Legal and Conflict Resolution
- Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services.
Through SMU-in-Legacy Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services, faculty, alumni, and students with more than 200 hours of training perform mediation on a voluntary basis. Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party assists disputants in finding a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute.
- Pro Bono Legal Work in the Community.
SMUís Dedman School of Law includes, as part of the requirements for graduation with a J.D. degree, 30 hours of pro bono in an approved pro bono placement. The law schoolís Director of Public Service helps create partnerships for these placements and administers the program. A substantial percentage of SMU Dedman School of Law students contribute well over 30 hours of pro bono service. Students provide law-related assistance in the following areas, among others: immigrant, employment, housing, domestic violence, tax, and education. During the academic year 2007-2008, law students contributed 11,981 hours of pro bono work in these and other areas.
- Consumer Law Project.
This program, operated through the Civil Clinic, and made possible by a grant through the Texas Office of the Attorney General, reaches out to the local bilingual Hispanic community and helps resolve consumer complaints with recourse to formal litigation and focuses on informal advocacy, negotiation and mediation strategies, as well as community education.
With the creation of the law schoolís legal clinic
in 1947, SMUís Dedman School of Law was among the countryís first law schools to sponsor a community legal clinic. The Program now encompasses six specialized clinics :
- Civil Clinic.
This clinic represents low-income clients in matters ranging from housing disputes to elder advocacy to civil rights litigation.
- Criminal Prosecution Clinic.
Through this clinic, students work in partnership with the Dallas County District Attorneyís Office in the prosecution of misdemeanor offenses.
- Criminal Defense Clinic.
This clinic represents Dallas county citizens charged with criminal offenses. Working with the Dallas Public Defenderís Office and provides students with felony trial experience. In addition, the Death Penalty Project exposes students to actual death penalty cases and combines classroom teaching with practical experience.
- Federal Taxpayers Clinic.
This clinic was the first tax clinic in the country with the authority to represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Tax Court. The clinic represents low-income taxpayers needing to resolve tax problems with the Audit, Appeals and Collection divisions of the I.R.S. and the U.S. Tax Court.
- Small Business Clinic.
This clinic introduces student attorneys to practical applications of business formation and provides needed representation for small start-up companies and individuals developing private nonprofit entities.
- W. W.Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic.
This clinic represents children who have been abused and neglected in Dallas County. The Clinic is appointed by juvenile district court judges to serve as guardian/attorney ad litem.