SMU Dedman School of Law’s Annual Rising Scholars Program Aims to Inspire Students Looking into a Career in Law

Twenty high school students learn and gain hands-on experience from practicing attorneys and SMU Law faculty

SMU Dedman School of Law’s 3rd annual Rising Scholars Program will take place Monday, June 4 through Friday, June 9 on SMU’s Campus. The law school developed the Program for rising high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in law. This year, 20 high school seniors will attend law school each day to take classes from law professors, meet with practicing attorneys, develop writing and oral advocacy skills, and develop and present oral arguments in a moot court competition.

Students participate in classes such as:

  • The Fundamentals:  What is the Law
  • Quick Thinking/Public Speaking Exercises
  • Interviewing/Networking Workshop
  • Becoming a Professional
  • Mock Interviewing
  • Enhancing Writing Skills
  • Moot Court Competition

Panels and Panelists included in the Program:

Law Firm Panel

Leila Henderson Gary, Counsel, Thompson & Horton, LLP
Jake Torres, Associate, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP
Joshua Dossey, Associate, Duffee + Eitzen

Ashley Ellis, Director of Alumni Relations, SMU Law

Government + Nonprofit Panel

Cynthia R. Garza, Special Fields Bureau Chief; Conviction
Integrity Unit Chief, Dallas County District Attorney’s Office
Bill Holston, Executive Director, Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
Yulise Waters, Chief Innovations Officer, Lone Star Justice Alliance

Laura Burstein, Director, Office of Public Service; Faculty
Supervisor, Government & Public Interest Externship Program

Leadership Development Session with Erreka Campbell, Senior Counsel, Products Legal, Apple

Judicial Panel

Hon. Hector Garza, 195th District Court (Criminal)
Hon. Shelton Gibbs, 422nd District Court (Civil)
Iris Harris, Associate, Fletcher Farley

Mary Beth Nielson, Director - Judicial Internships, Externships & Clerkships, SMU Dedman School of Law Career Services

“A Day in the Life: What Do Lawyers Do”

Erreka Campbell, Senior Counsel, Products Legal, Apple (VIRTUAL)
Mark Melton, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
Brendan McMurrer, Senior Legal Counsel, Mergers and Acquisitions & Corporate Strategy, AT&T
Amber Sims, Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel-Litigation, ATT&T
Daniella Vera Holmes, Associate, Lynn Pinker, Hurst, & Schwegman

Christine Leatherberry, Assistant Dean for Administration

“Working In-House”

Vicki Blanton, AVP, Senior Legal Counsel, AT&T
Dwayne Norton, Assistant General Counsel at Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Shruti Krishnan, Senior Counsel, Commercial Ops, Peloton
Tasheena Byrd, General Attorney, BNSF Railway
Cliff Robertson, Attorney, Attorney, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Darrell Guy, Senior Vice President - Assistant General Counsel, AT&T

Steve Yeager, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs; Faculty
Supervisor, Corporate Counsel Externship Program, SMU Law

SMU Dedman School of Law held its first Rising Scholars Program in the summer of 2021. Due to the generous financial support of AT&T, Apple, and Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann, Dedman Law was able to offer a free residential program to these students from high schools in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

On Friday, June 9, the students’ families will be invited to campus to enjoy the closing luncheon in Karcher Auditorium at SMU Dedman School of Law with guest speaker Cole Brown, Chief People Officer at American Airlines, and SMU Dedman Law Alumna. She will present the Rising Scholars’ students with a gift of American Airlines miles good for one round trip ticket.