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The University of Mississippi School of Law mourns the loss of Carolyn Ellis Staton. Staton, 71, died May 19, 2017, at her home in Oxford, MS.

Born in Vicksburg, MS, to the late John and Marguerite Shibley Ellis, Mrs. Staton received her Bachelor’s degree at Tulane University, her Master’s degree at Columbia University and her Juris Doctor at Yale University. At the University of Mississippi, she served as a Law Professor, Interim Dean at the Law School, Associate Provost and retired as Provost in 2009. As Provost, she facilitated the creation of the University of Mississippi residential colleges and the Croft Institute. She expanded on the ideas of others in the creation of the Honor’s College. She was a dedicated and loving wife of 33 years and a loving mother to three boys. She found great joy in her travels overseas and prided herself on enabling her children to travel. She was a veteran of the United States Army Reserve JAG Corps where she achieved the rank of Captain.  She served on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service in the 1990s at the Pentagon.

She is survived by her husband William Staton of Oxford, MS; sons, William “Will” Staton and his fiancé, Katrina of Washington, DC, Thom Staton of Asheville, NC and Michael Staton of Hooksett, NH and brothers, David Ellis of Hilton Head, SC and Robert Ellis of Memphis, TN.

Memorial contributions in Mrs. Staton’s memory may be made to the Carolyn Ellis Staton Scholarship in Law Endowment, University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655 in lieu of flowers.

A memorial service will be held Monday, May 22, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at Paris-Yates Chapel on the Campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS (parking will be available in the circle). Visitation will be held Sunday, May 21, 2017 from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at Waller Funeral Home. In conjunction with her easy-going spirit, the family welcomes casual clothing.

The University of Mississippi School of Law will honor Reuben Anderson at this year’s graduation ceremony. Anderson was the first African-American to graduate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1967.

“The law school is proud to honor one of our most outstanding and well-known graduates, Reuben Anderson, on the 50th anniversary of his graduation and to thank him for fifty years of leadership and service,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean of the law school. “In addition to an illustrious private practice, he served as a judge in four courts, including the Mississippi Supreme Court. He has been President of the Mississippi Bar and in 1995 held the Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government here at the law school.”

Anderson is a Senior Partner at Phelps Dunbar in Jackson. He was the first African American judge on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“It’s a great honor and a thrill to be back at the law school and to be honored by the law school,” said Anderson. “I’m grateful for the great education I received and thankful it prepared me for a great career.”

Delivering the commencement address for the Law School Graduation is Judge Carlton Reeves, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Reeves clerked on the Mississippi Supreme Court for Anderson after graduating from law school.

“I am so honored to participate in this very special commencement ceremony, which not only celebrates the successes of the graduates, but also recognizes Justice Anderson, who laid the ground work and opened the door for me and so many others. But for him, I would not be a federal judge,” said Reeves.

Reeves, a native of Yazoo City, received his bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University and is a 1989 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. In 2010, Reeves was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

The Law School’s graduation will be held Saturday, May 13 at 11 a.m. in the Grove. It will immediately follow the university commencement at 9 a.m. For more information on graduation, visit

Mr. Paul Bennett, I.T. Coordinator at the University of Mississippi School of Law, has been selected as the 2016-2017 Outstanding Staff Member of the Year. The award is voted on each year by the Law School Student Body (LSSB) Senate. The LSSB Senators—elected by their respective classes—assembled on Friday, March 31, 2017, to make nominations and vote on a single recipient of the award.

“We are thrilled to announce Mr. Bennett as the Outstanding Staff Member of the Year,” said Allison Bruff, LSSB Vice President. “From class lectures to guest speakers to special events, Mr. Bennett has gone above and beyond to enhance our experience as law students in the information age and maximize the efficiency of our programs through modern technology.”

Mr. Bennett manages all of the information technology requirements at the law school and has been on the Staff at the University of Mississippi for 21 years, beginning as a student employee in the Micro Computer Labs and moving to the School of Law as Network Administrator in 2002. He received degrees in Public Administration and Business Administration from the University of Mississippi. Prior to that, Mr. Bennett served in the United States Air Force as a Security Specialist from 1973-1979.

“Paul is our resident MacGyver,” said Pamela Gordon, Assistant to the Dean. “He can make anything technical work properly.” Students, faculty, and staff rely on Mr. Bennett every day to keep the law school and its technology running smoothly.


Associate Clinical Professor David Calder

David Calder, clinical professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, recently received the “Champions for Children” Award from Children’s Advocacy Centers for Mississippi. He was recognized at the Children’s Advocacy Centers for Mississippi’s annual conference for the work he has done throughout the state.

“I am very grateful and humbled to receive this recognition from the Child Advocacy Centers of Mississippi, which have greatly improved the procedures and resources available to protect abused children in our state,” said Calder. “The Centers have increased public education about the problem of child abuse, and done an excellent job of fostering cooperation and communication among professionals in various disciplines who protect the welfare of our children. I look forward to the privilege of continuing to work with the Centers in their efforts to end child abuse in this state.”

Calder is the founding director of the University of Mississippi Law School Child Advocacy Clinic. He also directed the Consumer Clinic and the Domestic Violence Clinic. Since 1994, Calder has taught and mentored several hundred students to be advocates for children as well as given them the tools they need to be excellent guardians ad litem.

“David Calder is one of the most thorough attorneys and dedicated advocates for the rights of children I have ever known,” said Deborah Bell, interim dean of the law school. “His dedication to children and families is enhanced with his commitment to excellence in practice. He has made a lasting difference in the lives of children in Mississippi.”

In addition to teaching future advocates, Calder has also provided countless hours of research and drafting to improve state laws and rules affecting cases involving children. His knowledge and experience was critical to the work of the Termination of Parental Rights Study Group’s revision of the TPR law, which was signed by Governor Phil Bryant on April 16, 2016. He is now focused on helping the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi to draft Forensic Interviewing legislation and working on the passage of this law.

Calder received his B.A. in religion from Mississippi College in 1975, and a J.D. from the University of Mississippi in 1986, where he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal and received the Mississippi Law Institute Scholarship. After law school, he served as a law clerk for U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerry A. Davis before entering private practice. In 2014, he was named as one of the top ten finalists for the Mississippi Business Journal’s Lawyer of the Year.

The University of Mississippi Law School student body will host Governor Haley Barbour on April 21, 2017 at noon in Room 2094. The event is part of the LSSB Speaker Series.

“We are very excited to have Governor Haley Barbour as our keynote speaker for the final LSSB Speaker Series event of the year,” said Gregory Alston, LSSB President. “Governor Barbour, having worked on the national stage and forefront of government policy and politics, is one of the university’s most distinguished alumni. Governor Barbour has represented Ole Miss and the state of Mississippi with integrity, and we look forward to having him.”

Former Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour an Ole Miss Law Alum (JD ’73). He started his political career in 1968 working on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. Since then, he has worked closely with many Republican candidates including Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Governor Barbour later served as the Political Director of the Reagan White House and cofounded BGR Group, a government affairs firm.

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

In 2004, Gov. Barbour took office as Governor of Mississippi. A year after taking office, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Governor Barbour responded quickly to the disaster and received national recognition for his actions. He later published a memoir from the Governor’s perspective and leadership lessons that came from the disaster.

The Law School Student Body recently held officer elections for the 2017-2018 school year. LSSB represents the law school student body to the law school and university administrators.

Allison Bruff, President

Allison Bruff is currently a second-year law student and will serve as President of the Law School Student Body for the 2017-2018 academic year. Allison is a native of Union City, Tennessee and attended Rhodes College in Memphis where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, cum laude, in 2014. While at Rhodes, Allison served as the Captain of the Varsity Lacrosse team and an officer of Delta Delta Delta sorority. She earned honors as a Rhodes Fellow and the Student-Employee of the Year for 2013-2014.

After graduating, Allison worked for Conley & Conley law firm—while also coaching soccer and tutoring—for one year before attending the University of Mississippi School of Law. Allison is the Executive Mississippi Cases Editor for the Mississippi Law Journal (Vol. 87) and a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council. She also serves as a research assistant to Professor William W. Berry, III, whose scholarship focuses on capital punishment and sports law. Before being elected to serve as President, Allison served as a Senator and the Vice President.

Last summer, Allison interned for Judge Julia Smith Gibbons on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. During the spring semester of 2017, Allison was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Society, University of Mississippi Chapter. She expects to graduate in May of 2018 and plans to pursue a federal clerkship before beginning a career in civil litigation.

Sammy Brown, Vice President

Sammy Brown is currently a first-year law student and will serve as Vice President of the Law School Student Body for the 2017-2018 academic year. Sammy is a native of Canton, Mississippi and attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 2016. While at the University of Mississippi, Sammy was a member of numerous organizations, including the Mock Trial Team, Black Student Union, NAACP, and College Democrats.

In July 2016, Sammy was certified as a CLEO Fellow after spending six weeks at Drake University Law School. During his first semester of law school, he was elected the Associated Student Body Representative by the law school student body. Sammy is also currently a clerk at Alexander Law, P.A. in Flowood, MS. Sammy expects to graduate in May of 2019.

Jake Swatley, Secretary

Jake Swatley is currently a first-year law student and will serve as the Secretary of the Law School Student Body for the 2017-2018 academic year. A native of Collierville, Tennessee, Jake attended the United States Military Academy at West Point before transferring to the University of Memphis where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 2015.

After graduation, Jake worked for a Presidential campaign and a Congressional campaign in Tennessee early in the 2016 election cycle. Since starting law school, Jake has been a member of the Christian Legal Society. This summer, Jake will be clerking with Harris, Shelton, Hanover, and Walsh in Memphis. Jake expects to graduate in May of 2019.

Chloe Kennedy, Treasurer

Chloe Kennedy is currently a second-year law student and will serve as LSSB Treasurer for the 2017-2018 academic year. Chloe is from Albertville, Alabama. She attended Jacksonville State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting in 2015. While at Jacksonville State University, Chloe received the Robert Trathen Memorial Award for encompassing leadership skills and integrity.

Currently, she is a member of the Trial Advocacy Board, Curriculum and Practices Committee, Business Law Network, Pro Bono Initiative Committee, Law Association for Women, Environmental Law Society, Christian Legal Society, and Public Interest Law Foundation. Chloe has held the position of Treasurer for the Law School Student Body for the 2016-2017 year. Chloe expects to graduate in May of 2018.

Andrew P. Cicero, III, Attorney General

Andrew P. Cicero, III is currently a first-year law student and is honored to serve as the Law School Student Body Attorney General for the 2017-2018 academic year. Andrew was born, raised, and educated in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a Sales Certification and a minor in American History, cum laude, from The University of Alabama in May 2016.

Andrew served as a Student Government Association Senator and member of the President’s Cabinet. Andrew is also a Sigma Tau Gamma, and proudly colonized and served as President of the Epsilon Phi Chapter. Through his involvement at The University of Alabama, Andrew was inducted into the Blackburn Institute, a non-partisan policy institute focused on the betterment of the State of Alabama, as well as tapped into the Jasons Senior Men’s Honorary, a collection of the 40 most outstanding fraternity members at Alabama.

Since his arrival at The University of Mississippi School of Law, Andrew has served as an LSSB Senator, a competing member of the Negotiation Board, and was inducted into the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society. Andrew is also a member of the Christian Legal Society and serves as a Greeter at Pinelake Church. Upon graduation in May of 2019, he plans to return to Alabama to practice civil litigation.

Kelley Killorin, Social Chair

Kelley Killorin is a second-year law student at the University of Mississippi School of Law and is from Columbus, Georgia. For the 2017-2018 academic year, Kelley will serve as the LSSB Social Chair, which she has held for the 2016-2017 year. She also serves as the Business Editor for the Mississippi Sport Law Review, and previously has held the position of Associated Student Body senator for the law school. Kelley attended the University of Mississippi for undergraduate, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Leadership.

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.

Deborah H. Bell Law Faculty
Photo by Harry Briscoe

The Mississippi Law Journal is hosting their Spring Social on Thursday April 6, 2017 at the Iron Horse in Jackson, MS where they will honor Deborah Bell, interim dean of the law school.

Bell will receive the Mississippi Law Journal Achievement Award at the Spring Social. Bell has been very active in the legal community of Mississippi since receiving her JD in 1979. She is an expert on family law and has written a treatise on the topic. Bell has also aided in drafting legislation in Mississippi and has been awarded many times for her work in the legal community and public service.

Please join us for an evening filled with live music, all alumni and friends of the University of Mississippi School of Law are welcome.

RSVP to Madison Coburn at or online at

The MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law recently played a part in the adoption of the first-ever Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure, which the Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously adopted in December 2016. As part of the rulemaking process, the Supreme Court invited comments on the proposed rules and made revisions after considering those submissions.

The MacArthur Justice Center submitted extensive analysis and proposed revisions addressing matters such as the proper collection of court fines and fees, reform of Mississippi’s bail system, the consequences of lengthy delays in seeking indictments against detained persons, and the timely appointment of counsel. The Mississippi Supreme Court adopted several changes proposed by the MacArthur Justice Center.

The Center’s comments to the court were drafted by Professor Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center, and Jake Howard, adjunct professor.

“We believe the new Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure are an important step forward in the quest for a criminal justice system that protects the rights of all those accused of criminal conduct,” said Johnson. “The Supreme Court’s willingness to consider input from the MacArthur Justice Center and others demonstrates the seriousness with which the Court approached the drafting of these new rules.”

The rules take effect on July 1, 2017 and provide comprehensive guidance for the orderly administration of the criminal justice system in Mississippi.

“We are grateful that the Court saw fit to implement changes we proposed, and we now begin the work of monitoring compliance with these Rules throughout Mississippi, said Johnson. “As Mississippi’s flagship law school, it is important for us to be aware of and respond to rulemaking and legislative efforts that impact the rights of Mississippi citizens and the practice of law in Mississippi.”

Johnson and Howard will speak to Mississippi public defenders at their spring conference in April regarding the new rules and how they will change criminal proceedings.

Professor Larry Pittman has been selected as the 2016-2017 Professor of the Year at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The award is given each year to a Professor at the Law School by the Law School Student Body (LSSB).

“It has been evident that Professor Pittman has been a favorite among our students at the law school,” said Gregory Alston, LSSB President. “Professor Pittman’s dedication to the profession and our students is shown in the classroom and in the hallways of the law center each and every day.”

The students had a week to submit nominations to Alston for the award. The Professor of the Year Nominating Committee, which is made up of representatives from each class, selects the recipient from the nominations.

“I would like to congratulate Professor Pittman on his exemplary service to the University of Mississippi School of Law and for being the recipient of this award,” said Alston. “The student body appreciates all that he does for us.”

Pittman teaches Torts, Law and Medicine, Bioethics, Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes and Pre-Trial Practice. His scholarship interests include ERISA preemption, Health Law, Bioethics and Alternative Dispute Resolution. He received both his B.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Mississippi and his LL.M. from Harvard University.

Five outstanding alumni were inducted into the University of Mississippi School of Law Hall of Fame during Law Alumni Weekend. This year’s inductees included Raymond Brown (LL.B. 62), David Houston (JD 69), Joe Meadows (LL.B. 62), Bob Weems (JD 66), and Allen Pepper (JD 68), who was inducted posthumously.

Raymond L. Brown

Born in Clarksdale, Raymond Brown spent his early years in Greenville. At Greenville High School, Brown was a student leader serving as president of the student council. He was also a four-sport athlete, playing as quarterback and captain of a state championship football team, being named most valuable player in what was high school’s Big 8 Conference and first team high school All-American.

Following his high school career, Brown enrolled at the University of Mississippi on a football scholarship. During his time as a student athlete, he played both football and baseball. In football, he earned All-Southeastern Conference honors, having led the SEC in passing in 1956 and in total offense in 1957. In 1958, he was named the Sugar Bowl Most Valuable Player, the only MVP in the bowl’s history to be chosen unanimously. His 92-yard run in that game remains a Sugar Bowl record. He finished his college football career by playing in the Senior Bowl and the College All-Star Game. Off the field, he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, president of the business school, and was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. He was also selected as a member of the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame.

In 1958, Brown walked away from Ole Miss with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He left Oxford to play for the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League. During his three years as a professional football player, he was a starting defensive back, the team’s punter and the backup quarterback. The Colts also won two overall championships with Brown on their roster. While he was playing professional football, he also found the time to attend both the University of Maryland Law School and the University of Mississippi School of Law. As a law student, Brown was inducted into Phi Delta Phi honor fraternity and was selected to serve as business manager of the Mississippi Law Journal. He earned his law degree in 1962 and went to Washington, DC to clerk for Justice Tom Clark in the United States Supreme Court.

Brown is also active within his community. He is a member of First United Methodist Church in Pascagoula, where he has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is also a past Chairman of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, where he has served many years as a board member. Brown has also served as President of the Pascagoula Rotary Club and as President of the Jaycees. In 1964, he was named Pascagoula’s Young Man of the year. For 30 years, he served as attorney for the Pascagoula Municipal School District and has also been a board member of Hancock Bank in Pascagoula. Presently, he serves on the Gautier Historic Preservation Commission.

In the legal industry, his leadership includes a term as President of the Young Lawyers of Mississippi (then known as the Junior Bar). He was also state Chair and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Regent (representing Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas). Brown was also elected President of the Mississippi Bar just before his 42nd birthday, making him the youngest person to serve as the Bar’s president. Both the Mississippi Bar and the Mississippi Defense Lawyers have honored Brown with their Lifetime Achievement awards.

Loyal to his alma mater, Brown served as President of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and was later honored with induction into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame and the Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the MS Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Raymond and his late wife Lyn Shoemaker Brown have three children, Allison Brown Buchanan, Raymond L. Brown, Jr. and Beverly Brown Dees, as well as eight grandchildren.


David W. Houston III

David Houston arrived at the University of Mississippi as an undergraduate student and obtained his degree in accountancy in 1966. As a student, he was a member of Sigma Chi social fraternity and was chair of the Associated Student Body’s Student Judicial Council. He was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma, an honor society for first-year students in all disciplines, as well as Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. He was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, a business administration honor society, where he served as president. Within the accountancy program, he was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, and he was treasurer in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. Houston was also named Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Upon graduating from Ole Miss, he enrolled in law school. As a law student, he was on the Law School Honor Council, the Moot Court Board and was a member of Phi Alpha Delta, the largest professional legal fraternity. In 1969, he obtained his J.D. from the School of Law.

Following law school, Houston went to Washington, DC to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent. During his time with the F.B.I., he received seven letters of commendation, including one incentive award from Directors J. Edgar Hoover and L. Patrick Gray. In 1972, he returned to Mississippi to work at the Aberdeen law firm of Houston, Chamberlin and Houston. During this span, he also served as Municipal Judge for the City of Aberdeen, and he served a stint as Aberdeen’s City Attorney. He would also become Assistant District Attorney for the First Circuit Court District in Mississippi. In 1983, he was selected to serve as the United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi. In addition, he presided over cases in the Southern District of Mississippi, the Middle District of Louisiana, and the Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas. He conducted trials in numerous consumer and complex commercial cases, authoring hundreds of published opinions. From 1997-2013 he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court to serve as a member of the Committee on the Budget for the Judicial Conference of the United States. During this time he also chaired the Subcommittee on Congressional Outreach. He also served for nine years on the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. In 2013, he retired from the bench after 30 years of service. Following retirement, he joined the Tupelo law firm of Mitchell, McNutt & Sams, P.A. and has also served as an adjunct professor at the Ole Miss law school teaching bankruptcy skills. He is a past chairman of the Lamar Order.

Houston received the Bierce Distinguished Service Award in 2003, the highest honor conveyed by the National Conference for Bankruptcy judges. In 2011, Houston was the recipient of the Mississippi Bar’s Judicial Excellence Award. He was inducted into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame in 2013. He has been a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, where he currently serves on its Board of Trustees.

Houston and his wife, Debi, have four children; Laura Houston Collins, David Houston IV, Beth Houston Smith, and Morgan Locke Houston, three of whom are Ole Miss law alumni.

Joseph R. Meadows

A product of Quitman High School, Joe Meadows made his way to Ole Miss where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance in 1961. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He then enrolled in the University of Mississippi School of Law, graduating with his law degree in 1963. During his time as an Ole Miss student, Meadows served Clarke County in the Mississippi House of Representatives with a term in 1960 followed by a 1964 term. He is also a veteran in the United States Army, serving 16 months in Korea.

Meadows has been appointed to service numerous times in his career. He was appointed in 1978 as attorney for the City of Gulfport. In 1989, Gov. Ray Mabus appointed him to serve an unexpired term as District Attorney for Harrison, Hancock and Stone counties. In 1990 he was appointed attorney for the Harrison County Board of Supervisors and served until he retired from that position in 2009. In 2015, he would be appointed to serve another unexpired term on the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.

His professional involvement has been immense. Locally he would serve as President of the Gulfport Young Lawyers in 1970. In 1972, Meadows served as President of the Mississippi Young Lawyers. He was Chair of the Mississippi Bar Law Day committee in 1972 and 1973, receiving a national award from the American Bar Association (ABA) for his service. He was also national Chair of the Disaster Emergency Relief Committee within the Young Lawyers Section of the ABA. Meadows has been generous with his time in service to the Mississippi Bar as well. From 1973 to 1978, he served as Chair of the Bar’s Ethics Committee. He was Chair of the Bar’s State Convention from 1976 to 1978. In 1978, he served for three years as Chair of the Bar’s Lawyer Referral Committee and was elected in 1982 to the Board of the Mississippi Bar Commissioners. In 1984 he was a member of the Bar’s Legal Education Committee and became a member of the Board of Governors of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association. He was then elected in 1987 as President of the Mississippi Bar. He later would serve as President of the Fellows of the Young Lawyers of the Mississippi Bar in 1999. His loyalty to his alma mater would not fade as he also returned to his law school to serve as Lamar Order Chairman from 1997 to 1998. In 2011 he was appointed Chair of the Eighth Chancery Court District Liaison Committee by Senior Chancellor Sanford R. Steckler.

Meadows has been a mediator since 1996, serving as mediator in numerous cases, including wrongful death, contract dispute, government/citizen dispute, domestic relations and personal injury. From 2009 to 2010 he served as Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Mississippi Bar.

Meadows’ devotion to his community and profession has not gone unnoticed. In 1971, he was chosen Outstanding Young Man of Gulfport by the Gulfport Junior Chamber of Commerce. The Boy Scouts of America awarded him the Pine Bur Award in 1978, the Good Shepherd Award in 1979 and the Silver Beaver Award in 1981. In 1983, the Gamma Iota Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha selected him as a member of their Hall of Fame. Since 1989, he has been named to “Outstanding Lawyers of America.” In 1999 the NAACP presented him their Legal Services Award, and in 2004 he was the recipient of Boss of the Year from Gulfport Coast Association of Legal Support Professionals.

Meadows and his wife, Carole Lynn, reside in Gulfport where he has practiced law since 1965 and is presently member and founder of Meadows Law Firm. They are proud parents of Kathryn Lynn Meadows and Joseph R. Meadows, Jr. and doting grandparents of Victoria Meadows and Meredith Meadows Kajdan.


William A. Pepper, Jr.

Allen Pepper took the oath of Office as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Mississippi on July 21, 1999, having received the nomination on March 8, 1999. Before his appointment to the bench, he maintained a solo law practice for 30 years in Cleveland. A native of Belzoni, he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology in 1963. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, and he participated in the Concert Singers and Army ROTC. Following two years active duty as an officer with the 101st Airborne Division of the U. S. Army, he returned to Mississippi and received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1968.

Allen maintained an AV rating in Martindale-Hubbell for 15 years and was listed in Martindale-Hubbell’s Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in the field of Civil Trial Practice.

He was a nominee for the office of President of the Mississippi Bar in 1991, and served two terms as a Director of the Young Lawyers Section; was on the Lawyer Referral Committee, the Admission Study Committee, the Complaints Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Legislative Committee, the Disciplinary Review Committee, the Law Office Management Committee, the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee and the Complaints Tribunal. He was also President of the Mississippi Bar Foundation.

Pepper was elected President of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association in 1985 following service as Continuing Legal Education Chairman, Secretary, Vice President, and member of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee.

He was chairman of the Lamar Order and a director of the University of Mississippi Law Alumni Chapter. Pepper was a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, where he was also a Trustee and a member of the Grants Committee. He held membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates and American Inns of Court, was a member of the American Bar Association, was a State Committeeman for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, a Fellow of Young Lawyers Association of the MS Bar, and has been a frequent speaker at legal education seminars.

Pepper was a Public Defender for 26 years, was a member of the Mississippi Public Defenders Association, and was a participant in the Mississippi Pro Bono Project. He held membership in both the National and the Mississippi School Board Attorney’s Association and was an Adjunct Professor at Delta State University. Active in civic affairs, he was Chairman and was a 12- year member of the Bolivar County Elections Commission, was President of the Lions Club, the Crosstie Arts Council and the Bolivar County Ole Miss Alumni Club. He was Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Foundation and a director of the Delta State University Booster Club and Sunburst Bank of Cleveland, now Regions Bank.

He was vice president of the Fifth Circuit District Judges Association, on the board of directors of the Federal Judges Association, a former member of the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council, and a member of the American Inns of Court. Pepper also served as Chairman of the Administrative Board, Finance Committee, and Pastor Parish Relations Committee of the First United Methodist Church, where he was a Sunday School teacher, choir member, Habitat for Humanity Volunteer, and served as Scout Master of the Cub Scout Pack. In 1996, he was recognized for his contributions to the community by being chosen King of the Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball.

He and the former Virginia (Ginger) Brown of Jackson married in 1967, and they have one son, William (Will) Allen Pepper III, who is married to Samantha Minga Pepper.


Robert A. Weems

Born in Morton, Miss., Bob Weems grew up in Jackson. Following his graduation from Central High School, he enrolled at Millsaps College. In 1959, Weems earned his degree in Mathmatics. Upon graduating from Millsaps, he served in the United States Army Security Agency, stationed in Turkey and in Germany. In 1962, he returned to Jackson and began his career as an educator, teaching math at Chastain Junior High School. It was during his time as a math teacher that he married the former Janis Mitchell of Corinth.

In 1964, Weems enrolled at the University of Mississippi School of Law. As a student, he was an assistant editor of the Mississippi Law Journal. He was also inducted into membership in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. In August of 1966, Weems’ time as a law school student came to an end when he graduated at the top of his class.

After graduating from the Ole Miss law school, Weems moved to Vicksburg to start his career as a practicing attorney. He joined the firm of Brunini, Everett, Grantham and Quin where he was an associate for five years. In 1971, he became partner at Brunini, Everett, Beanland and Wheeless. During his time in Vicksburg, Weems’ two children, Margaret and Robert, were born.

In 1977, the University of Mississippi School of Law called him back to Oxford to serve as a member of the faculty. For more than a decade, he was an associate professor teaching Torts, Wills and Estates, Evidence and Trial Practice. In 1989, he was promoted to Professor and Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada Lecturer in Law, a post he held until he retired from teaching full time in 2013. Weems may be best remembered by alumni for the continuing legal education seminar he presented with his friend and colleague, Guff Abbott, titled “Recent Developments in Mississippi Civil Law.” The two of them presented this CLE from 1984 until 2011. One of his proudest accomplishments as a scholar was in 1992 when he had the opportunity to co-author with his son Mississippi Wills and Estates, Cases, Statutes and Materials; Mississippi Law of Interstate Succession, Wills and Administration of Estates; Proposed Mississippi Uniform Probate Code. After 40 years of teaching at the Ole Miss Law School, Weems announced that after the 2017 fall semester, he would fully retire.

His success as a classroom teacher did not go unnoticed. He was awarded the law school’s Outstanding Law Professor Award in 1980, 1989, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003. In 1994, he was awarded the most prestigious honor an instructor can receive at the University of Mississippi when he was presented the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award. In addition to his teaching duties, he served for a decade on the university’s Athletics Committee; as faculty athletics representative and as chairman.

Oxford, Miss. —The 2017 McClure Lecture will be presented by Professor Devon Carbado on March 30, 2017 at 4:15 p.m. in Weems Auditorium (Room 1078) at the Law School.

Professor Carbado’s lecture is entitled “Contemporary Problems in Race and the Law.” He is the Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law and Associate Vice chancellor of BruinX for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at UCLA School of Law. Carbado writes about employment discrimination, criminal procedure, constitutional law and identity. In addition to writing, he teaches courses on Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law, Critical Race Theory and Criminal Adjudication.

This lecture is part of a memorial lecture series honoring James McClure, Jr. (LL.B 1953). The James McClure Memorial Lecture Series was established by his children to honor his legacy at the University of Mississippi School of Law. In the past years, the series has featured many high-profile speakers, including, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A reception in the atrium will follow the lecture.

For more information please contact Professor Michele Alexandre, email:

The Mississippi Law Journal is hosting the Mississippi Law Journal Lecture Series on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 12:45 p.m. in Room 1090 at the Law School.

This year’s lecture will be introduced by Dean Deborah Bell and features Magistrate Judge David Sanders of the Northern District of Mississippi. Judge Sanders’ lecture will focus on current trends in federal court practice and is entitled “Federal Practice 101”. His lecture will also celebrate the publishing partnership between the Mississippi Law Journal and the Federal Courts Law Review.

Judge Sanders has served as Magistrate Judge since June 2008. He received his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal. After graduation, Judge Sanders clerked for the United States District Judge David Bramlette in the Southern District of Mississippi and later for Magistrate Judge Allan Alexander in the Northern District of Mississippi. After his career as a law clerk, Judge Sanders joined the United States Attorney’s Office in Oxford, Mississippi where he worked as a prosecutor until his appointment to the bench.

Judge Sanders’ other involvements include working as Editor-in-Chief of the Federal Courts Law Review and as an adjunct professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

The student editorial board of the Federal Courts Law Review has been composed of editors for the Mississippi Law Journal as part of a formal partnership since 2016. This partnership will also incorporate a jointly printed volume of the Mississippi Law Journal.

For more information about this event please contact Cate Rodgers, Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal, by emailing

The third Race and Sustainability Conference will be held March 29-31, 2017 at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The theme is “Vulnerability, Historical Memory and Healing.”

The event kicks off on March 29 with a civil rights tour of Oxford and an opening dinner. The dinner will feature Former Mayor of Memphis and civil rights attorney A.C. Wharton as the keynote speaker. The following two days will be filled with engaging panels consisting of scholars, activists, students and other members of the community.

The University of Mississippi School of Law is excited to bring this event back to the community along with its many co-sponsors. Co-sponsors of the conference include: the Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, the Center for Population Studies, the Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network, the School of Education, the Meek School of Journalism and Media, and the University of Mississippi Law Journal

For more information about the conference and registration, please visit or email Michele Alexandre

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.”

University of Mississippi School of Law students recently competed in the Inaugural Southeastern Regional Tax Challenge presented by the University of Missouri Schools of Law and Accountancy. All universities that are members of the Southeastern Conference were invited to send teams of law students and accountancy students to participate. The Ole Miss Law School team consisting of Kyle Carpenter (2L), Patrick Huston (2L), and Devin Mills (2L) took home first place after two full days of competing. They also won Best Presentation, and Devin Mills won second place in the Best Presenter category.

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 their oral and written presentations for the judges (attorneys, accountants, and professors from throughout the southeast) who acted as clients.

The presentation 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 Professor Karen Green, who coached the students. “The students were given only about ten 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 only allowed two practice sessions. To help her team prepare, Professor Karen Green enlisted the help of local tax attorneys Jack Nichols, Gray Edmondson, Josh Sage, and Brandon Dixon, along with Professors 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 two different panels of judges. After the scores were compiled, they were notified that they were one of the top four teams and would be advancing to the final round, in which they were ultimately named the champions.

This was the first time Ole Miss Law has competed in a Tax Law Competition.

University of Mississippi National Cultural Heritage Moot Court Competition team reached the finals on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 in a competition held at DePaul College of Law in Chicago.

The team consisted of students Rod Hickman (3L), Alison Guider (2L) and Zac Roberson (2L), and their coach, Professor Scott DeLeve.

“The students worked very hard, and created strong arguments on two difficult issue,” said DeLeve. “Their preparedness and performance in front of Federal circuit court judges and leading academicians was a credit to themselves and showed the strength of the law school.”

The teammates reached the finals of the competition, earning the status of National Runner-Up. They engaged in oral arguments, focusing on the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) Feb. 24-25 at the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Court house.

The competition is held annually and focuses on a different cultural issue every year. It is sponsored by the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation and gives students the chance to explore a growing field that deals with symbolic, historical and emotional aspects of our culture. The Cultural Heritage field encompasses protection and preservation of cultural sites, artworks, legal rights and property.

Each year the Dean of the Law School and the President of the Law School Student Body select a law professor for the Ben Hardy Faculty Excellence Award. This year’s recipient is Professor Ronald Rychlak.

“Professor Rychlak embodies the characteristics of outstanding teaching and service of the Ben Hardy Faculty Excellence Award,” said Gregory Alston, president of the Law School Student Body. “His commitment to ensure our students succeed not only at Ole Miss but in our professional careers is seen day to day at the law school. I will always cherish Professor Rychlak’s love for Ole Miss and his selfless service to this great institution.”

Upon hearing he was selected for the award, Rychlak was very honored to be chosen.

“I love this law school. I am continually impressed by its students and amazed by my colleagues,” said Rychlak. “I am humbled to be singled out from such an outstanding community.”

Established in 2006 by Ben A. Hardy, Jr. of Mentone, AL, this award recognizes outstanding teaching, scholarship and service by a faculty member at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

OXFORD, MS — “If it’s a boy,” Bill Strong announced to a crowded courtroom in Louisville, Mississippi, “I’ll send up black smoke; if it’s a girl, I’ll send up white.”

A few hours later, white smoke was billowing from the Strong’s chimney. This smoke — determined by gender — would come to define Mary Ann Strong Connell’s life in ways she never could have expected.

Neil White, publisher of An Unforeseen Life, said, “Readers are going to love this story of loss, faith, tragedy, and perseverance.”

When Connell was eight, fire took the life of her younger brother. She blamed herself for the accident, and guilt became a motivator for the remainder of her remarkable life.

In An Unforeseen Life readers will share with Connell her experiences, as she faced a different kind of firestorm, when she became one of the first women practicing law in Oxford, Mississippi. The scenes continue to unfold when she convinces the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to move their march off of the Ole Miss campus.

Her readers will share in her pain as she is called as an adverse witness in the wrongful termination trial of football coach Billy Brewer, who had once been her classmate at Ole Miss, and the exhaustion and difficulty of two NCAA investigations.

There are moments of humor when she warns a first-year law student named John Grisham “if you don’t get serious, you’ll never succeed at the practice of law” to a battle with Oxford’s colorful mayor John Leslie (who took to calling her “The Sewer Queen”) to a client who paid her with a sack of coons.

We witness the character growth of those around her, including her husband whose conservative beliefs about women, began to erode as he saw her succeed. We applaud her when she enrolls in law school with four young children, and when she attends Harvard Law School for an advanced degree (alongside fellow classmate Barack Obama).

An Unforeseen Life, set to be released April 11, 2017, is a powerful memoir about a woman, who embraced what she could, and tried to make the most of her life, despite an underlying sadness. Her story is a funny at times, touching, and an account of a life “most richly blessed” if sometimes in unexpected ways.

Mary Ann Connell practices law with Mayo Mallette, PLLC. She served as university attorney for the University of Mississippi from 1982 to 2003. She served as the school board attorney for the Oxford, Mississippi School District from 2003 to 2013. She has taught courses in higher education law, school law, legal research and writing; business law and employment law. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences on subjects involving higher education and school law. She is a past president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys; past president of the Mississippi Council of School Board Attorneys, and a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of College and University Attorneys; the NAACP Freedom Award for life-long service in the area of education and civil rights; the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association Outstanding Woman Lawyer in Mississippi Award; the University of Mississippi Chancellor’s Award for outstanding contributions toward increasing diversity, and the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society Award for outstanding teacher of the year. In 2015, she was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame.



The Mississippi Law Journal and the Sherman L. Muths, Jr., Lecture Series are hosting a Peer Review Forum Lecture Webinar on Monday, February 27th at 12:00 p.m. in Weems Auditorium. The event is also part of Black History Month.

This year’s lecture will feature Alfred Brophy, the John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Prof. Brophy’s lecture is entitled “Twenty-One Months a Slave,” and is based on an article that will appear in the Mississippi Law Journal later this year. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A panel featuring Professors Michele Alexandre and Chris Green, and Dean Jack Nowlin.

Professor Brophy’s lecture will center on the story of Cornelius Sinclair, a free person, kidnapped in Philadelphia, and enslaved in Alabama. While in Tuscaloosa, a local minister filed a lawsuit on Sinclair’s behalf, to ask for his freedom. Professor Brophy and panelists will discuss the difficulties experienced by southern jurists and litigants with the central tendencies of slave law in the American south in 1825.

Like most American law reviews, the Mississippi Law Journal is a student-edited journal. The majority of its articles are selected by student editors. However, a few of its articles are now selected and workshopped through an alternative process involving formal review by faculty peer reviewers. These articles are published in the Mississippi Law Journal as peer reviewed articles. The Peer Review Forum Lecture gives students, professors, and community members the opportunity to discuss these works in depth with Peer Review authors firsthand.