Christine P. Leatherberry '06

Adjunct faculty

Director of Alumni Relations | SMU Dedman School of Law

Phone: 214-768-3634

Email: cleatherberry@smu.edu

CV

Biography

Before becoming the Director of Alumni Relations and an adjunct professor at SMU Dedman School of Law in 2020, Christine Powers Leatherberry was named one of the Top 50 Up-and-Coming Women Attorneys in Texas from 2017 until 2020 and one of the Top 100 Up-and-Coming Attorneys in Texas from 2018 until 2020. From 2014 to 2020, she was honored on the exclusive list of Texas Rising Stars. She is also listed among the finest lawyers in the area by Best Lawyers in America. D Magazine named Leatherberry on the annual list of Best Lawyers Under 40 for 2020. She keeps up her pro bono family law work though the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program.

Leatherberry is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and was a partner at Connatser Family Law before joining SMU. She is member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists, a Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation, and a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, an honor reserved for the top ⅓ of 1% of Texas attorneys.  Leatherberry is also a Barrister in the William “Mac” Taylor Inn of Court and served on the Inn’s Leadership Committee.

In 2021, the Women in Law organization at SMU Law awarded Leatherberry its Distinguished Faculty Member Award, after she was nominated by former students citing her efforts to inspire and promote women at SMU Law and the Dallas community at large.  Next academic year, Leatherberry will be a co-advisor for Women in Law and manage the Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative.

While studying at SMU Law, Leatherberry earned a Trial Advocacy Scholarship, was on the Board of Advocates, was selected the Executive Board Member of the Year of the BOA, and interned for Judge Jay Patterson of the 101st District Court.

Leatherberry earned her Bachelor of Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin with high honors in 2003 and her Juris Doctor from SMU graduating cum laude in 2006.

In fall 2001, she interned in the White House for First Lady Laura Bush in the Projects Office supporting reading and early childhood cognitive development initiatives. In conjunction with that internship, she was awarded a fellowship in The University of Texas System Bill Archer Fellowship Program and later helped found the Archer Fellow Alumni Association. In undergrad, she was also President of Beta Alpha Rho Pre-Law Fraternity.

Since returning to SMU Law in 2020, she has planned joint events with the Dallas Bar Association, Dallas Women Lawyers Association, J.L. Turner Legal Association, Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Moms in Law, Dallas LGBT Law Association, and Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, including the Women's Guide to Healing the Racial Divide: How to Talk to Each Other and Our Children About Race; Life After Law School – Perspectives of Newly Practicing Women Lawyers; and The Recent DACA and LGBTQ Supreme Court Decisions: What's Next?

In 2016, she helped create and still chairs the “Moms in Law” special interest group of DAYL, DBA, and DWLA.  Under Leatherberry’s leadership, Moms in Law planned CLEs titled How Men Can be Better Allies to Women Lawyers; Is there a such thing as Work-Life Balance?; How to Seek and Serve Your Clients – Business Development Tips with an Emphasis on Women Attorneys; and Women’s Guide to Building and Protecting Wealth.  Moms in Law also prepared the Parental Leave Initiative report, which was a joint project that surveyed the largest firms in Dallas for their parental leave policies.

Leatherberry is a Board Member of the Friends of Juanita Craft Civil Rights House and Museum, whose goal is to create a civil rights museum and education center, preserve and restore the home, and have the home become an official stop on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which would be a first in Texas if approved.  Leatherberry chairs the Board’s Marketing and Communications Committee.

Leatherberry is a past chair of the Dallas Junior Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and was a Big Sister to the same Little Sister for over 11 years. She is a member of the Junior League of Dallas and serves on the Centennial Committee, currently chairs the Archives subcommittee after previously serving on the Education and Grants for Innovative Teaching Committees.

She has volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank, Education is Freedom, Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, and Methodist Dallas Medical Center in the NICU. She has been a Junior Associates Member at the DMA and a mentor for the Dallas Texas Exes Mentorship Program. In 2016-2017, Leatherberry was also on the Host Committee for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Luncheon and was on the board of the Preston Hollow Early Childhood Association.

Areas of Expertise

  • Family Law

Education

Bachelor of Journalism, high honors, The University of Texas at Austin
J.D., cum laude, SMU Dedman School of Law

Courses

Family Law

Other Publications


Presentations

CLE and PRESENTATIONS

Women’s Guide to Building and Protecting Wealth
Speaker (Family Law)

(November 2019)

Presentation on Pro Bono Adoptions
DBA Board of Directors, Speaker
Dallas, TX (September 2019)

Mentoring Through Ages and Stages of Life
Dallas Area Paralegal Association, Speaker
Dallas, TX (August 2019)

How Men Can Be Better Allies to Working Lawyer Moms
Chair, Organizer
(June 2019)

How to Prepare for a Temporary Orders Hearing
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, Speaker
Dallas, TX (July 2018)

Divorce with Contested Property Issues
Dallas Area Paralegal Association, Speaker
Dallas, TX (June 2018)

How to Make the Legal Profession More Mom-Friendly
Chair, Organizer
(May 2018)

Presentation and Communication Skills
UNT Dallas Law School, Speaker
Dallas, TX (March 2018)

Is there a such thing as a work-life balance as a Mom in Law?
Chair, Moderator
(April 2017)

Divorce with Contested Property Issues
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, Speaker
Dallas, TX (July 2016)

Handling Your First Jury Trial
Texas Law Center, Speaker
Dallas, TX (December 2011)

Media

'The Mom Guilt Is Real'
Super Lawyers Magazine
March 2020

'Moms in Law' Unites Female Lawyers in North Texas for Support, Networking
Dallas Innovates
November 2018

In a Divorce, Who Gets Custody of Electronic Data?  The Lawyers
The New York Times
October 31, 2016

How to Talk to Children About Divorce (Live Interview)
WFAA TV
September 2014

How Texas Views Measles Vaccinations When Divorced Parents Disagree
KRLD Radio
March 2015

Premarital Agreements
KLIF Radio
May 2014