Faculty Highlights – May 2018

Professor Ron Rychlak was interviewed for an episode of “The Pope,” a series that is on CNN.

A portion of The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East: Prevention, Prohibition, and Prosecution (Angelico Press, 2017), edited by Professor Ron Rychlak, has been updated and adapted for inclusion in the booklet Echoes of Genocide. The booklet was published by the Kurdish Regional Government Representation in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 1988 Halabja genocide against Iraqi Kurds by the Baathist Regime of Saddam Hussein. In addition to a brief narrative of the ISIS’ genocide against the Iraqi Christians, the booklet used two photographs from the book.

Professor Matthew Hall received this year’s Ben A. Hardy Faculty Excellence Award. The Ben A. Hardy Faculty Excellence Award was created March 17, 2006, by a Memorandum of Agreement by Benjamin A. Hardy , Jr. of Mentone, Alabama, donor and The University of Mississippi Foundation.  The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding teaching, scholarship and service by a faculty member from The University of Mississippi School of Law. The recipient of the award is selected annually by the Dean of the School of Law and the President of the Law School Student Body (LSSB).

Kristina Alexander’s article Small Critter, Big Problem: Protecting the Pearl River Map Turtle in Mississippi, was selected as the Featured ELR Article of the Month for the March 2018 issue of the Environmental Law Institute.

Professor Mercer Bullard was mentioned in a Bloomberg article entitled “Private-Equity Giants Get a Surprise Win in $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill.”


Hall Receives Faculty Excellence Award

Professor Matthew Hall has been named the recipient of this year’s Ben A. Hardy Faculty Excellence Award, which is chosen annually by the Dean of the Law School and the President of the Student Bar Association.

“Professor Hall is very deserving of this award. Both students and graduates often comment on what an outstanding teacher he is,” said Susan Duncan, dean of the law school. “He is well-organized, clear in his presentation, engaging, and available to students outside of class. I am proud to have Professor Hall as a colleague.”

In addition to teaching full time, Hall was instrumental in the implementation of the law school’s unique 1L Winter Intersession Course in Contract Drafting and Negotiation. As the coordinator for the program, he oversees all five sections and teaches a section himself.

Hall also works closely with the Moot Court program and is a driving force behind the law school’s rise in the ranks of nationally recognized advocacy programs. Through his hard work restructuring the program and preparing teams for competitions, the law school continues to win National Championships.

“It is deeply flattering to receive the Hardy Award, especially considering the talent and commitment across the faculty,” said Hall. “UM Law’s engaged students definitely bring out the best in all of us.”

Hall joined the Law School faculty in 2001. He is the Jesse D. Puckett, Jr. Lecturer, and his scholarly interests focus on the intersection of immigration law, criminal law and procedure, and national security law. He teaches a variety of classes including Property, Legislation, Criminal Procedure II, and Federal Trial Practice. Prior to his time at UM Law, Hall worked as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.


Mississippi Law Journal to Publish Special Issue Focused on State’s Legal History

The Mississippi Law Journal is putting together a special issue featuring several works focused on Mississippi legal history, including articles written by Antonia Eliason, a University of Mississippi professor of law, U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James L. Robertson.

“We are very excited to be publishing this special Mississippi-focused issue,” said James Kelly, the journal’s editor-in-chief. “The articles in the book tell the stories of people who have helped shape our state’s history and law.

“We are so proud to be bringing these stories to print and are very grateful to the authors for sharing them.”

Eliason’s article, titled “Lillian McMurry and the Blues Contracts of Trumpet Records,” focuses on a Jackson-based record company established and run by Lillian McMurry from 1950 to 1955. McMurry was a pioneering businesswoman who discovered and signed some of the most prominent artists in the blues genre, including Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James.

“Lillian McMurry has become a hero of mine; her picture hangs in my office to remind me of the strength of character and compassion that she demonstrated as the head of Trumpet Records,” Eliason said. “After spending so much time in the archives reading her correspondences with the artists that she signed, I feel like I’ve come to know her personally.

“She had a remarkable ear for talent despite a lack of musical training, and supported her artists, even after the record label dissolved.”

Drawing on archival material, the article demonstrates a progressing level of sophistication for the young record label, as well as the ways in which McMurry’s business practices helped promote increased fairness and transparency in recording contracts.

“At a time when there were so few female players in any capacity in the recording industry, she broke barriers while avoiding the rapacious practices of many record label executives,” Eliason said. “She also treated all of her artists the same, irrespective of race, even though she was operating the highly segregated milieu of 1950s Mississippi.

“I hope that through my article, more people will come to know Lillian McMurry’s story. She was a truly exceptional woman and someone who will remain a source of inspiration in my life.”

The article “Dry September Revisited,” written by Mills, chronicles the stories of a group of Mississippi legislators who stood up against Walter Sillers, the powerful speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, after he invited Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker to address the Legislature.

The legislators opposed Walker’s speech because of his role in working to block James Meredith’s entry into UM.

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James L. Robertson’s work, “Only People Were Slaves,” recounts the story of an early freedom-by-residence case brought by a group of slaves. The case, decided in 1818, is notable as the first known instance in which the court of last resort in a Southern slave state ruled that the slaves were free.

The article features the first publication of several original archival sources and is adapted from a chapter in Robertson’s forthcoming book, “Heroes, Rascals and the Law: Constitutional Encounters in Mississippi,” which is being published by the University Press of Mississippi.

The themed edition of the Mississippi Law Journal is slated for release in April.