An anonymous gift of $100,000 to the University of Mississippi School of Law will provide discretionary support for operations and other expenditures of the school’s Clinical Programs, with the remainder going to the Clinical Programs Endowment.
Clinical Programs provide a capstone experience for second and third-year law students, bringing together substantive law and skills training in a real-world client experience. UM Law School students have access to an in-house law firm with ten practice areas, an externship through the Clinical Externship Program and multiple pro bono opportunities through the Pro Bono Initiative.
“The clinics afford students the opportunity to practice law under supervision,” said Richard Gershon, dean of UM’s School of Law. “The ability to serve live clients is a great educational experience, which provides much needed legal assistance to our community. We are truly proud of the work of our clinics.”
The program’s 10 in-house clinics include Child Advocacy, Criminal Appeals, Elder Law, Housing, the MacArthur Justice Clinic, a Mediation Practicum, the Mississippi Innocence Project, Street Law, Tax Practicum and Transactional Law.
The programs aim to provide students with an opportunity to gain real-world experience, an understanding of ethical obligations and a commitment to furthering broad access to the legal system. Students not only gain experience but also help low-income members of the Oxford and Mississippi communities.
“The variety and size of the clinical programs here are one of the school’s great strengths,” said Debbie Bell, associate dean for clinical programs. “Our students receive intensive practice training in a program that is helping to shape the justice system in the state. The law school has made a real, meaningful commitment to hands-on legal education with service to the community.”
The anonymous gift exemplifies how vital private gifts are to the success of the law school. Each year, the school receives support from UM alumni and friends, which enables the law school to continue to improve students’ educational opportunities.
“The law school’s tuition is among the lowest in the nation,” said Dean Gershon. “Even so, private support is essential because it provides scholarships and creates resources for the law school’s success in programs like clinical education and advocacy.”
Private support to the law school provides the margin of excellence. Through decades of commitment from individuals and law firms, the School of Law now boasts more than 111 endowed scholarships and 25 endowments for programmatic support.
Currently, private gifts support programs such as the Mississippi Law Journal, Moot Court programs and scholarships, as well as many more areas that contribute to the continued advancement of the law school.
Additionally, over the past two years, gifts have also been made to strengthen the law school’s academic divisions, faculty and staff, library, research and building improvements.
“Gift income starting in July 2014 is way up compared to the same timeframe for 2012 and 2013. Gershon said. “Furthermore, in those past two years, we were still receiving pledge payments on the building campaign, which have almost completely ended. I think it is a great sign that we are up in donations to people and programs.”
To make a gift to support the School of Law, contact John Festervand, director of development, at email@example.com or 662-915-1757 or visit online http://law.olemiss.edu/alumni-friends/giving/.
Jenny Kate Luster