Mississippi College

Mississippi College Welcomes Law Students at 2012 Orientation

August 8, 2012

Mississippi College welcomed 155 law students at an orientation program where they learned about ethics and professionalism from leaders of the state’s legal community.

“It was really great spending time with judges and active attorneys,” said Davis Pace, 25, a first-year student at the MC School of Law in Jackson. “This gives me input on how to prepare for the next three years.”

It was a treat for Pace, a 2010 University of Mississippi English graduate, to hear from keynote speaker Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr. A former staffer for U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in Washington, the Jackson resident is considering a career in patent or civil law.

“It’s great including a look at what judges and lawyers go through day to day,” says Trevor Beaty, a 2011 Texas A&M graduate as classmates joined him Wednesday for lunch breakout sessions with the “who’s who” of Mississippi’s legal world.

MC Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt, Associate Dean Phillip McIntosh, and Mississippi Bar President Lemuel G. Adams were part of the lineup of speakers at the Christian university’s Anderson Hall.

 Chief Justice Waller administered the Professionalism Oath to the law students. “Ethics, professionalism and civility are essential to the legal profession,” he said. “Law students must understand and embrace these principles of the legal profession before they begin their academic studies in law.”

Other law students taking notes and enjoying the time spent networking included Charlie Hedden, 28, a 2007 William Carey University graduate who recently worked for the Mississippi Air National Guard.

Before entering MC’s Law School, Mark McClinton, 24, of New Albany, already learned a great deal by being part of a family heavily involved in the profession. His grandfather was a district attorney and circuit judge and his uncle serves with the U.S. attorney’s office in Oxford. A former worker in Attorney General Jim Hood’s election campaign last year, Mark hopes to practice criminal law.

The MC law students were on the Clinton campus for the annual James O. Dukes Law School Professionalism Program sponsored by the Mississippi Bar as part of orientation for new law students. Waller will also be the keynote speaker August 16 for University of Mississippi law students in Oxford. Both programs are named for the late James O. Dukes of Gulfport, a former Mississippi Bar president.

The program, Rosenblatt said, “is critical to starting our students with a proper perspective on how to operate in the legal community.”

Among the judges on hand were: Mississippi Supreme Court Justices Leslie King of Greenville, Randy Pierce of Leakesville and George Carlson, Jr. of Batesville, Mississippi Court of Appeals Chief Justice Joe Lee of Jackson and Presiding Judge T. Kenneth Griffis, Jr. of Ridgeland.

While the number of law students is declining nationwide in large part due to the economic slump and the tough job market, MC students still see many opportunities in the legal world. The program on the Clinton campus helped them get started.

“It’s really great speaking to people who are professionals already,” says law student Christine Kelly, a 2012 University of Tennessee graduate from Atlanta.

About 25 current and former judges and more than 50 attorneys participated in the program at Mississippi College.

Photo: Mississippi College School of Law students Charlie Hedden of McComb, Mark McClinton of New Albany and Davis Pace of Jackson were among those attending an orientation program on the Clinton campus August 8th

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