Ole Miss rockets up its space law LL.M. with two new directors

The University of Mississippi School of Law has two new faculty members with a wealth of experience to lead its education and research program in air and space law, the school recently reported. 

Michelle Hanlon and Charles Stotler will serve as associate directors of the Master of Laws program in air and space lawThis LL.M. degree program is designed for both U.S. and foreign-trained law school graduates interested in a rigorous legal curriculum in U.S., international, and comparative air and space law. 

Hanlon, who has earned degrees from Yale University, Georgetown University and McGill University, comes to Ole Miss after spending more than 25 years as a practicing business attorney. She is co-founder and president of For All Moonkind Inc., the world’s only organization focused on preserving human cultural heritage in outer space, starting with lunar landing sites.

For All Moonkind was named a “Top 10 Innovator in Space” by Fast Company and has been granted observer status at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Stotler holds degrees from St. John’s College, Loyola University and McGill University. He brings deep experience in aviation, international and space law to Ole Miss. He has advised corporate clients, international airports, international intergovernmental organizations and trade associations; advocated for the growth of the space law discipline through the American Society of International Law; and focused on the intersection of science and technology with law and policy as a Mirzayan Fellow at the National Academies.

The core of the university’s air and space law program was built in 1965 by Stephen Gorove, one of the earliest jurists to focus on legal aspects of space exploration.

“The School of Law’s long tradition and institutional experience leaves us uniquely poised to help our global society assure the responsible and ethical utilization of opportunities in aviation and space,” Dean Susan Duncan said. “Expanding our air and space law program will open exciting new job opportunities for our students and foster truly cutting-edge legal scholarship.”

The appointment of Hanlon and Stotler emphasizes the school’s enduring commitment to the country’s first space law program and only LL.M. degree program in air and space law.

“The rich history of the air and space law program at the University of Mississippi is truly inspiring,” Stotler said. “In the tradition of Dr. Gorove, it’s important to make sure our air and space laws and regulations keep up with technology. Otherwise we are just crippling important – perhaps vital – innovation.”

Hanlon and Stotler aim to educate the next generation of industry professionals.

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be an air and space lawyer,” Hanlon said. “Every day, someone, some company or some nation is challenging the current legal regime.

“From flying cars to drones to private robots on the moon, we have a lot of gray areas to navigate as humanity moves into the future.”

Hanlon and Stotler both joined the faculty in July are teaching classes this fall.