MC Law News

Interim Dean Patricia Bennett Named 2018-19 President-Elect of The Mississippi Bar

“The Mississippi Bar has selected a lawyer of outstanding experience in the bar, the classroom and as interim Dean of Mississippi College School of Law. She has held many bar leadership positions and is committed to supporting the best system of justice possible for all citizens.” - Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr. “The Mississippi Bar has selected a lawyer of outstanding experience in the bar, the classroom and as interim Dean of Mississippi College School of Law. She has held many bar leadership positions and is committed to supporting the best system of justice possible for all citizens.” - Chief Justice Bill Waller, Jr.

Patricia Bennett will serve one term as president of The Mississippi Bar in 2018-19.

For Bennett, Mississippi College Law School’s new interim dean, and a longtime professor, her election is quite an honor. Founded in 1906, The Mississippi Bar represents the interests of the legal community statewide. The Jackson-based professional organization lists more than 9,000 members.

Briggs Hopson serves as the organization’s president for 2016-17. By on-line voting in January, members selected Rick Barry to be his successor in 2017-18. And Bennett will move up the ranks as president the following year.

MC Law Dean Emeritus Jim Rosenblatt applauds Bennett’s recent selection by her peers. The MC Law graduate is an accomplished leader who commands respect in legal circles, supporters say.

 “Dean Bennett is well-connected to the Mississippi legal community through her work as a federal and state prosecutor,’’ Rosenblatt said.

“I am confident she will be a great leader of the Mississippi Bar and will represent the Bar in a professional manner in all its dealings,’’ Rosenblatt added. After serving as MC Law dean for 11 years, Rosenblatt remains a full-time professor on the Jackson campus.

A Clinton resident who earned her undergraduate degree at Tougaloo College, Bennett succeeded Wendy Scott as MC Law dean after she served in that capacity for two years. Scott joined the MC Law faculty in January.

Enrolling more than 400 students, MC Law School celebrated its 40th anniversary last year.

Bennett was delighted to learn of her election after voting closed via electronic ballots on January 31.

“This is the highest distinction in my legal career,’’ Bennett said. “It is a great privilege to be selected by my peers to serve in this leadership role.’’

Mike Maloney, executive director of the MC Law Alumni Association, also poured on the praise. He and Bennett were classmates at MC Law School.

“Her record of dedication, achievement, and scholarship as a public servant and educator have been recognized by peers in the legal community,’’ Maloney said.

As interim MC Law dean, Bennett seeks to strengthen student recruitment, build alumni giving and relations with the state’s legal community. She wants to expand community service outreach in the metro Jackson area.

Among her many honors, Bennett is a former Mississippi College Distinguished Professor of the Year.

A 2013 MC Law graduate, David Parker of Clinton raves about his former criminal procedure professor. “I enjoyed her class so much because she not only knew the material as an expert on the academic level, she also had practiced it,’’ said Parker, assistant director of Student Success at MC. “She supplemented our study with her own experiences.’’

“MC Law and the Mississippi Bar are lucky to have her,’’ says Parker, 28, who also teaches constitutional law at his alma mater.