Oxford, Miss.—Five alumni of the University of Mississippi School of Law were inducted into the 2013 Law Alumni Hall of Fame during Law Alumni Weekend April 19-20 in Oxford. Inductees are chosen based on their professional achievements and/or service to the school.
Inductees include the late Herb Dewees of Meridian; Pat Scanlon, Jackson; Constance Slaughter-Harvey, Forest; the late William Watkins, Jackson; and Trent Lott, Pascagoula. The induction was part of weekend-long festivities hosted annually by the Law Alumni Chapter of the University of Mississippi Alumni Association.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize those who have paved the way to excellence in our profession,” said Richard Gershon, dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law. “These five alumni are truly deserving of this great honor.”
Other weekend activities included the Legal Legacy Luncheon, honoring those who have been out of law school 50+ years, as well as a cookout at the law center, the Lamar Order Breakfast and a retirement reception honoring Professors John Bradley and Bob Weems (view the photos).
Law Alumni Weekend 2014 is set for March 21-22.
Inductees’ Biographical Information:
Dewees received a bachelor’s degree in 1965 and a J.D. degree in 1968 from the University of Mississippi. As a law student he was a member of the Delta Theta Phi honor society. Dewees created and named the law school’s Lamar Order, and was appointed executive director of the Alumni Association in 1990 and served in that capacity for 14 years until his retirement. Dewees also received the Law Alumnus of the Year Award in 1990 and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in 2004 for exhibiting the character, humanitarian and spiritual qualities evident in the life of Sullivan, a Southerner who became a prominent 19th century lawyer, businessman and philanthropist. In 2007, the alumni association board of directors named its scholarship fund the Herbert E. Dewees, Jr. Alumni Association Lineal Descendant Scholarship Endowment. A year later he was inducted posthumously into the University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame.
Pat H. Scanlon received his bachelor’s degree in 1957 and his law degree in 1960. He practiced law for 33 years with Young, Scanlon & Sessums, and co-authored a chapter in Mississippi Civil Procedure. He has served in the following positions: president of MS Young Lawyers Association, chairman of the 24th Annual MS Law Institute, president of the Fellows of the MS Young Lawyers Division, president of the Jackson Junior Bar Association, president of the Hinds County Bar Association, president of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, president of the MS Bankruptcy Conference, president of the MS Bar, and member of the ABA House of Delegates. Scanlon was also president of the Law Alumni Chapter, chairman of the Lamar Order and a member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s executive committee.
He was listed in “Best Lawyers in America” from its original publication in 1983 until his 2004 retirement. He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and was the law school’s 1986 Law Alumnus of the Year.
Slaughter-Harvey was the first African American female to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi, and was state’s first African American female to serve as judge. She began her career with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and then established her private law practice in Forest. In 1984, she became Assistant Secretary of State for Elections and Public Lands with Secretary of State, Dick Molpus.
In 1998, the University of Mississippi’s Black Law Student Association was named in her honor. She is a past president of the Magnolia Bar Association, recipient of the R. Jesse Brown Award, past recipient of Mississippi State University’s Distinguished Service Award and the University of Mississippi’s Distinguished Black Mississippian Award. She is a two-time recipient of the National Council of Negro Women’s Outstanding Service Award. She has also twice earned the NAACP Legal Awards for dedication and commitment to the continuing struggle for legal justice. Tougaloo College inducted her into its alumni Hall of Fame in 2000 and named her its Alumnae of the Year two years later. In 1999, Thomas and Ann Colbert honored her with the establishment of the Constance Slaughter-Harvey Endowed Chair in Political Science/Pre-Law at Tougaloo College.
The late William Hamilton Watkins received his L.L.B. degree in 1895 from the University of Mississippi. Upon graduation, Watkins became the 20th lawyer in the Jackson bar, specializing in civil and corporate law, and then went on to become a founder of the Jackson law firm Watkins & Eager.
Watkins was known for excellence and expertise in appearances before, and submissions to, the U.S. Supreme Court. He was a member of the American Law Institute and authored the annual Martindale-Hubbell summary of Mississippi law.
He served as president of the Mississippi Bar and served terms in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. He was president of the Board of Trustees of the State Department of Archives and History, charter member of the Jackson Rotary Club and a founding member of the Jackson Little Theatre. He served as director of Jackson-State National Bank and of The Gammill Company, and was on the Board of Trustees of Tougaloo College.
Born in Grenada and raised in Pascagoula, Lott received his B.P.A. in Political Science in 1963 and J.D. in 1967, both from the University of Mississippi. As an undergraduate, he was president of Sigma Nu fraternity, an Ole Miss cheerleader, a member of the Daily Mississippian staff, a concert singer and a member of the national leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa. He was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity, was selected as a Hall of Fame member and is a member of the university’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
Lott served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years. He served as House Minority Whip and was elected to the U.S. Senate, and remained in office until his retirement in 2007. In 1995, Sen. Lott became the Senate Majority Whip and then the Senate’s 16th Majority Leader in 1996. In 2006 he was elected Senate Minority Whip and is the only person to serve in this position in both the House and the Senate. Following his 35-year service to the people of Mississippi, he and former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux founded the Breaux Lott Leadership Group and now serve as special senior counsel following the firm’s acquisition by Patton Boggs LLP.