Jackson State University, University of Mississippi School of Law launch historic law program partnership

(Aron Smith/University Communications)

Jackson State University (JSU) and the University of Mississippi School of Law are providing JSU students with an opportunity to expedite their path to a law career while significantly reducing the financial burden of continuing education.

Administrators from both institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) launching the new 3+3 Accelerated Law Program on Thursday, June 27, at the Jackson State Student Center. For the first time, JSU students will be able to complete both their undergraduate and law degrees in just six years. The program is one of four initiatives that First Lady LaToya Redd Thompson, Esq., is dedicated to implementing at Jackson State.

JSU First Lady LaToya Redd Thompson, Esq., talks about her love for JSU and the University of Mississippi School of Law during the 3+3 Accelerated Law Program MOU signing. (Aron Smith/University Communications)

“As a lawyer and proud alumna of the University of Mississippi Law School, the partnership between Jackson State’s pre-law program and my alma mater holds a special place in my heart,” said 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.”

The streamlined “Pathway to Law School” program not only offers a diverse and enriching academic experience but also gives JSU undergraduate students the opportunity to shave a year off their education by beginning law school courses in their senior year.

JSU President Marcus Thompson, Ph.D., described the accelerated law program as more than an initiative, calling it a pathway to success and a bridge to the future. “It is a testament to the power of collaboration. Access to the legal profession is crucial, especially for students from historically black colleges and universities. Through programs like this, we are breaking down barriers and providing a clear, attainable path for our students to achieve their dreams,” he said.

JSU President Marcus L. Thompson, Ph.D. and University of Mississippi Chancellor Glen Boyce, Ed.D., seal the deal by signing an MOU that will help JSU students receive their undergraduate degree and law degree in six years. (Aron Smith/University Communications)

Added benefits of the initiative include waiving the application fee for program students applying to UM’s law school and a lecture series bringing UM professors to JSU. Additionally, a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Law Preview Day will offer undergraduates an opportunity to meet UM’s law school professors and students.

“This historic partnership provides Jackson State University students the opportunity to immerse themselves in legal topics and the law school application process through the lecture series we will offer. This preparation will benefit the University of Mississippi School of Law by ensuring 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,” said Fred Slabach, Dean of the University of Mississippi Law School.

Jackson State is the first state public institution to partner with the University of Mississippi’s accelerated law program, which Chancellor Glen Boyce Ed.D., shared is the leading force among the graduate and professional programs that they offer.  

“We’re very, very proud of it. We have fantastic clinical programs in a wide range of fields to get students real world preparation where they pursue all their academic responsibilities. We’re consistently ranked as one of the best regional law schools for African American students and a leader in access,” he said.

(Aron Smith/University Communications)

Aside from JSU’s pre-law program, the HBCU offers the Bob Owens Pre-Law Center, named for the noted attorney, JSU alumnus, and former IHL trustee, who attended the MOU signing. The Center’s premiere program is the Bob Owens Pre-Law Academy, which serves as an accelerated and interdisciplinary boost to prepare students for the LSAT exam and the complexities of law school.

JSU students can begin applying for the 3+3 Accelerated Law Program in Fall 2024.

Redd Thompson’s additional initiatives include promoting campus voting, encouraging healthy eating, and supporting students in financial need through the Mary E. Peoples Scholarship Luncheon.