Our Staff

Joan L. Lucas
General Counsel

Joan L. Lucas serves as the General Counsel for Mississippi State University and as Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of Mississippi in litigation issues involving MSU. Ms. Lucas joined the University in April of 2009, as Assistant General Counsel and was selected as General Counsel in February 2011.

Prior to joining the General Counsel's office, Ms. Lucas was an attorney in the Jackson office of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell and Berkowitz where she was a member of the Firm's Litigation Group. In private practice, she concentrated her practice in labor and employment, personal injury, and business tort litigation.

Ms. Lucas received her B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi in 2002 and her Juris Doctorate in 2005. While in law school, she was the trial chairman of the Moot Court Board and a member of Phi Delta Phi. She was the winner of the 2004 McGlinchey Stafford Oral Argument Competition, the winner of the 2003 Moot Court Board Oral Argument Competition, and a participant on the Vanderbilt National First Amendment Moot Court Competition team. She also was the recipient of the Hardy Law, Bowling Law, and Clayton Law Scholarships.

Ms. Lucas is a member of the Mississippi State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Oktibbeha County Bar Association, serving as President, and the Golden Triangle Young Lawyers Division. She is also a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Brandon L. Jolly
Associate General Counsel

Brandon Jolly joined Mississippi State University as Associate General Counsel in April 2011. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. Jolly was in private practice with the Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz law firm in Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Jolly's private practice was concentrated in the areas of labor and employment, complex commercial litigation, catastrophic personal injury litigation, and contract and property disputes. Mr. Jolly also served as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge William H. Barbour, Jr.

Mr. Jolly received his B.A. degree in Political Science from Mississippi State University in 2002 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2005. During his undergraduate studies, Mr. Jolly was a John C. Stennis Scholar and served as Attorney General of the Mississippi State Student Association. In law school, Mr. Jolly was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal, where he served as Associate Mississippi Cases Editor, and received the Mississippi Defense Lawyers and the Mississippi Association of County Board Attorneys scholarships.

Mr. Jolly is a member of the American, Mississippi, and the Oktibbeha County Bar Associations. He is admitted to practice law in all federal and state courts of Mississippi and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Jolly also serves on the board of directors of Son Valley, a community home for special needs adults.

Dylan White
Assistant General Counsel

Dylan White joined Mississippi State University as the Law Fellow in September 2015. Dylan is a native of Starkville and lifelong Bulldog. Before returning to Mississippi State he interned with Mississippi’s 16th District’s District Attorney’s Office as well as the 1st District Chancery Court.

Dylan graduated from Mississippi State in 2011 where he received a BBA in Finance along with a Minor in Spanish. He received his Juris Doctorate from Penn State University in 2014. During his undergraduate studies, Dylan acted as a Business Ambassador and an Executive Member of the Interfraternity Council. In law school, Dylan was a Dean’s Scholarship recipient and Trial Advocacy student.   
Dylan is a member of the American and Mississippi Bar Associations as well as a member of the Golden Triangle Young Lawyers Association. He is licensed to practice law in all state courts.

Duski Hale
Senior Legal Administrator and Director of Licensing

Duski Hale joined the MSU Office of General Counsel and Trademark Licensing in August 2018, as a Paralegal/Licensing Assistant. Duski served as the Public Records Custodian, managed social media marketing for the Licensing Program, and worked closely with the University’s licensing agency to promote the licensing program at Mississippi State.

In her current position, Mrs. Hale directs, manages, and supervises the administrative operations of the Office of General Counsel and the Trademark Licensing Program for the university.

A Mississippi native who has lived in western Kentucky and Brentwood, Tennessee for the last 25 years, Duski has recently moved back to Starkville. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Duski owned and operated her own catering and event company in western Kentucky.

For 12 years Duski has been a member of and served as an officer of the Mayfield Graves County Board of Realtors, consecutively elected as President the last two years.  She was employed by Acree and Associates Realty. In 2015 she was named Association Executive for the Mayfield Graves County Board of Realtors and Kentucky Realtors. During her time in that position, she was responsible for branding and licensing compliance, development of a strategic plan, as well as MGCBR compliance with the Core Standards of the National Association of Realtors. Duski comes to us with experience in dealing with real estate and mortgage laws; federal, local and state Housing Authority laws; legislative polling, lobbying and advocacy; and tax exemption laws.  

Duski is a member of National Association of Realtors, Kentucky Association of Realtors, American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA), and the International Collegiate Licensing Association.

Mary Todd Gordon
Paralegal/Licensing Assistant

Mary Todd Gordon joined the Office of General Counsel and Trademark Licensing as a Paralegal/Licensing Assistant in September 2018. 

Mary Todd earned her BS in Psychology from MSU in 2014. After graduation, she worked as an account executive for Dynamic Fire Protection.  Mary Todd was later hired by Blake Management Group as Director of Activities and then promoted to Director of Sales for the Claiborne at Adelaide in Starkville.  During her three year tenure, Mary Todd was exposed to elder law, dealing specifically with advance healthcare directives, conservatorships, and powers of attorney.

In her current role, she will be assisting with public records requests, tort claims, interlocal agreements, worker’s compensation, the Trademark Licensing Program, and will be responsible for the coordination of the Crafter’s Licensing Program.

Mary Todd is a native of Starkville, MS, graduating in 2009 from Starkville Academy. Mary Todd is an advisory board member for the Salvation Army and a member of Junior Auxiliary of Starkville. She and her husband, Nick, have one son. They are members of First Baptist Church.