Give Now

Attorneys and Staff

Attorneys and Staff

Paul J. Ward - Attorney

Portrait of Paul WardPaul Ward became vice president for legal affairs and government relations, general counsel, and secretary in January 2009.

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. 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 has an AV ("Preeminent Attorney") rating from Martindale-Hubbell. 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 bulletin board, NACUANET, which now has more than 2,600 participating members in the United States and Canada. In June 2000, he received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from NACUA. He is a member of the Texas General Counsel Forum. He served as a member of the NCAA General Counsel Advisory Board from 2000-2010. In addition, he served in the American Bar Association House of Delegates.

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.

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1551
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email:paulward@smu.edu

Assistant

Name: Diane Rives
Phone: 214-768-1903
Email:drives@smu.edu

Martha R. Fleisher - Attorney

Portrait of Martha FleisherMartha R. Fleisher joined SMU as Associate University Counsel in 2005. Prior to joining SMU’s Office of Legal Affairs, Ms. Fleisher taught construction law, administrative law, state constitutional law, remedies and government as an adjunct faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, Collin County Community College and Cleveland State University College of Law. She was in private practice from 1978 through 2003 at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland, Ohio, as a sole practitioner in Cleveland, and at Vinson & Elkins in Dallas.

Ms. Fleisher graduated from the University of Chicago (J.D., 1978) and Wellesley College (B.A., 1975). She is a member of the Texas Bar (active) and the Ohio Bar (inactive) and is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1204
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email:fleisher@smu.edu

Susan M. Howe - Attorney

Portrait of Susan HoweSusan M. Howe joined SMU as Associate University Counsel in 2007. Prior to joining SMU, Ms. Howe served as in-house counsel for the University of Tulsa in the Office of the General Counsel, first as the Compliance Attorney and EEO/AA Officer, and subsequently as Assistant General Counsel. At the University of Tulsa College of Law, Ms. Howe completed the certificate program in Health Law and was the recipient of the CALI Award for Legal Excellence in Insurance Law.

Howe graduated from the University of Tulsa College of Law (J.D., 1998) and the University of Tulsa (B.A., 1990). Ms. Howe is an active member of the Texas, Oklahoma, and American Bar Associations and is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1208
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email:showe@smu.edu

Assistant

Name: Alyssa Mooney
Phone: 214.768.1205
Email:amooney@smu.edu

Kelly J. Thurman - Attorney

Kelly J. Thurman joined SMU as Associate University Counsel in June 2015.  Prior to joining SMU, Ms. Thurman served as in-house counsel for international law firm Locke Lord LLP, first as Employment Counsel and Director of Benefits and Compensation, and subsequently as Employment Counsel and Director of Compensation.  Before taking on an in-house role, Ms. Thurman was in private practice with Locke Lord from 1998 through 2007 as an Associate, and from 2008 through August 2012 as a Partner.  Ms. Thurman was named to D Magazine’s Best Women Lawyers in Dallas in 2010.  Prior to attending law school, Ms. Thurman worked as a Real Estate Paralegal for Locke Purnell Rain Harrell. 

Ms. Thurman graduated from the Texas Tech University School of Law (J.D., 1998 summa cum laude), and the University of Texas at Arlington (B.A. in Criminal Justice, 1992 cum laude).  At the Texas Tech University School of Law, Ms. Thurman was appointed to the Order of the Coif and served as the President of Women in Law from 1996-1997.  She is a member of the Texas Bar and is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).      

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1309
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: kthurman@smu.edu

Assistant

Name: Alyssa Mooney
Phone: 214.768.1205
Email: amooney@smu.edu

Claudia A. Trotch - Attorney

Claudia A. Trotch joined SMU as Higher Education Law Fellow/Assistant University Counsel in 2014. Prior to joining SMU, Ms. Trotch interned at the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) in Washington, D.C.  Ms. Trotch also completed internships with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section; the Labor Department of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office; and United Educators Insurance.

Ms. Trotch graduated from the American University Washington College of Law (J.D., 2014) and the University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 2008).  She is a member of the Texas Bar (active) and is a member of NACUA.

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1230
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: ctrotch@smu.edu

Administrative Staff

Diane Rives

Assistant to the Vice President

Phone: 214.768.1903
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email:drives@smu.edu

Supports:

Paul J. Ward

Alyssa Mooney

Administrative Assistant

Phone: 214.768.1205
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email:amooney@smu.edu

Supports:

Susan M. Howe
Kelly J. Thurman