Law School to Open Justice Clinic, Establish Public Interest Endowment

Clinic Endowed by J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation

OXFORD, Miss.—The University of Mississippi School of Law announces the opening of its ninth clinic, the MacArthur Justice Clinic.  The Clinic is set to open in 2014 and will undertake impact litigation on human rights and criminal justice issues in Mississippi.

With the generous support of the J. Roderick MacArthur Foundation, the law school will receive funding for the Clinic’s ambitious litigation efforts and will also create an endowment to provide loan repayment and fellowships for recent graduates who pursue public interest law in Mississippi.  Within five years, the law school anticipates this fund will reach the $1 million mark.

“The public interest endowment will add significantly to the School of Law’s existing strength in graduating students ready for public service and public interest work,” said UM Law Dean Richard Gershon.  “Our students already benefit from one of the lowest costs of attendance.  The loan repayment assistance endowment is another way to help reduce the debt load for our students, which will provide more options when they enter the legal job market.  Instead of being driven by the monthly loan payments, our graduates have an even greater opportunity to make career choices based on a commitment to public interest law.”

The establishment of the MacArthur Clinic strengthens a connection between UM Law and Northwestern University School of Law, which already hosts the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center – a clinic with goals parallel to the new program in Mississippi.  The long-term friendship of Professor Phil Broadhead, director of the UM Law’s Criminal Appeals Clinic, and Thomas Geraghty, director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern, led to creation of the new clinic.

“Tom and I became fast friends and stayed in touch through the years,” Broadhead said.  “Last year, he suggested that Locke Bowman, Northwestern MacArthur Justice Center’s executive director, contact me to begin the conversation that has resulted in the MacArthur Justice Clinic becoming a part of our curriculum.”

“For students to be part of the MacArthur Justice Clinic is invaluable,” said Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence Clinic at the UM Law School.  “Our university is charged with a mission to serve.  Clinics like this and others at our law school fulfill that mission while at the same time teaching students how to address real legal challenges that face our state.”

The Clinic furthers the law school’s commitment to graduating lawyers ready to meet those challenges by providing a rich professional skills curriculum.  Along with the Innocence Clinic, UM Law offers clinical programs in Child Advocacy, Street Law, Transactional Law, Elder Law, Tax Law, Criminal Appeals and Housing.  In addition, the law school has a Clinical Externship Program following national best practices, an innovative Pro Bono Program, nationally ranked advocacy programs and cutting edge lawyering skills intersession courses.

In the near future, the law school plans to hire a tenure-track clinical faculty member to lead and teach in the clinic.

Learn more about law school clinical programs.