Mary Spector

Mary Spector

Full-time faculty

Associate Dean for Clinics, Director of the Civil/Consumer Clinic and Professor of Law

Biography

Professor Spector joined the faculty in 1995 as Co-Director of the SMU Civil Clinic where she continues to supervise students representing clients in state and federal courts. She also teaches Consumer Law and is a recipient of the University Golden Mustang Teaching Award, the Law School’s Don Smart Directed Research Award and Women in Law’s Faculty Appreciation Award. She writes and speaks in the areas of consumer credit, landlord-tenant law and clinical legal education. For her project on consumer debt collection litigation published in the Virginia Law & Business Review (2011), Professor Spector was honored with the Bellow Scholar Award from the AALS Clinical Section.

A graduate of the Cardozo School of Law with honors, Professor Spector served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jerry Buchmeyer, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas before joining the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld as an associate. Prior to joining the law school faculty, she was an adjunct instructor of Legal Writing and Research, a visiting supervising attorney with the SMU Legal Clinic and a field instructor with the SMU/Legal Services of North Texas externship program. Outside of the Law School, Professor Spector received the Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Award and has served on a number of university, professional and community committees and boards.

Areas of Expertise

  • Consumer Law

Education

B.A., Simmons College
J.D., cum laude, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Courses

Consumer Ad Clinic
Consumer Law
Consumer Ad Project

 

Articles

Collection Texas Style:  An Analysis of Consumer Collection Practices In and Out of the Courts,  67 Hastings Law Journal 1476 (2016) (with Ann Baddour)

Where the FCRA meets the FDCPA: The Impact of the Unfair Collection Practices on the Credit Report, 20 Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy 479 (2013)

From Representation to Research and Back Again: Reflections on Developing an Empirical Project, 16 University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law Law Review 55 (2012)

Roark Reed - Remembering a Colleague, 65 SMU Law Review 749 (2012) (with Maureen N. Armour)

Litigating Consumer Debt Collection: A Study, 31 Banking and Finance Services Policy Report 1 (2012)

Debts, Details and Defaults: Exploring the Impact of Debt Collection Litigation on Consumers and the Courts, 6 Virginia Law & Business Review 257 (2011)

Taming the Beast: Payday Loans, Regulatory Efforts and Unintended Consequences, 57 DePaul Law Review 961 (2008)

Tenant Stories: Obstacles and Challenges Facing Tenants Today, 40 The John Marshall Law Review 407 (2007)

Tenants' Rights, Procedural Wrongs: Summary Evictions and the Need for Reform, 46 Wayne Law Review 135 (2000)

Crossing the Threshold: Examining the Abatement of Public Nuisances Within the Home, 31 Connecticut Law Review 547 (1999)

Epilogue: Theory in Basement, 51 SMU Law Review 1555 (1998) (with Maureen N. Armour)

Note, Vertical and Horizontal Aspects of Takings Jurisprudence: Is Airspace Property?, 7 Cardozo Law Review 489 (1986)

Book Chapters

Payday Loans: Unintended Consequences of American Efforts to Tame the Beast, in THE FUTURE OF CONSUMER CREDIT REGULATION:  CREATIVE APPROACHES TO EMERGING PROBLEMS 107-28 (Michelle Kelly-Louw, James Nehf & Peter Rott, eds., Ashgate Pub. 2008)

Presentations

Collection Texas Style:  A Snapshot of Consumer Collection Practices In and Out of the Courts
UC Hastings/Stanford Access to Justice Conference
San Francisco, CA, (forthcoming, November 2015)

Debt Collection Dialogue
Panel Moderator
Federal Trade Commission
Dallas, TX, (forthcoming, September 29, 2015)

Collection Texas-Style: Re-examining Collection Litigation in Texas Courts
15th Annual International Association of Consumer Law Conference
University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 2015)

Debt Collection Update
State Bar of Texas, Annual Meeting
Section on Consumer and Commercial Law
San Antonio, TX (June 2015)

Civil Legal Aid Research Workshop
Panelist:  Consumer Protection and Civil Legal Aid
Department of Justice & National Science Foundation
Washington, DC (2015)

Roundtable:  Debt Collection and the Latino Community
Panelist:  Credit Reporting Issues Among Limited English Proficiency Latinos
Federal Trade Commission-Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Long Beach, CA (2014)

Panelist: What is a Bellow Scholar:  Developing an Empirical Project
(with Michael Gregory and Judith Fox)
Bellow Scholar Fall Workshop
Notre Dame Law School
South Bend, IN (2014)

Panelist: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Credit Cards (but Were Afraid to Ask)
American Bankruptcy Institute
CARE Financial Literacy Conference
Dallas, TX (2014)

Panelist:  Making the Most of Consumer Clinics
Teaching Consumer Law Conference
Santa Fe, NM (2014

Can Empirical Research in our Clinics Help us Become Better Clinicians? 
(with Judith Fox and Michael Gregory)
AALS, 37th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education
Chicago, IL (2014)

Educating and Assisting Consumers
Federal Trade Commission
Texas Forum on Identity Theft
Dallas, TX  (2014)

Understanding Consumer Reports:  Integrating Policy and Research into the Law School Clinic
Faculty Forum Series
SMU Dedman School of Law
Dallas, TX (2013)
 
Understanding Consumer Reports:  A Pilot Project
Clinical Law Review Writers’ Workshop
New York University Law School
New York, NY (2013)

Understanding Consumer Reports: A Pilot Project
11th International Journal Clinical Education Conference on Common Ground: Sharing Across Models of Experiential Legal Education
Griffith University & Northumbria University
Brisbane, QLD, Australia (2013)

Understanding Consumer Reports: A Pilot Project
14th Annual International Association of Consumer Law Conference
University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW, Australia (2013)

Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collections Workshop
Participant
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Washington, DC (2013)

State of the Debt Collection Industry: 
Collection Litigation

Panelist
Loyola Consumer Law Review Symposium on Debt Collection in the Modern Economy
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Chicago, IL (2013)

The Debt Crisis and the National Response: Big Changes or Tinkering on the Edges?
Program Chair and Moderator
AALS Annual Meeting, Sections on Poverty Law and Clinical Legal Education, Joint Program
New Orleans, LA (2013)

Privacy and the Law
Panelist
First Inaugural IMPACT Symposium on Privacy: From Domestic Space to Cyberspace
Southern Methodist University
Dedman College Interdisplicary Institute
Dallas, TX (2012)

Completing the Cycle: From Advocacy to Research and Back Again
Bellow/UCI Law Review Symposium
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA (2012)

Where the FCRA Meets the FDCPA: The Impact of Un-fair Collection Practices on the Credit Report
Faculty Forum Series
SMU Dedman School of Law
Dallas, TX (2012)

Intersection with Other Consumer Issues: Debt Collection 
Panelist
Symposium on Credit Scoring and Credit Reporting
Suffolk University Law School and National Consumer Law Center
Boston, MA (2012)

Teaching Debt Collection
Speaker & Panel Moderator
6th Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston
Houston, TX (2012)

Exploring the Impact of Consumer Debt Collection Litigation
Faculty Enrichment Program
St. Mary's University School of Law
San Antonio, TX (2012)

Fixing a "Broken System": Using Data to Shape Meaningful Change in the Litigation of Consumer Debts
Clinical Law Review Writers' Workshop
New York University
New York, NY (2011)

5th Annual Bellow Scholar Workshop
Co-Chair, (with Michael Gregory, Harvard Law School)
New York University
New York, NY (2011)


Protecting Consumers in Collection Litigation
Panelist
13th Annual International Conference IACL
Brunel University
London, UK (2011)

Bellow Presentations
Moderator
AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education
Seattle, WA (2011)

Litigation Research Update
4th Annual Bellow Scholar Workshop: Merging Access-to-Justice Work and Empirical Research
District of Columbia David Clark School of Law
Bellow Symposium
Washington, DC (2010)

Settlement, Collection and Modification:
Debt Buyer Litigation Findings

Panelist
Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston
Houston, TX (2010)

Works in Progress: Conducting an Empirical Study
AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education
Baltimore, MD (2010)

Consumer Working Group Leader
(with Peter Holland)
AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education
Baltimore, MD (2010)

Exploring the Litigation of Consumer Debts
Cardozo Alumni in Teaching
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Yeshiva University
New York, NY (2009)

Debts, Defaults and Details: Exploring the Impact of Debt Collection on Consumers and the Courts
Empirical Research Workshop
Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Philadlelphia, PA (2009)

Clinics and Collaboration: Debt Collection Litigation
International Journal of Clinical Legal Education Conference
Murdoch University
Western Australia, (2009)

Work-in-Progress: A Study of Consumer Debt Collection Litigation
AALS Clinical Legal Education Workshop
Bellow Scholar
Cleveland, OH (2009)

Work-in-Progress: Consumer Debt Project
Faculty Forum
SMU Dedman School of Law
Dallas, TX (2009)

Common Tenant Problems and the Role of the Volunteer Attorney
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program-Housing Crisis Center
Continuing Legal Education
Dallas, TX (2009)

Collecting and Litigating Consumer Debts: A Consumer's Perspective
Center for Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management
Southern Methodist University
Plano, TX (2008)

Avoiding a Promotion Commotion: Prizes, Free Offers and Unsolicited Faxes and the Telemarketing Sales Rule
Panelist
Federal Trade Commission
Green Lights and Red Flags: FTC/BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers
Dallas, TX (2008)

Consumer Law or Consumer Protection?
Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston
Houston, TX (2008)

Debts, Defaults and Details: Exploring the Impact of Debt Collection Litigation on American Courts
Center for Law and Social Justice Conference on Emerging Issues in Subprime Lending
Seton Hall University
Newark, NJ (2008)

Are We Crazy? Supervising Students in High-Risk Situations
(with Maureen Armour, Lori A. Nessel and Bryan Lonegan of Seton Hall University)
AALS Clinical Legal Education Conference
Tucson, AZ (2008)

Common Tenant Problems and the Role of the Volunteer Attorney
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program-Housing Crisis Center, Continuing Legal Education
Dallas, TX (2008)

Concerns about Debt Collection: Consumers' Perspective
Panelist
Collecting Consumer Debts: The Challenge of Change, An FTC Workshop
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC (2007)

Taming The Beast: Payday Loans, Regulatory Efforts, and Unintended Consequences
International Association of Consumer Law
11th International Conference of Consumer Law
Capetown, South Africa (2007)

The State of Tenants' Rights Today and in the Future: Is the Reform in Rights a Guarantee?
Conference on What King Wrought?: The Impact of the Summer of 1966 on Housing Rights, A Forty Year Retrospective and Perspective
John Marshall Law School
Chicago, IL (2006)

Writing as Disciplined Thinking
(with Nina Schwartz)
13th Annual Teaching Effectiveness Symposium
SMU Center for Teaching Excellence
Dallas, TX (2005)

Teaching Consumer Law: Clinical Methods in the Consumer Law Course
Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston
Houston, TX (2004)
 

Media

Payday Loans for Christmas Cash Could Spur Yearlong Debt Cycle
Interview
NBC-DFW Evening News, (2012), available at http://www.nbcdfw.com/investigations/Payday-Loans-for-Christmas-Cash-Could-Spur-Yearlong-Debt-Cycle-184198071.html

Law for the People
KNON Community Radio Program
Landlord-Tenant Law (2005)

 

Other

Public Testimony
Testimony, Examining the Uses of Consumer Credit Data:  Hearing on H.R. 2086 and H.R. 6363 Before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutes and Consumer Credit of the House Committee on Financial Services
United States Congress, 112th Congress
Washington, DC (2012)

Concerns in Reporting Consumer Debt, Field Hearing on Credit Reporting
Panelist
U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Detroit, MI (2012)


Works in Progress
Collection Texas-Style:  Re-examining Collection Litigation in Texas Courts 

Understanding Consumer Reports:  A Pilot Project Integrating Policy and Research into the Law School Clinic

Fixing Broken Systems:  Using Data to Shape Meaningful Change