Founded in 2009, the HLS Mississippi Delta Project (MDP) is one of the newest student practice organizations at Harvard Law School.

MDP provides policy and legal services to clients in the Mississippi, with a focus on the Mississippi Delta region. Mississippi is the poorest state in the U.S. and the Delta is one of its poorest regions. The Delta struggles with public health outcomes, segregation and the legacy of Jim Crow, poverty, and education, among other issues. Our policy teams work with our clients to pursue long-term legislative and policy projects in many areas of need.

MDP doesn’t want to dictate how our clients or Mississippians should live their lives. We also don’t want to parachute in and impose our solutions. MDP instead focuses on a long-term, collaborative, dynamic approach of working with our clients to further their goals for how they think Mississippi and the Delta can improve. Sometimes that’s writing model legislation or pushing bills in the statehouse. Sometimes that’s talking with farmers or school administrators or public health officials to hear about their challenges. Sometimes that’s writing policy papers that our clients use to launch their campaigns. MDP try to help Mississippians already pushing their state and the Delta forward in any way we can.

Are you an HLS student interested in learning more about the Delta Project?

MDP always welcomes new members!

Students must submit a brief application by Friday, February 15th  at 11:59pm. Applications are available at Accepted students will be notified by end-of-day Monday, February 18th with their team assignments.

Please also note that our website is in the process of being updated, and information on linked pages may be outdated. For the most accurate, up-to-date information, please contact the 2018-2019 Co-Chairs: Emanuel Powell ( and Marissa Marandola ( Thank you!

If you would just like to get on our newsletter, please fill out an interest form at

2018-2019 Projects

  • Food Justice Initiative: The Food Justice Initiative Team will partner with 2nd Chance Mississippi to tackle the issue of SNAP (aka “food stamps”) reform in Mississippi, one of the few remaining states to bar people with felony convictions from receiving SNAP benefits.


  • Criminal Justice Initiative: The Criminal Justice Initiative Team will work with the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi Law School to explore the potential for increased community advocacy on the issue of criminal record expungement. The team will  develop a pro se toolkit and policy recommendation on criminal record expungement in MS.


  • Environmental Justice Initiative: The Environmental Justice Initiative Team will continue work with Cooperation Jackson to develop a Zero Waste policy for Jackson, MS with the goal of helping the city manage its waste disposal in a sustainable way and improve its environmental performance. This project will be completed in Fall 2018.


  • Reproductive Justice Initiative: The Reproductive Justice Initiative Team will will partner with the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund to create a judicial bypass toolkit for teens seeking reproductive health care. The toolkit will be distributed to youth advocates and will explain to teens the complex legal process by which to seek a legal abortion without parental consent. This project will begin in Spring 2019.


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