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OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law will commemorate Constitution Day on September 17 by celebrating the scholarly success of three of its students.  Michael Shoptaw, Jennie Silk and Marie Wicks will present their recently published or forthcoming articles on cutting edge issues in constitutional law.

“This is the University’s Constitution Day event–commemorating the original signing of the Constitution on September 17th, 1787,” said Jack Nowlin, senior associate dean and organizer, moderator and one of three faculty discussants for the event.

“This is also a Constitution Day ‘special edition’ of the Law School’s Student Legal Scholarship Exposition, an event we have each semester to celebrate our published student authors and the Law School’s strong tradition of student scholarship.”

The students will present the following work to faculty, students and other audience members:

  • Robert Michael Shoptaw (Class of 2016); associate cases editor, Mississippi Law Journal; M’Naghten Is a Fundamental Right: Why Abolishing the Traditional Insanity Defense Violates Due Process.” 84 Mississippi Law Journal 1101 (2015).
  • Jennie Vee Silk (Class of 2016); Mississippi cases editor, Mississippi Law Journal; “Calling out Maryland v. King: DNA, Cell Phones, and the Fourth Amendment,” 52(2) Criminal Law Bulletin (Thomson Reuters/West) (forthcoming in 2016).
  • Marie E. Wicks (Class of 2016); editor-in-chief, Mississippi Law Journal, “Prayer Is Prologue: The Impact of Town of Greece on the Constitutionality of Deliberative Public Body Prayer at the Start of School Board Meetings,” 31 Journal of Law & Politics 1 (2015).

The event is particularly significant due to the focus on student scholarship.  The three student presenters were selected from an academic legal writing class in which they were asked to compose and present their first major work of legal scholarship.

“All three students wrote outstanding articles on cutting-edge issues in constitutional law,” Nowlin said.

“There were many other excellent articles–in constitutional law as well as in other areas–so it was a tough choice to select only three.  Luckily, there will be another student legal scholarship exposition in the spring, and we will have the opportunity to hear more student presentations.”

Students in the class selected a topic and then met regularly with Nowlin and other faculty advisors and presented to a class of their peers.

“Dean Nowlin offered expert guidance and invaluable advice every step of the way,” said Wicks.  “He broke down the writing process into manageable deadlines, and before we knew it, we had drafted an entire comment.”

Shoptaw, a third year student, also had a positive experience  with the class.

“Often, while presenting, you would realize a shortfall or discover a new avenue for discussion within your paper,” he said.  “It was a very good experience and aided in everyone’s attaining a high level of understanding of their own papers as well as the other class members’.”

The legal writing class and Constitution Day program are just a few ways the law school supports student scholarship. According to Nowlin, faculty regularly mentor students in scholarly writing  and there are many opportunities for training in advanced legal writing, research and argument. There are also the fall and spring student scholarship expositions as well as innovative programs like the Mississippi Law Journal’s peer review forum.

All work towards combining teaching and research and scholarship development amongst students.

The law school’s focus on student scholarship has also led to the publication of 75 student-authored articles over the past three years, establishing these students as experts in particular fields.

“I’m thrilled that this year’s Constitution Day commemoration focuses on current issues in constitutional law through the lens of student legal scholarship,” Wicks said.   “I know it is an experience that will be a highlight as I look back on my law school years.”

Shoptaw echoed her sentiments.

“I am humbled, excited, and a bit nervous for the chance to present my topic. But, the way I see it, this will be the icing on an incredibly large cake that I’ve been making for over a year.”

Macey Edmondson

OXFORD, Miss.–Macey Edmondson, assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Mississippi School of Law, has been named one of the 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal.   According to the publication, they are looking for the “most powerful, influential women business leaders in Mississippi.”

“The UM School of Law is proud of Macey’s accomplishments and her receipt of this well-deserved award,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean.  “She has all the best attributes of an outstanding businessperson. She has vision as well as the ability to execute a plan. And her collaborative spirit and genuine enthusiasm inspire her co-workers.”

The publication picks women who make a significant impact on Mississippi’s economy.  In addition to the distinction, Edmondson will also be featured in a special color magazine and will take part in a development and networking program aimed to help her group grow even further as business leaders.

“I was a little surprised when I found out because this is a non-traditional business position, however I do have a budget to manage and I have to accomplish my initiatives and goals within those constraints,” Edmondson said. “It’s very much like a business.”

As the assistant dean for student affairs, Edmondson is responsible for providing support and counsel to the law school’s academic and extracurricular activities, and overall student growth and development outside of the classroom.  She also oversees the Conflict Management Practicum and teaches a course in the higher education program in the School of Education.

“I love working with the students, particularly with student organizations because I can work with them to help them obtain their goals,” she said.

Edmondson obtained her B.S.B.A. from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1998.  She said her interest in law began with a class she took while an undergraduate there.

“When I was at Southern, I was a banking and finance major,” she said.  “I took business law from Professor Robert Jackson and I loved it.”

Edmondson then graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2001, where she earned the Outstanding Student in Commercial Paper Law Award, was the research assistant for Professor Ari Afilalo in European Community Law and was the Gorove International Law Society vice president, Delta Theta Phi Honor Society president, and a member of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association.

She obtained her Ph.D. in Higher Education in 2013 from the University of Mississippi while working at the law school.  She received the Frank E. Moak Memorial Award and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and the Student Personnel Association.

“I have the best of both worlds, because I’m using both my law degree and higher ed degree,” she said.  “I always said I wanted to be the Sparky Reardon of the law school, and I’m lucky to be doing that.”

On Friday, August 21, 2015, Chancellor Percy Lynchard Jr. of the 3rd Judicial District and Northern District Judge David A. Sanders administered the oath of office to a total of 84 students participating in the eleven clinical programs offered at the School of Law.  In addition, 31 second-year law students not eligible for the Law Student Limited Practice Act will work within the clinics for credit hours.  These numbers do not include students involved in the Pro Bono Initiative, Conflict Management students, nor some 2L externs placed and supervised in government offices.

Jonathan Rapping leads a small-group session at the Gideon’s Promise Summer Institute.

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law has partnered with Gideon’s Promise to host their two week Summer Institute, July 31-August 15, 2015. Gideon’s Promise is a national organization which provides support and training to defense attorneys.

“Every year, committed young lawyers begin their careers as public defenders – criminal defense attorneys for the poor – only to find themselves swamped with overwhelming caseloads and little support,” said Debbie Bell, interim dean.

“Gideon’s Promise provides the training, support, and community to help these attorneys to fulfill the promise made over fifty years ago in the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright – to provide their clients with the quality legal services that all citizens deserve. The law school is lucky to be able to link our students and faculty to this game-changing organization.”

Led by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Jonathan Rapping, the organization works to improve criminal justice in the South, making it a perfect partner for the law school given the work of its Clinical Programs. The Cochran Innocence Project, the MacArthur Justice Clinic and the Criminal Appeals Clinic all have similar goals of improving social justice issues in the state, and provide students with the opportunity to assist underrepresented clients.

“We did a site visit and met all the wonderful people and recognized the work that was being done here through the various clinics,” said Afton Mallard, program coordinator for Gideon’s Promise. “Also, we want to have a presence in the South where there is the greatest need for criminal justice reform.”

This summer’s institute contains members of the organization’s three year CORE 101 program (class of 2015),  “Leadership Summit 2015” for leaders of Public Defender Offices, and “Summer Session 2015” which includes previous CORE classes (2013 and 2014) now part of the three year CORE 101 program.  The CORE 101 program is designed for new public defenders, while the Leadership Summit helps public defender leaders improve the quality of representation in their offices.

Over 180 public defenders and 46 faculty members from around the country visited the law school for the program.  Most of the professors are experienced public defenders, indigent defense leaders, and specialists who are volunteering their time.

“The professors are experienced attorneys who work with you on everything that entails a defense case,” said Jason Payne, assistant public defender for the Harrison County Public Defenders Office.  Payne graduated from the Ole Miss Law School in 2008, and went through the program in 2013.

“This training is focused on client centered public defending,” he said.  “One thing they teach is to let people know your client is a human being.”

In addition to the on site training attorneys receive, they also have access afterwards to an online network of support from those who have gone through the program.  The Gideon’s list serve allows them to ask questions or post resources for their fellow defenders.

“I might get some literature on fingerprint stuff and post it, or someone may congratulate you after a trial win,” Payne said.   “Or, if you lose it’s for moral support. It’s a community to lean on in any manner.”

Participants can get involved through the organization’s Law School Partnership Project, where third year students apply and are funded through law schools and then gain full employment and entry into Core Program.  They can also enter the CORE 101 program with an online application, or they can be a leader or trainer in a Public Defender’s office that is focused on client-centered representation.

“I’m proud that Ole Miss is hosting this,” Payne said.  “This is a civil rights movement.  It is about getting equal and fair representation for these clients.”

By: Professor Phil Broadhead

“We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience.” ― John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer.

The UM Clinical Programs have flourished in the 21st Century so much that every law student has the opportunity to participate in representing clients across diverse fields of practice. The school’s twelve clinical offerings include eight in-house clinics, two practicums, the Clinical Externship Program, and the Pro Bono Initiative. During the summer of 2015, the clinical faculty of University of Mississippi School of Law continued the work of graduated law students in clinic cases of significance by appearing before the before the Supreme Court of Mississippi.

Professor Tucker Carrington, Director of the Mississippi Innocence Project (MIP), whose mission is to provide representation to prisoners with cognizable claims of wrongful conviction, appeared before the Supreme Court in oral argument on June 23rd in the case of Eddie Lee Howard v. State of Mississippi. This case is a death penalty conviction based primarily on forensic “bite mark” identification evidence. Students participating in the MIP worked on the case for literally years, gathering information and filing petitions with the Court to review the validity of the conviction.  The admissibility of “bite-mark” expert testimony has been renounced in recent years by the American Board of Forensic Odontology.  The dentist who testified for the prosecution in the Howard case recently stated, “I can no longer rely on bite marks as a truth.”  Bite mark identification has been under heavy scrutiny in the legal community since the 2008 report to Congress by the National Academy of Science, which found no basis for its reliability as a true science.  The Court took the case under advisement and will probably decide what relief will be granted by September.

Professor David Calder, associate clinical professor, was a member of the litigation team who freed Michelle Byrom, a death-row prisoner almost executed for the shooting death of her husband. After finding Byrom’s son, in letters written immediately after the homicide, confessed to killing his father, the defense team presented the case to the Supreme Court.   Justice Jess Dickinson wrote in the Court’s decision, “I have attempted to conjure up in my imagination a more egregious case of ineffective assistance of counsel during the sentencing phase of a capital case. I cannot.” Michelle Byrom was released from prison by court order on June 26, 2015. “We are very grateful that the Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Michelle Byrom’s request for relief from her death sentence,” Professor Calder said. “This was a team effort on the part of the attorneys currently representing Michelle, and we believe that the court reached a just and fair result under the facts presented in this case.”

Also, on May 29, 2015, Professor Phil Broadhead, Director of the Criminal Appeals Clinic, appeared before the Mississippi Supreme Court in oral argument in a clinic case from the Fall 2014 semester, Thomas Flynt v. State of Mississippi. The case was appealed from a conviction in Forrest County Circuit Court, with third-year law students raising issues of necessary self-defense under the Castle Doctrine statutes. Thomas Flynt was convicted in 2013 of manslaughter in a shooting death that occurred in his place of business in Hattiesburg. The Court heard arguments about the circumstances of the shooting which encompassed the “No Duty to Retreat” clause of the Castle Doctrine, as well as other self-defense issues in the case. Presiding Justice Michael Randolph allowed brief-writers Sullivan Banks and David Fletcher, who graduated in the class of 2015, the honor of sitting at counsel table during the arguments.

The UM Clinical Programs seek to provide law students with the opportunity to be admitted to the limited practice of law under the supervision of a clinical professor/supervising attorney, and to gain hands-on, real life experiences in both civil and criminal areas of practice. The goal of the clinical programs is to merge theory and practice and their experience of being a real lawyer for the first time, providing a “capstone” to their law school experience. The more practice-ready graduated law students are, the more they will be able to make the difficult transition from law student to lawyer.





The 2015 CLEO class.

OXFORD, Miss.–Fatima Mann always knew she wanted to be a lawyer, and the CLEO program at the University of Mississippi School of Law has been an avenue to help her get there.

While already accepted to attend Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Mann wanted to prepare herself for the rigors ahead in law school.  She joined other students from around the country June 7-July 18 for the program in Oxford, which is a national project of the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education.  It works to expand the opportunities for minority and low-income students by helping them prepare for law school.

“I learned about CLEO through LSAC (Law School Admissions Council),” she said.  “I wanted to be the best in law school, and I knew law school is a marathon and CLEO is great the training for it.”

The University of Mississippi School of Law has hosted the program locally for the last four years as a way to serve minority students.  In that time, hundreds of students have completed the program and have gone on to be successful in law school—at Ole Miss and otherwise.

“These students come from across the country, come from varied backgrounds and do great things,” said Macey Edmondson, assistant dean for student affairs.   “We are able to make a mark on their lives by providing the support they desire to succeed in law school, and they see for themselves what our school and Mississippi have to offer.”

Originally from Connecticut, Mann graduated from UNC Charlotte with degrees in political science and history.  She worked at Apple and as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Austin, Texas prior to joining the CLEO program at Ole Miss Law.

As a VISTA member, Mann worked at a child advocacy center and created an HIV task force.

Both of these jobs inspired her to want to do more to help people.

“I always said I was going to be an attorney and was gonna change the world,” she said.  “This experience re-inspired my desire.”

Students in the CLEO program had the opportunity to take Torts, Legal Writing, Property and Criminal Law, along with a number of enrichment activities including “How to Make an Outline,” “Note taking,” “How to Take a Law School Exam,” “Time Management,” and a panel of career speakers.

“It has been one of the hardest mental workouts I’ve ever had,” Mann said.  “Professor Pittman was my favorite. I will be well equipped because of how he taught.”

Pittman is a full professor at the law school and has taught in the CLEO program for the past two years.  He regularly teaches Torts, Law and Medicine, Bioethics, Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes and Pre-Trial Practice.

“[CLEO students] have the curiosity and the motivation to be engaged law students,” Pittman said.  “Many of them will become successful attorneys, judges and other leaders in communities throughout the country.  They will increase the level of diversity in the legal profession.”

Mose Hogan, a graduate of Georgetown University and a native of Bloomfield, Michigan, became interested in CLEO for the same reasons as Mann.  He will attend Howard University School of Law in the fall.

“I thought CLEO would be a good opportunity to learn how to do well in law school, and to learn about areas in which I could improve,” he said.  “The University of Mississippi is a really nice place.  I really enjoyed CLEO and I’m very happy to have been able to participate this year.”

Nationally, CLEO is in its 46th consecutive year for the program.  Over 8,000 students have participated in CLEO’s programs and have excelled through law school, passed the bar and begun their careers in the legal profession.

The School of Law is one of 45 law schools around the country recognized by CLEO for its contributions to promote diversity in legal education.

“CLEO is an organization worth investing in and donating to,” Mann said.  “It should be cultivated and appreciated because of the experience it gives people.”


Professor George Cochran

OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law is pleased to announce the renaming of the Innocence Project to the “University of Mississippi School of Law George C. Cochran Innocence Project.”   The new name honors legendary professor and constitutional law expert George Cochran, who retired May 9, 2015. To date, 330 innocent prisoners have been exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing – over a dozen of them in Mississippi.

“George Cochran is one of the best – and most memorable – professors I have ever known,” said Dean Debbie Bell. “His efforts to form and then support this project – which is also a valuable part of our overall clinical program – adds to his remarkable and still vibrant legacy.”

“His classroom style epitomizes what he expects out of each of his students, to be an expert in constitutional law no matter the position or issue. His astonishing recollection of thousands of cases – including specific language from dissents and concurrences — have impressed generations of UM law students,” says Dean Bell. “Without him, the Innocence Project would not exist. Simple as that. His dedication to the program has created a unique opportunity for law students to help right one of society’s most egregious wrongs – the imprisonment of innocent people.”

Professor Cochran’s contributions to the Innocence Project are many.  He passed the resolution unanimously among faculty to establish the Innocence Project and then made sure that it was not an unfunded mandate. He worked to comprise a board and to gain substantial, permanent funding – and then was not only appointed to its Board of Directors, but is frequently consulted on ongoing litigation.

“When I heard about this new project and clinic, I called my friend on the faculty, Farish Percy, who referred me to someone named George Cochran,” said Tucker Carrington, director of the Project.

“I called him and spoke with him for just a few minutes. He told me he loved me and then hung up without saying goodbye. That seemed odd, but weighed against my need for a job, not too odd. So, seven years on, I now count George as a dear friend and colleague. I’m not sure he really loves me as much as he loves what the job I’m lucky enough to have — and that he was central to creating. He loves the law, loves litigating, loves the underdog, and lives for — absolutely lives for — those moments when lawyers step up and force those in positions of power to make good on fundamental promises of due process and equal protection.”

Cochran retired after serving as a faculty member for over 40 years, joining the faculty in 1972 after clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stanley Reed and for Chief Justice Earl Warren.  He taught Constitutional Law, Supreme Court Practice and Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure.  Students have twice voted him as the school’s top professor.  He has argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“While grateful for being honored, it is important that it be remembered that the invaluable assistance of John Grisham, Columbus attorney Wilbur Colom and former Justice of the Supreme Court Jimmy Robertson, as well as Innocence Project New Orleans director, Emily Maw, were critical when putting the Innocence Project in place,” Cochran said.  “Under the leadership of Professor Tucker Carrington I am certain that the work done at the Law School will have a lasting and positive impact on justice as it is administered in the State.”

Established in 2007, the School of Law’s Innocence Project provides legal representation to Mississippi state prisoners who have meritorious claims of wrongful conviction.  It is an in-house law firm at the University of Mississippi School of Law that provides clinical experience to third-year law students.

Additional details about how former alumni and friends of Professor Cochran may participate in this event, and express appreciation for all that he has done and continues to do for the Law School will be forthcoming during the academic year.

Learn more about Professor Cochran.  Learn more about the Innocence Project.

Will Wilkins

Will Wilkins, director of the Mississippi Law Research Institute, moderated a panel recently for the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).  The panel was titled “Infringement Accusations and Demands on University Campuses”.

According to their website, NACUA’s mission is to “enhance legal assistance to colleges and universities by educating attorneys and administrators as to the nature of campus legal issues.”  The conference was held in Washington, D.C. June 28-July 1, 2015.

Learn more about NACUA.  Learn more about the Mississippi Law Research Institute.

UM Clinical Professor Cliff Johnson, director of the MacArthur Justice Center, is focusing attention on the ruinous effect cash bail bonds have on Mississippi families who live from paycheck to paycheck and have a family member charged with a non-capital offense.  According to the latest Department of Justice statistics, there are almost a half-million Americans on any given day in pre-trial detention, waiting for court dates in jail even though they haven’t been convicted of any crime.*  “This case, along with other cases we intend to file in the very near future challenging bail practices in Mississippi that result in unequal treatment of Mississippi’s poorest citizens, reflects the commitment of the MacArthur Justice Center to challenge unfair and unconstitutional practices so often found where poverty and our criminal justice system intersect,” Director Johnson said.  “This case also demonstrates the commitment of the MacArthur Justice Center to working collaboratively with organizations like Equal Justice Under Law.  We want to be where the action is, and we always are pleased to join forces with organizations working on the cutting edge of social justice litigation.  Equal Justice Under Law certainly fits that bill.”

Read the Slate article to learn more.

Associate Clinical Professor David Calder

David Calder, associate clinical professor and director of the Child Advocacy Clinic, was a member of the team who freed Michelle Byrom, who was almost executed for the shooting death of her husband.

“We are very grateful that the Mississippi Supreme Court has granted Michelle Byrom’s request for relief from her death sentence,” Professor Calder said. “This was a team effort on the part of the attorneys currently representing Michelle, and we believe that the court reached a just and fair result under the facts presented in this case.”

Read the Clarion Ledger story.

Professor Carrington

Professor Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence Project, appeared before the Supreme Court in oral argument on June 23rd in the case of Eddie Lee Howard v. State, a death penalty conviction based on forensic “bite mark” identification.  The admissibility of this type of expert testimony has been repudiated in recent years by the American Board of Forensic Odontology.  The dentist who testified for the prosecution in the Howard case recently stated, “I can no longer rely on bite marks as a truth.”  Bite mark identification has been under heavy scrutiny since the 2008 report to Congress by the National Academy of Science questioning the reliability as forensic evidence.

Watch the oral argument.  

Read the Clarion Ledger story.  

Will Berry, associate professor and Jessie D. Puckett, Jr., lecturer, discussed the Supreme Court’s decision to allow lethal injection in death penalty cases on “Bloomberg Law,” a national radio program on Bloomberg.  A primary focus of Berry’s scholarship is on the death penalty, sentencing, substantive criminal law and sports law.






Listen to the interview.

For more information about Professor Berry’s work, please visit his faculty page or his SSRN page.


OXFORD, Miss.–When James A. “Jeep” Peden, Jr. decided to give back to his alma mater, the University of Mississippi School of Law, providing scholarship assistance seemed to be the right choice.

Peden, a member of the Law School Class of 1970, recently established the Stennett, Wilkinson & Peden Scholarship at the School of Law to honor his Jackson law firm. The scholarship will provide a stipend each year to both a second-year and a third-year student. Each recipient will be selected by the dean and faculty of the School of Law on the basis of academic achievement, leadership, interest in local government law and need.

The recipient of several prestigious scholarships himself, Peden said he recognizes the value of educational funding.

“I was very fortunate to receive a number of scholarships which paid for my higher education,” he said. “I always felt a debt to those who gave me that scholarship money. I want to help other students do what I had the opportunity to do.”

Peden began his collegiate career as a holder of a prestigious Carrier Scholarship at Ole Miss. He was first in his class, graduating in 1966, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study British government and politics at the University of Bristol in England in 1966-67.

He then went on to accept a Ford Foundation Law Fellowship in 1967 upon entering the UM School of Law.

“I was torn between applying to law school or getting a doctorate in history or political science,” Peden said. “Receiving the Fulbright gave me post graduate experience outside the state, so I knew I wanted to come back to Ole Miss.”

While in law school, Peden served on the editorial board of the Mississippi Law Journal. Upon his 1970 graduation,he joined the firm now known as Stennett, Wilkinson & Peden and served on the staff of then-Lt. Gov. William Winter, who later was elected as Mississippi’s governor.

Peden’s law firm has a long connection with local government law as well as with zoning and land use issues.

“The late E.W. Stennett, a 1927 graduate of the law school, and Gene Wilkinson, currently a senior member of the firm, both served long terms under mayors in Jackson — Stennett as city attorney for more than twenty years and Wilkinson as chairman of the Civil Service Commission for more than three decades,” he said.

Peden himself began very early in his career working on zoning, land use and local government law issues, and developed a specialty in these areas. He has appeared before the Mississippi Supreme Court in 16 zoning appeals.

This experience, coupled with others gained in law school, inspired some of the characteristics Peden desires in scholarship recipients, who must be an outstanding in the areas of zoning, land use and local government law.

“My local government law professor was Robert Khayat,” Peden said. “I was in the first class he taught, a municipal law class when I was a second year law student. He helped spur an interest in local government law.

“I’ve never seen a college administrator or faculty member who related so well to people,” the alumnus said.

Aside from his work at his firm, Peden has been active in the Mississippi Bar, serving as president of the Young Lawyers Division, president of the Fellows of the Young Lawyers of the Mississippi Bar, chairman of the Mississippi Law Institute, bar commissioner for the Seventh Circuit Court District and charter member of the Governor’s Judicial Nominating Committee.

In addition to his illustrious legal career, Peden devoted more than 30 years of his life to the Mississippi Air National Guard, serving as staff judge advocate at the 172nd Airlift Wing in Jackson for 14 years and then as staff judge advocate at Air National Guard state headquarters for 11 years before retiring in 1999.  Upon retirement, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He is a graduate of the Air War College.

Peden has been listed for many years in Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of Land Use and Zoning Law. Since 2009, he has served as an adjunct professor at the Mississippi College School of Law, where he teaches the course on Land Use Controls.

To contribute to the endowment for the Stennett, Wilkinson & Peden Scholarship at the University of Mississippi School of Law, individuals and organization can mail a check made payable to the University of Mississippi Foundation with the fund noted in the memo line to the UM Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655. Online gifts can be made at




Professor Phil Broadhead

On May 29, 2015, Professor Phil Broadhead argued a Criminal Appeals Clinic case from the Fall 2014 semester, Flynt v. State, pending before the Mississippi Supreme Court and involving issues of the Castle Doctrine statutes. Presiding Justice Michael Randolph allowed brief-writers Sullivan Banks and David Fletcher, who graduated in the class of 2015, the honor of sitting at counsel table during the arguments.

View the oral arguments.

Professor Ben Cooper

Professor Desiree Hensley

OXFORD, Miss.–Professors Ben Cooper and Desiree Hensley were presenters on a panel of distinguished academics who gathered at Texas A&M University School of Law for a discourse on “Reconsidering Access to Justice” on May 1, 2015. The focus in their panel was “Access to Justice in Context”, which brought the real-world consequences for unrepresented and under-represented citizens who are routinely denied the right of entry to our courts to seek redress of wrongs. Professors Cooper and Hensley presented an empirical study they plan to conduct regarding characteristics of small claims courts that may have the effect of limiting the fairness of those courts, and, in particular, how civil proceedings in the Mississippi Justice Court system affect access to justice in this state.

Learn more about the conference.

When Dean Stephen Gorove began the space law program 45 years ago at the University of Mississippi School of Law, he took a bold, forward-thinking step into an emerging field of study. The program has grown and evolved, and the Moot Court team recently won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court championship at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Read the entire story.

Professor Bullard appeared on a panel broadcast by C-Span recently.  The panel addressed the Department of Labor’s pending rule proposal on IRA regulation. His remarks were quoted in MarketWatch.

Read the article.

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

Professor Mercer Bullard testified Wednesday, May 13 before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises. He spoke on various bills relating to the securities industry.

Bullard was also quoted on NPR radio recently on the developing crowdfunding market, and in a MarketWatch article on market structure and investor protection issues.

Listen to NPR.

Read the MarketWatch article.


Jess Waltman

OXFORD,Miss.–Jess Waltman, a native of Quitman, Miss., has been elected the 2015-2016 president of the Law School Student Body Association (LSSB). Five other officers will also assume responsibility for the upcoming school year.

The LSSB President oversees the functions of the other members of the LSSB Executive Board and represents the law school student body to the school and university’s administrations.

Jess is the son of Walt and Cheryl Waltman and a 2009 graduate of Quitman High School. He earned a Bachelor of Accountancy Degree from the E. H. Patterson School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi in 2013 and graduated from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. While at Ole Miss, Jess served as an Ole Miss Ambassador and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame.

In addition to his responsibilities as president, Jess serves as the executive online editor and alumni coordinator for the Mississippi Law Journal and as editor-in-chief of the University of Mississippi Business Law Newsletter. Jess is also a member of the University of Mississippi School of Law Trial Advocacy Board, the Dean’s Leadership Council, the Gorove Society for International Law and the Business Law Network. Before his election in 2015, Jess served as the 2014-2015 LSSB treasurer and as a 2013-2014 1L senator.

Jess will be completing summer associateships with the firms of Davis & Crump in Gulfport, and Martin Tate Morrow & Marston in Memphis. Jess expects to graduate in May of 2016 and plans to pursue a career in commercial and civil litigation.

Rodgrick Glen Hickman, a native of Shuqualak, Miss., has been elected to serve as the 2015-2016 LSSB vice-president. The vice-president is responsible for presiding over the meetings of the LSSB Senate. Rod is the son of Glen and Lucille Hickman and is a 2007 graduate of Noxubee County High School. He received a Bachelor of General Studies Degree in History, Sociology and Legal Studies from the University of Mississippi – Grenada in 2014 where he was a Lyceum Scholar. Rod is a member of the American Constitution Society and Phi Delta Phi, and he serves as the treasurer for the Black Law Student Association, special events coordinator for the Public Interest Law Foundations, as a staff member for the law school yearbook. Before being elected to serve as vice-president, Rod served as an LSSB senator for his class.

Rod will be a summer associate with Glover, Young, Hammack, Walton and Simmons, PLLC, in Meridian and expects to graduate in May of 2017 and pursue a career in corporate litigation.

Gregory James Alston Jr., a native of Hattiesburg, was elected to serve as the 2015-2016 LSSB treasurer. The LSSB treasurer is responsible for conducting the financial business of the LSSB and maintaining its financial records. Gregory is the son of Betsy and Greg Alston and is a 2010 graduate of Presbyterian Christian School. Gregory earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Policy Leadership from the University of Mississippi in 2014. While at Ole Miss, Gregory served as the 2013-2014 president of the Associated Student Body and was inducted into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame.

Gregory serves as the C.E.O of the University of Mississippi School of Law Business Law Network and is a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council. Before being elected to serve as LSSB treasurer, Gregory served as an LSSB senator for his class. This summer, Gregory will be working for Treasurer Lynn Fitch’s re-election campaign. He expects to graduate in May of 2017 and pursue a career in politics and government relations.

Fredricka Jatarya Brown, a native of Greenville, Miss., was elected to serve as the 2015-2016 LSSB secretary. The LSSB secretary takes the minutes at each LSSB Senate meeting and maintains the LSSB roster. Fredricka is the daughter of Minnie Stone and Fredricka Brown and graduated from Riverside High School in 2010. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Mississippi State University in 2014. At Mississippi State, Fredricka received the President’s Service Award in 2013 and the Spirit of Service Award in 2014.

Fredricka expects to graduate in May of 2017, and she is a member of the law school yearbook staff, Public Interest Law Foundation, Black Law Students Association, Law Association for Women and the Dean’s Leadership Council. This summer, Fredricka will be serving as a teaching assistant for the Center for Legal Education Opportunity at the University of Mississippi School of Law. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in criminal litigation.

Margaret Wright, a native of Jackson, was elected to serve as the 2015-2016 LSSB social chair. As social chair, Margaret will be responsible for planning social functions for law students, including the annual Barristers’ Ball. Margaret is the daughter of Timothy and Suzanne Wright and graduated from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in 2009. She attended the University of Mississippi and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish in 2013. While at Ole Miss, Margaret was a member of the Chancellor’s Honor Role and Order of Omega.

Margaret expects to graduate in May of 2016, and she serves as an executive articles editor for the Mississippi Law Journal and is a member of the University of Mississippi School of Law Moot Court Board, Dean’s Leadership Council, Space Law Society, Law Association for Women and the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association.

Margaret will work as a summer associate with the firms of Blair & Bondurant and Wise, Carter, Child & Carraway in Jackson, Miss. After graduation, Margaret plans to pursue a career in civil defense litigation.

Jessica LeAnn Rice was elected to serve as the 2015-2016 LSSB attorney general. The LSSB attorney general participates in student Honor Council proceedings and maintains the LSSB Code and Constitution. Jessica is from Flowood, Miss., and is the daughter of Marvin and Ann Rice. Jessica graduated form Northwest Rankin High School in 2010 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Alabama in 2014. At the University of Alabama, Jessica was a member of the Mortar Board national senior honor society.

Jessica expects to graduate in May of 2017, and she is a member of Law Association for Women and served as a 1L honor council representative. During the summer of 2015, Jessica will participate in the University of Mississippi School of Law summer study abroad program at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. After graduation, Jessica plans to practice health law.


Karen Peairs, Esq., Assistant Director of the University of Mississippi Career Services Office was elected to serve as President-Elect of the Magnolia Bar Association for the 2015-2016 term.  The Magnolia Bar Association, having recently celebrated its 60th Anniversary, is an organization which addresses the perspectives of African-American attorneys in the state.  Previously, Peairs has served as Northeastern District Director for the Association for the past three years.In addition to her election, she was also awarded both the Executive Board Member of the Year award and the Community Service Award.