Spring 2018 Awards

The Student Bar Association recently announced the recipients of the 2018 Spring Awards. Each year, the SBA oversees the selection of several faculty, staff, and student awards: the Ben Hardy Faculty Excellence Award, the Outstanding Law Professor of the Year Award, the Outstanding Staff Member of the Year Award, and the Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards.


Ben Hardy Faculty Excellence Award:  Matthew R. Hall

Professor Matthew Hall has been named the recipient of this year’s Ben A. Hardy Faculty Excellence Award, which is chosen annually by the Dean of the Law School and the President of the Student Bar Association.

“Professor Hall is very deserving of this award. Both students and graduates often comment on what an outstanding teacher he is,” said Susan Duncan, dean of the law school. “He is well-organized, clear in his presentation, engaging, and available to students outside of class. I am proud to have Professor Hall as a colleague.”

In addition to teaching full time, Hall was instrumental in the implementation of the law school’s unique 1L Winter Intersession Course in Contract Drafting and Negotiation. As the coordinator for the program, he oversees all five sections and teaches a section himself.

Hall also works closely with the Moot Court program and is a driving force behind the law school’s rise in the ranks of nationally recognized advocacy programs. Through his hard work restructuring the program and preparing teams for competitions, the law school continues to win National Championships.

“It is deeply flattering to receive the Hardy Award, especially considering the talent and commitment across the faculty,” said Hall. “UM Law’s engaged students definitely bring out the best in all of us.”

Hall joined the Law School faculty in 2001. He is the Jesse D. Puckett, Jr. Lecturer, and his scholarly interests focus on the intersection of immigration law, criminal law and procedure, and national security law. He teaches a variety of classes including Property, Legislation, Criminal Procedure II, and Federal Trial Practice. Prior to his time at UM Law, Hall worked as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.


Outstanding Law Professor of the Year Award:  Donna Raye Davis 

Professor Donna Davis has been named the Outstanding Law Professor of the Year for 2017-2018. Professor Davis joined the faculty in 1990 and has taught numerous tax courses, first-year contracts and contract-drafting, and the low-income taxpayer clinical program.

Each year, the Student Bar Association selects the Outstanding Law Professor of the Year from among the faculty teaching at the law school. As this year’s recipient, Professor Davis was chosen by a Committee of students appointed by the SBA President, Allison Bruff.

Nominations were taken from the student body for a period of two weeks. The Committee then reviewed all nominations and ultimately selected Professor Davis. The Outstanding Law Professor of the Year Award is a long-standing, honorable tradition of our law school, and the Student Bar Association is proud to announce Professor Davis as this year’s honoree.

Patrick Huston (Class of 2018) is one of the nine students who served on the Committee overseeing the selection process for this award.

“There is no one more deserving of this award than Professor Davis,” said Huston. “She is an amazing professor that goes above and beyond to ensure her students learn and understand a complicated subject such as Tax. However, what makes her truly outstanding is what she does outside of the classroom. Besides mentoring tax students like myself, she is someone who devotes countless hours to the school’s Tax Clinic, providing a valuable service to the Oxford community. The Law School and its students are truly blessed to have a professor here like Professor Davis.”

In addition to Huston, those who served on this year’s Committee include Kent Aldenderfer, Mike Jones, Victoria Jones, Laura K. Cooper, Michael Farese, Caroline Loveless, Yance Falkner, and Gregory Starks.


Outstanding Staff Member of the Year Award:  Cassandra Latimer

Cassandra Latimer has been selected as the Outstanding Staff Member of the Year. Cassandra joined the staff in 2016 as the Director of Career Services at the law school and is currently in her second year as Director.

The Outstanding Staff Member of the Year Award honors a member of the law school staff each year. The SBA Senate, comprised of three Senators from each law school class, nominates and votes on this award each spring semester.

“Cassandra demonstrates genuine kindness to everyone she encounters,” said Jonathan Barnes, a 3L Senator for the Student Bar Association. “Whether you’re a student, alumni, or employer, one conversation with Cassandra will leave you encouraged in your job outlook, inspired to give back, or convinced that Ole Miss law students are the real deal. I can’t imagine another person I’d rather have on my side when making the transition from student to attorney.”


Dean’s Distinguished Service Awards:  Brittany Barbee, Will Graves, Chloe Kennedy, & Kelley Killorin

The Dean’s Distinguished Service Award recipients for 2017-2018 are Brittany Barbee, Will Graves, Chloe Kennedy, and Kelley Killorin. Every spring, the SBA Senate selects three third-year law students to receive this award. This year, however, the Senate chose to recognize four students in the Class of 2018 for their exceptional service and leadership at the law school.

Brittany Barbee has provided endless support and energy to student body initiatives as a three-term Senator, as well as serving as the school’s American Bar Association-Law Student Division Representative this year. She has been a competing member of the Trial Advocacy Board since 2016. While also serving as the Business Manager of the Mississippi Law Journal, Brittany co-founded the Czar’s Coffee Klatch series as well as the Class Gift Committee this year.




Will Graves lent his editing and design talents in service to the SBA for the past few years, creating and managing numerous apparel orders and assisting with the SBA’s 2017 rebrand. Evidenced by his leadership in the Christian Legal Society, his contagious positive attitude, and his constant presence and support in student events, Will’s tenure at Ole Miss Law will be marked by selfless service to the student body and school.




Chloe Kennedy served her second term this year as the SBA Treasurer, overseeing the annual appropriations process and managing student body finances. In addition to her role as an SBA Executive Officer, she served on the newly established 3L Class Gift Committee and has previously fulfilled the role of Student Representative on the faculty’s Curriculum & Practices Committee. Chloe has also been a competing member of the Trial Advocacy Board for the past two years.


Kelley Killorin also returned as an Executive Officer of the Student Bar Association this year, serving as the two-term Social Chair and organizing the entire SBA social event calendar. Kelley previously represented the law school student body on the Associated Student Body Senate during her 1L year. For the past two years, Kelley has been an Editor for the Mississippi Sports Law Review, and she served on its Executive Board this year as the Business Editor.



“As a classmate and colleague, I am proud to announce these four as the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award recipients for 2017-2018,” said SBA President Allison Bruff. “I often boast about how remarkable all of my classmates are, and I can only imagine how difficult it was for the Senate to decide on this year’s awards. Brittany, Will, Chloe, and Kelley are truly exceptional individuals and inspirational servant-leaders. On behalf of the student body and this institution, we thank you for what you have done these past three years.”



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