The J.D. program at the University of Mississippi School of Law prepares you to actually practice law, not just to think like a lawyer. Because we believe that lawyers come in as many forms as there are law students, we provide you with a legal education to fit your future career. We believe in maximizing your options and choices rather than in a one-size-fits-all approach. Moreover, we integrate professional skills throughout our curriculum.
Our J.D. Program begins with a strong foundation in heavily-tested bar exam subjects, such as Torts, Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law and Constitutional Law. Our students also benefit from a full year of legal research and writing, culminating with appellate brief writing and oral argument – with the top first year students selected for membership on our nationally-ranked Moot Court Board. Our first years also have the option of learning courtroom litigation skills through a mock trial workshop and competition hosted by our Trial Advocacy Board.
Our innovative Skill Session devotes the first two weeks of every spring semester to an intensive skills course. All first year students enroll in Contract Negotiation and Drafting, a course that builds on classroom coverage of contract law in the fall semester with each student participating in simulations of contract discussions and the work of converting those talks into robust documents. The negotiation component of the course feeds selection of several first years for our Negotiation Team later in the spring semester.
Our second year and third year students choose among twenty Skill Session courses ranging from Trial Practice and Small Business Drafting to Legal Spanish and Legal Entrepreneurship. The availability of a full spectrum of offerings allows our upper level students to focus on litigation, transactional work or public service lawyering, and any number of substantive areas including estate planning, real estate, sports law, entertainment law and intellectual property.
Building on the Skill Session, we offer seven different clinical programs: Innocence Project, Criminal Appeals, Street Law, Child Advocacy, Transactional Law, Elder Law, and Low-Income Housing. Each of these programs guarantees tremendous individual attention because we limit enrollment to no more than eight students per clinic each semester. Our clinical students receive temporary admission to the bar and represent real clients. The clinical programs afford students the opportunity to not only actually practice law but to do so with the close support and guidance of clinical professors and supervising attorneys.
Our four externship programs – Public Service, Prosecution, Judicial and Business Regulation – deliver opportunities to make the leap from the classroom to the law office, all while still providing the support of a classroom instruction and the mentorship of a clinical professor. This best-practices approach to externships ensures a productive experience.
Our new Solo Practice Program will provide courses, mentors and incubator benefits to students wishing to open their own law practice straight from law school. Courses like Law Office Management, Lawyering Skills Workshop, Solo Practice and Accounting for Lawyers equip students with necessary skills. Our mentors, both recent graduates and veteran attorneys, provide practical advice both before and after graduation. Our solo practice incubator will afford our graduates with support as they work to establish their own law offices.
Beyond the traditional classroom, our Pro Bono Initiative builds a culture of servant leadership by tackling specific skill-based projects such as guardianship, child support modification, child custody and low-income tax assistance.
Of course, we also provide a full panoply of regular courses from which our students choose a program of instruction, needing only to satisfy the requirement of an advanced writing seminar and a legal ethics class. Our faculty boasts experts in an extraordinary range of subjects, including securities regulation, tax, bankruptcy, workers compensation, torts, gaming law, insurance law, civil procedure, law and religion, sports law, criminal law, criminal procedure, death penalty law, international human rights, environmental law, Native American law, health care law, legal ethics, evidence, children and the law, law and medicine, constitutional law and theory, supreme court practice, and family law.