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                              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




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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:

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:

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;

We look forward to working with you!


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


Ole Miss Law School deans will answer questions from prospective students in a Dial-a-Dean program Dec. 16 from 3-5 p.m.  The deans will field questions regarding Ole Miss Law programs, its curriculum, admissions process and more.

“Dial-a-Dean affords potential applicants an opportunity to speak directly with the leadership of our law school,” said Cary Cluck, assistant dean for admissions.  ”Anyone who is thinking of applying to law school or who is currently applying will come away with a more in-depth understanding of what Ole Miss Law is all about.”

Prospective students are welcome to call anytime from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Dec. 16th.  The following deans will be on hand to talk about these areas:

  • Richard Gershon, dean-General questions regarding the school of law and our mission for preparing students for practice
  • Debbie Bell, associate dean for clinical programs - Questions regarding our clinics and practical experience opportunities
  • Matthew Hall, senior associate dean for academic affairs-Questions regarding our new curriculum for first year students and our January Skill Session
  • Jack Nowlin, associate dean for faculty development-Questions regarding the admissions process and how to prepare for law school

Those interested in participating should call 1-662-915-3416.  Callers will then be transferred to the appropriate person based on the nature of their questions.


Students from the Criminal Appeals Clinic presented oral arguments on Wednesday in front of the Mississippi Court of Appeals on the Mississippi State campus in Starkville.  The event obtained press coverage from around the country.


Sun Herald

Beaumont Enterprise

Fort Mill Times

North Jersey

SF Gate

The 2013 CLEO Group at the School of Law

By: Allen Hamilton

OXFORD, Miss. – At a reception in September at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) recognized the University of Mississippi School of Law as one of 45 law schools named to the inaugural group of “William A. Blakey Diversity Pipeline Architects.”

“Our law school community is proud to be recognized for its contributions to promotion diversity in legal education,” said Richard Gershon, dean and professor of law at the University of Mississippi School of Law.  “We are proud of our relationship with CLEO.”

CLEO celebrated their 45th anniversary this year by awarding 45 law schools, 45 individuals and 45 associations for their generous support.

“CLEO is a very proud of our 45 years of helping ‘change the face’ of the legal profession,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, executive director of CLEO. “We are truly excited about acknowledging our inaugural group of ‘William A. Blakey Diversity Pipeline Architects’ in the nation’s capital. Without their ongoing support, it would have been difficult to carry out the important work the organization has done since 1968.”

The award is named in honor of William A. Blakey for his work in promoting and advancing historically black colleges and universities. He dedicated his life to ensuring that all students who exhibited potential and passion have the opportunity to receive a quality education.

According to their website, CLEO was founded in 1968 to expand the opportunities for minority and low-income students. 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.

Gershon said UM Law has hosted a six week summer institute for CLEO for the past two years.  The summer institute teaches students the skills necessary to succeed in law school.  They teach topics that range from writing skills and legal reasoning.

The University of Mississippi School of Law will continue to promote diversity within the student body, faculty and staff.

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

Sandra Cox-McCarty, associate dean for administration and diversity initiatives at UM Law, attended the reception in D.C. to accept the award on behalf of the university.

“I left the event feeling proud that the School of Law had made some small positive contribution to those students who attended the CLEO Summer Institute in their pursuit of a legal education,” McCarty said. “There were several testimonials given by students of color about the impact that CLEO had in their lives, but more importantly the role the CLEO program had in their gaining admissions into law school.”

McCarty mentioned that a student who attended the Summer 2013 Institute at Ole Miss was at the reception.

“He expressed his thanks in attending the program and was truly appreciative of the staff and faculty.”

Students Get Networking Opportunities with Practitioners

OXFORD, Miss.—The Business Law Institute’s (BLI) mission is to train great business lawyers.  And the model they have in place is the perfect design for just that.

Housed in the first floor of the law school, the new institute takes a holistic approach to educating its students in business law, combining both course work and experiential learning.

One visible way they’re doing this is through the Institute’s physical space, which houses the Institute’s directors Mercer Bullard and John Czarnetzky, both professors at the law school.

Pictured are (from left to right): Nader Jarun,3L; Professor John Czarnetzky; Professor Mercer Bullard, Institute Director; and Cory Ferraez, 3L. Jarun and Ferraez helped start the Business Law Network, the student arm of the Institute.

“The Business Law Institute gives students the opportunity to work with Professor Bullard and Czarnetzky on a daily basis,” said Richard Gershon, UM Law dean.

“These professors are outstanding teachers, and recognized leaders in business law. The faculty members are truly enjoying working closely with the students.”

Bullard, an expert in the corporate securities field, has testified before Congress on more than 20 occasions and regularly provides insight for some of the nation’s top media outlets.

Czarnetzky is a veteran of the law school, commonly referred to as the school’s “senior most business law expert” and is a nationally recognized expert in bankruptcy law.

Both provide significant oversight and mentoring to students who participate in the Institute through the Negotiation Board, Business Law Network and Tax Clinic, the student arms of the Institute.  These offer negotiation competitions, professional outreach and real-world practice opportunities.

 “BLI students are immersed in an environment that fosters formal and informal discussions about cutting edge business law issues,” Gershon said.  “They are exposed to leading experts and professionals in the field on a regular basis. This will have a positive impact on their learning and their career opportunities.”

The Network keeps students engaged in business law issues through Flash Classes, where business law practitioners share their expertise, and through a new online business law publication with articles co-written by attorneys.

“The melding of students and faculty in one office suite has already yielded the Business Law Reporter, a new student run publication,” said Gershon.

Two students who have been involved in getting the Network off the ground are Nader Jarun, 3L, and Cory Ferraez, 3L.  The two were responsible for starting the Reporter.

“Professor Bullard put the idea in our head and we just ran with it,” said Jarun.

“Students do the bulk of the work,” Ferraez said.  “But they find the attorney to fine tune the written piece.  They can work with attorneys wherever they’d like to practice.”

The Network also holds an annual symposium and student led projects with firms and companies.

“We have transitioned the Business Law Society to the Business Law Network, and it has been much more about creating networking opportunities for students with practicing attorneys in their specific areas of interest,” Jarun said.

In addition to experiential learning the Institute offers, students can also obtain a new Business Law certificate by completing a core set of business law classes.  Classes focus on accounting, finance and insurance.

The holistic approach also ensures students learn skills necessary to become competent lawyers.

“Too often, speaking, interviewing, negotiating and writing opportunities are overwhelmed by the legal content,” Bullard said. “The Institute is highlighting each as a separate skill to be developed through exercises focused on mastering the art of effective communication.”

The Institute is also attracting support and attention from alumni.  Honorable David W. Houston, III and the Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference made a joint donation to the Institute in the name of David W. Houston III.


Judge David Houston, III (center) and members of the Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference (represented by Terre Vardaman and Kristina Johnson) pictured with law school representatives (from left) Matthew Hall, senior associate dean for academic affairs, Professor John Czarnetzky, Richard Gershon, dean, and Professor Mercer Bullard.

In addition, the Business Law Section of The Mississippi Bar made a donation to the Negotiation Board to help with participation in two competitions:  the national Entertainment Law Competition in Los Angeles, and the regional meet of the Fourth Annual Transactional LawMeet in Kansas City, Mo.

Stan Smith, chair of the Business Law Section of The Mississippi Bar, and Dean Richard Gershon.


The Wall Street Journal included Professor Mercer Bullard’s comments in a recent article on mutual funds. The article discussed information that is not disclosed in a fund’s prospectus. Professor Bullard recommended that investors check their broker’s website for information on payments that create conflicts of interest.

Read the article.

Debra Brown, Ole Miss Law alumna (JD 97) and Jackson attorney, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a federal judgeship in north Mississippi.  Brown’s appointment makes her the first black woman to be a U.S. district judge in the state. Read more.

Michèle Alexandre, associate professor of law and Jessie D. Puckett, Jr., lecturer, was named to Ebony magazine’s “Power 100″ list, which is the magazine’s pick for the nation’s most influential African Americans. According to the magazine, the list includes those who are “game-changers, including spiritualist Iyanla Vanzant, chef Marcus Samuelsson, fashion guru André Leon Talley, actresses Kerry Washington and Condola Rashad, filmmaker Lee Daniels and director-producer Shonda Rimes.”

The list is included in the December/January edition of the magazine.

Find out more>

Student lawyers Adrienne S. Moore and Rashawn N. Jones (JD 12) wrote the brief of the Appellant for the case of Anthony Carothers v. State, which was reversed on October 29, 2013, by the Court of Appeals of Mississippi.  This reversal marks the second in two weeks by Criminal Appeals Clinic students, who are under the direction of Professor Phil Broadhead.  The Court reversed on grounds that the prosecution improperly attempted to impeach its own complaining witness’ testimony.  The Court said: “A review of the record indicates that Sheena’s testimony from the bond hearing essentially mirrors her testimony at trial. Additionally, no blatant hostile behavior had been exhibited at the trial prior to the State’s request that Sheena be treated as a hostile witness. We find that the State did not lay the proper foundation for proving that Sheena was a hostile witness. Accordingly, the circuit court committed error in deeming her an adverse or hostile witness.”

Read the opinion.

Read about the previous reversal.

Professor Bullard

The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Mercer Bullard, associate professor and Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association Distinguished Lecturer, on a recent SEC proposal to permit relatively unregulated offerings of securities to unsophisticated investors.  The proposal was authorized by legislation on which Professor Bullard had previously testified before Congress.

Read the article.

Professor Bullard gave an interview to Bloomberg radio on Wednesday, Oct. 23 in which he discussed a recent SEC proposal. The proposal relates to small securities offerings known as “crowdfunding” offerings. Professor Bullard had previously testified before Congress on the legislation that authorized the rulemaking.