Julie Forrester becomes SMU associate provost June 1, 2015

Julie Forrester

Julie Forrester becomes SMU associate provost June 1, 2015

SMU Law Professor Julie Forrester

SMU Law Professor Julie Patterson Forrester has been named University associate provost.

Law Professor Julie Patterson Forrester has been named SMU associate provost effective June 1, 2015.

Forrester will oversee SMU’s International Center; International Student and Scholar Services; SMU-in-Taos; the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center and the Loyd Center for the Academic Development of Student Athletes; and the University’s most prestigious scholarship for exceptional students, the President’s Scholars program.

She will also facilitate the Faculty Athletics Admissions Subcommittee and the University’s Common Reading program.

In addition, she will continue in her role as faculty liaison to SMU’s Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) project.

Professor Forrester, an award-winning legal scholar in property law, joined the Dedman Law faculty in 1990 and teaches in the areas of property, real estate transactions and land use. She served as the law school’s associate dean of academic affairs in 1995-96 and as its interim dean from June 2013 to June 2014.

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 Tulane Law Review’s John Minor Wisdom Award for Academic Excellence in Legal Scholarship in 1995.

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

June 15, 2015|For the Record, News|

$4 million gift will create new family law clinic in SMU’s Dedman School of Law

SMU Dedman School of Law QuadA donation of $4 million to SMU’s Dedman School of Law will endow the new VanSickle Family Law Clinic to provide free legal help for Dallas-area residents as well as essential skills training for Dedman Law students.

The donor whose gift is funding the VanSickle Family Law Clinic has requested anonymity.

The clinic, expected to open in fall 2015, will provide legal assistance for low-income North Texas residents in matters such as divorce, annulment, paternity actions, custody and visitation, child and spousal support.

> Learn more about Dedman School of Law clinic programs

“SMU’s Dedman School of Law is proud to be able to offer vital family legal services to people who might not otherwise be able to afford them,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “This important clinic experience will be invaluable to the lawyers we graduate who go on to practice family law, and will provide all participating students with a heightened sensitivity about the human impact and challenges of family legal issues.”

The new clinic will place students in professional situations in which they are required to put classroom theory into practice. Students enrolled in the clinic will learn by representing clients and engaging in a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Interviewing and counseling
  • Conducting factual investigations and legal research
  • Preparing court documents
  • Negotiating property settlement agreements for divorce actions
  • Negotiating custody agreements
  • Advocating at conferences, hearings, and trials

An academic director will train and closely supervise eight-10 student attorneys each semester who will represent families through the VanSickle Family Law Clinic. The director will meet regularly with each student attorney throughout the semester and will accompany the student to all court appearances and major settlement negotiations. During the summer, the clinic director will continue to represent clients whose matters extend past the end of the academic year.

“Our clinical education program at the Dedman School of Law is central to our mission of providing outstanding legal education as well as service to the community,” said Julie Forrester, law dean ad interim. “Beginning in 1947, the Clinical Program at the Dedman School of Law was among the country’s first to sponsor a community legal clinic. The VanSickle Family Law Clinic will be a significant enhancement to the clinic program, providing outstanding service to its clients while also providing our students with practical experience and encouraging in them a commitment to public service.”

The gift to fund the VanSickle Family Law Clinic counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised $874 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign coincides with SMU’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

> Read the full story at SMU News

June 23, 2014|News|

SMU’s Dedman School of Law rises in 2015 U.S. News rankings

SMU Law QuadSMU’s Dedman School of Law rose in the ranks of both the nation’s top law schools and best part-time J.D. programs in the 2015 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools, which was published online on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Among 194 law schools fully accredited by the American Bar Association, the Dedman School of Law ranks 42nd, an increase of six points from last year’s ranking of 48th. The ranking again places Dedman Law in the first tier of law schools in the guide’s “best schools of law” category. In Texas, SMU is one of only two law schools in the first tier.

> Visit U.S. News’ rankings online at usnews.com/grad

Among 83 part-time J.D. programs, Dedman Law ranks 7th, an increase of 8 points from last year’s ranking of 15th.

Recently, The National Law Journal ranked Dedman Law 26th among law schools based on the percentage of 2013 graduates placed in NLJ 250 firms – the nation’s largest firms.

“SMU Dedman School of Law continues to provide a legal education of the highest quality,” said SMU Dedman School of Law Dean ad interim Julie Forrester.  “I would like to recognize the efforts of our career services staff for the tremendous job they do in helping our students find excellent employment opportunities and the efforts of our admissions staff for continuing to enroll outstanding students.”

> Read more from SMU News

March 12, 2014|News|

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt fund new SMU legal center for victims of crimes against women

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt

A new legal center in SMU’s Dedman School of Law will provide services for the victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking and other crimes against women.

Ray L. and Nancy Ann Hunter Hunt have committed $5 million to create the Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women, named in honor of Mrs. Hunt’s father. The late Judge Hunter was a distinguished Missouri state and federal judge and longtime advocate of merit as the determining factor in the selection of judges.

“Ray and Nancy Ann have recognized the great need for free legal assistance to some of our community’s most vulnerable members,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As is typical of the Hunts, they have acted with generosity and insight to fill the need, while also expanding educational opportunities for law students to make a difference in this important area of the law. We are grateful for the generosity of Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt, who carry on a tradition of thoughtful giving to SMU and numerous other institutions.”

Under the supervision of law faculty, Dedman Law students working in the Hunter Legal Center will provide legal services such as protective orders; divorce, custody and child support agreements; as well as assistance with credit and housing issues. Using a holistic approach, students will gain experience with the myriad needs and complexity of issues that victims encounter and will see the human faces behind related legal issues.

“We are honored to name this Legal Center after my father, whose main interest as a judge was the well-being of individuals through fair treatment and protection under the law,” said Nancy Ann Hunt. “As a result of this program, participating law students will enter the legal profession with a deeper understanding of the victims of exploitation, trafficking and abuse and what they need for their lives to be restored. Their suffering may be hidden from our sight and may be uncomfortable to acknowledge publicly. But through the availability of free legal services, we hope they will feel empowered to come forward and obtain help.”

An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. It also is believed that incidents are under-reported by victims out of fear or concern that there will be no remedies for their plight. Estimates are that more than 300,000 individuals, including children, are trafficked in the sex industry in the United States each year. The average age for entering the sex industry is 13.

“Dedman Law’s clinical education program is central to our mission of providing outstanding legal education and public service, along with developing professional responsibility,” said Julie Forrester, interim dean of the Dedman School of Law. “The clinics are among the programs that keep Dedman Law in the forefront of legal education, which must evolve to meet emerging needs. The Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women underscores our commitment to equip our law students not only to practice law, but also to become community leaders well-informed about societal issues.”

This latest gift counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised more than $844 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience. The campaign coincides with SMU’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

> Read the full story from SMU News

February 21, 2014|News|

Jennifer M. Collins named new SMU law dean

SMU’s new law dean is a scholar at the intersection of criminal and family law whose background includes extensive academic administration experience as well as service as a federal prosecutor. Jennifer M. Collins will begin her duties as the Judge James Noel Dean of Dedman School of Law on Tuesday, July 1, 2014,

Collins comes to SMU from Wake Forest University, where she currently serves as vice provost. Collins has been on the law school faculty at Wake Forest since 2003 and was named associate provost in 2010 and vice provost in September 2013. She has continued to teach courses on gender and the law and legal professionalism while serving in the provost’s office.

“We are delighted to welcome Jennifer Collins to SMU and Dallas,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “She is a brilliant legal scholar and an outstanding academic administrator. Her experience as associate provost at Wake Forest has provided her with a campus-wide perspective that will be invaluable in leading Dedman School of Law at SMU.”

“The Dedman School of Law can be proud of the reputation it has built for academic rigor, as well as its excellent record in preparing students to practice in prestigious law firms,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Because Jennifer Collins’ career spans a lengthy tenure as a federal prosecutor as well as serving in academia, she is uniquely positioned to continue the Dedman School of Law tradition of preparing men and women to enter a competitive legal market.”

Collins graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from Harvard University in 1991, and received her B.A. in history, cum laude with Distinction in the Major, from Yale University in 1987.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining the SMU community,” Collins said. “I loved having the opportunity to meet with terrific, dedicated faculty and staff, and truly outstanding students, during my visit to campus, and I am eager to work together to address the challenges currently facing legal education. I cannot imagine an institution better positioned to respond to those challenges than the Dedman School of Law, and it is a great privilege to become part of the SMU family.”

Collins clerked for the Hon. Dorothy W. Nelson in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit after graduating from Harvard Law School, and worked briefly in private practice in Washington, D.C., before joining the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel as an attorney-adviser in 1993. Collins served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia from 1994 to 2002, working in the homicide section for the last six of those years and prosecuting more than 30 jury trials.

She returned briefly to private practice in 2002 and joined the faculty of Wake Forest University School of Law in 2003. While at Wake Forest, Collins has taught criminal law, criminal procedure, family law, and gender and the law. She is the 2009 winner of the Jurist Excellence in Teaching Award, selected by the graduating class of the law school, and the 2010 recipient of the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award, selected by the dean of the law school.

Collins became associate provost for academic and strategic initiatives at Wake Forest in 2010, where she spearheaded the university’s entry into the online and distance education market and developed new initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion across campus. She promoted efforts to examine the relevance and value of a liberal arts education and coordinated a large-scale strategic planning effort to improve campus culture for Wake Forest students.

Collins’ legal research has focused on issues involving families and the criminal justice system, including the prosecution of parents who are responsible for their children’s deaths. She is the author, with Dan Markel and Ethan Lieb, of Privilege or Punish? Criminal Justice and The Challenge of Family Ties, published by Oxford University Press in 2009, and has written many other law review articles and essays.

Provost Ludden expressed thanks to Julie Forrester, an award-winning scholar in property law, who has served since June 1 as Dean ad interim for Dedman School of Law. “Professor Forrester provided a great service to Dedman Law, providing outstanding leadership and laying the groundwork for a smooth transition,” Ludden said.

Collins, who was selected after a nationwide search, succeeds John Attanasio, who served as dean for three terms, from 1998 to 2013.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

December 17, 2013|For the Record, News|
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