SMU Dedman School of Law to Partner with Texas Law Firms on Key Initiatives
March 14, 2022
SMU DEDMAN SCHOOL OF LAW TO PARTNER WITH TEXAS LAW FIRMS ON KEY INITIATIVES DESIGNED TO SUPPORT DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION, WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AND PUBLIC INTEREST PROGRAMS
Generous sponsorship support by four Texas law firms will fund Dedman Law initiatives and student programs
DALLAS (SMU) – Four Texas law firms agreed to partner with SMU Dedman School of Law at the platinum and gold level to sponsor three important program areas. The law firms and sponsorship levels are:
- Platinum: Baker Botts LLP, Haynes and Boone, LLP, Vinson & Elkins LLP
- Gold: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Their generous support will help to fund three important initiatives:
- Diversity & Inclusion Programs;
- Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative; and
- Public Interest Law Programs.
Increasing the diversity of the student body, ensuring the law school is a welcoming environment for all students, and educating a diverse pool of dynamic and practice-ready law school graduates for our firms are critical SMU Dedman School of Law priorities. “The diversity of the entering class has risen from 18% in 2014 to 32% in 2021, but there is still work to do,” said Erika Fadel, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SMU Dedman School of Law. “Thank you to these law firms whose sponsorship is helping to fund programs such as diversity week and diversity orientation, as well as professional development opportunities.”
The Jennifer M. Collins Women’s Leadership Initiative aims to enhance the leadership and professional skills of women SMU Law students and attorneys and address the unique challenges they may face during their education and throughout their careers. Led by Dedman Law Director of Alumni Relations, Christine P. Leatherberry, this initiative addresses issues such as retaining women in the legal profession, elevating women in leadership positions, and enhancing rainmaking and networking skills.
A public interest legal career and a desire to serve the public are the primary reasons students choose to enter law school. SMU Dedman Law’s Public Interest Law Program helps develop service-minded lawyers and meet the community’s critical need for pro bono legal assistance. Led by the Director of the Office of Public Service, Laura G. Burstein, the law school has implemented programs such as the Government & Public Interest Externship, Public Interest Law Week, and the Public Interest Dinner Series.
“It has been a great privilege for SMU Dedman School of Law to serve our city and state for almost 100 years,” said Jennifer Collins, Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. “We are so grateful to these firms for the ways they support the profession and our students, and look forward to partnering with them on these very important initiatives.”