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First Space Lawyer Graduates

A studentat the University of Mississippi will leap into the final frontier of the legal systemSaturday when he receives the first-ever space law certificate in the United States.

MichaelDodge of Long Beach, Miss., earned the special distinction along with his law degreethrough the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law at the university?slaw school.

?Theprofessors and personnel here are the highest quality that can be found anywherein the world, and I have learned from them the necessary skills I will need toeffectively practice space law,? Dodge said in a statement. ?Ole Miss is,simply put, the space law expert, and anyone wishing practice in this fieldshould get their legal education here.?

Any futurespace lawyer might have to deal with issues ranging from the fallout over satelliteshoot-downs to legal disputes between astronauts onboard the International SpaceStation. The expanding privatization of the space sector may also pose newlegal challenges.

Dodge'sinterest in space law grew from an early fascination with space explorationthat was based mostly on science and history.

?Once Icame to the law school, I read that there was an attorney here that specializedin space law,? Dodge said. ?After that, I became curious as to why space neededregulation, and how legal regimes could be constructed to govern such anexpanse."

That led toa meeting with Joanne Gabrynowicz, director of the University of Mississippi's space law center.

?Studentsin this program have unparalleled opportunities to participate in the Manfred LachsSpace Law Moot Court competition, the Journal of SpaceLaw, center conferences and events, and internships that strengthen theirfuture employment options,? Gabrynowicz said.

Theuniversity offers the only dedicated aerospace law curriculum in the nationfrom an American Bar Association-accredited law school, and requires courses onU.S. space and aviation law, international space and aviation law, and remotesensing; participation in the publication of the Journal of Space Law; andindependent research. The National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and SpaceLaw was founding in 1999.

?We areparticularly proud to be offering these space law certificates for the firsttime, since ours is the only program of its kind in the U.S. and only one oftwo in North America," said Samuel Davis, law dean at the University ofMississippi.

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