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Foundation News

A Firm Challenge

Law School Challenges Firms to Support UM
Author and law school alumnus John Grisham talks and answers questions with Ole Miss law students in the Khayat Law Center.
Author and law school alumnus John Grisham talks and answers questions with Ole Miss law students in the Khayat Law Center.

The University of Mississippi School of Law is challenging 20 Mississippi firms to show their support for education by achieving 100 percent giving participation from each of their attorneys who are UM alumni.

Recently, Adams and Reese LLP of Jackson became the first firm to reach 100 percent giving to the 2018 UM Law Firm Challenge.

William C. Brabec, a 1983 UM law graduate and partner with Adams and Reese, worked to encourage all Ole Miss alumni within his firm to participate. He credits School of Law Dean Susan Duncan for inspiring him to become a donor.

“Dean Duncan informed us of the importance of alumni giving in the law school evaluation process,” Brabec said. “She said that only about 4 percent of the school’s 7,000 alumni give back regularly to the school.”

The school hopes to triple that percentage by the end of this year’s challenge on June 30, 2018. Private giving supports the school with vital scholarship and operational funds.

Gee Ogletree, also a partner with Adams and Reese, helped encourage participation, a challenge met in only five weeks.

“We quickly accepted Dean Duncan’s challenge to us,” Ogletree said. “We believe that fundraising will play an increasingly important role in the future of all law schools and we support Dean Duncan as she continues the law school’s tradition of excellence and takes it to new heights.”

Duncan said the UM Law Firm Challenge was created as a way to get alumni involved in giving back.

“We are so proud of Adams and Reese for being the first firm to achieve 100 percent giving among alumni. Lawyers there truly took the challenge to heart and did a great job quickly getting their alumni to support the initiative,” Duncan said. “We hope their success will encourage other firms to reach 100 percent.”

Adams and Reese based its participation on the firm’s core values, which include growth, respect, excellence, accountability and teamwork. These values drove Brabec through the process.

“Our firm always encourages excellence and philanthropy,” he said. “Also, being a regional firm, with alumni from all over the Southeast, there is a competitive spirit among the alumni of the various SEC schools.”

Adams and Reese has set the bar for the other 19 Mississippi law firms. Firms that reach 100 percent giving participation receive a personalized trophy, recognition on the UM School of Law website and in the alumni newsletter.

To participate in the 2018 UM Law Firm Challenge, alumni may give to any UM law school fund by clicking here or by contacting Suzette Matthews at 662-915-1122 or suzette@olemiss.edu. In addition, checks with the fund noted in the memo line can be sent to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655.

From Staff Reports