Civil/Consumer Clinic

For more than 75 years the Civil/Consumer Clinic has provided representation for low-income clients in Dallas area federal and state courts. The Civil/Consumer Clinic is a one-semester, five-credit graded course (four credits in the summer) taught by a full-time tenured faculty member. With the assistance of a part-time supervisor, the clinic faculty supervises up to 12 students in each of the fall and spring semesters and up to 6 students in the summer semester. Additionally, each semester a limited number of students are permitted to enroll for a second clinic semester as “chief counsel” to provide continuity on complex active cases and to assist the new clinic students with routine matters.

Students represent clients pursuant to the Student Practice Rules of the State Bar of Texas. Students are closely supervised by a clinic faculty member and learn by practicing in all aspects of the lawyering process. They conduct client and witness interviews, fact investigation, and legal research, and they advise and counsel their clients. Moreover, they conduct negotiations and mediations, engage in case planning, and written and oral discovery and also represent their clients sitting first chair in hearings and trials.

In addition to the casework, students participate in a twice-weekly classroom component. Classes are team taught, and employ a variety of teaching methods using students’ cases as the primary vehicle to illustrate larger issues and to enable students to adopt a critical perspective on practice issues. Moreover, each clinic supervisor employs weekly one-on-one tutorials with students, and regular “firm meetings” are held by supervising attorneys with all students they supervise. The tutorials and firm meetings enable students and faculty to work on case planning and strategy and provide the setting for students and faculty to explore in more detail the substantive and lawyering issues raised by students’ casework.

The Civil/Consumer Clinic’s dockets contain cases involving tenant advocacy, consumer litigation, civil rights, and other general litigation not including family law. For family law services, please click here for more information about SMU Dedman Law's VanSickle Family Law Clinic.

The Civil/Consumer Clinic has reached its caseload capacity for spring term 2024, therefore; we are no longing taking applications for legal assistance.  Please check back with us in the fall term 2024.


Contact Information

Mary Spector
Associate Dean for Experiential Learning, Director of the Civil/Consumer Clinic and Professor of Law

Eliot Shavin
Assistant Director of Civil/Consumer Clinic and Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law

Lisa Montes 
Civil/Consumer 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

Phone: 214-768-1125
Fax: 214-768-1611