Meet the Team

Stephen B. Yeager

Assistant Dean for Student Affairs & Faculty Supervisor, Corporate Counsel Externship Program

Stephen B. Yeager is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at SMU Dedman School of Law.  In this role, he assists law students with personal and academic issues and works closely with the Student Bar Association and over 60 other student groups.  In addition, he presents programs on a number of issues, including law school success, financial education, wellness, and academic integrity.

Dean Yeager was instrumental in launching the law school’s Haynes & Boone Inns of Court Program, which provides students with a source of relationships and support. Through the Inns, students connect with fellow classmates, faculty, student leaders, career advisors, and alumni for a community experience that extends throughout their time at the law school and beyond graduation.  

He is the creator and Faculty Supervisor of the SMU Dedman Law Corporate Counsel Externship Program, an innovative academic program for third-year and international law students that combines a corporate counsel course with externships in corporate legal departments.  Now in its eleventh year, this program has grown into the premier corporate externship program in the nation.  This past year, approximately 120 students worked with different companies where they were placed based on their practice area or industry interests.

Dean Yeager serves on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law & Leadership.  Outside the law school, he sits on the board of the SMU Faculty Club, where he serves as treasurer.  He also serves as an SMU Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Dean Yeager is the co-author of Inside Counsel – Practices, Strategies and Insights 2d ed (West 2020), with Marc I. Steinberg, the Rupert and Lillian Radford Professor of Law.  

Prior to coming to SMU, Dean Yeager was in private practice for 16 years, first at Jones Day and then as general counsel of a private financial services company.  He received his undergraduate and law degrees at Southern Methodist University.  His wife Amy, also an SMU Dedman Law alum, is Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer of Children's Health.  Their son Carson and daughter Alexandra both graduated from SMU.

Carla De Leon Stafford

Director of Student Affairs

Carla De Leon Stafford joined SMU Dedman School of Law as the Director of Student Affairs and will be working with Dean Steve Yeager to champion for the students. Carla graduated from our own SMU Dedman School of Law in 2010 and rejoins us after having practiced in a national firm as a trial lawyer and litigation attorney. Carla is a dual-licensed attorney capable of reaching cost-effective results for clients doing business and evaluating risks in the United States and throughout Latin America. Carla served as a versatile, experienced bilingual lawyer in the global market. She represented clients in catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases. Her legal experience in Mexico and Texas covers transactional, breach of contract, construction, hotel, retail, personal injuries, premises liability, dram shop, commercial trucking, vehicular negligence and work-related injuries. In addition, Carla was also involved in immigration law and has assisted clients in obtaining work permits, visas, legal permanent residency (green cards) and citizenship.

Carla, born in Monterrey, Mexico, earned her first law degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, in Monterrey, México, and worked at one of the oldest and largest Mexican law firms where she represented U.S. corporations doing business in the northern states of Mexico.

Through the representation of U.S. companies and their Mexican subsidiaries (maquiladoras), Carla identified the need for an attorney who could practice law on both sides of the border and serve corporate clients developing business in Latin America while measuring and controlling risks. Carla continued her legal education and licensures to practice law in Texas and attended the SMU Dedman Law School evening program while working a fulltime job as a public school teacher. Carla’s law practice led her to participate in a popular Spanish-speaking morning radio program on CBS educating audiences about laws and policies affecting their communities. Carla is excited to meet all students and her office is on Storey Hall.