Strategic Plan

The Strategic Planning Process

In the spring of 2015, the Law School began an intensive strategic planning process emphasizing the governance values of inclusion and deliberation. Over the summer, a seven-person strategic planning group engaged in research: holding weekly meetings, reading strategic planning materials, interviewing senior staff, and conducting a series of seven faculty-staff summer surveys.

In the fall, the strategic planning research group organized six joint faculty-staff meetings to discuss the Law School’s strategic priorities. The research group also involved other core stakeholders in the process—students and alumni—conducting surveys and organizing discussion events, including a student focus group, a student forum, and an alumni forum.

In the late fall, the research group was reconstituted as a drafting group with the addition of new members. The drafting group met regularly and drafted a strategic plan to reflect the vision and values of the Law School stakeholders participating in the process. The strategic plan endorsed five flagship goals and ten areas of strategic priority.

In the early spring of 2016, the proposed strategic plan was discussed in a joint faculty-staff meeting, revised in light of comments, and then endorsed in a series of votes by faculty and staff.

Implementation and Assessment of the Strategic Plan

The implementation and assessment of the strategic plan is the ultimate responsibility of the Dean’s Office. The Dean will designate personnel (e.g., an associate dean, advisory group, or committee) to assist with implementation and assessment. The Dean will also ensure that regular progress reports are made to faculty and staff each semester by appropriate personnel. The Law School will follow this strategic plan through the year 2020 or until revised. The plan contemplates a review and revision following the 2018-2019 ABA site visit.


As an outstanding public law school, the University of Mississippi School of Law leads, excels, and inspires by preparing students for the practice of law in a changing global marketplace, expanding the horizons of legal knowledge through scholarly research, and serving diverse communities in the state, region, nation, and world. As it pursues its mission, the Law School also has a special responsibility to the State of Mississippi as the State’s only public law school and a central component of its flagship university.

The Law School graduates innovative, practice-ready lawyers who enhance the legal profession, promote the cause of justice, and serve the public. The Law School empowers students to reach their highest potential through a curriculum centered on doctrinal courses, legal research and writing, skills training, clinical instruction, externships, and professional ethics. As a state school, the Law School has a special commitment to educate state residents and train lawyers who will serve the needs of the State of Mississippi.

The Law School advances legal knowledge through the publication and presentation of original scholarly research. The Law School’s support for scholarship and a vibrant culture of inquiry provide a crucial foundation for the teaching and service components of the Law School’s mission—in addition to the intrinsic value of the expansion of knowledge.

The Law School serves diverse communities through its programs and personnel in order to transform lives and promote access to justice, legal professionalism, progress, reform, and the public interest. The Law School’s clinics, centers, institutes, and programs are essential to the Law School’s service mission, which has a special emphasis on Mississippi communities.


In pursuing its mission, the Law School:

  • Affirms its purpose as a professional school
  • Strives for excellence in teaching, research, and service
  • Provides an affordable and outstanding legal education
  • Offers a wide array of high-quality and innovative programs
  • Embraces a “students-first” philosophy of education and empowerment
  • Promotes a rich culture of scholarship and intellectual inquiry
  • Serves the public interest and the cause of justice
  • Strives for diversity, inclusion, and outreach—with a special focus on historically underrepresented and excluded groups
  • Protects academic freedom and integrity
  • Cultivates a civil community of mutual respect and shared governance
  • Practices good stewardship of resources
  • Commits to energetic engagement with alumni
  • Affirms its commitment to the University of Mississippi Creed

The University of Mississippi Creed

The University of Mississippi is a community of learning dedicated to nurturing excellence in intellectual inquiry and personal character in an open and diverse environment. As a voluntary member of this community:

I believe in respect for the dignity of each person.
I believe in fairness and civility.
I believe in personal and professional integrity.
I believe in academic honesty.
I believe in academic freedom.
I believe in good stewardship of our resources.
I pledge to uphold these values and encourage others to follow my example.

Programs and Personnel

The Law School encompasses a wide range of components that form a mutually supportive, interdependent, and overlapping set of programs and personnel, all of which contribute to the mission and values of the Law School. The Law School’s components include students, staff, faculty, the Dean’s Office, administrative offices, faculty and staff committees, the Grisham Law Library, the clinical programs, the advocacy programs, the Academic Workshop Program, law journals, student organizations, the Cambridge Program, the Business Law Institute, the Mississippi Law Research Institute, the National Sea Grant Law Center, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Center for Continuing Legal Education, the Mississippi Judicial College, and the LL.M. Program in Air and Space Law.


The Law School affirms its deep commitment to its stakeholders: students, alumni, staff, faculty, the University, bench and bar, and the State of Mississippi.

UM Law 2020 Flagship Goals

The following set of flagship goals on issues of overarching importance will receive special attention during the implementation of the 2020 Strategic Plan.

  • Achieve a 50% or greater increase in Mississippi resident applications over those received in the 2014-2015 admissions cycle
  • Achieve a 90% or better bar passage rate for first-time takers
  • Achieve a 90% or better ten-month-after-graduation employment rate for graduates
  • Establish a Law School Alumni Board of Visitors to advise the Dean
  • Increase the rate of alumni participation in annual giving by 100% over the rate attained in 2014-2015

UM Law 2020 Strategic Priorities

During the planning process, the Law School identified ten areas of strategic priority. The areas are listed below and numbered to promote easy reading and administrative convenience, not to indicate a ranking of priorities.

  1. Admissions and Student Recruitment
  2. Student Employment and Bar Passage
  3. Alumni Relations and Development
  4. Marketing and Communications
  5. Diversity and Inclusion
  6. Curriculum and Instructional Innovation
  7. Research and Intellectual Life
  8. Service and Community Engagement
  9. Budget and Finance
  10. Coordination and Collaboration

For each strategic priority, the full strategic plan lists detailed objectives, initiatives, indicators of progress, and implementation and assessment responsibilities.

Strategic Planning Drafting and Research Groups

Strategic Planning Drafting Group

  • Former Associate Dean Jack Nowlin, co-chair
  • Associate Dean Ben Cooper, co-chair
  • Professor Michèle Alexandre
  • Professor David Case
  • Professor Donna Davis
  • Professor Jason Derrick
  • Assistant Dean Macey Edmondson
  • Professor Kris Gilliland
  • Professor Karen Green
  • Professor Desiree Hensley
  • Professor Farish Percy
  • Professor Hans Sinha
  • Professor William Wilkins

Strategic Planning Research Group

  • Former Associate Dean Jack Nowlin, chair
  • Associate Dean Ben Cooper, assistant chair
  • Professor Michèle Alexandre
  • Professor David Case
  • Professor Donna Davis
  • Professor Kris Gilliland
  • Professor Farish Percy