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About SMU

Jennifer Collins

Jennifer M. Collins is the Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law.  She received her B.A., cum laude with Distinction in the Major (History) from Yale University in 1987, and her J.D., magna cum laude in 1991 from Harvard University, where she also served as an Editor for the Harvard Law Review.

Prior to joining SMU, Dean Collins was a member of the law faculty at Wake Forest University since 2003. She most recently served as Vice Provost and Professor of Law. At Wake Forest, Dean Collins taught courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, family law, gender and the law, and career development and legal professionalism. She received numerous awards for excellence in teaching.

Dean 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 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. She then served as Assistant United States Attorney 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 to private practice in 2002 at Sidley Austin before moving to Wake Forest.

She is the co-author of Privilege or Punish? Criminal Justice and The Challenge of Family Ties, published by Oxford University Press in 2009. In addition, she has written many other law review articles and essays featured in Yale Law Journal, Boston University Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, and more. Dean Collins’ scholarship is focused on issues involving families and the criminal justice system.