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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.

Professor Cliff Johnson, Director of the MacArthur Justice Center, was interviewed by WJTV news in Jackson, MS regarding the events unfolding in Baltimore.

View the full story

Professor Tucker Carrington, Director of the Mississippi Innocence Project, was one of just twenty law professors nationwide elected to membership in the American Law Institute.

Bloomberg Law interviews Professor Will Berry on the Supreme Court’s consideration of United States v. Johnson, a case involving sentencing felons for multiple felonies.

After inspecting Mississippi’s Death Row and conducting cell-side interviews of inmates as part of their litigation challenging the conditions of confinement on Death Row, MacArthur Justice Clinic students visited the gravesite of Fannie Lou Hamer, one of Mississippi’s greatest heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. The MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law pursues civil rights litigation on behalf of those Mississippians Mrs. Hamer championed – the poor, disenfranchised, and marginalized.

Pictured (L to R) are Kiya Jones, Wilson Skomal, Nicole Jones, and Heather Horn.

The University of Mississippi Clinical Programs recently provided assistance to the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) to support their application for a Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS) grant, which was awarded this week. The MS Supreme Court and AOC were only one of five courts in the country to receive this grant.

Spearheaded by Professor Desiree Hensley, with help from Professor David Calder and Professor Kilgore (Director of the Elder Law Project at North Mississippi Rural Legal Services), the Clinical Programs helped the Supreme Court and AOC plan the work it would undertake as a WINGS recipient. “It has been a real pleasure to support the Mississippi Supreme Court’s and the Mississippi Administrative Office of Courts’ application for a WINGS grant. Now that they have received the grant, I’ll shift to working with UM Law Legislation Clinic students to provide the Court and the AOC with high quality legal and policy research and writing.  The Legislation Clinic students’ overall goal will be to give the Court and the AOC the best advice they can about what steps the Court and AOC should take to protect vulnerable adults in Mississippi from abuse and neglect.  That’s a big deal and hard work, but the students are entirely capable of doing it,” says Professor Desiree Hensley.

Currently, there are no collaborative efforts in Mississippi that address adult guardianship issues or other, less restrictive, decision-making options for incapacitated people. There are entities and individuals in the State who advocate for incapacitated people within their own spheres of influence and these stakeholders can be brought together to effectively accomplish the goals set out by the National Guardian Network. Examples of these stakeholders whom the Court either has asked or will ask to participate in the Mississippi WINGS program include Representatives of Veterans Affairs, the Health Department, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health, Adult Protective Services, the Long Term Care Ombudsman, and Area Agencies on Aging; Members of the private bar who practice elder-related Law, legal aid organizations, pro bono organizations, law school legal clinics, judges, court administrators, legislators, and law enforcement; University of Mississippi faculty from various departments, including sociology, psychology, gerontology, law, applied sciences, and medicine; and individuals who have experienced these issues first-hand.

“By enrolling in Professor Hensley’s Legislative Clinic, UM law students have a unique opportunity to work directly with the MS Supreme Court and the MS AOC to help design good policy for the State of Mississippi to take better care of its most vulnerable citizens” says Debbie Bell, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs.

You may read more about the National Guardianship Network here. And the official press release here.

The team members Ian Perry (JD 2013, LLM expected 2015), CJ Robison (2L), and Olivia Hoff (2L)

The University of Mississippi School of Law just won its second national moot court championship for 2015. This victory came in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court on March 21 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. Technically, Ole Miss earned the title of North American Champion and with it the right to represent the continent at the World Finals in Jerusalem, Israel, in October.

“A success like this, in the world’s oldest and most prestigious space law competition, stands out as a highlight on a student’s resume,” says Dean Richard Gershon. “As an international leader in this unique emerging area of law, Ole Miss helps propel students into careers at government agencies like NASA and the CIA, as well as position students for opportunities in the growing private space industry and at companies like Bigelow Aerospace and SpaceX.”

This victory builds on a string of successes for Ole Miss Law’s advocacy programs, which include recently winning the nation’s pre-eminent environmental law moot court competition for the fourth time in five years; winning four national championships in 2014 alone; earning a top-14 national ranking for the school’s moot court board in 2014; receiving second place at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition this past fall; and achieving a top-8 finish at the moot court National Championship hosted by the University of Houston Law Center this past January.

As North American space law champions, Ole Miss Law will compete in the World Finals against law schools from Africa, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Three members of the International Court of Justice will serve as judges and will hear arguments in a hypothetical case involving an asteroid mining dispute and liability for a failed attempt to divert an asteroid from colliding with the Earth. In its 24th year, the competition takes place under the auspices of the International Institute of Space Law, headquartered in Paris, France, and attracts over 60 law schools from around the globe.

On the road to the championship, the University of Mississippi School of Law triumphed over a field that included teams from Georgetown, Nebraska, Hawaii, Temple, St. Thomas, Florida State, UC Davis, Arizona State, George Washington University, McGill (Montreal, Canada), and Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota, Columbia).

While all of these law schools focus on international law, Ole Miss stands out as one of just a few schools to offer a program devoted to the law governing aviation, space exploration, and satellites. In fact, the School of Law pioneered the field of space law over 45 years ago and the New York Times has recognized the school as “an international center for space law studies.” The school’s expertise is embodied in its Journal of Space Law, the conferences it hosts, the service of its graduates in the field, and in its curricular programs.

Notably, the School of Law features both a J.D.-level certificate program on remote sensing, air, and space law and an advanced LL.M. degree in air and space law. Indeed, Ole Miss Law offers the only advanced law degree program in the United States combining both aviation law and space law. For more information on these programs, please visit and

The championship team from Ole Miss Law includes Olivia Hoff of Gulfport, MS, and C.J. Robison from Lubbock, TX, both of whom are second-year law students from the space law certificate program.   Joining them is Ian Perry of Ellis County, TX, a 2013 J.D. recipient currently working on his space law LL.M.

“I believe a great deal of our success stems from our knowledge of general international law and space law,” said Robison. “Ole Miss has some of the best resources and professors in the country for such study. Our success is definitely a testament to the University’s leadership in this area.”

“I am extremely proud of these students,” says Professor Jacquie Serrao, the Director of the LL.M. program. “I know they will represent North America and our law school brilliantly at the Finals in October. C.J., Ian, and Olivia are each examples of the caliber of space law scholars and future attorneys which the J.D. and LL.M. programs produce.”

For team member Hoff, a physics and mathematics graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, the space law certificate program offered a path to become a lawyer, but still stay focused on the sciences. “To some degree pursuing the certificate makes me feel as if, even though I changed fields, I am still staying true to my roots.”

Coach Professor Michael Dodge with the team members Olivia Hoff, CJ Robison, and Ian Perry

The team is coached by Professor Michael Dodge, who graduated from the School of Law’s space law program in 2008 and now teaches U.S. and international space law at Ole Miss.   Joining Professor Dodge as assistant coach is Adjunct Professor Michael Mineiro, who holds a J.D. from North Carolina along with an LL.M. and D.C.L. from McGill University, and works on space law issues for numerous federal agencies and international organizations.

“I am tremendously proud of the team’s achievement,” states Professor Dodge. “In the upcoming months, I look forward to working to prepare them for the next stage of the competition. I know they will compete admirably, and skillfully represent the University of Mississippi and its long association with space law.”

More broadly, Dodge praises the promise of the students in Ole Miss’s space law programs. “They all have a passionate interest in aviation and space law issues.” He also speaks ardently of the school’s placement efforts. “Our professors have decades of contacts in academia, government, and private industry. Accordingly, many of our graduates have gone on to realize their dreams, working for such diverse employers as NASA, the FAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, congressional offices, Bigelow Aerospace, Spaceport America, consulting firms, higher education, and of course private law firms.”

On Thursday, March 19, MacArthur Justice Clinic law students, along with the clinic’s director, Professor Cliff Johnson, and Adjunct Professor Jake Howard, went to the Mississippi State Penitentiary to inspect Death Row (Unit 29) and to conduct cell-side interviews of Death Row inmates as part of their litigation challenging their prison conditions.  “Very few lawyers have seen Death Row from the ‘inside,’ so this was a significant experience for all involved. I could not have been prouder of our students.  They worked hard to prepare for the interviews, they acted professionally at all times, and they treated those they interviewed with respect and kindness,” says Professor Johnson.

The MacArthur Justice Clinic is one of the newest clinics within the Clinical Programs at the law school. Students in this clinic will be advocating for human rights and social justice through litigation.

(Pictured L to R)
Kiya Jones, Cliff Johnson (Director/Professor), Wilson Skomal, Heather Horn, Jake Howard (Adjunct Professor), and Nicole Jones

Professor Stephanie Showalter-Otts, director of the National Sea Grant Law Center at the School of Law, is one of the distinguished scholars represented in a new Oxford University Press book focused on legal responses to the adverse effects of climate change on marine and coastal environments. The book is entitled Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law: U.S. and International Perspectives and Professor Showalter-Otts contributed a chapter devoted to the legal and practical challenges stemming from the threat to marine habitats posed by invasive species.

For more information on the National Sea Grant Law Center, please visit

For more information on the book and to obtain a copy, please visit

Dear Members of the Law School Community,

I wanted you to know that I have decided to complete my service as dean of the School of Law onJune 30, 2015.  At the point, I am pleased to report that Professor Debbie Bell will assume the role of Interim Dean while I will return to the faculty. It has been an honor serving the law school these past 5 years, and I am excited to work with Dean Bell and the law school community in my new capacity.

Thank you for your wonderful support and friendship,

Richard Gershon


For the fourth time in five years, the University of Mississippi School of Law has won the national environmental moot court competition. Triumphing over 61 other law schools, Ole Miss prevailed at the 27th annual Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition at Pace Law School in White Plains, New York, February 19 to 21. Ole Miss Law previously brought home the title in 2011, 2012, and 2014.

This victory builds on a string of successes for Ole Miss Law’s advocacy programs, which include four national championships last year alone, a top-14 national ranking for the school’s moot court board in 2014, second place at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition this past fall, and a top-8 finish last month at the moot court National Championship hosted by the University of Houston Law Center.

Collecting the trophy for Ole Miss was a team of two second-year law students, John Juricich of Anniston, Alabama, and Mary Margaret Roark of Cleveland, Mississippi. With elimination round victories over Vermont, Montana, Florida Coastal, Penn State, Florida State, and Northeastern, the pair advanced out of a tremendous field of law schools, which also included Yale, Columbia, Berkeley, and Penn.

“The best experience I have had in law school, hands down,” says Juricich. The victory, Roark and Juricich agree, happened only because of the help of many others. As Roark explains, “the entire school supported John and me throughout this process, and that’s simply not true for all schools with moot court teams.”

“It changes your entire frame of mind when you have a moot court program and a student body that not only strives for winning titles like these, but to a certain extent, expects it as well,” says Roark, in describing how the law school’s high standards propelled them toward success. Juricich credits the coaches, Professor David Case and Professor Stephanie Showalter Otts, for their work honing the team for competition. “This championship wouldn’t have been possible” without the coaches, he explains. “It was an honor to make them proud at the competition by doing exactly what they taught us.”

“An accomplishment like this is the product of countless hours of work by the students and their coaches,” said Richard Gershon, Dean of the School of Law. “Our repeated success at this competition, and in our advocacy programs in general, says a great deal about the outstanding students we have at the University of Mississippi School of Law. This is the embodiment of their promise as lawyers.”

“It is an amazing feat for two second-year law students to win a national competition in a field of teams primarily made up of far more experienced third-year law students,” added Professor Case. “Their exhaustive preparation allowed them to succeed on such a well-known and respected national stage.”

The environmental law competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country, testing students on their ability to argue a mock case before a federal appellate court. The team commenced work on the competition four months ago, in October when they started writing their brief. After filing the brief in November, the team began to practice oral arguments with their coaches. In New York, the team argued in three preliminary oral argument rounds, before advancing to elimination matches in the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final rounds. Both Roark and Juricich garnered Best Oralist Awards at the competition.

The Ole Miss team faced a formidable panel of judges for the finals, including the Honorable Patricia M. Wald, Retired Chief Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; the Honorable Malachy E. Mannion, Judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; and the Honorable Barbara A. Gunning, Administrative Law Judge for the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Coaching the team were two national experts in environmental law from the University of Mississippi School of Law, Professors David Case and Stephanie Showalter Otts. Case’s scholarship focuses on environmental regulation and he holds a J.D. from Ole Miss and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Otts directs the National Sea Grant Law Center, a program devoted to wise stewardship of marine resources. Praising the work and devotion of the coaches, Dean Gershon said, “Professors Case and Otts once again proved that the faculty here are amazing.”

Ole Miss’s four victories at the environmental law competition come hand in hand with school’s growing reputation as a leader in the specialty. As Otts explains, “Ole Miss is a recognized leader in ocean and coastal law research due to the presence of the National Sea Grant Law Center and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Legal Program. The success of our Pace team establishes the growing strength of our academic program in environmental, ocean and coastal, and natural resources law.”

Agriculture in the Mid-South is uniquely impacted by changes and developments in state, federal, and international laws and policies. The National Sea Grant Law Center is pleased to co-sponsor this annual program, which is part of a long-term effort to provide relevant and timely agricultural and environmental legal research and information to attorneys, lenders, accountants, tax consultants, students and other agricultural professionals involved in the agriculture and aquaculture industries in the southern U.S. The CLE will be held at the University of Memphis School of Law on April 17, 2015.

To learn more and register, visit

Garrett Wilkerson Named Institute for Energy Law Hartwick Scholar for 2015

The winner of this year’s $2,500 student writing prize is Garrett Wilkerson, a second year law student at the University of Mississippi School of Law, for his paper, Rigging Rights of Passage: Analyzing Subsurface Easements in Horizontal Drilling. As well as the $2,500 cash prize, Garrett will be the IEL’s guest at its 66th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference in Houston on February 19 and 20, and at its Symposium for Law Schools: Career Paths for Young Attorneys in the Energy Sector, co-hosted in Houston with the South Texas College of Law on March 27 and 28.

For more information:

The University of Mississippi School of Law has launched a legal technology skills program to teach the latest innovations in law practice.  Led by a partnership between the law school’s Clinical Programs and the Grisham Law Library, this two-year program features outstanding attorneys and information technology specialists, who teach substantive skills law students will need.  These skills will not only make Ole Miss Law graduates more “practice-ready,” they will provide a foundation for success with future advances in electronic media and hardware.  The program has focused on technology for law office management, court document filing, and trial litigation simulations and demonstrations. Previous events have included: Dennis Joiner, Federal Public Defender for Mississippi, who spoke on the use of Trial Director, a document management software for litigation; Clint Penecost, Counsel with the Mississippi Supreme Court, who has presented four times on the Mississippi Electronic Courts (MEC), the new digital documents filing system for state courts; William Andrew Lewis, Electronic Discovery Counsel with Recommind and Vice President for Innovation with Paragon Legal Technology Support, LLC, who has spoken twice on predictive coding, electronic document security, and other cutting-edge law practice issues; and Rick Patt, past chair for the Mississippi Bar Technology Committee, who discussed small law office-friendly apps, digital information sharing platforms, and website design.  Thanks to Clinical Professor Phil Broadhead, Director of the Criminal Appeals Clinic, and Professor Kris Gilliland, Director of the Grisham Law Library, for organizing this important series.

Taylor Baronich

OXFORD, Miss.–The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Office of General Counsel selected third year UM Law student Taylor Baronich into their very competitive Legal Honors Program for their 2015-2016 class. Each year the Program selects 10-20 candidates from all over the country to help further HUD’s mission to “create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.” As a member of the Legal Honors Program, Baronich will work in the Office of the General Counsel for HUD, receive continued legal training during that time and be assigned a mentor.

“Through the Housing Clinic (at the UM Law School), I developed a passion for housing law, studied complex legal issues, and learned the critical policy concerns. I believe that these three things I gained through the Housing Clinic—knowledge of the relevant law, understanding of important policy and humanitarian concerns and a bright enthusiasm—are likely what set me apart from other candidates,” says Baronich.

Professor Desiree Hensley, director of the Housing Clinic, is thrilled that Taylor is going to work for the HUD Legal Honors Program.  Law graduates who are selected for the Legal Honors Program have the opportunity to become the future leaders in the programs and practice areas in which they work.

“Taylor has the skills, training, commitment and desire to successfully work on the front lines of housing policy in the United States. It’s exciting to imagine that a graduate of UM Law may help shape the way our neighborhoods and communities function in the 21st century.”

Baronich says Professor Desiree Hensley and staff attorney Forrest Jenkins did a phenomenal job of not limiting her work (in the clinic) to narrow issues. By studying all aspects of a case (such as the client’s family dynamic, financial status and legal issue) the Housing Clinic taught her how to seek solutions that not only alleviate a legal problem, but also improve the client’s quality of life.

Associate Dean for the Clinical Programs, Deborah Bell, believes immersion in clinical practice gives students an advantage in pursuing opportunities such as the HUD Honors Program.

“Students in the Housing Clinic leave law school with genuine practice skills and the equivalent of a mentorship with a housing law expert.”

Baronich’s 14-month appointment will be at the HUD Regional Office of Region VI in Fort Worth, Texas. The Program starts off with a week-long training in Washington D.C. with the past and current class of HUD legal honors recipients.


Jessie Puckett

Mississippi native Jessie Puckett was defined by his deep-seated beliefs about commitment, respect and good manners, says a family member. Among the objects of his devotion were his church, his family, people in general and his work.

He also loved the University of Mississippi School of Law.

A 1953 law graduate, Puckett began building a legacy of private support to the School of Law in the early 1980s. In 1987, he created the Jessie D. Puckett, Jr. Law Endowment with a $2,000 gift designed to provide resources for faculty support.

Puckett, 88, died in late 2014 in Brandon, Miss. Through his estate, more than $507,000 has recently been directed to the Puckett Endowment, bringing his lifetime giving to the university to more than $620,000. Endowed funds are held in perpetuity by the University of Mississippi Foundation, with the annual investment income directed to the donor’s designation.

“Uncle June was a wonderful, humble man,” said Charlene Dear of Brandon, his niece. “What he did, he did because he wanted to do so. He sought no ‘pats on the back’ or recognition. He loved his law school and was happy he could do something for it.”

Richard Gershon, dean of the law school, agreed.

“Mr. Puckett never expected anything in return for his generosity. He simply wanted to give back to the law school that helped him in his career. Mr. Puckett understood that small, regular gifts can grow into substantial endowments for the support of our university. His gifts undergird the great work of our law school faculty members, including their outstanding scholarship and teaching,” the dean said.

Puckett never practiced law but Dear says he used his legal background to strengthen his career in oil and gas. His generosity will now impact countless law students seeking legal preparation by outstanding teachers.

Currently six UM law professors hold the distinguished Jessie D. Puckett, Jr. Lectureships: Michèle Alexandre, David W. Case, Benjamin P. Cooper, John M. Czarnetzky, Jack W. Nolan and Lisa Shaw Roy. Among previous Puckett Lecturers are faculty members Charles Brower, Mercer E. Bullard, Matthew R. Hall, E. Farish Percy and Larry J. Pittman.

“The Jessie D. Puckett, Jr., Endowment has provided truly invaluable support for many of our law faculty over the years,” said Nowlin, the most senior Puckett Lecturer and associate dean for faculty development. “I can’t overstate its impact. Jessie D. Puckett’s generosity and commitment to the Law School has made a huge difference in the lives of faculty – and that in turn has profoundly changed the lives of students.

“The faculty’s mission is to prepare our students for the rigors of law practice in an increasingly competitive world. By supporting the faculty in that mission, Mr. Puckett has had a major impact on the lives of literally thousands of law students. The enrichment we see from faculty support – for research, publishing, conference participation, visiting speakers, moot court coaching and endless other activities – creates a fantastic educational atmosphere for students,” Nolan said.

Throughout his 25-year career with ExxonMobil and then a 14-year career with Forest Oil Co., Puckett traveled a great deal and lived in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Florida. When he retired, he purchased his parents’ “old home place” and dedicated much of his time to the community and to Puckett Baptist Church, where his grandparents were founding members. He derived much enjoyment from a political campaign, although unsuccessful, for a small public office in Puckett because stumping for votes brought him face to face with so many people, says his niece.

“My uncle was a very personable man and enjoyed meeting people,” said Dear, who also characterized him by his great generosity, particularly to Puckett Baptist Church. “While the new sanctuary was being built at the church, he wanted to be supportive, but he had no carpentry skills. Every day that someone was working on that church, Uncle June provided all the meals, snacks and drinks. He found a way to contribute.”

Another illustration of his generosity could be seen through his commitment to his mother, whose health condition required constant care from her daughters for two decades, Dear says. Puckett and his brothers took care of their mother’s and sisters’ financial needs during this time.

The youngest of their seven children, Puckett was born to Jessie Daniel Puckett and Linnie Mae Purvis Puckett. He graduated from Central High School in Jackson, Miss., in 1943, and later that year he was called to active duty in the U.S. Navy. After three years of service, Puckett was honorably discharged as a Quartermaster Second Class. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Millsaps College in 1949. He worked for two years at the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission, which he left when he was accepted into the UM School of Law.

An individual who was private about his own personal experiences, Puckett didn’t share a great deal about his time in law school, his niece says, except to let his family know he was extremely proud of the school and of the opportunity he had to earn a law degree.

In the last five years of his life, Puckett was a resident of the Emeritus of Heritage House in Brandon.

“During the time he was in the assisted living home, Uncle June continued to be someone everyone enjoyed and loved,” Dear said. “He always had kind words and compliments for his caregivers and used his manners, saying, ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘thank you.’ He was cordial and tried to make everyone happy. He was the last of the old Southern gentlemen.”

His survivors include other nieces and nephews.

Individuals and organizations can make gifts to the Jessie D. Puckett, Jr. Law Endowment by sending a check with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, Miss. 38655; visiting; or contacting John Festervand, development officer for the UM School of Law at 662-915-1757 or

By: Tina Hahn

Dan Hodges

OXFORD, Miss.—Allen Daniel Hodges, a University of Mississippi School of Law graduate, held a decades-long successful career in the Oil and Gas industry. After passing away in early 2014, his family felt the best way to memorialize their father was to give future generations of University of Mississippi School of Law students a similar opportunity to find success in this field. Therefore, his family created the Allen Daniel Hodges Scholarship Endowment in Oil & Gas Law, a fund designed to honor Allen Hodges and to provide scholarship assistance to deserving law students.

“The Allen Daniel Hodges Scholarship Endowment was inspired by Dan’s love and devotion to the University of Mississippi and to his lifelong career in the oil and gas industry,” said Stephanie and Daniel Hodges, his children. “He excelled in this field by building strong relationships with his fellow lawyers and by possessing a keen mind in the field of Oil and Gas Law.”

Hodges was a man of sharp intellect and commitment.  Born in 1949 in Greenville, Miss., he graduated from Ole Miss with an undergraduate degree in political science in 1972.  After graduating law school in 1978, he was admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi; and the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. He was also a member of the American Association of Petroleum Landmen.

“Even during the difficult years in the late 80’s and early 90’s, he still continued to work and learn and grow in the Oil and Gas industry. He was passionate and committed to being the best in his profession,” his family said.

In addition to intellect, Hodges was a man of goodwill and possessed great love for his alma mater. This is another reason why his family decided to create an endowment in his name. “He was a strong proponent for charitable causes as he often donated to the University and numerous other organizations.  We feel that his legacy is lived not only through his children and his family, but through his philanthropy and respect for producing the highest quality work in the field of law,” the family says.

Family members involved in setting up the endowment are his two children and their spouses: Daniel Hodges and his wife is Jessica; Stephanie Huynh and her husband Daniel; his sister Martha Reeves and her husband Tom; and Bill Carter, his cousin.

The scholarship endowment will be offered in years when the Oil and Gas Law class is taught. Qualified full-time law students who demonstrate exceptional academic and/or professional achievement in the area of Oil and Gas Law are encouraged to apply. The recipient will be selected by the School of Law’s Scholarship Committee and the dean.

“We hope that this scholarship will inspire students to choose a career in the Oil and Gas field by rewarding the prior success of the Oil and Gas Law class taught at the University of Mississippi,” the family says.  “We hope that a law student, prior to taking the class, who wasn’t committed on a specific law direction, will find a sparked interest in this exciting field of law, and consequently, continue our father’s legacy of excellence in this field.”

To contribute to the Allen Daniel Hodges Scholarship Endowment in Oil and Gas Law, please 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 For more information, contact John Festervand, or 662-915-


LeCroy’s class with Mike Cockrell, chief financial officer and treasurer of Sanderson Farms, Inc.

OXFORD, Miss.–The January Skill Session, with just over 25 elite practitioners from around the area coming to teach, gives students a chance to learn real lawyering tasks from some of the profession’s leading experts.

This year’s Session, the third year of the program, was structured much the same as previous years, with a few new courses added.

One such course was International Economic Sanctions, which had a focus on the recent Ukraine-related sanctions and the relaxation of the Cuban sanctions, both of which affect Mississippi export-related businesses.  The course was taught by Jessica LeCroy, a former U.S. diplomat for 25 years, who spent much of that time in conflict zones.

LeCroy’s career experiences, in particular, highlight what the Skill Session hopes to bring to law students.

“I’ve actually lived international law: human rights law, trade law, financial crimes law, the law of war,” she said.  “I’ve spent my professional life in the field, applying the principles of international law in real time, not in the ivory tower theorizing.”

Much like the law school’s philosophy, in that substantive doctrine is balanced with real-world learning experiences, LeCroy says both played an important role in her work.

“The theorists are important because they have the ability and time to assess data for lessons learned and to convey this information to those of us who need it – from diplomats to students of international law to the public.   I consulted frequently with the Office of the Legal Advisor at the State Department, and did some theorizing myself as a former visiting senior fellow in geoeconomics at the Council on Foreign Relations, which I could then balance against short stints of actual law practice and longer term field work.”

Kye Handy, a third year student, said she took the class because she wants to practice international business law.  Instead of learning abstract principles, LeCroy’s class allowed her to learn real life international business law.

“The highlight of the class was the variety of speakers she [LeCroy] brought in to speak,” Handy said.

“We had visits from the CFO of Sanderson Farms, compliance officers from Regions Bank, and even the former director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control.  Meeting these people and asking them questions really put the class and all we were learning in perspective.”

In addition to LeCroy’s class, there were 20 electives from which second and third year students could choose.  First year students took Contract Negotiation and Drafting.

Jim Warren, managing member at Carroll Warren & Parker, was one of the practitioners who taught first year students.  As a third year Skill Session instructor, he said he teaches to give back to the school.

“The Law School gave me a lot, and I wanted to give back. I liked the idea of giving students a practical, real world course. I liked the idea of trying my hand at teaching, though I have to admit it was much harder than I thought it would be.”

Much of Warren’s practice is focused on insurance coverage as well as complex commercial litigation.  He said he has been surprised by a few things since teaching in the Session.

“Things have changed so much in 27 years. Technology is so integral to the law school experience, as it is everywhere. While I knew this going in, it was a bit unsettling because my view of law school is based on a world without email, computers, or handheld devices.

After three years of teaching, I’m getting comfortable with it.”

Skill Session classes focus on practical workshops and exercises.  Drafting a pleading, negotiating a film deal or conducting a mock courtroom hearing are additional examples of the exercises students undertake.

Unlike a typical semester course, what the student learns is applicable for all areas of the law.

“The Skill Session gives students a chance to dabble in areas that interest them,” Handy said.  “Professor LeCroy’s class gave me a great foundation for continuing compliance work.”

Anyone interested in teaching in the 2016 January Skill Session should contact Matthew Hall:

View the full list of Skill Session Teachers and find additional information on the Skill Session page.

P.J. Blount, adjunct professor for the LL.M. program in Air and Space Law, was quoted in California Lawyer recently.  The article, “Space Cowboys,” concerned business interests thinking of using space, and the legal issues they might encounter.

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Michele Alexandre, associate  professor of law and Jessie D. Puckett, Jr., lecturer, recently published a new book, “Sexploitation: Sexual Profiling and the Illusion of Gender.”  “Sexploitation” is available in kindle format and in hardcover. You may find the book on Amazon.


In “Sexploitation”, Alexandre proposes a model for legal reform and gender activism designed to maximize commonalities shared by seemingly disparate groups. To unearth these vulnerabilities and understand their impact on lived realities, Alexandre calls for the application of the universal vulnerability construct in various aspects of our jurisprudence as well as in social interactions. Specifically, she discusses the lived realities of marginalized groups who, unfortunately, are too often overlooked, and investigates the role of culture in cementing persistent biases.

In so doing, chapters provide examples of areas of law and society that are stagnated by sexual profiling and attachment to illusory gender-based distinctions. She formulates a practical model for promoting structural and individual accountability that encourages everyone to check and eradicate these biases. Ultimately, this proposed model considers transformative possibilities within both law and culture which remain yet untapped.