2022 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representatives Gibbs (72nd), Roberson, Tullos, Taylor, Hood, White, Lamar, Cockerham, Clark

House Resolution 99


     WHEREAS, after many years of dedication and service to her students and to the legal profession, Dean Patricia W. Bennett leaves a lasting legacy as she is retiring as Dean at Mississippi College School of Law (MC Law); and  

     WHEREAS, Dean Bennett, a native of Forest, Mississippi, and a Tougaloo College graduate who earned her Juris Doctorate at MC Law in 1979, possesses a well-rounded legal background steeped in success, having served as a Judge Advocate General Corps officer in the United States Army Reserve and Mississippi National Guard, special assistant attorney general with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, assistant district attorney for Hinds and Yazoo Counties, and assistant United States attorney in the United States Department of Justice; and

     WHEREAS, an exemplary academic leader who has been a member of the MC Law faculty since 1989, Dean Bennett has maintained an extraordinary grasp of the deeply intricate aspects of her profession, including litigation, criminal law, criminal procedure, trial practice, mediation, advocacy and criminal procedure, and is the Henry Vaughan Watkins and Selby Watkins McRae Professor of Law and Director of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Center; and

     WHEREAS, in 2014, Dean Bennett was selected as Mississippi College's Distinguished Professor, which is the highest teaching award given by the university, and she is the immediate past-president of The Mississippi Bar, and is the third female, the second African American, and the first female

African American to serve as the president of The Mississippi Bar; and

     WHEREAS, Dean Bennett served as interim dean for one year after Dean Wendy Scott's departure, and in January 2018, Mississippi College's Board of Trustees unanimously voted to make her position permanent; and

     WHEREAS, active in the legal profession, Dean Bennett served a two-year term as president of the Charles Clark Chapter of the American Inns of Court, and is currently the secretary-treasurer, and she is a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation and has served as a trustee of the foundation; and

     WHEREAS, Dean Bennett served as president of the Hinds County Bar Association, president of the Fifth Circuit Federal Bar Association and is a Governor Emeritus, and she is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, American Bar Association, Fifth Circuit Federal Bar Association, Metro-Jackson Black Women Bar Association, Mississippi Women Lawyers Association and the Capital Area Bar Association; and

     WHEREAS, for her exceptional service, Dean Bennett has received numerous honors, awards and certificates of appreciation, including:  the 2019 National Pre-Law John Mercer Langston Legal Education Leadership Award, Metro Jackson Black Women Lawyers Association's Legal Trailblazers Award, Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi Women of Distinction Award, Mississippi Women Lawyers Association's 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, Capital Area Bar Association Professionalism Award, Hinds County Bar Association Outstanding Service Award, The Mississippi Bar Women in the Profession Susie Blue Buchanan Award, Mississippi Women Lawyers Association Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year Award, Mississippi College Alumni Association Lawyer of the Year Award, MC School of Law Professionalism in the Field of Law Award, Mississippi College School of Law Faculty Collegiality Award and the NAACP Jack Young Legal Award; and

     WHEREAS, Dean Bennett has also been honored as a Woman of Achievement by Women for Progress, inducted in the Order of Barristers as an honorary member, recognized in 2019 by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of Mississippi's Top Leading Attorneys, and was honored in 2018 as one of Mississippi's Most Influential African Americans; and

     WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to recognize great academic leaders, especially those such as Dean Bennett, whose dedication to her students and extraordinary leadership brings honor to the legal profession, Mississippi College School of Law, and to the State of Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby recognize and commend Dean Patricia W. Bennett upon the occasion of her retirement as Dean of Mississippi College School of Law, and extend to her our most sincere wishes for continued success in her lighter days ahead.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Dean Patricia W. Bennett and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.