Administration

About SMU

Paul Ward

Paul J. Ward is vice president for legal affairs, general counsel and secretary to the Board of Trustees at Southern Methodist University.

At SMU, Ward oversees legal services to the University, including the supervision of three staff attorneys, and selection and management of outside counsel. Additionally, as Secretary to the Board of Trustees, he works closely with the president and senior administrative officers in coordinating the Board’s activities.
Before coming to SMU, Ward served as vice president for university administration and general counsel at Arizona State University from 2004 to 2008. He served as general counsel to ASU from 1991 to 2008. In the role of vice president for university administration his areas of responsibility included human resources, the police department, university audit and advisory services, and the risk management and environmental health and safety department. Ward also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at ASU. Prior to his association with ASU, he served the University of South Carolina System as general counsel from 1979 to 1991. Previously, he was engaged in private practice in the Washington, D.C., office of Casey, Lane & Mittendorf.

Ward served as president (1996-97) and as a member of the Board of Directors (1988-92 and 1993-98) of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). In 1993, he established NACUA's electronic email discussion list, NACUANET, which now has more than 2,500 participating members in the United States and 12 foreign countries. In June 2000, he received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from NACUA. He served as a member of the NCAA General Counsel Advisory Board from 2000-2010. In addition, he recently concluded a term in the American Bar Association House of Delegates. In 2002, Ward received the Thomas S. Biggs Award at the Stetson University College of Law, National Conference on Law of Higher Education. Ward has an AV (“Preeminent Attorney”) rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Ward graduated from the Southern Methodist University School of Law (J.D., 1975) and Eastern Illinois University (B.S., 1971; M.A., 1974). He has been admitted to practice law in Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, Indiana, the District of Columbia and the United States Supreme Court.