SMU Women in Law Honors Christine Powers Leatherberry '06

2021 Distinguished Faculty Member Award

Christine Powers Leatherberry '06, Director of Alumni Relations & Adjunct Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law

In honor of her exemplary efforts to inspire and uplift women at SMU Law and the Dallas community at large, Christine Powers Leatherberry will be presented with the 2021 Distinguished Faculty Member Award by SMU Women in Law during the Annual Spring Brunch on Wednesday, April 7.

Each year, SMU Women in Law (WIL) honors one alumna and one faculty member for their contributions to promoting women in the legal profession. Honorees are nominated by students and selected by the WIL Executive Board. In addition to honoring Christine, WIL will present Ashley Withers, tax attorney at Jackson Walker LLP, with the 2021 Distinguished Alumna Award. Following the awards ceremony, there will be a presentation by guest speaker Renee Knake Jefferson, co-author of Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court.

Before becoming an adjunct professor, Christine Powers Leatherberry (’06) 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 as a Texas Rising Star. She is also listed in Best Lawyers in America. D Magazine named Leatherberry on the annual list of Best Lawyers Under 40 for 2020. In 2020, she joined SMU Law as its Director of Alumni Relations, while still keeping up her pro bono family law work. Leatherberry is Board Certified in Family Law and was a partner at Connatser Family Law before joining SMU.

Since her time at SMU Law, she has planned events with the DWLA, DBA, J.L. Turner Legal Association, DAYL, 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. 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.

In fall 2001, she interned as an Archer Fellow in the White House for First Lady Laura Bush in the Projects Office supporting reading and early childhood cognitive development initiatives

Leatherberry will manage the Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative, which will launch this fall at SMU Law. The initiative will address elevating women in leadership positions, retaining women in the legal profession, curing inequities in the legal field, enhancing rainmaking and networking skills, and providing solutions to gender barriers in the workplace to better equip law students and practicing attorneys to tackle these challenges, build successful lives in the law, and inspire change.

Next year, Leatherberry will be a co-advisor to Women In Law along with Professor Joanna Grossman.

Leatherberry has two daughters, 4 and 6, who will both be at Hockaday next year.