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When the University of Mississippi School of Law Clinical Externship Program led her to Mobile, Ala., UM law student Ginger Lowery Harrelson began work in the district attorney’s office.  The externship allowed her to experience real-world law from the beginning when she worked on a Winn Dixie robbery case that left a Mobile police officer in critical condition. For her next assignment, Harrelson never imagined she would be sitting second chair to Mobile District Attorney Ashley Rich, prosecuting one of the most heinous cases in recent history.

Ginger Harrelson, third year law student

The case was the state of Alabama v. Brandon Estle.  Estle had been accused of beating Justin Hasty, a former high school friend, to death with an aluminum bat.  Estle would later be convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.

“I felt excited and honored that she [Rich] trusted me enough to let me try the case with her,” said Harrelson. “I also felt a little bit nervous because I knew this was going to be a highly publicized trial and that many people were depending on me to perform well.”

 Harrelson participated in selecting the proper jurors and conducted direct examinations of several witness, whose names she had starred on a detailed packet for Rich to refer to during the trial.

“[I] attribute my ability to attack the defendant on cross examination to Ginger’s perseverance listening to jail calls and in preparing such an excellent summary of the conversations that I could use to impeach the defendant and his family members,” said Rich.

Harrelson also admitted multiple pieces of evidence, including aluminum bats found in Estle’s home.  The actual bat he used the night of the murder was never found.

“It [the trial] was unreal at the time,” said Harrelson. “The judge even called me over to ask if I was OK afterwards, because he saw me shaking.” Harrelson laughed as she recalled the first time she admitted a piece of evidence and her hands would not stop trembling.

“I knew we had won the case when Estle described how Hasty had hit him initially with the bat,” said Harrelson.

Estle’s argument was that he had killed Hasty in self-defense.  He claimed Hasty had attacked him with the bat first.  When Estle explained the first blow from Hasty to the courtroom, he did not take into account that Hasty was right handed.  To have hit him the way Estle described, Hasty would have had to have been left handed.  During closing arguments to the jury, Harrelson assisted Rich in a live demonstration of how the attack happened.  This ultimately helped the jury to secure a guilty verdict.

“I felt relief for the victim’s family members who had endured months of anticipation and a week of grueling testimony waiting for the verdict. I felt accomplishment because realization set in that as a second-year law student, I was able to try a case with the district attorney and obtain a guilty verdict,” said Harrelson.

“Ginger managed to mask all of her nerves and lack of experience and appeared composed and seasoned to the jury,” said Rich. “She handled herself as if she had been doing this for many years.  I am proud of her hard work on this case.  It was my pleasure to have her as an extern, and I sincerely thank the University of Mississippi School of Law for allowing her to extern with our office.”

Harrelson is set to graduate this May with an accomplishment very few law students can add to their resumés.  She hopes to be officially employed at the DA’s office, and she aspires to one day be a part of the “murder team” there.

Harrelson says she would not do anything differently, and she enjoyed gaining practical skills and experience through the UM externship program.

Hans Sinha, law professor and director of the externship program said Harrelson’s externship was unique, because she actually tried the case alongside the district attorney.

“When I speak with prosecutors across the state, many tell me that one of the best things they did while in law school was spend a semester with their local prosecutor’s office as a third year student,” said Sinha, “[The program gives] students the opportunity to put their theoretical classroom knowledge to work as they observe and participate in the actual practice of law.  Ginger definitely rose to the occasion and did a great job.”

With both the knowledge and practice, Sinha believes this helps students go into their careers more prepared.  Since 2002 when he became director of the program, Sinha said they have placed hundreds, if not thousands of students in public service, judicial and governmental offices as for-credit externs.

“Though law classes allowed me the knowledge to be in the courtroom, I learned more through the externship than I could have in classes alone,” said Harrelson, “Very few students graduating from law school can say that they’ve tried an entire criminal case, from jury selection to the sentencing hearing, so I think the fact that I got to do this through UM’s externship program puts me ahead of the game for future opportunities.”

 As for the job after graduation, Rich is very impressed with Harrelson’s performance during her externship.  Harrelson hopes to continue working as a prosecutor in Mobile.

“With more experience and training, Ginger will become an excellent trial attorney. Having sat second chair in State of Alabama vs. Brandon Estle, she is well on her way,” said Rich.

Sam Maddox, second year law student, successfully removed debt from a client’s credit report recently as part of his work with the law school’s housing clinic, one of eleven clinical programs at the school.  The client’s report said she owed a more than $5,000 to an apartment complex where she previously lived, though the landlord never provided notice of the alleged debt and never sued for or received a judgment against her.

“Sam studied and familiarized himself with the nuances of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and filed a formal dispute on behalf of his client,” said Desiree Hensley, supervising professor of the low-income housing section clinic.  “This is a great outcome for his client, who needs good credit to pursue her professional and personal goals.”

In the housing clinic, students like Same have the opportunity to bring and defend cases, negotiate settlements and offer advice and counsel to individuals and families facing conflict with their landlords, eviction and foreclosure.

For more information about clinical programs, visit their website.

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law has won its fourth national championship this year, and one has to wonder, what are they doing right?

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

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

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

“It represents an enormous success for Brad and Drew, who poured hours into this competition, but it is also a product of the efforts of the entire Negotiation Board, Professor Mercer Bullard and

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

of the team.  We are so proud of all of them.”

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

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

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

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

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

  • A Business Law Certificate
  • Negotiation Board that fields several intercollegiate competition teams
  • 1L Skill Session course devoted to Contract Drafting and Negotiation
  • Upper level courses on Lawyers as Entrepreneurs and Client Interviewing and Counseling and How to Do a Film Deal
  • Transactional and Taxpayer Assistance Clinics
  • Externships with governmental agencies that regulate business
  • The Mississippi Business Law Reporter, a brand-new journal
  • Business Law Network, a student group that has just organized the first annual Business Law Conference

This structure, in combination with victories like Brad and Drew’s, seem to set Ole Miss law students apart.

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

Taggart agrees with the significance of the win.

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

Housing Law Clinic students Tabitha Bandi and Cynthia Lee appeared in Grenada County Justice Court on March 28 on behalf of a client whose former landlord sued him for unpaid rent, late fees and for the cost of changing the locks. Based on their argument, the judge credited their client with his security deposit, (which the landlord had refused to do), disallowed the landlord’s late fees and reduced other charges, saving the tenant $500.

“This case illustrates of the importance of legal assistance in the not-so-glamorous cases,” said Debbie Bell, associate dean for clinical programs.   “It’s not a headline-grabber or a class action. It is a small case in justice court, where the judge is not even required to be a lawyer. The dollars at stake are relatively small. Even the legal principles are not terribly complicated. But without an attorney, the legal rights often mean little.”

Bandi and Lee were supervised by Desiree Hensley, supervising professor of the low-income housing section clinic.  The Housing Clinic is one of 11 clinical programs at the University of Mississippi School of Law.  Students in the clinic bring and defend cases, negotiate settlements and offer advice and counsel to individuals and families facing conflict with their landlords, eviction and foreclosure.

“If Desiree and her students had not been there, this tenant probably would not only have been out his $500, but might have ended up further in the hole,” Bell said.  ”It’s hard to know what other fees might have been tacked on that were not brought up because they were there.”

The clinic works to provide tenants with certain legal rights and sees those right are enforced.  The right to get your security deposit back or to have it applied to debts are common examples. But those rights are often useless without an advocate who can insist that the law be applied, according to Bell.

“Without these students’ work, the outcome would have been very different,” she said.  ”To someone who has just lost their home, $500 may be the difference in his or her ability to get another place to live. It may be the equivalent of half a month’s income to some tenants. An eviction or loss of home is often the beginning of a spiral that pushes a family further into poverty and homelessness.”

OXFORD, Miss.–U.S. Congressman John Lewis will be the featured speaker at the University of Mississippi School of Law’s graduation Saturday, May 10th in the Grove on the Oxford campus.   Lewis will speak at the law school’s individual ceremony, which follows the main university commencement at 9 a.m.

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

Lewis, often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” is known for his efforts in protecting and securing human rights and civil liberties.  He is a nationally recognized leader and was one of the main players in organizing the March on Washington in 1963.

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

He is currently Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, a member of its Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, and Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Oversight.

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

“The Congressman has spoken at Ole Miss before, and he was excited to be asked to come back to campus to speak at our law school graduation.”

 

 

 

Win makes third this year, first in law school history

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law made history this weekend by grabbing its third moot court national championship this year, a feat never attained by the law school.

From left: Team Coach Professor Ben Cooper, David Fletcher, Brett Grantham and Will Widman.

Second-year students David Fletcher of Jackson and Brett Grantham of Corinth, along with third-year Will Widman of Birmingham won the National Professional Responsibility Moot Court Competition at Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

“This level of repeated success is really an extraordinary testament to both the depth and quality of our advocacy programs and our student body,” said Richard Gershon, dean. “Further, it demonstrates the commitment of our faculty to national caliber instruction — and not just in the traditional classroom.”

The win came just weeks after national championships were obtained at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition and the Gabrielli National Family Law Moot Court Competition, both in New York.  Ole Miss has won the environmental law championship three times in the past four years.

“This year has been a true testament to what we can accomplish when we work hard together from beginning to end,” said Irving Jones, chairman of the law school’s moot court board.  “I am very proud to be a part of this organization and also very proud of how we have represented this university.”

The professional responsibility team competed against several nationally ranked moot court teams, including Chicago-Kent, Stetson and Florida Coastal in the final round.  Widman won the Best Oralist Award in the final round and the team won the Best Brief Award for the respondent, which made them first seed going into the elimination rounds.

“We had been working on this problem since November, so it was a relief that all of the work that the team put in definitely paid off,” said Fletcher.  “We’ve been mooting every day since February, twice a day during spring break, and even in Indianapolis with each other. If anything, I’ve learned what people mean when they say you can never be too prepared.”

The competition included a brief submission and oral arguments.  Each brief was scored by a panel of judges to compile an average brief score, which was used throughout the competition. During the preliminary rounds, each team’s score was determined by combining the brief (35%) and oral argument (65%) scores.  During the elimination rounds, teams were scored solely on their oral argument performance, which were judged on reasoning and logic; ability to answer questions; persuasiveness; knowledge and use of the facts; knowledge and use of the controlling law; and courtroom demeanor and professionalism, according to McKinney School of Law.

“These three guys worked incredibly hard for weeks, through spring break, and beat Florida Coastal in the final round,” said Jones.  “Winning this competition is an amazing achievement and we are so proud of them for their success and dedication to the Board.”

From bottom left: Trey Lyons and Eric Duke pictured with the competition judges.

Win Marks Second National Championship This Year

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law won its second national moot court championship this year, this time in family law.  The win was secured March 1 by second year students Trey Lyons and Eric Duke at the Gabrielli National Moot Court Competition at Albany Law School in New York.

The student pair defeated Seton Hall School of Law in the final round.  Over 20 other schools participated including LSU School of Law, Florida State University School of Law, New York Law School and Wake Forest.

“The family law national championship demonstrates concretely the depth of talent we have at the law school — many students capable of top flight advocacy,” said Matthew Hall, senior associate dean for academic affairs and faculty advisor to the moot court board.  ”But it also shows the institutional commitment we have made to the students — we have multiple professors dedicated to providing students with the time and expertise needed to prepare for success on the national stage.”

For the competition, the students argue unresolved issues in family law by submitting a brief and through oral arguments the weekend of the competition.

Two preliminary rounds proceeded eliminations, and the 16 teams with the highest scores (50% brief and 50% oral argument) advanced.  Scoring for the semi-finals was based on 90% judges’ score and 10% brief score, and the finals were based solely upon the votes of the judges.

“We knew we had to beat them [Seton Hall] flat out in oral argument,” said Lyons.  ”These judges and justices who judged the competition actually wrote the opinions of these cases.  They were the absolute best captive audience you could hope for.”

The students were coached by Sam Davis, professor of law and Jamie L. Whitten chair of law and government.  A handful of others helped the team, including Matthew Hall, senior associate dean; Debbie Bell, associate dean for clinical programs ; Jack Nowlin, associate dean for faculty development ; and Scott DeLeve, public services law librarian.  Rhodes Berry, who’s the Moot Court Board’s appellate advocacy chair and who’s a third year student, also helped and accompanied the team to New York.

“I am extremely proud of them,” Sam Davis said.  ”Rhodes deserves much of the credit because of his hard work, as well as the faculty members who did practice rounds.”

The competition honors the late Associate Judge Domenick L. Gabrielli of the New York State Court of Appeals, who supported moot court advocacy for many years.

“I know the single most important thing to take away from this is the way I present myself in the courtroom,” said Lyons, who’s from Mooreville, Miss.  ”Dean Hall told us the best way you can ever win is by a hair’s worth of difference, not by being a bulldog.   I learned he’s absolutely right.”

The School of Law’s Environmental Law Moot Court team also won its third national championship in four years this year at the Pace Environmental Law Moot Court Competition in White Plains, N.Y.

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Caroline Shepard, Professor David Case, and Irving Jones at the Pace competition.

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law took first place Feb. 22nd at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y.  The victory marks the third national championship in four years for the law school.

The school’s team, comprised of second-year law student Caroline Shepard of Milton, Ga. and third-year law student Irving Jones of Washington, D.C., defeated 75 other law schools, including Yale and Indiana University in the semifinal round and LSU and the University of Utah in the final round.

According to Pace’s website, the competition is the largest interschool moot court competition in the nation, regularly attracting over 200 law schools to compete and 200 attorneys to serve as judges.

“The Pace competition is one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious law school moot court competitions in the country,” said David Case, coach of the team and associate professor of law at the law school.  “Winning a third national championship demonstrates that students of the Ole Miss Law School can compete at the very highest level nationally.”

The competition tests skills in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy on issues taken from real cases.  Before the competition, teams write and file a brief for one of three respective parties’ legal positions, and then the oral phase of the competition begins in February, where each team must argue all three sides, taking a different side during each of the three preliminary rounds.  Those teams with the highest combined scores for both the written brief and oral argument advance.

Shepard won the Best Oralist Award in first preliminary round, while Irving Jones won in the second and third preliminary rounds.  Judging the final round of the competition were the Honorable Lynn Adelman, judge of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin; the Honorable Malachy E. Mannion, judge of the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and the Honorable Randolph Hill, judge of the Environmental Appeals Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The entire law school community is proud of this championship,” said Richard Gershon, dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law.  “Professors Case and Showalter-Otts have coached three different sets of students to the national championship at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition. This is an indication of the strength of our advocacy program, in general.”

Coaches include Case and Stephanie Showalter Otts, both professors at the University of Mississippi School of Law.  Case is a nationally recognized scholar on environmental regulation and management topics, and holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Interdisciplinary Studies: Environmental Law, Management and Policy.  Otts is the director of the National Sea Grant Law Center, a program which works to ensure the wise stewardship of marine resources through research, education, outreach and technology transfer.

For more information, contact Jenny Kate Luster at jkluster@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3424.

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By: Tiffany Odom

OXFORD, Miss. –In honor of Black History Month, the Constance Slaughter-Harvey chapter of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) at the University of Mississippi School of Law sponsored an assortment of programs held throughout the month of February.  The purpose of the events was to educate students, faculty and staff about the role that African Americans have played in the history of the nation.

As an initiative passed down by the National BLSA, the UM chapter began the month with a day for HIV testing in attempt to combat an increasing problem affecting many Mississippians. In 2011, Mississippi ranked number seven nationally in HIV case rates. The following year, the state reported 547 newly reported HIV infections, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.

“We sponsored the HIV testing to bring awareness to the epidemic not only affecting African Americans but the state of Mississippi at an alarming rate,” said Heather Horn, BLSA secretary.

BLSA also partnered with Mississippi Blood Services to host a blood drive and brought in Jennifer Stollman, Ph. D., academic director at the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, who spoke about judicial equity, race and the law to banish racial myths. The forum was titled “Active Bystander.”

“We put a lot of time and effort into planning and executing these events as an organization,” said Darryl Wilson, BLSA president, “We have learned that Black History Month is not only an African American celebration, but a celebration for all ethnic groups.”

UM law students and faculty weighed in with praise on the month-long celebration and expressed what it means to them individually.“The civil rights movement played an integral part in making sure that, while equality was an important focus, the movement was also about freedom and liberty to pursue your own goals without any hindrance from others just for the way you look or how you were born,” said Cory Ferraez, president of OUTlaw, an LGBT student law organization. “Black History Month is a reflection of opportunities that all Americans have, and we should celebrate that.”

With BLSA’s messages meant to honor the accomplishments of black Americans throughout history, Sandra Cox-McCarty, associate dean for administration and diversity affairs, thinks there is a lot to learn from that.

“Black History Month is also about American history. Every culture should be included,” said Cox-McCarty, “Once we learn about each others culture, we can appreciate each other and understand that we are all different.”

The celebration concluded with a two-part expungement forum and legal clinic on Feb. 22 and the BLSA annual Talent Show on Feb. 25.  BLSA hosted the expungement clinic with the Magnolia Bar Association, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project and the School of Law’s Pro Bono Initiative to educate anyone interested in erasing a criminal record on the expungement process.

“The important thing that I have gotten, from being affiliated with the organization, is a continuing affirmation that African-American students and other minority students, when given an opportunity, can be successful and effective leaders who are an important part of this country’s future,” said Larry Pittman, BLSA faculty advisor.

 

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law will continue its commitment to diversity initiatives by hosting the CLEO summer institute every summer for the next five years.  The program aims to teach the skills, knowledge and values essential to minority students’ success in law school.

The school was selected by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) for the honor from amongst law schools across the country.

“The law school not only has outstanding staff, faculty and leadership, but also the campus environment provides CLEO students with the perfect atmosphere in which to delve into a rigorous academic workout, balanced with professional networking, development and social activities,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, CLEO’s executive director.

“The administrative staff is extremely supportive, the professors are aligned with the CLEO mission, and the students gain an invaluable understanding of what it takes to succeed in law school.  We could not have come up with a better match.”

CLEO, founded in 1968, works to expand the opportunities for minority and low-income students.   Their summer program focuses specifically on self-directed learning, legal reasoning, writing and the Socratic method of teaching. It exposes students to law school and assesses their potential for success.

Over 8,000 students have participated in CLEO’s programs and have excelled through law school, passed the bar and begun their careers in the legal profession.

Kye Handy, a third year Ole Miss law student from Jackson, went through the 2012 CLEO program at the law school.

“I’ve been saying I wanted to be a lawyer since I was seven years old,” she said.  ”CLEO exposed us to what law school classes are like and helped me realize I was really going to have to pick up the pace in law school.”

Students take three academic classes, two of which are legal writing courses, and participate in enrichment activities such as visits to the federal and state courthouses, movie nights, concerts in the Grove, a judges lunch and more.

In addition, the law school was one of 45 law schools to be named by CLEO as a “William A. Blakey Diversity Pipeline Architect.”  The award was given in September at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to certain law schools who promote diversity.

“All of this underscores the fact that we are a law school that is committed to diversity,” said Sandra Cox- McCarty, associate dean for administration and diversity initiatives.  ”We look forward to continuing to promote CLEO’s mission and values by hosting the summer program.”

“Besides our affiliation with CLEO, we have many student organizations that promote diversity,” said Richard Gershon, dean.  “We also strive to recruit a diverse student body, as well as a diverse faculty and staff.”

This year’s program will be June 8-July 18 and will mark the third consecutive year for the program.  The School of Law also hosted the institute five times from 1977 to 1993.

“It’s good to hear the law school will continue to host the program,” Handy said.  ”It will help people see how the law school really is.”

                              Education Information: B.S. in Biology, Millsaps College, 2004 Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, 2008 J.D., University of Mississippi School of Law, 2011
Current Position: 

Title: Associate Patent Attorney at Cooley LLP

What opportunities do you feel Ole Miss Law provided you?

They trained me to be an excellent attorney. The faculty is exceptional, and I received a first class legal education. Some of my colleagues went to Ivy League institutions, and I feel confident that my legal analysis and work product is on par. The University of Mississippi Law School provides a top notch education.

Who was your biggest influence while in law school?

There were so many; it is hard to pick one! Professor Davis, Professor Bradley, Professor Czarnetsky, and Professor Hoffheimer were very influential to me during my time in law school. I loved all of their classes. Each professor inspired me in a way, but I would say the overall experience of attending law school at Ole Miss was very special for me. My dad went to Ole Miss Law, and I grew up in married student housing. I have a lot of memories of hanging out in the lobby of the old law school, and to be able to go back there to attend law school was a huge honor for me. My father passed away my first year of law school, and the support I received from the law school community was overwhelming. I truly felt and feel like part of the Ole Miss family.

OXFORD, Miss. –The University of Mississippi School of Law will host an expungement clinic Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to noon in room 1078 for anyone interested in finding out how to erase their criminal record.

The clinic is sponsored by the Magnolia Bar Association, the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project and the School of Law’s Pro Bono Initiative and Black Law Students Association.

“Many people who have been arrested and/or convicted of a misdemeanor or felony have been denied jobs, access to public housing or public benefits or more because of their criminal records,” said Karen Peairs, Northeastern District director for the Magnolia Bar Association and assistant director of the Career Services Office at the law school.

“This is an opportunity for them to come and learn more about the expungement process so that they can hopefully remove convictions from their records and overcome the negative impacts these convictions have on their lives.”

The clinic will include a presentation, “Know Your Rights: Mississippi Law on Expungements,” by expungement expert Faye Peterson, the founder and principal attorney of The Peterson Group, LLC.  Peterson will answer questions about the expungement process and then attendees will complete an assessment of eligibility for an expungement and for the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project income guidelines.

The expungement clinic is part of the Magnolia Bar’s Restoration Day Initiative, a day to help eligible members of the general public who have a past criminal history.

“Each of the partnering organizations considered the idea of holding an expungement clinic individually,” Peairs said.  “The Magnolia Bar Association’s Restoration Day efforts provided a way to utilize the full resources of law students and volunteer attorneys to underserved counties of in Northeast Mississippi.”

Participants should bring a valid I.D., a copy of their criminal record and an adjudication certification.

NOTE: *An expungement is the process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges.

For more information, contact Jenny Kate Luster, communications specialist, at 662-915-3424.  For more information about the University of Mississippi School of Law, visit www.law.olemiss.edu.

 

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Ron Rychlak, Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada lecturer and professor of law, provided commentary at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. recently.  He discussed issues found in his new book, Disinformation, co-authored by former Soviet Intelligence official General Ion Pacepa, who reveals the secret strategies of others to destroy Western civilization.

Mercer E. Bullard, associate professor of law and Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association distinguished lecturer

Recently, Mercer Bullard, associate professor of law and Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association distinguished lecturer, testified before a Congressional committee on a series of rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The rules would apply to crowdfunding, which is a new model for raising small amounts of capital over the Internet.  Second year law student Justin Bouchard assisted Professor in preparing the testimony.

Oxford, Miss.—The second annual January Skill Session just wrapped at the law school, with 25 elite practitioners from around the area leading the way to train University of Mississippi School of Law students in a diverse set of practical lawyering skills.

“This year’s Session was only made possible because of the participation of our alumni and the practicing bar,” said Matthew Hall, senior associate dean at the School of Law.  ”They did a tremendous service to the school and to our students by giving up their time and vacation days to teach.”

The Session brought in a diverse lot of professionals with varied practice areas, including three judges (SandersGriffis and Owens), defense and plaintiff lawyers and public interest attorneys from areas large and small.

Orchestrated by Hall,  the Skill Session takes place the first two weeks of the new year each year, just prior to the start of spring semester.  Its purpose is for students to learn practical skills from practicing lawyers, so they are better equipped for a career when they graduate.

While this year marked the second year for the program, it was the first year that second and third year law students participated.  Last year’s session was limited to and mandatory for first year students.  All students will graduate with a minimum of three skills classes before they graduate, or nearly 10% or their workload while in law school.  The classes taught ranged from Entertainment Law Practicum to How to Do a Film Deal for upper level students, and Contract Negotiation and Drafting for first year students.

According to Hall, another major benefit, particularly for second and third year students, is that they’re able to learn from a practicing attorney in the field in which they’re interested.

“In the Skill Session, upper level students are more likely to find a class oriented to the area of law they want to practice and learn a skill set that will be reusable,” he said.  ”Since the classes are also taught by experts in a field they could enter, motivation for students is much higher.”

The Session also differs from a typical semester course because, despite the substantive area of law being taught, what the student learns is applicable for all areas of the law.  Rather than doctrinal learning, the classes focus on practical workshops and exercises.  Drafting a pleading, negotiating a film deal or conducting a mock courtroom hearing are examples of classroom exercises.

“Students have to be well enough prepared each day to do real work of a lawyer, not just be a law student,” Hall said.

Skill Session courses average about 13 students per instructor, with a total of 24 different classes offered.

Nader Jarun, a third year student who took Anita Modak-Truran’s “How to Do a Film Deal,”described the session as being an unexpected experience compared to a regular semester. “The experience I had was unanticipated and gratefully so.  Professor Modak-Truran taught us a wide range of topics in the entertainment industry,” Jarun said.  ”There was no time for fear and no time for inefficiency.  We all look up to Professor Modak-Truran because of her professionalism and fun personality.  Overall it was a wonderful experience!”

In addition to the Skill Session, law students can also gain practical experience through the law school’s eleven clinical and pro bono programs, led by Debbie Bell, associate dean for clinical programs and professor of law.

Six of the Skills Session teachers taught for free this year, allowing semester costs to remain the same and therefore help students keep their debt burden low.  Anyone interested in teaching in the 2015 January Skill Session should contact Matthew Hall: mrhall@olemiss.edu.

View the full list of Skill Session Teachers on the Faculty Directory page.

 

 

Matthew Sharpe

Education Information: B.A. in Journalism, University of Mississippi, 2007 J.D., University of Mississippi School of Law, 2010 Current Position: 

Title: Workers’ Compensation and Compliance Coordinator for the New Orleans Saints

What opportunities do you feel Ole Miss Law provided you? Ole Miss Law provided me with many opportunities, from a broad education to practical experience. In less than three years, my education went from late nights studying in the library to representing clients in a legal clinic. The real world opportunities are priceless on many levels. From a professional networking standpoint, Ole Miss Law is known and respected because of the many graduates who began their illustrious careers in Oxford. In my experience, the University has maintained a commitment to excellence that continues to serve all students, past and present. Who was your biggest influence while in law school? I was fortunate to learn from many wonderful professors while at Ole Miss. From a legal standpoint, I learned a great deal from Professor Berry’s Sports and Enterainment Law course — in fact, I still keep the case book on my shelf at work. From a practical standpoint, Professor Czarnetsky and Professor Cochran offered me more wisdom than I could possibly absorb in three short years — they truly attempted to mold not just legal scholars, but also professional, well-rounded individuals.

University of Mississippi School of Law Professor Lisa Roy interviewed with HuffPost Live recently regarding a proposal to erect a Satanic monument on the Oklahoma capitol grounds.  She was joined by three other commentators.

Watch the interview.

On November 22, Niki Pace participated a workshop hosted by Georgetown Climate Center discussing nature-based adaptation strategies. During the meeting, Niki highlighted Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant’s work on living shorelines and discussed related regulatory and policy decisions impacting implementation. The invitation-only workshop included a range of senior officials from the federal, state and local level.

More information is available here: http://www.georgetownclimate.org/federal-state-and-local-officials-discuss-nature-based-adaptation-strategies

OXFORD, Miss.–The School of Law will undertake its second Skill Session January 6-17, 2014, with 22 adjuncts lined up to teach a range of practical skills courses.

The adjunct professors come from around the state to bring their expertise in a variety of subject areas, with the goal of teaching intensive courses to bridge the gap from law school to practice.

“The Skill Session embodies the law school’s focus on graduating students equipped with the ability to practice law, rather than just think about the law,” said Matthew Hall, senior associate dean for academic affairs.  ”We’re excited to have these elite practitioners working side by side with our students to train the next generation of attorneys.”

The Skill Session is offered the first two weeks in January each year, just prior to the start of spring semester.  Requirements to teach included being committed to train the next generation of lawyers, possessing deep experience in a particular professional skill, and possessing the ability and enthusiasm to translate that experience into a series of concrete exercises.  The practical exercises must involve the students in a skills “performance” for each day of the Skill Session.

Skill Session instructors and their courses include:

All first year students enroll in Contract Negotiation and Drafting, while second and third year students choose from the electives above.  Electives allow upper level students to focus on litigation, transactional work or public service lawyering, and any number of areas including estate planning, real estate, sports law, entertainment law and intellectual property.

 

Ole Miss Law School invites you to participate in the 2014 Spring Recruiting program, facilitated by the Career Services office. Our program supports your recruiting for summer law clerks, as well for entry level associates.

Students at Ole Miss are qualified for and are interested in a wide variety of employment opportunities, including large, mid-sized, and small law firms; corporations, state and federal judges; public interest organizations; and state and federal governmental agencies.  We provide numerous options for recruiting students for summer or part-time positions and graduates for full-time or contract work, including:

•On-campus interviewing, February 6-March 6, 2014 – or any date that fits your schedule.

•Recruiting via resume collection

•On demand interview schedule when YOU are ready to recruit, if the above dates do not meet your needs.

•Posting job listings for immediate or future hiring needs – for short term projects or longer

•Video interviews

I hope that you will consider the convenience offered by our spring recruiting program. If you are unable to participate this year, please contact the Career Services office for other ways that we may assist you with your hiring.

To request an on-campus interview date or to list a job, please call or e-mail Mary Williams at 662-915-3421;mew2@olemiss.edu

We look forward to working with you!

Sincerely,

Kristin Flierl, Assistant Dean

Law Career Services

The University of Mississippi School of Law

PO Box 1848

University, MS 38677

P – 662-915-6830

Fax – 662-915-7025

 

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