VanSickle Family Law Clinic

The VanSickle Family Law Clinic is new to the clinical program at SMU Dedman School of Law officially launched in January 2016. Many thanks to the Clinic's anonymous donor and its founding supporters for making this possible. The Clinic will provide much-needed assistance to unrepresented family law litigants in our community. Under the supervision of an experienced clinical faculty member, student attorneys will represent and provide counsel to low-income clients in matters of family law such as divorce, child custody, visitation, paternity, modifications, enforcement actions, child support, and adoption. Student attorneys are expected to take the lead in all aspects of their casework and be professionally responsible for the services they provide on behalf of their clients.

Through client representation and the clinic seminar, student attorneys will have the opportunity to engage in the performance of fundamental lawyering skills necessary for competent representation and zealous advocacy. These skills will include but are not limited to, interviewing and counseling clients, negotiating, fact development and analysis, strategic case planning, conflict resolution and decision making, motion and trial practice, drafting legal pleadings and ancillary documents, organization and management of legal work, cultural competency, collaboration and self-evaluation. 

In the spring of 2017, the VanSickle Family Law Clinic launched a “self-help desk” at the George L. Allen, Sr. Courts Building to assist self-represented litigants in family law matters. The desk allows clinic student attorneys to review pro se forms and immediately inform and guide the pro se litigant on what they need to do to complete and/or correct the forms. In addition, the student attorneys fill routine procedural questions on matters related to divorce, child custody suits and other family law issues. In the spring of 2017, VanSickle student attorneys helped 357 pro se litigants.


To Our Community

Cinic Legal Services

The VanSickle Family Law Clinic has reached its caseload
capacity for the fall semester. 
Thus, we are no longer
accepting applications
. Please check back with us next semester (after January 14, 2019).  


Self-Help Desk

Student attorneys collaborate with community-based
organizations to provide limited consulting to
pro se litigants.

Please click below for information on Self-Help Desk

Self-Help Desk Fall 2018


For questions, please call (214)768-2562 or email us VanSickleFamilyLaw@smu.edu.

Disclaimer:  Thank you for visiting the VanSickle Clinic website. The site is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The use of the internet or submission of an application to communicate with the VanSickle Clinic does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


VanSickle News

"Class Action - A new law clinic run by SMU lets students into the courtroom -- and clients find cheap justice"
DMagazine, January 2018

“SMU Law Clinic Gives Fresh Start To Families In Distress”
SMU Magazine 2017

"SMU's VanSickle Family Law Clinic Set To Open Next Month"
-Preston Hollow/North Dallas Advocate, December 1, 2015

Contact Information

Faculty and Staff

Chante Brantley
Director of the VanSickle Family Law Clinic
and Assistant Clinical Professor

Vanessa Gonzalez
Administrative Assistant
VanSickle Family Law Clinic

Mailing Address

SMU Dedman School of Law
P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275-0116

Physical Address

SMU Dedman School of Law
3315 Daniel Avenue, Suite 30
Dallas, TX 75205