Mississippi Flagship, Jackson State Partner on Accelerated Law Degree

JSU first lady’s initiative to help students succeed in law school

A group of leaders from Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi pose for a photo.

OXFORD, Miss. – Jackson State University students who want to attend the University of Mississippi School of Law will soon be able to accelerate their progress, thanks to a partnership signed this week between the institutions.

Representatives of both universities met in Jackson on Thursday (June 27) to finalize the Pathway to Law School program, which will allow undergraduate students at Jackson State University to begin taking law school courses as early as their senior year, trimming a year off the time required.  

“As a lawyer and proud alumna of the University of Mississippi School of Law, the partnership between Jackson State’s pre-law program and my alma mater holds a special place in my heart,” said JSU first lady LaToya Redd Thompson. “I am embracing this opportunity to help Jackson State students enter the legal field, which I am deeply passionate about, through the very institution that shaped my own career.  

“I am grateful to President Thompson, Chancellor Boyce, and others for supporting this initiative, and I’m optimistic about the positive impact this program will have on our students.” 

Redd Thompson, wife of JSU President Marcus Thompson, made the Pathway to Law School program her 2024 initiative, said Joshua Tucker, the law school's assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion.  

As the flagship university, we want to educate our Mississippi students at Ole Miss and hope they continue to give back to communities in Mississippi,” Tucker said. “It’s our commitment to provide access to the legal profession.  

“It is our responsibility to provide educational opportunities like this so individuals underrepresented in the legal profession can one day become legal advocates and champions of justice.” 

Aside from inclusion in the university’s 3+3 Accelerated Law Program, Redd Thompson’s initiative will consist of a lecture series that will bring Ole Miss professors to Jackson to speak with JSU undergraduates, waive the application fee for JSU students applying to the UM law school and continue to support students participating in the Law School’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Law Preview Day. 

“This historic partnership provides Jackson State University students the opportunity to engage in legal topics and the law school application process through the lecture series we will offer and to better prepare themselves for the academic rigors of law school,” said Fred Slabach, dean of the law school.  

“Their preparation will, in turn, benefit the University of Mississippi School of Law by making sure our admitted students are equipped to develop the critical thinking, legal reasoning and creative problem-solving skills necessary to be successful members of the legal profession and provide access to justice for all.” 

The program will offer undergraduates at HBCUs to meet students and professors in the law school and ask questions, Tucker said.  

“Essentially, this gives students a chance to come to the school and immerse themselves in what it’s like being at the law school,” he said. “To me, the lecture series offers some of the greatest benefits.  

“We know not every student will come to the University of Mississippi School of Law, but we still want to prepare Mississippi students to go off to law school wherever they go. It is my responsibility to remove any unnecessary barriers so they can go to law school.”  

Ole Miss has six other institution or department partners in its accelerated law program, including the university's School of Engineering, School of Journalism and New Media, College of Liberal Arts, School of Business Administration and Department of Legal Studies, as well as Tougaloo College. Jackson State, however, is the first public HBCU invited to the program. 

Students may begin applying for the 3+3 Accelerated Law Program this fall. 

By

Clara Turnage

Campus

Office, Department or Center

Published

June 27, 2024

School