Karen Sargent, Esq.
Assistant Dean of Career Services
Assistant Dean since 2004, Karen Sargent oversees all aspects of managing the Office of Career Services, developing and implementing policies and procedures, conducting employer outreach, authoring career education resources and programs, and counseling students. She serves as the principal contact to local and national law firms and legal employers.
Karen earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with high honors from SMU in 1977 and her Juris Doctor from SMU Law in 1979, where she served on the Board of Editors of the Southwestern Law Journal. After graduating, she practiced tax and corporate law with the Houston office of Andrews Kurth LLP. From 1985 to 2000, before joining the Office of Career Services, Karen served as a part-time faculty member at the Law School, teaching courses in the practical skills course, Lawyering, and Legal Research, Writing & Advocacy. In 2003 she returned to SMU Dedman School of Law as an Assistant Director of Admissions. Professionally, Karen is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation. As a member of the Dallas Bar Association, she has been an active member of the Admissions and Membership Committee since 2005.
Dana Minissale, Esq.
Director, Mid-size, Boutique and Small Firms
Dana Minissale is responsible for developing clerkships and job opportunities with mid-sized, boutique and small law firms, overseeing the professional development of students and counseling JD students.
Dana joined SMU Dedman School of Law with 26 years of experience as a highly respected commercial litigator. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Texas and graduated from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1990. While attending SMU, Dana served as a Leading Articles Editor for the Southwestern Law Journal. Dana also served as a moot court associate justice and was a member of Phi Delta Phi. After graduating, Dana served as a Briefing Attorney to the Honorable Gordon Rowe at the 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas. She was a founding partner of Gerstle, Minissale & Snelson, LLP, where she handled professional liability and coverage litigation. Dana is a member of the Peer Assistance Committee of the Dallas Bar Association and is actively involved as an outreach volunteer with NAMI Dallas.
Beth D. Lee
Director, Corporate and Private Sector Development
Beth Lee is responsible for employer engagement in the private sector with a focus on corporate legal internships and post-graduate opportunities, including emerging legal careers. She also handles career-related programming for students, collaborates with the law school’s Rowling Center for Business Law and Leadership and participates in employer development for small, mid-size and boutique law firms.
Beth provides career development training and strategy to full-time JD students and transfer and visiting students. Prior to her role as Director, she served as the primary contact to federal, state and local government agencies and managed recruitment efforts for students and alumni interested in public sector opportunities.
Beth handles daily communication of Hot Jobs &
Opportunities email announcements to students and works with all employers to
generate and publicize job opportunities for students and alumni. She is
the office's liaison to the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and facilitates
the annual Mock Interview Program. Beth served as the Southeast
Region law school member of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP)
Nominating Committee from 2019-2020.
Beth joined the Office of Career Services in August 2002. Before joining SMU, she worked for the international law firm of Baker Botts as Manager of Client Relations and previously as a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies IBM, Electronic Data Systems, Lotus Development Corporation and KPMG. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from SMU.
Mary Beth Nielsen
Associate Director, Recruiting and Events
Mary Beth Nielsen serves as a career counselor to JD students and facilitates all law school recruiting programs, including the On- and Off-Campus Interview Programs for law firms, corporations, government agencies, and public interest employers.
Mary Beth manages school and student participation in regional job fairs and maintains Symplicity, the web-enabled recruiting site for law students and legal professionals, as well as the website for the Office of Career Services. She is actively involved in the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) currently serves as the Chair of the JD Career Advisors Section.
Mary Beth joined the Office of Career Services in January 2014, after having served as the Career Advisor Liaison to the College of Communication in Career Services at Texas Christian University. From 2009-2011, she worked as the graduate assistant for internships in the Ole Miss Career Center. She earned her Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The University of Mississippi in 2011 and graduated magna cum laude from The University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2009.
Linda A. Hale, Esq.
Adviser, Judicial Clerkships and Internships
Liaison to the Judiciary
Adviser, International LL.M. Program
Linda Hale serves as the adviser for students seeking opportunities in the judicial system, both during and after law school, and is the law school’s liaison to the judiciary, responsible for developing internships, externships and post-graduate judicial clerkships with federal and state courts. Linda also serves as the Career Services Adviser for students in the International LL.M. Program.
Linda earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Baylor University in 1978 and graduated from Baylor Law School in 1981. While attending Baylor Law School, she was a member of the Order of the Barristers and of the Texas Championship Jessup International Moot Court Team, which placed third in the country in national competition. Linda joined Shank, Irwin in Dallas upon law school graduation, becoming a commercial litigation partner there focusing on oil and gas and toxic tort litigation. From 1990-1992, Linda served as Assistant University Counsel for Southern Methodist University, and from 1993-2010 served Of Counsel to the Conant Whittenburg, Conant, French & Chaney, and Clouse Dunn firms, continuing in business litigation, with a focus on plaintiffs’ class action securities work, among others. From 2002-2006, Linda also served as an Associate Municipal Judge for the City of Dallas. Professionally, Linda is a member of the Dallas Bar Association and a Sustaining Member of Attorneys Serving the Community, a Life Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and has been AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as a practicing lawyer for more than 27 years. Linda joined SMU Dedman School of Law as a Director of the Office of Career Services in December 2010, and transitioned to her current role in August 2016.