U of M Law School


January 2012


U of M law students lead state's 2011 bar exam passage rate for first-time takers
The results from the February and July 2011 Tennessee State Bar Examination show graduates of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis had the highest first-time passage rate of any school in the state, at 100 and 92.59 percent respectively.  The U of M law school’s first-time bar exam passage rate has been above 90 percent for eight out of the past 10 years.

U of M Law moves up nationally to 7th place
U of Memphis Law moves up nationally from 8th place to 7th place for “Best Quality of Life” by Princeton Review. 

U of M Law again named "Best Value" by preLaw Magazine
Read more in the Memphis Business Journal.

Read more for all updates from the past year.


From the Dean

New Year’s Greetings! We are very excited for 2012, which marks our 50th anniversary as the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. This is a wonderful time to celebrate the successes during our first 50 years and to contemplate our future successes. I am pleased to announce that the 50th Anniversary Celebration will be hosted by the Law Alumni Chapter on Saturday, September 29. For more information about the celebration, contact our alumni coordinator, Wendy Sumner-Winter.

We began the academic year in August by welcoming 143 first-year students, and we completed finals on December 16.  On December 17, five law students received their degree during the University’s winter commencement at the FedEx Forum.

In 2011, we hosted more than 50 special events and welcomed nearly 14,000 visitors into our building. We celebrated our Thurgood Marshal Mock Trial Team’s national championship and the elevation of The Honorable Bernice Donald (JD 74) to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and we honored six Pillars of Excellence in the Memphis legal community during the Law Alumni Chapter dinner.

We also launched an updated website, a project that was in the works for much of the year. The redesigned site is easier to navigate, displays larger photos of our historic building, and has fresh copy. The new website provides a better vehicle to show prospective students everything the law program has to offer and gives our alumni and many friends a more accessible way to remain connected with life at the law school. I would like to thank the Law Alumni Chapter for its generosity in funding the project.

In 2012, the law school will continue to host many events, including the National Trial Competition for Region Five, the annual Law Review Symposium, and a very special spring commencement.  In addition, we will launch a new curriculum that will take effect with the incoming class of 2012.  The curriculum will maintain the rigor of our academic program while permitting greater flexibility in course sequencing.  And, of course, our faculty will continue their excellence in teaching and scholarship.

We hope that you enjoy a look back at 2011 and will join us in looking forward to what 2012 has in store.


Kevin H. Smith

Kevin H. Smith
Dean and Thomas B. Preston Professor of Law


Law Review Symposium

For the latest news and events, visit memphis.edu/law.

Law Review Symposium will explore cultural competency

The U of M Law Review's Annual Symposium will be held on Friday, March 30. The symposium will discuss “cultural competence,” a new concept in the legal defense of persons accused of a crime for which the death penalty is allowed.

U of M to host national trial regional competition

U of M Law is hosting the 2012 National Trial Regional Competition, February 17-19. Contact mootcourt@memphis.edu for information about sponsorship opportunities, judging the competition, or serving as a witness.

Pillars of Excellence honored region's legends

Pillars of Excellence award recipients

The August 2011 Pillars of Excellence dinner, hosted by the Law Alumni Chapter, was a great success. Award recipients included Leo Bearman, Jr., David E. Caywood, W.J. Michael Cody, Robert L. Green, John Paul "Jack" Jones, Hon. Russell B. Sugarmon, and Friend of the Law School, Charles T. Tuggle. For photos and a complete recap, visit the Law Alumni Chapter website. 




The Public Action Law Society spent 2011 spring break helping others, five U of M Law students attended the Diversity Leadership Institute, law firm Tarrant & Combs created a new scholarship, and more. Read all student achievements >>

Faculty and Staff

U of M Law professor Daniel Kiel produced a documentary about the Memphis 13, U of M Law professors published books and articles and made presentations, and U of M Law professor Steven Mulroy spoke on the separation of church and state. Read more >>


Edward Stanton (JD 97) was sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, the Honorable Bernice Donald (JD 74) was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Allie Prescott (JD 76) was appointed President of the University of Memphis Alumni Association. Read more >>


KritchevskyBarbara Kritchevsky, Director of Advocacy and Cecil C. Humphreys Professor of Law

U of M Law won the 2011 Thurgood Marshall mock trial competetion, its first ever national mock trial championship; the Duberstein bankruptcy law moot court team took third place in competition, besting 45 teams; and U of M Law made the sweet sixteen in the ABA national appellate advocacy competition.  Read more >>

Civil Litigation Clinic and Externship

SchaffzinDaniel Schaffzin, Director of Clinical Programs and Externships and
Assistant Professor of Law

The Civil Litigation Clinic succeeded in obtaining a judgment of nearly $37,000 from the Shelby County Chancery Court, and student Attorney Cara Howe helped the clinic secure a favorable settlement of a General Sessions Court case for a sub-contractor who did not get paid for work. 

During the summer 2011 semester, 27 students enrolled the law school’s externship course, a program designed to allow upper-level students to gain experience and earn academic credit through work in a wide variety of supervised, off-campus legal settings.  Read more >>

Child and Family Litigation Clinic

ZawiszaChristina A. Zawisza, Professor of Clinical Law and Director,
Child and Family Litigation Clinic 

The Child and Family Litigation Clinic represented at least 25 neglected or abused children in the spring 2011 semester; students also had the opportunity to view another practice area, i.e. the administrative hearing process under the Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. Read more >>

Elder Law Clinic

HarknessDonna S. Harkness, CELA, Professor of Clinical Law and
Director, Elder Law Clinic

During the spring 2011 semester, the Elder Law Clinic handled 48 case matters ranging from wills and powers of attorney to grandparent adoptions, consumer credit issues, and child support.  Read more >>


The U of M Law School was the recipient of many wonderful gifts last fiscal year.  Several faculty made significant gifts; the Farris Bobango firm gave the school a $100,000 endowment to recognize an outstanding faculty member; and Wyatt, Tarrant, and Combs established an annual scholarship in honor of Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks.  Read more >>

Ways to Give during our 50th Year Celebration

Law School 50th anniversary Endowed Funds

If you received a scholarship as a law student, chances are it was from an endowed fund. These funds are permanent and recognize a donor or someone the donor wishes to honor in perpetuity while providing U of Memphis Law with a continuing source of support.  

Law Enrichment

Annual gifts allow the dean to earmark funds for the school’s highest priorities, including faculty support, student scholarships, and special projects such as regional trial competitions and alumni events.

Planned Giving

Whether as a bequest, living trust, or by designating U of Memphis Law as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, IRA, or other retirement plan, planned gifts can provide the donor with considerable tax savings and make a substantial impact on the law school.  

How to Give

  • Phone.  Call Shawna Engel at 901-678-2425
  • Mail your check made out to the University of Memphis Foundation to:

Department 238
UofM Foundation
PO Box 1000
Memphis, TN 38148-0001

  • Phonathon Program.   Feel free to make your gift when called, but please designate the law school.  

1 N. Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: 901.678.2421


Last Updated: 3/8/12