Founded as the Jackson School of Law in 1935, the Mississippi College School of Law (MC Law) is one of only two law schools in the state of Mississippi and the only law school located in the state’s capital. After being incorporated as part of Mississippi College in 1975, the school earned full accreditation by the American Bar Association. In 2005, the law school campus underwent a major renovation that increased class and library space. The renovation also added a new auditorium to the campus. Due to its proximity to Louisiana, the law school is one of the few in the country to allow students to study civil law as well as common law. Among MC Law’s alumni is the former chief judge of the Mississippi Court of Appeal, the former state lieutenant governor, and the chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals.
The Juris Doctor degree at MC Law requires 90 hours of coursework which generally takes three years for completion. Motivated students with exceptional grades may be offered the opportunity to complete the program in two-years–an opportunity that also comes with a generous scholarship. All students complete the same first-year program which includes five of the traditional core courses of American legal education: civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Students complete six hours of skill-based learning on the subjects of legal research and writing.
During their final years, students choose electives to complete their academic goals and prepare for their professional careers. MC Law offers a wide range of certifications that prepare students for specific practice areas including criminal law, commercial and business law, health law, family law, international law, civil litigation, small practice law, and civil law. The certification in civil law is one of the only programs offered outside of Louisiana where civil and common law are practiced. The civil law certification can be coupled with another certification for students who hope to practice in Louisiana.
For working professionals, MC Law also has an “Executive” program that allows professionals to earn their law degree over the course of five years through shorter, nine-hour semesters. Students attend day classes to complete the first-year curriculum but have even more flexibility as they move into their electives.
Along with its J.D., MC Law also offers a Master of Law (LL.M) degree in four different practice areas. For students who graduated from an international law school, MC Law offers a focus on traditional or American legal studies. In the alternative, students may also pursue a concentration in International and European Studies or Advocacy. LL.M students enjoy small classes and support from the school’s career placement office.
In conjunction with two other professional schools, MC Law offers Juris Doctor candidates the opportunity to earn a joint degree. The program pairs the J.D. with either an M.B.A. from Mississippi College’s business school or with a Master of Public Administration degree in conjunction with the University of Louisiana Monroe. Joint degrees prepare students to practice law with an interdisciplinary focus. Students share some credits between programs which allows them to earn both degrees in less time than pursuing them separately.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent employment outcome data, over 77% of all graduates of MC Law are employed within 10 months of graduation. Of those employed, 85% find long-term, full-time careers. Additionally, over 90% of students begin careers that either requires a law license or prefers a Juris Doctor degree. The school’s certification in small law practice drives many graduates into small law firms. Over a third of students opt this for this career path. Over 23% of employed graduates opt for careers in government offices while over 10% of graduates secure judicial clerkships in either the federal or state clerks. Almost 60% of all graduates remain in Mississippi to begin their careers while Louisiana is the second most popular destination followed by Alabama.
The Office of Career Services (OCS) at MC Law strives to meaningfully connect with all its students. Students generally begin meeting with the professional counselors at the OCS during their first year as they begin to engage in self-assessment and shape their professional goals. Students receive assistance in preparing their professional documents. Each student emerges with a plan that allows them to achieve meaningful employment after graduation. The OCS also networks extensively with Jackson’s deep legal community.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
At MC Law, students learn to practice law primarily through the school’s clinical and externship program. The clinic includes nine practice areas where students spend a semester working with real clients in the Mississippi court system. Under the supervision of faculty clinicians, students attend a weekly class to help them understand the finer points of advocating for their clients in a variety of legal situations. Students must complete 45 hours of coursework prior to taking a clinical course.
The externship program at MC Law places students in external legal offices where they work alongside practicing attorneys in government, judicial, and public interest settings. Students spend 10 to 12 hours weekly over the course of a semester in their externships. The program allows students on-the-job training. Most externships take place in Jackson’s robust legal community although remote externships are also available.
At this time, MC Law requires residential coursework for all its degree programs.
With dozens of student organizations and an idyllic setting, students at MC Law enjoy vibrant and active student life. The over 30 student organizations bring classmates together to serve the community as well as celebrate the school’s notable diversity. The law school’s small size creates an intimate setting where students enjoy a close-knit relationship between the faculty and student body. The renovated campus is equipped with technology and student spaces where students can collaborate and study. The main campus of Mississippi College in nearby Clinton offers students additional amenities including recreational and wellness facilities.
Jackson, Mississippi is one of the south’s most iconic towns. The law school is located in the heart of the historic district surrounded by restaurants, nightlife, and the city’s complex history. Students can walk to the many museums in the area or enjoy events at the convention center around the corner from the law school. Through the area, students will find abundant housing. Just east of downtown, LeFleur’s Bluff State Park runs on both sides of the picturesque Pearl River. Every year, Jackson hosts music festivals and sporting events. Students can also reach the beach in just over two hours or New Orleans in a little longer.