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

Basil H. Thomson - Attorney

Portrait of Basil ThomsonBasil Thomson joined SMU as Associate General Counsel in August 2002, after retiring from Baylor University where he served for 25 years. At Baylor, Mr. Thomson served as General Counsel for three presidents. In addition, Mr. Thomson served as Director of Governmental Relations, Assistant Secretary to the Board of Regents, and adjunct professor of law. He has served as president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and currently serves on the Legal Services Review Panel of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He is the first recipient of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas President’s Award presented in recognition of his service to independent higher education in Texas. Before entering higher education law, Mr. Thomson was an attorney in the Office of the Chief Counsel, United States Coast Guard, Washington, D.C.

Thomson graduated from the Baylor University School of Law (J.D., 1973) and Baylor University (B.B.A., 1968). He is licensed to practice in Texas and before the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.

Contact Information

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

Assistant

Name: Kelly McElrath
Phone: 214.768.1230
Email:mcelrath@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

Assistant

Name: Melanie Bailey
Phone: 214.768.1295
Email:baileym@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

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

Melanie Bailey

Administrative Assistant

Phone: 214.768.1295
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email:melanieb@smu.edu

Supports:

Martha Fleisher

Alyssa Mooney

Administrative Assistant

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

Supports:

Susan M. Howe