Ole Miss Law School Grad Selected as Prestigious Fellow

Kristine Simpson, the recent recipient of the 2016-2017 Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging, will work in partnership for one year with the North Mississippi Rural Legal Services (NMRLS) starting August 2016 to help elderly citizens in North Mississippi.

The Borchard Fellowship is awarded by the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging, one of the centers of the Borchard Foundation, which is located in Woodland Hills, California. Its mission is to help improve the quality of life for elderly people, including those who are poor or otherwise isolated by lack of education, language, culture, disability or other barriers.   Their mission is closely aligned with that of NMRLS, which is to provide vulnerable citizens of North Mississippi with the highest quality of legal and technical assistance.

The Fellowship will enable NMRLS to expand its Elder Law Project by helping NMRLS develop an interdisciplinary network model approach for responding to instances of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. In this approach, Simpson will invite service providers who work with elderly clients to attend information-sharing sessions that will promote dialogues on the strengths, weaknesses and obstacles in providing assistance to clients who are victims of elder abuse.

Simpson will host information sessions, primarily in two of the 39 counties served by NMRLS: Lafayette and Lee. It is anticipated that this new program will be replicated in other Mississippi counties and possibly in other states.

Simpson’s goal is to create resource materials that outline the available community resources for addressing elder abuse, neglect and exploitation and the steps to take in reporting any cases. She also plans to present her work at workshops and collaborate with the University of Mississippi School of Law and the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project in an effort to expand pro bono representation of elderly clients.

Simpson is a December 2015 graduate of the University Of Mississippi School Of Law. While in law school, she was an editor for both the Mississippi Law Journal and the Mississippi Sports Law Review. She also was involved in a legislation and policy clinic, assisting Mississippi’s WINGS committee with research and reform recommendations concerning the state’s guardianship and conservatorship policy and practices. It is through this work that she discovered her passion for elder law.

The prestigious Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging offers a select-few graduates of law schools across the country the opportunity to work with an organization to carry out a substantial project related to law and aging. The Fellowship, which is awarded annually, was awarded to four individuals this year. In addition to Simpson in Oxford, the Fellows were selected from Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Los Angeles.

Simpson will work under the leadership of Catherine Kilgore, creator of NMRLS’s Elder Law Project. Kilgore has received numerous awards and accolades, including the receipt of the 2011 National Aging and Law Award, the University of Mississippi School of Law Public Service Award and the Mississippi Bar Legal Services Lawyer of the Year Award.   She has many years of experience in working for NMRLS and providing training in organizing community legal education programs. As such, she developed the NMRLS Elder Law Conference nearly 25 years ago.   The Elder Law Conference is North Mississippi’s primary conference that provides information to the elderly and Continuing Legal Education for attorneys and social workers.

Kilgore has served many years as Adjunct Professor for the Elder Law Clinic (at Ole Miss) providing hands-on experience for law students in the area of laws that impact the frail and elderly. She has developed manuals and brochures on health care and public benefits available in Mississippi as a resource for the general public, social workers, and attorneys. She is highly recognized as the leader in the public interest law community in Mississippi in the area of Elder Law.