Julie Patterson Forrester named SMU interim law dean

SMU Law Professor Julie Forrester

SMU Law Professor Julie Patterson Forrester has been named interim dean of the University’s Dedman School of Law.

Law Professor Julie Patterson Forrester, an award-winning legal scholar in property law, has been named interim dean of SMU’s Dedman School of Law, effective June 1, 2013. She previously served as the law school’s associate dean of academic affairs, from 1995-96.

“We are fortunate to have Professor Forrester in place to serve in this important role,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden, who appointed the interim dean. “She is an outstanding legal scholar who also has an impressive record of community service and engagement. She will work well with the University community and with the broader legal community as we look forward to a bright future for the Dedman School of Law.”

SMU will conduct a national search for a permanent dean to replace John B. Attanasio, who will complete his service as dean in May. The search committee, also appointed by Ludden, will be assisted by Ilene Nagel, Ph.D., and Mirah Horowitz, J.D., of the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. It will include 18 attorneys, law professors, community leaders and others.

SMU search committee members from the community, who also are members of the Dedman School Executive Board, are attorneys Michael M. Boone of Haynes and Boone, LLP, and chair-elect of the SMU Board of Trustees; William D. Noel of Houston; Alan Feld of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP; the Hon. Deborah G. Hankinson of Hankinson LLP; Albon Head of Jackson Walker, LLP, Fort Worth; and Robert H. Dedman Jr., president and CEO of DFI Management, Ltd., and vice-chair of the SMU Board of Trustees.

Members from the Dedman School of Law community are Professors Cheryl Nelson Butler, Bill Dorsaneo, Xuan-Thao Nguyen, Joshua Tate and Jeffrey Kahn; second-year Dedman School of Law student Jessie Williams Greenwald, Ph.D.; and Karen Sargent, assistant dean for career services. Other committee members are Professor Rita Kirk of the Division of Communication Studies and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility; Rosario E. Heppe, senior director of corporate compliance at Fluor Corporation; and Wayne Watts, senior executive vice president and general counsel, AT&T.

The committee is chaired by Albert W. Niemi Jr., dean of the SMU Cox School of Business. SMU’s custom is to have a senior dean chair the search committee for other deans.

“We are gratified by the high caliber and diversity of individuals who will serve on our search committee,” Ludden said. “With the advantages of SMU and Dallas and a strong tradition of academic achievement, Dedman School of Law is well-positioned to attract a leader who will take the school into the next stage of its development.”

Professor Forrester joined the faculty at SMU Dedman School of Law in 1990 and teaches in the areas of property, real estate transactions and land use.

She received her B.S.E.E. with highest honors in 1981 and her J.D. with high honors in 1985 from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a member of the Texas Law Review, Chancellors, and The Order of the Coif. After graduation she was a real estate attorney with the Dallas law firm of Thompson & Knight.

Forrester, co-author of Property Law: Cases, Materials, and Questions (second edition, 2010, with Edward E. Chase), writes and speaks on real estate finance, the residential mortgage market, predatory lending and real property law. She was one of the first legal scholars to write about the problem of predatory lending in the subprime mortgage market, for which she was awarded the John Minor Wisdom Award for Academic Excellence in 1995.

She is a member of the American Law Institute and is on the executive committee of the American Association of Law Schools Real Estate Transactions Section. She recently served on the Texas State Bar Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section committee charged with drafting the new Texas Assignment of Rents Act.

Written by Denise Gee

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