Diane M. Sumoski

Diane M. Sumoski

Full-time faculty

Director of the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, Director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Institute for Children's Rights, and Associate Clinical Professor

CV

"I capitalize on 30+ years of law practice to train student attorneys to represent abused and neglected children. It's exciting to help lawyers develop essential skills and make a difference for our clients and community."

Biography

Diane M. Sumoski, Director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, Director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Institute for Children's Rights, and Associate Clinical Professor. B.A., 1984 Franklin & Marshall College; J.D., 1987 Cornell Law School (cum laude). Professor Sumoski, in her clinical course, teaches child advocacy law as well as investigative, case preparation, and trial advocacy skills. Upon graduation from law school, Professor Sumoski began her legal career at the Dallas law firm of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P., where she became a Partner in 1993. Professor Sumoski served as Pro Bono Partner at Carrington Coleman for fifteen years and supervised associates in all family law pro bono cases at the firm. She also served on the firm’s Executive Committee for five years. After joining the faculty at SMU Dedman School of Law in 2013, she became Of Counsel at the firm. 

Ms. Sumoski is currently serving on the Exam Commission to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in connection with the child welfare law specialization.  She has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2010. She has held numerous leadership positions in the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, including, Director of the Section’s Public Service Division, Chair of the Expert Witnesses Committee, Chair of the Woman Advocate Committee, Chair of the Special Committee of the Future of Multidistrict Litigation, and Co-Chair for the Section’s Annual Meeting. Professor Sumoski also has served as Chair of the Host Committee for the Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference. Professor Sumoski is a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Bar Association from 2009 to 2015. She has served as Chair of numerous DBA committees, resulting in her being awarded with the JoAnna Moreland Outstanding Committee Chair award in both 2008 (for her service as the Chair of the Pro Bono Activities Committee) and 2012 (for her service as Chair of the Judiciary Committee). With respect to her pro bono efforts in private practice, Professor Sumoski received the Women’s Legal Advocacy Award from Legal Services of Northwest Texas in 2010 for her work benefiting women and children and the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s award for Outstanding Pro Bono Coordinator in 1998 and 2005. She also served as Chair of the DBA’s Equal Access to Justice Campaign, which raises funds to support pro bono legal services to the poor as provided through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and Legal Services of North Texas. Professor Sumoski is also a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Northwest Texas. 

Professor Sumoski is admitted to practice law in all Districts of Texas as well as in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and is a Life Fellow in the Dallas Bar Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation.

Areas of Expertise

  • Child Welfare Law
  • Investigations
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Civil Litigation

Education

B.A., Franklin & Marshall College
J.D., cum laude, Cornell Law School
 

Courses

Child Advocacy Clinic
 

Book Chapters

Bridging the Gender Gap, 27 THE LITIGATION MANUAL 31, (First Supplement 2007)

Publications

Dual Role:  Guardian ad Litem/Attorney ad Litem Forms/Template Manual
published on website of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic
(2017)

Asserting the Constitutional Rights of Children in Child Welfare Proceedings
published in conference materials for the 16th ABA Annual National Conference on Children and the Law (2015) (co-authored with Barbara Elias-Perciful)

Expert Advice: Practical Tips for the First Meeting with your Expert
ABA Annual Meeting
Section of Litigation Conference (2008)

Enron: Navigating the Civil Side of the Corporate Case of the Century
American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference
San Antonio, TX (2007)
 

Presentations

The Role of the Amicus Attorney
DBA Family Law Section Pro Bono Committee and Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Ad Litem and Amicus Attorney Training
Dallas, TX (2018)

Child Welfare Legislative Update
DBA Juvenile Justice Committee Child Welfare Conference
Dallas, TX (2018)

The Family First Prevention Services Act and Education Advocacy for Foster Kids
W.W. Caruth, Jr. Institute for Children's Rights Lunch and Learn
Dallas, TX (2018)

Ethical Representation of Parties in Suits Involving Children
W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic and Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Kinship Legal Custody CLE
Dallas, TX (2016, 2017)

PAL and Other Education Benefits for Kids Aging Out
W.W. Caruth, Jr. Institute for Children's Rights Lunch and Learn
Dallas, TX (2017)

Standing
W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic and Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Kinship Legal Custody Program C.L.E. (which she organized)
Dallas, TX (March and October 2015)

Referral Resources for Students in Crisis
DBA Education Symposium
Dallas, TX ( 2015)

 Asserting Constitutional Rights of Children in Individual Child Welfare Proceedings and Lessons Learned from Impact Litigation
16th ABA National Conference on Children and the Law
Washington, D.C. (2015)

Empowered, Effective, and Ethical Guardians/Attorneys Ad Litem for Children
Dallas Bar Association 6th Annual Child Welfare Conference
Dallas, TX (2015)

Dallas CASA and Education Advocacy for Children in the Child Welfare System
Dallas CASA
Dallas, TX (2014)

Interactions Between Attorneys and Experts:  Ethical and Practical Concerns
Forensic Group
Dallas, TX (2014)

Overview of a Child Welfare Case:  From Removal to Permanency
Circles of Care, Inc. Foster Agency
Dallas, TX (2014)

Evidence You Need to Know
Dallas Bar Association Trial Skills Section
Dallas, TX (2014)

Opening Statements
Dallas Bar Association Trial Academy 2013
Dallas, TX (2012 and 2013)

Determining Jurisdiction for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
Dallas Bar Association
Dallas, TX (2012)

What Attorneys Want (and Sometimes Even Need) From their Experts
Forensic Expert Witness Association
Dallas, TX (2008)

A Lawyer's Professional Responsibility to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services
Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Summit
Dallas, TX (2008)

Expert Advice: Practical Tips for the First Meeting with your Expert
ABA Annual Meeting
Section of Litigation Conference
New York, NY (2008)

Bridging the Gender Gap in the Courtroom
Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association
Hartford, CT (2007)

Creating a Visual Strategy with your Expert: Using Demonstratives with Expert Witnesses
American Bar Association Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA (2007)

Discovery Problems and their Solutions
American Bar Association Annual Meeting
Chicago, IL (2005)

Other

Exam Commisstion for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization,  Child Welfare Law Specialization 

Planning Committee, Special Education, Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice System Conference, Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas (Austin, TX - 2014)