 1, pending approval by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Education.

“I am thrilled and deeply honored to be joining a law school with such a rich tradition and positive momentum,” Duncan said. “I look forward to being part of the Ole Miss family and am excited to help take the law school to new heights.”

Duncan joins UM from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, where she served as interim dean from 2012 to 2017 and on the faculty since 1997. The Louisville, Kentucky, native is widely recognized in the field for her entrepreneurial approach, ability to connect to various aspects of the practice of law, deep understanding of national trends and opportunities, energetic fundraising and commitment to working across campus.

“We are extremely pleased to have such an accomplished scholar and practitioner to lead the law school,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “Ms. Duncan is well-respected by students and faculty alike and has a proven track record of successful leadership, particularly in the area of fundraising. She will be instrumental in guiding our law school to higher rankings and a greater role in Mississippi.”

Duncan has received numerous honors and recognitions. The Kentucky Bar Association presented her with the 2016 President’s Special Service Award, and in 2014, the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Alumni Council presented her with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Also in 2014, Duncan was named one of the top 20 people to know in the field of education by Business First. In 2010, the Louisville Bar Association presented her its Distinguished Service Award.

Debbie Bell, who has served as interim dean at UM for two years, will continue in that role until July 31.

“We are grateful to Debbie Bell for her outstanding leadership of the law school for the past two years,” said Noel Wilkin, interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “She was able to galvanize our commitment to law education and guide our school through a challenging period of transition. She did this with determination, professionalism, confidence and an unwavering commitment to law education.”

Duncan holds a J.D. from the Brandeis School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She has lectured internationally, including at the University of Montpellier, France, University KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Johannes Gutenberg University, in Mainz, Germany, at the University of Leeds, England, and the University of Turku, Finland.

Besides numerous scholarly presentations, she has authored or co-authored dozens of publications on a variety of legal topics.

At the University of Louisville, Duncan was well-respected as a caring, committed leader as well as an accomplished fundraiser, dramatically increasing donations from Brandeis alumni and overcoming budgetary challenges that preceded her. In 2016, her fundraising efforts were recognized with the William J. Rothwell Faculty Award from the Office of Advancement.

“In addition to her accomplishments as an academic, she has a proven ability to work with law faculty, staff, students and alumni to accomplish shared goals,” Wilkin said. “This ability is more important than ever, given the current issues faced by law schools, and we expect Ms. Duncan will help our school achieve new and unprecedented success.”

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.