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Mississippi College School of Law, Jackson, MS

published September 25, 2006

( 72 votes, average: 3.9 out of 5)

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The college has a combined graduate and undergraduate population of more than 6,000 students. However, the law school is significantly smaller, with just over 400 students. According to the admissions department, acceptance is based on a "whole-person concept." While GPAs and LSAT scores are important factors, significant weight is also given to an applicant's personal statement, employment history, military service, graduate work, activities, community service, and letters of recommendation.

Located in the heart of downtown Jackson, MS, students are surrounded by work opportunities. The school has developed close connections with the community's private firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and large corporations, which are all within walking distance of the campus.

The school ranks among the top 15 percent of U.S. law schools for job placement. In 2006 more than 94 percent of graduates found jobs after a few months, with an average starting salary of about $56,980 annually. Most graduates work for international or national private firms, as well as various state governmental organizations.

The law school has 42 faculty members from diverse legal and professional backgrounds. Many adjunct professors are federal and local judges and lawyers, and they provide students with practical knowledge and networking opportunities. Most classes have about 22 students.

A Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree may be combined with a Master's degree in Business Administration (M.B.A.). If students wish to pursue this course of study, they must be separately admitted to both the J.D. and M.B.A programs and successfully complete all of the requirements for each of the degrees. However, six of the 90 hours of work required for the J.D. may be satisfied by certain business school classes.

The school also offers cocurricular activities, such as moot court (mock court) trials, to enhance the academic experience. The school's moot court team is comprised of second- and third-year students who are chosen based on their performance in the fall competition. The moot court competition runs in conjunction with the appellate advocacy course, a required class for all second-year students.

The Moot Court Board coordinates the annual competition, and members of the board regularly compete in national competitions. During the 2004-2005 school year, members competed in Cincinnati, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. While the Moot Court Board is a student-run organization, alumni serve as moot coaches for students.

Third-year students can participate in the school's externships program in legal and judicial offices and government agencies throughout the Jackson Metropolitan area. Each extern is placed under the supervision of an attorney, and many externs are admitted to practice under the Limited Practice Statutes, which means they can actually handle cases. Other activities, including trips to the Parchman Penitentiary or the Mississippi Crime Lab, are also scheduled as parts of the class.

At the Children's Law Center, students are trained to assist children in need of legal advocates. With the help of faculty, second- and third-year students handle many adoptions and other child-related cases.

The school also encourages students to participate in judicial clerkships. Each year, judges and clerks discuss the benefits and responsibilities of judicial clerkships with second- and third-year students. Professor Debbie Challener, former clerk for the 10th Circuit in Kansas and the Federal District Court in Nashville, TN, is the faculty advisor for the students.

The newly developed On-Line System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) allows students to file complete applications online. Applicants can sort and screen clerkships and designate the OSCAR-participant judges to whom they wish to apply. Likewise, judges can sort and screen the applications directed to them. In addition, law school administrators can access student applicant information, upload applicant documents, and coordinate the submission of faculty letters.

Students can earn Louisiana Civil Law Certificates if they plan to practice in the state. The certificate program includes classes in successions and donations, obligations, Louisiana civil procedure, and civil law property, among others, all of which are taught by Louisiana attorneys.

Students can also contribute to the student-run Mississippi College Law Review. The bi-annual journal is a valuable resource for scholars, students, and practitioners. The upcoming issue will focus on current trends in Mississippi law.

The Continuing Legal Education Department offers a variety of seminars for legal professionals. The seminars comply with the rules and regulations for mandatory continuing education (MCLE) in Mississippi, and most are accredited in other states, as well. The school also offers satellite seminars that are accredited for CLE hours.