Paralegal Studies

Paralegal Certificate

SMU Paralegal Certificate | Meet the Instructors

Program fast facts

FORMAT In-Person
TUITION Priority Rate (by Aug. 4): $5,495
Standard Rate: $5,745
NEXT PROGRAMS Jun. 6 – Dec. 5, 2017; T/Th evenings 6 – 9 p.m. on the Dallas campus

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  Online infosession

Join us for an in-person infosession on August 7 at SMU-in-Plano.

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SMU Paralegal Certificate instructors include licensed, practicing attorneys and paralegals selected for both their legal expertise and teaching ability. Their real-world experience brings special insight into the practical aspects of the profession.  

Michele Boerder, CP

Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified- Civil Trial Law – Specific Areas of Paralegal Practice and Resume Writing/Interview

Michele Boerder is a litigation paralegal with Morgan Lewis & Bockius in Dallas, Texas and has 35 years of experience. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of North Texas and an A.A. from the El Centro College Paralegal Program in 1979. She is a Board Certified Paralegal - Civil Trial, Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a Certified Paralegal (“CP” through NALA) as well as a past President of Paralegal Division, State Bar of Texas and a past President of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association.

Michele also has served on the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Committee, the TBLS Paralegal Civil Trial Commission, NFPA's Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam Standards Committee, and Paralegal Today magazine’s editorial review board. She received the Dallas Area Paralegal Association’s Paralegal of the Year Award in 1995, NFPA's Paralegal of the Year award in 2005 and the Dallas Area Paralegal Association Lifetime Achievement award in 2006.

Kristine Horn, J.D.

Introduction to Law and Civil Litigation

Kristine (Kris) Horn specializes in complex commercial litigation and has enjoyed an active trial and appellate practice since her licensure in 1989. While in private practice, she worked with both large and boutique firms and tried numerous cases in state and federal court. Her broad range of experience includes litigation concerning securities fraud, antitrust and unfair competition, contract disputes, consumer law, fiduciary obligations, employment law, healthcare, ERISA, intellectual property, and white collar crime. She has served as counsel in two nationwide class actions, one involving allegations of securities fraud and another involving healthcare. Her multi-district litigation experience includes cases involving breast implants and asbestos. In addition to her courtroom experience, Kris has extensive experience with arbitration in securities disputes.

Kris has made numerous appellate arguments before state courts in Texas, Colorado, New York, and Florida, and before the Fifth and Second Circuit Courts of Appeal. Her arguments before the Fifth Circuit also include criminal cases in which she was appointed by the court to serve as counsel for indigent defendants.
Kris has written several legal articles and is particularly passionate about constitutional law. She also enjoys coaching young advocates, serving on mock trial committees and as a competition judge.

Kris served on a college paralegal advisory board from 2009-2012, and has received awards for teaching excellence and for achieving diversity in the classroom. She currently works as an attorney for the Dallas Court of Appeals, concentrating on a criminal and civil appellate practice, and as an adjunct professor for area colleges and universities.

Honorable Esther Grossman

Esther Grossman has been an instructor in the CAPE Paralegal Certificate Program since 2011. She has also served as a city council-appointed Associate Municipal Judge for the City of Dallas for three terms. For the past twelve years, she has been of counsel with the law firm of Palmer, Reifler & Associates, representing commercial clients in civil fraud/civil theft matters. She has also worked as a trial/litigation attorney for regional law firms representing creditors in consumer debt cases. In addition to focusing on creditor rights issues, Esther has concentrated on insurance and corporate matters. She is licensed as an attorney in Texas, Kentucky, and Illinois.

Esther is a member of the Dallas Bar Association as well as the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association and has been a member of the Ethics Committee since 2007. She is also a member of the Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) as well as the Bankruptcy and Commercial Sections of the Dallas Bar Association. She has served as a judge in high school mock trial competitions and has lectured at Dallas Bar Association seminars on creditor/consumer issues.

She attended law school at the University of Tulsa and Washington University. She received her J.D. in 1992 and is a member of Phi Delta Phi. She earned a B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and an A.A. from Cottey College.

Christy Eubanks Madden 

Christy Eubanks Madden practices general litigation and appellate law.  She graduated from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in 1997.  While at SMU, she served as Research Editor of the SMU Law Review Association and was a member of Phi Delta Phi.  Christy also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Mississippi, where she graduated with honors.

Christy has worked in both private practice and as an attorney for the Fifth District Court of Appeals at Dallas.  She has served as the Appellate Newsletter Editor for the Texas Association of Defense Counsel and on the Appellate Publications Committee for the Defense Research Institute.  Christy currently serves on the board of the Dallas Chapter of National Charity League.

Joan E. Marshall, J.D.

Joan E. Marshall is a partner in the Dallas office of GeyerGorey LLP. She represents clients in antitrust and white collar criminal defense matters, corporate compliance, internal investigations, and qui tam and whistleblower litigation. Prior to joining GeyerGorey, Ms. Marshall investigated and prosecuted domestic and international white collar crimes, for more than fifteen years as a Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Her prosecutions included price fixing, bid rigging, bribery, obstruction of justice, fraud, witness tampering and perjury. She was the Antitrust Division’s representative on the Disaster Fraud Task Force from 2006-2013.

Ms. Marshall is a frequent speaker on antitrust enforcement and fraud prevention and detection and has developed numerous training programs. She is a recipient of the United States Department of Justice, Assistant Attorney General’s Award and certificates of appreciation from the United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, Major Procurement Fraud Unit. Ms. Marshall was a Staff Attorney at the 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas. She is a graduate of the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University and has a B.B.A. in Economics from the University of North Texas. 

Sara Wahl

Sara Wahl is a business attorney with thirteen years of experience in bankruptcy and bankruptcy related litigation. She graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2000 and relocated from Minnesota to Texas to begin her legal career at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld LLP.  In 2011, she moved her practice to Curran Tomko Tarski LLP, and most recently she was at Elmore Law PLLC. After combining private law practice with teaching in the SMU Paralegal Certificate Program for a year, in early 2014, Sara resigned from her law firm to focus on her teaching as well as on raising her two young children.  Sara enjoys writing and teaching legal research and writing.  Over the years, she has written many articles for various publications and is a contributing author to the Mortgage and Asset Backed Securities Litigation Handbook. 

Toya J. Walker

Toya J. Walker is a degreed Senior Paralegal in the areas of Compliance, Labor and Employment, and Litigation at Sabre GLBL, Inc.  Ms. Walker has been a paralegal since 2002 after leaving law school.  She has worked on various federal and state cases that involve commercial litigation, labor and employment law, personal injury law, toxic tort law, consumer law matters, insurance defense and class action lawsuits to name a few.  She currently teaches paralegal courses at SMU and has also taught courses in paralegal studies at Kaplan College and Everest College from 2005 to 2007 and 2013 through 2014.  Ms. Walker is a strong advocate of continued education for future paralegals.  She graduated cum laude in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  During 1999 and 2000, she completed her first year of legal studies toward a Juris Doctorate degree at Southern University Law Center.  In 2002, she graduated from Southeastern Paralegal Institute in Dallas, Texas, where she obtained her paralegal certificate, which is approved by the American Bar Association. Ms. Walker is the 2013-2014 NALA Liaison, Director, and Past President of the J.L. Turner Legal Association-Paralegal Section, 2011-2012 District 2 (Dallas Division) Director for the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division, 2010-2012 Recording Secretary of the Southern University Alumni Federation-Dallas Chapter, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Ms. Walker is the recipient of the 2014 NALA Affiliates Award, 2011 Fredrick Barrow Paralegal Award, 2010 J.L. Turner Legal Association-Paralegal Section Paralegal of the Year Award, and has been recognized for her year of service on the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division Board of Directors.  She has been featured in NALA's Fact and Findings publication, the Texas Paralegal Journal, The Dallas Weekly magazine, and is an honoree of Who’s Who in Black Dallas (Inaugural Edition).  She enjoys reading, traveling, volunteering, mentoring and raising her wonderful son, Korbin.