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Advocacy Trust Creates Scholarship for Those with Challenges, Hardships
First-year students at the University of Mississippi School of Law listen to speakers as they become acclimated for classes. A new $125,000 scholarship endowment established by Advocacy Trust, under the umbrella of The Forge Companies, is designed to assist law students who may face challenges or hardships. Photo by Christina Steube

A company of qualified professionals who advocate for individuals and families while protecting their settlement recoveries and trusts created a scholarship to help University of Mississippi School of Law students who may, like their clients, face unforeseen challenges or significant hardships.

A gift of $125,000 has been committed for the Advocacy Trust Law Scholarship Endowment, with Advocacy Trust under the umbrella of The Forge Companies. Advocacy Trust works with physical injury survivors and their dependents on structured settlements.

Spooner Phillips

“As an owner and founder of businesses that serve the legal community, I always look for opportunities to participate as a partner and stakeholder in efforts that strengthen the legal community and our strong belief in the rule of law,” said H.H. “Spooner” Phillips IV, CEO at The Forge Companies LLC of Atlanta, Georgia.

“Upon reflection and due to some outstanding Ole Miss law alumni working in our Nashville, Tennessee, office, we identified an existing connection to Ole Miss law that we wanted to recognize and support,” he continued. “We hope our support of the Ole Miss School of Law is evidence of our being a stakeholder in a community that will maintain and strengthen the rule of law in Mississippi and beyond.”

Frederick G. Slabach, dean of the UM School of Law, expressed gratitude for the Advocacy Trust Scholarship.

“The Advocacy Trust Law Scholarship will help some of our law students who may experience unexpected adversity. Thanks to the generosity of Advocacy Trust and The Forge Companies, these students can receive the support they need and be encouraged in their pursuit of a legal education,” the dean said. “I believe the support these students receive will enhance their commitment to helping others.”

Phillips, who earned a Certified Structured Settlement Consultant designation, believes the company’s gift will provide continued support for the legal profession by offsetting educational expenses for future attorneys while introducing them to new avenues within the profession.

“We also hope our gift will increase awareness of trust administration as an interest for law graduates who are fulfilled by helping others navigate challenges and financial decisions,” he said. “We take pride in continuing to attract accomplished professionals, including licensed attorneys who want a unique, rewarding career path.”

Chase Himes

Advocacy Trust’s Ole Miss alumni include Chase Himes, the senior trust manager in the Nashville office, a 2011 UM law graduate. Natalie Cannella joined the company in 2021 as a trust administrator and is associate fiduciary counsel. She graduated from Ole Miss cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in public policy leadership and political science in May 2018. Then, she attended the UM School of Law, earning a Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, in April 2021.

Phillips said, “In addition to our team’s connection to Ole Miss, I had a personal desire to support the university after experiencing the Ole Miss culture and leadership through the undergraduate experience of one of my sons. We are incredibly proud to have a second son who will attend Ole Miss this fall.”

Nikki Neely Davis, assistant vice chancellor for development, said, “Spooner Phillips is a successful, compassionate leader who has created a meaningful scholarship that will provide much-needed assistance to our law students. This gift reflects the commitment to help legal education and a culture of social responsibility that Spooner has built with Advocacy Trust and The Forge Companies.”

For over 20 years, The Forge Companies have guided plaintiff attorneys and their clients through the settlement planning process. The company began in 2003 as Forge Consulting, a national insurance agency providing structured settlement and annuity services to plaintiffs and their attorneys. Advocacy Wealth Management was later established to complement the existing annuity planning services as well as Advocacy Trust, which offers a wide range of trust administration focusing on special needs trusts and settlement trusts.

More recently, the company expanded services through Forge for Business, providing extensive financial and business services for contingent fee attorneys, law firms and general businesses.

To make a gift to the Advocacy Trust Law Scholarship Endowment, send a check, with the fund noted in the memo line, to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or online here.

For more information on supporting areas of the university, contact Nikki Neely Davis, assistant vice chancellor for development, at or 662-915-6678.

By Tina H. Hahn/UM Development


Online gifts for the 2024 calendar year should be made no later than noon on December 31, 2024.  Checks by mail will need to be postmarked by December 31 to be counted in the 2024 calendar year.