Law Students Appear in Oral Argument Before Court of Appeals

Haley Wright and Chase Pritchard, third-year law students.

Haley Wright and Chase Pritchard, third-year law students.

By: Prof. Phil Broadhead

On November 12, 2015, Court of Appeals of Mississippi once again sat in special session at Mississippi State University as a part of their “Court on the Road” program. Criminal Appeals Clinic students Chase Pritchard and Haley Wright were specially appointed as counsels of record and argued the case of Thomas v. State before the Court. The issues in this case involved hearsay statements of a confidential informant to police and narration of a “controlled buy” video not played for the jury in open court. Graduated law students Kye Handy and Brantley Pierce (JD 2015) wrote the brief of the Appellant as a part of their participation in the Criminal Appeals Clinic last spring.

“Most classes in law school teach you how to think like a lawyer. Clinics allow you to actually be a lawyer,” said student/lawyer Haley Wright. “I am more comfortable graduating in May because I have argued in front of the Court of Appeals, which lawyers who have been practicing for years can’t say. This was hands down my best experience in law school.” Chase Pritchard agrees: “The Criminal Appeals Clinic shows third-year law students that you already have been taught to be a lawyer. Unlike the vast majority of classes in law school, this Clinic is structured like a law firm and you are in charge of your case, which allows the students to gain confidence and experience needed for life after law school.”

The “Court on the Road” program of the Court of Appeals will mark its tenth year when the Court sits in special session at the UM School of Law in the spring 2016 semester.