Laura G. Burstein, Esq.

Laura BursteinAssistant Dean for Public Interest & Pro Bono and Faculty Supervisor, Government & Public Interest Externship Program

As the Assistant Dean for Public Interest & Pro Bono, Laura is responsible for providing a robust public interest program so that students seeking public interest careers have the opportunity for high quality, comprehensive training, mentorship, and support to be competitive candidates for the careers they envision for themselves. She is also responsible for advancing the Law School’s commitment to providing a comprehensive public interest program that trains and develops committed and responsible leaders engaged in the needs of the community, enabling the school to recruit outstanding public interest focused students and empowering them with the skills and experiences to be competitive candidates for public interest careers. Along these lines, she mentors and advises students seeking public interest careers, administers the law school’s pro bono efforts, and assists students with postgraduate fellowship and government honors applications. The Office of Public Service is focused on building relationships and collaborating with nonprofits and government agencies in the area to create student practice opportunities and maintain a clear understanding of the changing unmet needs in the community.

As the Faculty Supervisor of the Government & Public Interest Externship Program, Laura works to ensure that there is a wide array of placement opportunities for students to seek opportunities for hands-on training and teaches the weekly course seminar each semester. She also provides supervision to both student externs and field placement supervisors to enhance the support, mentoring, feedback, and training students receive in the placements.

Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1998, magna cum laude in Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas and graduated with her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 2002. After graduating, she worked as a Staff Attorney for the University of Michigan Law School in a family violence clinic representing victims of domestic violence with divorce, custody, support, and protective order cases. She then became the Director of the Legal Services Program at Mosaic Family Services, a community-based nonprofit in Dallas, Texas. At Mosaic, she provided immigration and family law representation to immigrant victims of violent crimes and specialized in assisting immigrant victims of human trafficking. She has been an invited speaker and panelist at several national conferences on the issues of human trafficking, working with immigrant victims of violent crimes, and collaborating with law enforcement task forces. She joined SMU Dedman School of Law as the Director of Public Service and Academic Support in December 2013 and started the Government & Public Interest Externship Program in 2017.


Phone: 214.768-2567