Mercer Law School First-Year Student Ja’Lon Smith Receives Inaugural Judge Clyde Reese Book Award


MACON – Mercer Law School recently awarded its first-ever Judge Clyde Reese Book Award, established by Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Clyde Reese III, ’96, to help a first-year minority student with the costs of books.

This year’s recipient, Ja’Lon Smith, said he is extremely grateful to have received the award.

“The book award was a tremendous blessing,” said Smith. “This second semester of my 1L year brought about new experiences and brand new courses. The award helped to provide much comfort in my efforts to gather adequate materials needed to succeed in my classes.”

Smith attended Morehouse College, where he graduated magna cum laude with his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy with a minor in mathematics. Currently, he is a member of the Black Law Students Association and the Real Estate Society, and he serves as a 1L Representative on the Student Bar Association. He will be working as a summer associate at Balch & Bingham LLP in Atlanta this summer.

Reese, who currently serves on the Law School’s Board of Visitors, established the Judge Clyde Reese Book Award in honor of his parents. The award provides $1,000 for a deserving minority student, selected by the school, to help defray the cost of books.

“Mercer Law School set me on a career path that has led to my being an appellate court judge,” said Reese. “No part of my career would have been possible without the foundation I received from Mercer Law School, its faculty and administration. I had always wanted to establish this kind of assistance for a first-year minority student. I remember how expensive law books were and the struggle to juggle finances in that first year.”

For more information on how to give to Mercer Law, to endow a scholarship or make a planned gift, contact the Office of University Advancement at 478-301-2232 or visit