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We express our deepest sympathy to the Mississippi College Law School faculty, staff, and students at the death of Professor Jeff Jackson. Professor Jackson was an outstanding professor who made a significant contribution to the Mississippi legal community through his teaching, his publications, and his service to the community. His death is a great loss to all of us.

The University of Mississippi School of Law supports Chancellor Vitter’s recent letter emphasizing the University’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, and academic freedom. (Chancellor Vitter’s letter can be found here.) The Law School shares a deep commitment to these values as part of the University community, welcoming persons regardless of race, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, age disability, veteran status, or genetic information. (The University’s nondiscrimination policy can be found here.) We hope to foster a community of inclusion, an atmosphere of open, reflective, and respectful debate, and a home where all feel welcomed.

Debbie Bell

Interim Dean

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law has had another banner year for student publishing.

Twenty-eight student members of the Mississippi Law Journal accepted publication offers this spring, with a record sixteen of those offers coming from outside journals such as the Gonzaga Law Review, the South Dakota Law Review, the Southern Methodist University Journal of Air Law and Commerce, and the Wake Forest Journal of Law and Policy.

Last year, ten students published externally, with another nineteen publishing with the Mississippi Law Journal.

“I think this success speaks to our students’ abilities,” said Ben Cooper, associate dean for academic affairs.  “It is quite an achievement for our students to get their articles published in outside law journals where they are competing with law professors, practicing lawyers and judges for publication slots.”

This publishing success is direct result of the Mississippi Law Journal’s rigorous comment development program, a writing program for the Journal’s second year members, who must author articles for potential publication as part of their membership on the Journal.

The comment program is run by third year Journal members C.J. Robison and Merry Johnson, who serve as executive notes and comments editors.  The comment program provides students with structure and guidance from faculty, 3L mentors, and their 2L peers.  The writing process starts at the beginning of the fall semester and ends in February. Students attend MLJ seminars, discuss paper topics, create outlines, write drafts, and finally submit their finished work to various journals. Most students also write in conjunction with writing courses taught by faculty.

The Journal’s success in publishing is a testament to the School’s commitment to both teaching and research.

Publishing can be a challenge, especially externally. “A lot of outside journals will not publish student written pieces” Robinson said.  “They want a practitioner or professor.”

“I think our success in publishing is primarily attributable to two factors,” Cooper said. “First, the hard work and dedication of our students. Completing a comment worthy of publication requires a lot of hard work.  Second, Professor Jack Nowlin’s outstanding and innovative Academic Legal Writing class.  Professor Nowlin has put tremendous effort into developing that class and untold hours helping students improve their comments.”

Associate Dean and MLJ faculty advisor Jack Wade Nowlin heads Academic Legal Writinga special writing seminar for second year Journal students. Each year, the Academic Legal Writing seminar coordinates with the Journal’s comment program, instructs half the Journal’s 2L members, and helps train students for later 3L editorial work.

Nowlin is a strong supporter of student publishing.

“Student scholarship is very important,” said Nowlin.  “It’s a chance as a student to really enter the world of the legal profession and influence law and public policy. And the skills the students learn—research, writing, and argument–serve them well for the rest of their careers. The publication credential is also a big help with employment.”

In addition to the Academic Legal Writing class, the school offers writing seminars on a variety of other topics such as criminal law, constitutional law, intellectual property, civil rights, international trade, and aviation law.

“Our faculty’s dedication to student scholarship has been a major foundation of our success,” said Nowlin.

Cate Rodgers, a second year law student and the new Editor-in-Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal, is publishing her article with University of Denver’s Transportation Law Journal.

“A publication credential has many benefits,” Rodgers said.  “On a personal level, a publication enhances your resume and sets you apart in the job market.  There is also a level of prestige attached to an external publication specifically because the student competes on a level playing field with practitioners and professors.”

A list of students who published, with their paper titles and a link to their articles on SSRN, can be found on the Intellectual Life section of the law school website.

To learn more about student scholarship, please visit the Student Scholarship page on the Intellectual Life section of the website.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on the campus of the University of Mississippi at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. April 21. A three-member panel of the court will convene at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center in Moot Court 1, Room 2078, to hear two criminal appeals.

The Court of Appeals hears oral arguments each spring at the University of Mississippi School of Law as part of its Court on the Road program. The court periodically schedules oral arguments on college campuses and occasionally at other locations as a teaching tool for students.

Court of Appeals Judge Jim Greenlee of Oxford said that having the oral arguments on campus offers and opportunity for students, lawyers and the general public to see an appellate court at work and better understand the operations of the court. The Court on the Road program helps educate students and the public about appeals court proceedings and gives appellate judges an opportunity to talk about how the court operates. Judges talk with students and answer questions after the oral arguments, although they don’t talk about the pending cases.

The court will hear appeals of drug convictions of Andrew Acie Adams from Harrison County Circuit Court and Anthony Jefferson from Madison County Circuit Court.

Law students from the University of Mississippi School of Law Criminal Appeals Clinic researched and briefed both appeals and will present oral arguments on behalf of the incarcerated men. The students work under the supervision of attorney Phil Broadhead, clinical professor and director of the Criminal Appeals Clinic. The cases were referred to the Criminal Appeals Clinic by the state Office of Indigent Appeals.

Professor Broadhead said the Criminal Appeals Clinic provides an experience similar to an apprenticeship for students. They experience problem solving in real cases. Broadhead said, “The opportunity to teach, collaborate with, and mentor these students has led me to believe the clinical dynamic guides them to a shorter transition time from being a law student to becoming a lawyer.”

Third-year law students who will argue the cases are Valerie Moss of Greenwood, Phillip Summa of Charlotte, N.C., Jay Clay of Aberdeen, and Derek Cantrell of Gainesville, Ga.

The students who wrote the briefs are Paul Prichard of Mobile, Ala., Derek Goff of Biloxi, Jody A. Bevill of Lexington, and Ethan D. Lavelle of Camden, Tenn.

Special Assistant Attorneys General Laura Tedder and Barbara Byrd represent the Attorney General.

Here is background about the cases, from court records:

Andrew Acie Adams v. State of Mississippi, Cause Number 2015-KA-00520-COA Court records show that Andrew Acie Adams was arrested in Gulfport on Oct. 30, 2013.  Adams was tried on February 10, 2015, and convicted of possession of 250 grams or more but less than 500 grams of marijuana. He was charged as a second or subsequent drug offender and as an habitual offender. Circuit Judge Lawrence P. Bourgeois Jr. sentenced Adams to 16 years in prison without hope of parole or early release.

Adams’ brief is at this link:

http://courts.ms.gov/Images/Orders/dc00001_live.COA.15.KA.520.46122.0.pdf.

The Attorney General’s brief is at this link:

http://courts.ms.gov/Images/Orders/dc00001_live.COA.15.KA.520.52461.0.pdf.

Anthony Davon Jefferson a/k/a Anthony Devon Jefferson a/k/a Anthony Jefferson a/k/a Marcus Ross a/k/a Wesley Thompson a/k/a Anthony Davis Jefferson v. State of Mississippi, Cause Number 2015-KA-00948-COA Court records show that Anthony Jefferson, a resident of California, was arrested in Canton on Aug. 18, 2011, while visiting Mississippi to attend a relative’s funeral. Jefferson was tried in absentia. He left the courthouse and did not return after a hearing on a suppression motion on May 14, 2012. He was convicted and sentenced to 60 years in prison on a charge of possession with intent to deliver more than1 kilo but less than 5 kilos of marijuana, and to 40 years on a charge of conspiracy to possess marijuana. Testimony showed that 4.4 pounds of marijuana was seized. Madison County Circuit Court Judge William E. Chapman III ordered the sentences to be served concurrently, without possibility of parole. Jefferson was convicted as an habitual offender as a result of two California drug convictions.

Jefferson’s brief is at this link:

http://courts.ms.gov/Images/Orders/dc00001_live.COA.15.KA.948.46278.0.pdf.

The Attorney General’s brief is at this link:

http://courts.ms.gov/Images/Orders/dc00001_live.COA.15.KA.948.51768.0.pdf.

Arrival, seating and camera coverage

People wishing to watch the oral arguments are asked to be in their seats 15 minutes before the proceedings are scheduled to begin.  The oral arguments will not be broadcast via the court’s Internet web site, since the Court of Appeals is convening a special session away from its camera-equipped courtroom.  Any media organization which may wish to photograph or videotape the arguments must file a Camera Coverage Notice. Camera Coverage Notices should be directed to Clerk of the Court Muriel Ellis, fax 601-359-2407, and to Assistant Court Administrator Camille Evans, fax 601-576-4708. The Camera Coverage Notice form is at http://www.mssc.state.ms.us/forms/camnotice.pdfhttp://courts.ms.gov/forms/camnotice.pdf.  Photographers and videographers should be familiar with and follow the Rules for Electronic and Photographic Coverage of Judicial Proceedings. The camera coverage rules are available on the Mississippi Judiciary website at:  http://courts.ms.gov/rules/msrulesofcourt/rules_electronicphotographic_coverage.pdf.

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By: Professor Phil Broadhead

This semester the Criminal Appeals Clinic has reached the century mark through the representation of 100 appellants since the creation of the Clinic in 2002. Filing briefs and motions for rehearing on behalf of the clients in all of the cases, filing petitions for certiorari to the Mississippi Supreme Court in eighteen cases, and participating in 27 oral arguments, has resulted in winning reversals in 13 of those cases. During that time, 187 law students have been trained in the highly-specialized field of appellate practice and criminal law through this clinical course of study, along with instruction on advanced “fact-centered” legal writing, practical application of the Rules of Evidence and Criminal Procedure, problem-solving in the clinical setting, and oral advocacy before both the Court of Appeals of Mississippi and the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“Many of the students who pass through the Criminal Appeals Clinic compare their experience to an apprenticeship, although they never use that word,” Clinical Professor Phillip Broadhead said. “They regard the Clinic as a professional, rather than a traditional professor/student, relationship that is intuitively more collaborative than competitive. This view of the course of study transforms their focus to problem-solving in real cases through working within with the case teams under the supervision of a clinical professor. The opportunity to teach, collaborate with, and mentor these students has lead me to believe the clinical dynamic guides them to a shorter transition time from being a law student to becoming a lawyer.”

Visit the Criminal Appeals Clinic web page to learn more.

From left: Hunter Robinson, Diane Maxwell, Prof. Desiree Hensley, Research Counsel Forrest Jenkins, Mrs. Dickens, Cecilia Bacon, and Mack-Arthur Turner

By: Professor Phil Broadhead

Edna Dickens first met with Low-Income Housing Clinic student/attorneys and their supervisor, associate professor Desiree C. Hensley, in the fall of 2013. After the interview, the students concluded Mrs. Dickens had lost her home of 43 years to strangers at a property tax sale, getting her home back was a long shot, and she might end up homeless.

“Mrs. Dickens is a lovely person and we really wanted to save her home. It was hard to give her such bad news and to see how that affected her,” said Darnell Pratt, now a practicing lawyer at Simmons & Simmons, PLLC in Greenville, Miss.   The students also told Mrs. Dickens although her legal situation was a hard one, they would do everything they could do to help her.

Daniel McHugh, who is now a clerk for the local Federal District Court, remembers working with other Housing Clinic students to search the land records and to investigate the facts, building the best case they could.

“We decided our first course of action was to help Mrs. Dickens negotiate with the tax sale purchasers and encourage them to sell her home back to her for a reasonable price. To do that we needed to demonstrate that the tax sale was defective in some way.”

The students put together their best arguments for Mrs. Dickens, contacted the tax owners and were able to negotiate a successful sale back to her. That was not the end of the case, however.  McHugh remembers that the students’ investigations lead to more complex problems for Mrs. Dickens.

“Her home turned out to be heir property – property that neither she nor her husband ever actually had a deed to because its ownership had passed by intestate succession through several different people; even worse, there turned out to be other heirs who could claim to own a share of the property. Mrs. Dickens’s home was even more at risk than we had first realized. The only way to solve this problem was to try to find and then file suit against all of the heirs so that Mrs. Dickens could claim her share of the property.”

Clinic students spent the next two semesters finding missing heirs, obtaining expert witness appraisals and surveys of the properties and filing suit in Lafayette County Chancery Court. Finally, the case was set for trial this semester – almost three years after Mrs. Dickens first came to the Clinic for help.

Current Housing Clinic students Cissy Bacon and Mack-Arthur Turner tried the case – each had to examine expert and lay witnesses, enter documents into evidence and argue the law before Chancellor Robert Whitwell. Diane Maxwell and Hunter Robinson also provided research assistance and advocated for Mrs. Dickens in the Chancellor’s chambers. Finally, at the close of the students’ case, the parties reached a settlement agreement that the Chancellor entered as his final order: Mrs. Dickens’ home was hers and hers alone.

Many other graduated law students worked on Mrs. Dickens’s case during those six semesters, including Mitch Thomas, Cori Benefiel, Sam Maddox, Cameron Himes, Shandreka Brown, Amy Mitchell, Marta Toczylowski, Merry Johnson and Scarlett Jones.

Last week, Mrs. Dickens and her family invited the entire Housing Clinic over to share a meal in her home to thank the students for their help.

“This could not have happened without you,” she told the students.

Professor Hensley is happy for Mrs. Dickens and for her students: “I am so proud of the ambitious legal work the law students took on in this case and their success. There is no better feeling than using your legal skills to help a person in a crisis. These students will always know that as lawyers they can choose do a great deal of good in the world.”

‘Kind, considerate and engaging’ law professor receives 2016 Elsie M. Hood Award

OXFORD, Miss. – John Czarnetzky does more than teach the law; he infects his students with his enthusiasm for it.

Professor John Czarnetzky receives the Elsie M. Hood Award from Chancellor Vitter.

The Mitchell, McNutt and Sams Lecturer at the University of Mississippi School of Law, Czarnetzky is known as a great communicator who earns praises for his ability to engage students in complicated subject matter and nuances of the law, UM Chancellor Jeff Vitter said Thursday evening (April 7).

For this, his passion and dedication to teaching, Czarnetzky has been awarded the 2016 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teaching Award, presented by Vitter during the 73rd annual Honors Day Convocation. Czarnetzky, who has taught undergraduate students as well as law students, was honored and humbled.

“I was in the car with my dear wife, and became emotional when the chancellor called and told me I was to receive the Elsie Hood award,” he said. “I am privileged to know a number of previous winners, from longtime colleagues at the law school through Bob Brown, last year’s winner. I was humbled deeply, and still have trouble believing, that with this award I am being grouped with those outstanding professors and colleagues.”

Colleagues affirmed that Czarnetzky is a perfect choice for the honor.

“John Czarnetzky is widely regarded as one of the law school’s best teachers,” said Debbie Bell, the school’s interim dean. “He is a spellbinding speaker and gifted teacher, with the added benefit of being one of the most entertaining lecturers I have ever heard. His students sing his praises. Being named as the Elsie M. Hood Award recipient is a well-deserved recognition.”

Czarnetzky joined the law faculty in 1994, after practicing bankruptcy and commercial law in Chicago and in Richmond, Virginia. He has been honored as outstanding professor four times by the law student body and serves as an adviser to several student organizations and to the Business Law Institute, an innovative collaboration between students and faculty that provides opportunities for students to develop skills in corporate, commercial, tax and business law.

The professor says this is the highest honor he could hope to receive.

“It always seemed out of reach for me,” he said. “Receiving it is the capstone of my 22 years here at the University of Mississippi, an institution I love. Going forward, my task will be to live up to this high honor.”

Students cited Czarnetzky’s enthusiasm and ability to stimulate a classroom amongst his traits that make him a great teacher.

“Few individuals have the ability to not just teach the law, but to animate the law,” one student wrote in a nomination letter. “His passion for the law and for the subject he is teaching is evident from the first moment of each class session, when he comes bounding into the classroom with a textbook – or nowadays, Kindle – tucked under his arm and a grin on his face.”

Another student called him “by far the most kind, considerate, engaging professor I have had throughout my undergraduate and law school tenure at Ole Miss.”

“The courses he teaches, including bankruptcy, civil procedure and secured transactions, are some of the most complicated ones at the law school, but that they are always in demand because he is such an engaging and effective teacher,” the student continued.

These students’ words are reflective of Czarnetzky’s teaching philosophy, which he says he’s developed over his tenure.

“My approach is to treat students as adults unless they are determined to prove me wrong, and to model civility and professionalism in the service of intellectual rigor,” he said. “I try to impart to students my enthusiasm for the subjects I teach and, perhaps more importantly, my dedication to them as persons.

“I also think a bit of humor in the classroom helps avoid the trap of taking ourselves too seriously all the time, whether in the classroom or in life. I am deeply gratified that students believe they benefit from my approach.”

Czarnetzky holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from M.I.T., where he was an offensive tackle on the football team. He served in the U.S. Army as a chemical officer and intelligence analyst before obtaining his law degree from the University of Virginia. He also served as executive editor of the Virginia Law Review and editor of the Virginia Journal of Environmental Law.

He was the first law professor invited to teach in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and helped establish a partnership between the two schools.

“He inspired a love of debating and defending my ideas, and empowered me to continue challenging my and others’ ideas throughout my life,” wrote a student in his Honors 102 class.

“He’s always available, and always has a smile on his face,” said Jess Waltman, law school student body president who also took several courses from Czarnetzky as an undergraduate honors student. “He genuinely cares about our students and our school and wants it to be the best it can be.”

In addition, Czarnetzky serves as a legal adviser to the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations. He has represented the Holy See in negotiations including the establishment of the International Criminal Court and several international treaties, including one on the rights of persons with disabilities.

His scholarly interests are bankruptcy, commercial and international law. Czarnetzky has published in the Notre Dame Law Review, Fordham Law Review and Arizona State Law Journal, and his scholarship also has explored the intersection of Catholic social theory and American corporate and commercial law.

Czarnetzky is married to Sylvia Robertshaw Czarnetzky, an Episcopal priest in the Delta town of Cleveland, where they reside.

Each year since 1966, the university has recognized excellence in teaching by presenting the Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award. Based on nominations from both students and faculty, the award includes a personal plaque and a check from the chancellor. Recipients’ names are also engraved on a plaque listing previous winners, which is displayed in the university’s J.D. Williams Library.

By Jenny Kate Luster

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law’s Business Law Network will host a conference on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. at Regions Private Wealth Management in Memphis, Tenn., offering three hours of CLE credit to attendees.  The Conference and CLE will be followed by a cocktail reception sponsored by Regions Private Wealth Management.

The CLE cost is $60 and has been approved both for Mississippi and Tennessee credit.

“We are very excited to finish the school year with our Business Law Network Conference and CLE in Memphis, Tennessee,” said Gregory Alston, CEO of the Network.  “This is the first time in the history of the Business Law Network that the Network has expanded out of state for our annual conferences and CLE’s, and we are very appreciative of Regions for sponsoring this event.”

Registration will begin at 1:00 p.m.  Please RSVP to Business Law Network CEO Gregory Alston: umbusinesslaw@olemiss.edu.

The Business Law Network’s mission is dedicated to connecting students who have an interest in business law with practicing business law attorneys. The Business Law Network is composed of over 50 student members of the University of Mississippi School of Law.

For more information, please visit http://law.olemiss.edu/event/business-law-network-spring-conference-cle-and-reception/

By: William Pomeroy and Autumn Breeden

On March 28th, 2016 the Mississippi Sports Law Journal partnered with the Law Association for Women to a host a forum about Women in Athletics. Speakers included Lynette Johnson, Ann Carr, Kathryn Fowler, and Jordan Woolums. Lynette Johnson is in her 27th year overall with Ole Miss Athletics and is in her 18th year as a Sport Administrator and Senior Woman Administrator. Ann Carr is a 13 year veteran in athletic administration at Mississippi State, she currently serves as a Senior Associate Athletic Director of Women’s Sports, and she is a former Lady Bulldog athlete. Kathryn Fowler is a current second year Law Student, and was a four-year member of the Ole Miss Golf Team. Finally, Jordan Woolums is a current first year law student at Ole Miss and is a former soccer player at Indiana University.

Topics ranged from the current state of women’s sports in college to professional opportunities for female student-athletes beyond college. Mrs. Johnson spoke of the positive evolution that she has witnessed throughout her career in athletics. She spoke of witnessing the first women to hold head coach and administrative positions, as well as increased support for female athletes. She also stated that the best way to combat lesser attendance and coverage for female athletic events is to simply keep playing the sports. Networks, such as the SEC Network, have given rise to increased exposure of female athletics, which can only help increase interest in women’s sports. Both Ms. Carr and Mrs. Johnson used the recent success of women’s softball as an example of how television exposure has had a positive impact on a sport as a whole. Ms. Carr spoke of the need to provide female staff members at different universities a more welcoming atmosphere and increased support when they are placed in an unfamiliar setting. Issues that face both Ole Miss and Mississippi State in recruiting female coaches and administrators often revolve around family support, including things like on campus day care and employment opportunities for a spouse. Both Kathryn and Jordan spoke fondly about their experiences at Division I schools, and felt their athletic achievements had a positive effect on their educational and professional opportunities.

Overall, the event was attended by approximately 50 students and faculty who asked questions and listened attentively to the forum speakers. It was a positive conversation focusing on continuing to improve opportunities for female athletes, coaches and administrators.

 

Attendees at the forum.

Presenters at the Women’s Athletics Forum

By: Professor Phil Broadhead

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA), in partnership with North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, once again is offering tax preparation assistance to families in the Oxford-Lafayette County area. This effort by law students is directed by Professor of Law Donna Davis, who supervises 12 students at the local public library.

“I thought it was good idea to get this hands-on experience to see the different kinds of basic issues in tax,” Davis said. “It’s been busier than I thought it would be, especially early on. We had tons of people. For me personally, almost every person I dealt with was a new learning experience. I’ve encountered very unique situations that I didn’t think I would encounter.”

Third-year law students Austin Emmons and Brennan Black are the site coordinators for the tax clinic.

“It’s class credit through the school, but I also enjoy it because it gives you practical skills that you don’t necessarily get from the classroom,” Emmons said. “You get used to interviewing people and get a feel for does the client feel comfortable with what you’re doing, do they understand what you’re doing. It’s also about helping the community.”

The clinic’s public service was recognized by an article in last Sunday’s Oxford Citizen, as well as by the Mississippi Bar Association’s Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer’s Project, who awarded the VITA program the annual Beacon of Justice Award in 2015.

OXFORD, Miss.–The first Intellectual Property Student Scholarship Symposium was held at the University of Mississippi School of Law on February 19th. The Symposium was sponsored by the Mid-south Intellectual Property Institute, which is a collaborative effort of the Law School and FNC, Inc.  Students and professionals came together to discuss and share knowledge on the latest developments in intellectual property.

The forum discussed a wide array of topics from collegiate licensing and trademark enforcement, to product design and more.  The scholarship included:

  • “Trade Dress:  An Unsuitable Fit for Product Design in the Fashion Industry” by Shayna Giles
  • “Why Can’t my Waiter Sing Happy Birthday to Me:  The Chilling Effect of Corporate Copyright Control” by Rachel Smith
  • “Alice’s Wonderland:  Patentable Subject Matter in the Wake of The Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. Decision” by Lindsey Sullivan
  • “Issues in Collegiate Licensing and Trademark Enforcement” by Katie Diem

Students who wrote papers on these topics made individual presentations that were followed by discussions on their topic with other students and lawyers.

“This symposium gave me the chance to discuss some concrete examples of how copyright protection allows corporations to restrict our free speech, rather than encouraging creative expression,” said Rachel Smith, current law student.  “Many of the audience members provided me with interesting questions and concerns with policies I addressed and proposed.”

“Overall, this experience was beneficial right now for my academic legal growth, but potentially in the long run as well considering it introduced me to people I may work with in the IP field one day.”

With help from the moderators Stacey Lantagne, assistant professor, and Will Wilkins, director of the Mississippi Law Research Institute, the students were able to receive positive academic critique and gain valuable experience throughout the process.

By: Meghan Burnett

OXFORD, Miss.–Suzette Matthews has a passion for education, and since Feb. 1, 2016, the former Teach for America staffer has turned her talents in fundraising and education to the law school as the new director of development.

Previously the senior director of development for Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, Matthews grew individual donations substantially for the organization, often 300 times an original gift amount, and increased overall gifts by 150 percent.

“We are lucky to have Suzette Matthews join our team,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean.  “She comes to us with a strong background in fundraising in Mississippi, a love for her adopted state, and great enthusiasm about the law school’s future.”

The Texas native taught high school English in Ruleville, Miss., with Teach for America for two years prior to joining their development staff. She worked with individual corporations and foundations mainly in the Delta and Jackson areas, and cultivated relationships she believes will be beneficial for the law school.

“I think alot of the relationships and networks I was able to build will overlap,” she said.  “It’s my goal to invest our alumni in our students’ work and raise an additional $500,000 for scholarships, as well as double the percent of alumni giving.”

Though her focus has primarily been secondary education, Matthews is excited about transitioning her work to the university and law school.

“I really wanted to get back into higher education,” she said.  “And, when I look at who is influential in making decisions for our state’s future, it’s Ole Miss law alumns.  We have so many great things happening here.”

Suzette Matthews. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Matthews graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and obtained her master’s degree in education from Delta State while in Cleveland.   She was named Ruleville Central High School Teacher of the Year in 2010 and Sunflower County School District Teacher of the Year.

She is a graduate of Leadership Mississippi and the Delta Leadership Network.  She served on the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits board, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce executive board and Mississippi Economic Council Board of Governors. She also founded and served as president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Young Professionals and is a member of the Mississippi Association of Fundraising Professionals.

In addition to education and fundraising, Matthews and her husband Matty own Delta Dairy, a frozen treats shop in Cleveland.  She enjoys running and spending time with her husband and dog, Tchula.

“I’m really excited about this position, and I really look forward to meeting everyone,” she said. “Please feel to contact me anytime.”

Suzette may be reached by e-mail suzette@olemiss.edu or phone: 601-937-1497.

OXFORD, Miss.–Seventeen University of Mississippi School of Law alumni were named as Leadership in Law by the Mississippi Business Journal recently.  They make up a group of the state’s most successful lawyers nominated based on the following nomination criteria: exemplifying the noble tradition of the legal profession; are astute, wise, knowledgable and successful; win cases and solve problems with utmost integrity; inspire and lead others with their skills and character; are role models and mentors; and are passionate and aggressive on behalf of clients and the community.

Among those chosen were the following:

  • Watts C. Ueltschey, Lawyer of the Year (Brunini, Granthan, Grower & Hewes)
  • Robert A. Biggs, II (Biggs, Ingram & Solop)
  • Katrina Brown (Brown Bass & Jeter)
  • Yancy Brian Burns (Burns and Associates, PLLC)
  • Mark P. Caraway (Wise Carter)
  • C. Greg Copeland (Copeland Cook Taylor Bush)
  • John Cox (Cox and Moore, PLLC)
  • Joe Deaton (Deaton & Berry)
  • Trey Dellinger (Wells Marble & Hurst)
  • Sean Wesley Ellis (Young Wells)
  • Emiko Faust (Mississippi Attorney General’s Office)
  • Kathryn Gilchrist (Gilchrist Donnell PLLC)
  • B. Stevens Hazard (Daniel Coker Horton & Bell, PA)
  • Henry Laird (Jones Walker)
  • Kimberly W. Nailor (Law Offices of Kimberly W. Nailor)
  • David M. Ott (Bryan Nelson, PA)
  • Thomas Suszek (Holcomb Dunbar)
  • Rocky Wilkins (Rocky Wilkins Law Firm, PLLC)

In addition to the distinction, recipients were honored with a reception and awards celebration. Nomination and submission information for the 2016 class may be found on the Mississippi Business Journal‘s website.

 

By: Professor Phil Broadhead

During Spring Break, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, in conjunction with the Mississippi Public Defenders Association, conducted a two-day conference entitled, “Taking the Fear Out of Forensics.”  The conference drew attendees from Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama who heard presentations from a group of nationally-recognized experts on topics involving the applied sciences commonly used in criminal prosecutions, including “The Lawyer’s Guide to Understanding Mobile Forensics”, “Challenging Eyewitness Testimony”, “Basic Scientific Principles of Cognitive Bias”, “Pattern Evidence: Firearm and Toolmark Analysis”, and “False Confessions”.  All of the presentations were very informative to those who practice criminal law, but Friday morning’s multiple sessions on cell phones and digital device evidence was a particularly fascinating and cutting-edge topic.  Since the UM School of Law offers a concentration in criminal law, we have national DOJ programs (such as last summer’s Gideon’s Promise training) choosing to come to Oxford for their regional conferences.

Left to right: Kellie Grizzell, Sparkle Jennings, Ashton Fisher, Jacob Waldo, MacArthur Justice Center Director Cliff Johnson, Breanna Goff, Sampada Kapoor, Rob Noland, Michael Shoptaw, and Naura Guillaume

Left to right: Ashton Fisher, Sampada Kapoor, Michael Shoptaw, Naura Guillaume, Kellie Grizzell, Breanna Goff, Jacob Waldo, Sparkle Jennings, Rob Noland, and MacArthur Justice Center Director Cliff Johnson

On March 9, 2016, members of the MacArthur Justice Clinic conducted an inspection of Death Row at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman as part of the monitoring component of the MacArthur Justice Center’s recent settlement of its lawsuit against the State of Mississippi addressing the conditions of confinement on Death Row.  In addition to conducting an inspection of the facilities, Clinic participants interviewed Death Row inmates “cell-side” regarding the State’s compliance with the terms of the settlement.  Following their work at Death Row, Clinic members visited the gravesite of Fannie Lou Hamer in Ruleville, Mississippi.  Hamer was a heroine of the Civil Rights Movement who embodied the strength and influence of the “ordinary people” who have been the backbone of the fight for equality in Mississippi.  Hamer is perhaps best known for her lament, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Professor Hans Sinha

The third edition of Learning From Practice was released last month, and contains a new chapter, “Criminal Justice Placements”, co-authored by Prof. Hans Sinha. Covering topics important to law students working externships, in-house clinics, and other experiential courses, the text is intended for assist students working in real practice settings succeed in their work, reflect on their development, and plan for their lives as lawyers. The text is one of West Academic Publishing’s best-selling textbooks on experiential legal education.

By: Professor Phil Broadhead

The UM Clinical Programs were recently named among the Top 50 law schools for practical training offered to students, and the Spring 2016 issue of The National Jurist magazine crunched the numbers for all of the schools’ statistics, which awarded the University of Mississippi School of Law an A- rating, placing nineteenth in the nation. “The American Bar Association now releases ample data on how many students participate in clinics, externships and simulation courses. The National Jurist used this data to measure which law schools are delivering when it comes to practical training,” the magazine said. “We looked at the percent of full-time students in clinics, externships and simulation courses, also looked at student participation in interscholastic skills competitions, such as moot court tournaments. We again placed the most weight on [the] clinical experience, since experts say it is a particularly effective practical training tool. Students, under faculty direction, work with clients in a number of legal areas. However, clinics are the most costly [programs] for schools to incorporate.”

The University of Mississippi School of Law has created and maintains nine in-house clinics, including Child Advocacy, Criminal Appeals, Elder Law, Housing Clinic, MacArthur Justice Clinic, The George C. Cochran Innocence Project, the “Street Law” Clinic, Transactional Law Clinic, the Clinical Externship Program, and the Pro Bono Initiative. The Pro Bono Initiative was recently honored by the Mississippi Volunteer Project’s Beacon of Justice Award for public service. Additionally, two practicums, Tax and Conflict Management, offer law students opportunities to learn through experience, providing low-income families income tax assistance and the University law students are trained to resolve disputes between undergraduate students. The Tax Practicum also won the 2015 Beacon of Justice Award.

The School of Law has also enjoyed notable success in moot court competitions, collecting ten national competition championships in two years, including back-to-back championships in the Pace Environmental Law competition and, most recently, the Tulane Professional Football Negotiation Competition. The School of Law offers an LL.M. program in Air and Space Law, and its moot court team won the international championship in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, held in Jerusalem in October of 2015.

 

On February 12, the Transactional Clinic, led by Clinical Profs. Marie Cope and Cameron Abel, participated in the Business Law Network’s Winter Conference & CLE at the Fairview Inn in Jackson, which featured Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch as the keynote speaker. The advanced students in the Clinic, Elizabeth Robinson and Jessica Rice, at the direction of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office prepared and conducted a presentation on Limited Liability Company (LLC) formation and the Revised Mississippi LLC Act of 2013. Prof. Marie Cope also gave the attendees a brief overview of the Transactional Clinic, and two other TC students, Marie Wicks & Sampada Kapoor, also made a presentation at to the conference.

The student-lead presentations discussed the main steps of formation and the requirements of compliance enforced by the Secretary of State’s office. The students pointed out the new online services on the Secretary’s website and gave a step-by-step explanation on how business owners can create usernames, passwords, and file Certificates of Formation & Annual Reports. They also highlighted how these filings can now be completed online, and concluded the presentations with a discussion with the group of the differences between the superseded LLC Act and the Revised LLC Act.

Student presenters Marie Wicks, Sampada Kapoor, Jessica Rice, and Izzy Robinson are pictured with State Treasurer Lynn Fitch.

Marie Wicks, Jonathan Clay, and Kristen Schalter

John Juricich, Professor David Case, and Mary Margaret Roark

OXFORD, Miss.–Third year students Mary Margaret Roark and John Juricich have again won the the Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y. Feb. 18-20.  The win marks the second consecutive national title for the pair, third for the law school.

In addition, the win means Ole Miss Law claims five out of the last six Pace competitions, and adds another national championship, making its 12th national or world advocacy title since 2011.

“Having two second year students win a competition like Pace and then return to win the competition again as third year students is absolutely amazing,” said Professor David Case, team coach.   “I’m pretty sure that has never happened in the 28 year history of the Pace competition.”

Roark of Cleveland, Miss., and Juricich of Anniston, Ala.,  competed against over 50 law schools from around the country, beating the University of Alabama and University of Houston in the final round. The team won the Best Brief – Petitioner (Save Our Climate) award and John Juricich was awarded runner up Best Oralist for the competition.

The Pace competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country.  It provides a rigorous academic experience, testing skills in appellate brief writing and oral advocacy, involving issues drawn from real cases, and providing first-hand experience in environmental litigation.

“This year there were six issues to argue for three different parties and more teams were going noteless,” Roark said. “The teams were definitely better in terms of performance.”

Overall, the competition requires intense preparation, including researching and analyzing challenging legal environmental issues, writing persuasive arguments about how the issues should be resolved, arguing the issues orally and having their performances evaluated and critiqued by practicing attorneys at the competition.

The Ole Miss team began in October by writing their brief. After filing it in November, they began practicing oral arguments intensely with their coaches.

“We prepared the same, but we were more relaxed because we knew what it took to achieve the end result,” Juricich explained.

“We were able to more efficiently use our time.”

Judging this year’s championship round was the Honorable Steven M. Colloton, judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit; the Honorable Lynn Adelman, judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; the Honorable Malachy E. Mannion, judge, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and the Honorable Beth Ward, judge, Environmental Appeals Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Coaching the team were the law school’s two national experts in environmental law, Professors David Case and Stephanie Showalter Otts.

“Both Professor Case and Otts play such a large role in helping us get prepared,” Roark said.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to build a relationship with Professors Case and Otts that I otherwise would not have had,” Juricich added.

A benefit to participating in a competition of this nature is the payoff it provides students after graduation.  Both students said it helped them find their niche.

“It helped me find a joy and thrill in litigation,” Juricich said.

“I started off not having any interest in environmental law, but I grew to love it,” Roark said.  “It’s made me want to pursue a career in environmental law, in regulatory administrative work.”

“I’ve learned how to tackle issues I might know nothing about, meet deadlines, and have picked up certain writing skills I would not have had.”

Learn more about the Pace competition by visiting their website.

Alexia Boggs and Clayton Adams

Team of two students are members of the school’s Negotiation Board

OXFORD, Miss.– University of Mississippi School of Law students Clayton Adams and Alexia Boggs took the title in the Tulane Professional Football Negotiation Competition hosted by Tulane University Law School January 29-30, 2016.

The competition consisted of 20 total teams from 18 different schools.

“The competition was exciting and a great learning experience,” Boggs said.

“When Clayton and I started prepping for the competition, I knew next to nothing about actual NFL players, much less their contracts. Aside from solidifying my love of contract drafting and negotiation, the experience benefitted me as a legal professional by teaching me how to successfully advocate for my client, even when I am starting from scratch.”

The teams went through three rounds before entering the championship round against Fowler School of Law. The competition is hosted by the Tulane Sports Law Society, and is a simulated contract negotiation using real life scenarios and actual upcoming NFL free agents.

The competition is designed to help students hone their negotiation skills while learning about actual NFL contracts. Judges included professionals in the NFL world, including the vice presidents of football administration for the Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints, and football administration coordinator for the Chicago Bears.

Boggs, a second year student, and Adams, a third year, participated as part of the law school’s Negotiation Board, housed in the Business Law Institute.  The Business Law Institute was developed to specifically train business lawyers through active learning, like the negotiation competition.

“As to being on the Negotiation Board, I think the benefit to a law student is that it is as close to real deal making as someone can get,” says Douglas MacKimm, chair of the Negotiation Board. “There is an expectation for modern attorneys to be strong negotiators, and this Board allows us to develop a very practical skill that has value in whatever type of career follows law school.”

For more information on the competition, visit Tulane’s website.

By: Meghan Burnett

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