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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.

Students in the Tax Practicum at the University of Mississippi School of Law are getting real-world experience by assisting Oxford residents with their taxes this season. The students in the law school’s Tax Clinic manage and staff an IRS-funded Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at the Oxford-Lafayette Public Library twice a week.

Sessions are being held very Tuesday and Thursday, with the exception of March 14 and 16 (due to Spring Break), from 3:30 to 6:30. There are fourteen students that are members of the tax clinic this fall. Each student is IRS certified, and Professor Donna Davis oversees the clinic.

“Personally, my favorite part of the clinic is how Professor Davis encourages the project to be student-led,” said John George Archer, site coordinator and third-year law student. “It is very much a team effort each clinic day to complete tax returns and resolve the gamut of issues that we can encounter any given day. It’s pretty fast paced and engaging. At the end of the day, it feels good to help people understand their taxes and maximize any refunds they may have.”

The clinic is geared towards low-income clients. Participants need to bring a photo ID, Social Security card, and any tax documents. The students take it from there.

“I really appreciate how the clinic has given us the opportunity to interact with the taxpayers who rely on us to do our jobs well,” said Peter Liddell, site coordinator and third-year student. “The nature of our work requires us to handle sensitive information and ask personal questions. It has been an excellent opportunity to learn how to engage people in a professional manner which will be an invaluable skill for our careers as attorneys.”

The clinic will continue until April 6. The students hope to hold a special Friday clinic March 31 at the Law School.

The University of Mississippi School of Law is hosting the 2017 Boyce Holleman Debate Series Wednesday, March 1 at 12:45 p.m. in Weems Auditorium. This year’s debate will feature Robert Howse, law professor at New York University School of Law and Ole Miss Law’s own Professor Antonia Eliason.

The subject of the debate is “Globalization and its Institutions: Reset, Reform, or Reject.”

“Globalization has become something of an epithet in recent years, both in the Global North and in the Global South,” said Eliason. “Recently, calls for disruption of institutions linked with globalization, like the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF have increased.

“This debate engages with questions of how the legal frameworks of global institutions can be used to address concerns with globalization, and to what extent disruption is necessary to address inequality and to save globalization from itself.”

Howse is the Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law at NYU School of Law and the 2017 Boyce Holleman Lecturer. Eliason is as assistant professor of law at Ole Miss where she teaches International Trade Law, International Business Transactions, EU Law, the Law of Armed Conflict and Contracts. Her research focuses on international trade law, international finance, EU law and Roma rights.

The Boyce Holleman Debate Series was established in 2003 by Tim and Dean Holleman in memory of their father. Boyce Holleman earned both undergraduate and juris doctor degrees from Ole Miss. He enjoyed a long and successful law career as a district attorney and a criminal defense attorney on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Boyce Holleman Debate Series is open to contributions from individuals and organizations. Those wanting to provide support may do so at or by mailing checks to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677. Checks should be made payable to the foundation, and donors should note “Boyce Holleman Debate Series.”

The University of Mississippi School of Law welcomed a newly founded student organization this fall. The Richard L. Barnes Native American Law Student Association was approved by the Dean of Student’s Office May 19, 2016, and the founding members began promoting the organization at the Fall Student Organization Fair.

“The majority of states, including Mississippi, have at least one federally recognized tribe within them, so the likelihood that you’ll practice law in a state where part of the citizenship also belongs to a sovereign tribe is pretty high,” said Alain Garland, president and found of the organization. “I think it’s important to have some knowledge of how the law, and your practice, might be impacted by that, and that’s something that Ole Miss doesn’t currently offer any curriculum on.”

The organization is named for Professor Richard L. Barnes, who taught at Ole Miss Law from 1989 until he passed away in 2013. Barnes was the only Indian Law professor at the time, and since his passing, no Indian Law courses have been offered. Noticing the lack of representation, Garland and co-founder W. Diane Maxwell (vice president) and April Chaney (treasurer) began taking the steps to form an official organization.

Now with 11 members, NALSA continues to grow in membership as well as involvement. The organization plans to host webinars with Indian Law professors from other universities and hopes to have events surrounding current legal problems for Native Americans as well as issues in Indian Law that have been present for many years.

Students interested in joining NALSA should contact the organization at for more information.

The Business Law program at the University of Mississippi School of Law was featured recently in preLaw Magazine as one of the country’s top programs. In an article entitled “Top schools for business and corporate law,” UM was one of only four schools to earn a perfect score of A+ in the area of business law.

Members of the Negotiation Board

“We appreciate the recognition of our extraordinary program, which provides a broad range of practical learning opportunities and unprecedented student-faculty interaction,” said Mercer Bullard, professor of law and director of the Business Law Institute. “With four wins this year, our Negotiation Board is cementing its position as one of the nation’s best, and our student-taught CLE program is unique among U.S. law schools.”

Students in the Business Law Institute

At the heart of the law school’s stellar business law program is the Business Law Institute. The institute offers interested students a chance to obtain a concentration in business law during their legal education careers.

After completing all requirements, students can graduate with the concentration to give them an edge in the increasingly competitive marketplace.

Also housed in the Business Law Institute is the Negotiation Board, an advocacy board that focuses on developing essential lawyering skills in a simulated environment. The Negotiation Board was formed to compete in negotiation but has since expanded to include arbitration and mediation. Members of the board compete in competitions all over the country.

“The competitions typically consist of each team strategizing and analyzing their client’s interest in order to reach an agreement to build a new business relationship or mend an existing relationship in conflict,” said Rachel Smith, a third-year law student from Grenada and chair of the Negotiation Board. “Members are challenged to draft contracts, proposals and exhibits to aid judges in understanding their respective client’s position in seeking a resolution.”

Elizabeth Hiatt and Roy Smith competing in the Negotiation Board’s Spring Competition

The Negotiation Board is composed of 20 members who are chosen through internal competitions. The board has won numerous awards, including four national championships this year.

Another standout component of the Business Law Institute is the Business Law Network, a student organization with the primary mission to connect members with practitioners in the field of business law. With more than 50 members, the Business Law Network is one of the school’s most active organizations.

Business Law Officers: Clinton Myers, Chief Technology Officer; Ned Nelson, Public Relations Director; Ryan Cook, Chief Financial Officer; Gregory Alston, Chief Executive Officer

“The Business Law Network is one of the premier student organizations at the University of Mississippi School of Law and provides an excellent platform for network members to meet with attorneys, businessmen and political leaders,” said Hattiesburg native Gregory Alston, a third-year law student and CEO of the Business Law Network.

The organization brings in successful individuals in the business law arena for monthly flash classes. Members not only get a chance to hear these success stories, but they also have opportunities to network following the presentations.

Students also can present to practicing attorneys during the network’s CLE conferences. CLE conferences are held each year in Oxford, Memphis and Jackson, and network members present their written pieces in relevant areas from the Business Law Newsletter at the sessions.

“The Business Law Network provides a unique and rare opportunity among law schools across the country for students to offer CLE credit to practicing attorneys through student presentation,” Alston said.

Rounding out the opportunities students have in the business law program is the Transactional Clinic. Students in the Transactional Clinic get real-world experience by assisting low-income entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations to foster economic development, increase access to capital and promote job growth in the state.

Cissy Bacon, a third year law student, presents at the Business Law Network Fall Conference

Duties of the students include entity formation, contract negotiation, commercial leasing and other legal matters.

“Students learn that the legal world goes far beyond the world of lawsuits and litigation,” said Marie Cope, clinical assistant professor of law. “Lawyers play an important role in advising clients about business development and navigating the complex world of compliance with state and federal regulations.

“The Transactional Clinic brings nonprofit corporations into existence and gives our students experience in contract drafting and anticipating the pitfalls that may lie ahead for their clients.”

For more information on the Business Law Institute, visit

Oxford, Miss.—The Mississippi Sports Law Review is hosting a Symposium on the Current Fate of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act on Friday, Feb. 24.

Moderated by Ronald J. Rychlak, a professor at UM Law, the Symposium will feature five guest speakers from across the United States. Speakers include Mike Bruffey, David Purdum, Cathy Beeding, Erik Balsbaugh and Brian Barrio, each with an extensive background dealing with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

“We are all very excited to have our distinguished speakers join us for this Symposium,” says John Noonan, vice president of the Sports Law Society. “They all bring incredible insight into the world of gambling law with years of experience dealing with PASPA. We invite all to this upcoming event.”

The Symposium will be held at 1 p.m. at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, room 1078. Those who attend will be able to receive 1.5 hours of free CLE credit.

For more information on the Symposium, visit the website or contact John Noonan at 423-314-6852 or


James B. Kelly has been elected as Editor-in-Chief of Volume 87 of the Mississippi Law Journal. Kelly is a second-year law student from Brandon, MS and a member of the law school’s Moot Court Board. He received his bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

“It is an honor to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal,” said Kelly. “I look forward to working with our members, subscribers, alumni, faculty, and other partners to build on the Journal‘s strong foundation, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead!”

After his first year of law school, Kelly worked as a summer associate at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Wise Carter Child & Caraway, P.A., and Maron Marvel Bradley & Anderson, LLC, all in Jackson. Additionally, he has served as a judicial extern to United States District Judge Michael P. Mills in Oxford and United States Bankruptcy Judge Neil P. Olack in Jackson. This summer, Kelly will be working as a summer associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Dallas, and Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Jackson.

On February 8, 2017, students in the MacArthur Justice Clinic inspected the conditions on Death Row and interviewed Death Row inmates at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi.  Their visit was part of the Clinic’s ongoing monitoring of Mississippi’s compliance with a settlement agreement entered into as the result of litigation brought by the MacArthur Justice Center alleging that the conditions on Mississippi’s Death Row violated the constitutional rights of inmates housed there.  Since 2015, more than 30 students from Ole Miss Law have participated in this monitoring effort.

Pictured from left to right are Josh Horton, Kyla Clark, Nathan Barnhill, Sarah Richerme, Cliff Johnson (Assistant Professor and Director of the MacArthur Justice Center), Haley Grantham, Alexis Russell, April Garrett, Tonell Jones, and Kelley Killorin 

As a public international research institution of higher education, the University of Mississippi is focused upon education and the success of our students in a global society.  We are a community of scholars committed to fostering a diverse environment, and we benefit greatly from a strong international and multicultural presence.

One of our top priorities is a safe and welcoming environment for all our students, faculty, staff, and visitors.  However, we recognize that for many in our community, there is significant anxiety, fear, and uncertainty related to recent Presidential Executive Orders.

We are currently gathering information and evaluating the impact of the executive orders upon members of our university community.  If you believe you are affected, or are uncertain about whether these orders affect you, please contact the Office of International Programs.

We value all members of our university community and extend our support to our international students, faculty, and staff during this uncertain time. We call upon all members of our community to support one another.  We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and keep the university community updated as more information becomes available.


Jeffrey S. Vitter

John McCullouch, Associate Dean Metro Jackson, will retire from his position effective March 1, 2017. He has served the law school in that capacity for five years.

“As the face of the law school in the capital city tri-county area, John has greatly increased the visibility and participation of  the law school with the Mississippi Bar and the local bar associations and we owe him a debt of gratitude,” said Interim Dean Debbie Bell.

McCullouch received his law degree from Ole Miss in December of 1978, had a successful legal and then managerial career with BellSouth and AT&T, retiring in 2007.

“I want to thank former Dean Richard Gershon for his idea that the law school needed a presence in the Jackson area, for asking me to join his staff and for being one of the nicest people I have ever worked with. In addition, it’s been great working with Debbie Bell, a former law school classmate,  as she has superbly lead the law school this past  year and a half,” said McCullouch.

The University of Mississippi School of Law will host a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Commemoration Panel Wednesday, February 1, at 12:45 p.m. in Weems Auditorium. The program is entitled “Race and Civil Rights,” and panelists will discuss issues of race and civil rights central to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This is the Law School’s seventh annual Martin Luther King Day commemoration event,” said Jack Nowlin, senior associate dean of the Law School and the event’s moderator. “We organize this each year to honor and celebrate Dr. King through an academic panel dedicated to discussing issues central to his life and legacy.”

Panelists for the event are Professor Michele Alexandre from the School of Law, Professor Paul Polgar from the History Department, and Professor Cliff Johnson from the School of Law. The event is free and open to the public. Off campus attendees will need to obtain a visitor parking permit before arriving.

For more information, click here.