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
Deputy General Counsel

Brandon Jolly joined the Office of General Counsel at Mississippi State University in 2011. Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, Mr. Jolly was in private practice with the Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz law firm. Mr. Jolly also served as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge William H. Barbour, Jr.

Mr. Jolly received his B.A., summa cum laude, in political science from Mississippi State University and his Juris Doctorate, summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi School of Law. Mr. Jolly is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the Mississippi Bar Association. 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.


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.

Duski is a Mississippi native who lived in western Kentucky and Brentwood, Tennessee, for 25 years. 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 was a member of and served as an officer and president of the Mayfield Graves County Board of Realtors.  She was also 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.  


Caitlin Rackley
Paralegal/Associate Director of Licensing

Caitlin Rackley joined the Office of General Counsel in October of 2019.

Caitlin first moved to Starkville as a Mississippi State student in 2009. While in school, Caitlin cheered on the dawgs from the sidelines as an MSU cheerleader. Later she became a Realtor in Starkville and continued that career for six years. During that time, she facilitated purchases and sales for clients gaining experience with real estate and mortgage laws. She was consistently ranked in the top 20 agents in the Golden Triangle. Caitlin now serves as Paralegal and Associate Licensing Director within the Office of General Counsel.

Outside of the office, Caitlin is committed to serving the local community through her ambassadorship with the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Junior Auxiliary of Starkville, First Presbyterian Church and several other organizations. She is married to Will Rackley, and they have two children, Madeline, and Bounds.


JoAnn B. Thomas
Administrative Assistant II

JoAnn B. Thomas joined the Office of General Counsel as Administrative Assistant II in July 2021.

Prior to joining the Office of General Counsel, JoAnn worked with the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District as Program Manager of their After School Programs. Beginning in February of 2005, she worked for MSU's Early Childhood Institute as a Project Director for 11 years.

JoAnn received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Home Economics Education at Mississippi University for Women. Although she went to school at MUW, she's been an avid Bulldog fan for many years.

JoAnn has been a Starkville resident for 30 years and has been active in various community projects during this time. She has two married children who both attended MSU and has four precious grandchildren. She is also an active member of First Baptist Church.