History and Mission

History of Clinic Education at SMU Dedman School o Law

The Legal Clinics at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law began in 1948, nearly twenty years before legal clinics became a national movement. For almost sixty years, low-income persons have been able to obtain legal representation through these community legal clinics.

Over the years clinical education at the school has evolved to reflect changes in the profession, clinical pedagogy, local legal service needs and practice opportunities. During this time, students have had opportunities to participate in an array of clinics, including Domestic Violence, Poverty Law, Child Advocacy, Criminal Prosecution, Criminal Defense, Civil Litigation (including consumer and civil rights litigation), Nursing Home Advocacy, Federal Taxpayer Advocacy, Small Business, and Political Asylum.

It is the philosophy of SMU Dedman School of Law that the best way to develop professional responsibility in law students is through their preparation and legal work in actual situations. The clinics provide a learning environment in which students experience what being a lawyer means. The school’s commitment to clinical education is evidenced by the size of the program; over 100 students each year are able to participate in the clinical program.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic is to educate law students, lawyers, and child welfare professionals to provide vital assistance to better the lives of abused and neglected children.

Communities Foundation of Texas

Since 2001, the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation through Communities Foundation of Texas has provided SMU Dedman School of Law a generous grant to establish and fund the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic.

For information about Communities Foundation of Texas, go to www.cftexas.org.

About W. W. Caruth, Jr.

In 1974, W.W. “Will” Caruth, Jr. established the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation as a supporting organization of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT). Through the years, Will Caruth shared much of his fortune with others through the foundation and helped CFT improve the Dallas community where his family has lived since 1848. He had preferences for bold giving in the areas of education, public safety, medical and scientific research.