Attorneys and Staff

Paul J. Ward

Portrait of Paul Ward

Paul J. Ward is Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Secretary to the Board of Trustees at Southern Methodist University, a position he has held since 2009. The General Counsel of Southern Methodist University serves as the chief legal advisor to the President, Board of Trustees, and University officers and administrators, and is responsible for oversight of all legal matters impacting the University, including those involving institutional governance, intellectual property and licensing, research contracts and compliance, charitable giving, employment matters, student-related issues, real estate, taxation, and government regulations. Mr. Ward also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.  Mr. Ward is a frequent speaker on legal issues and has authored papers and other publications on higher education law.

 

Prior to SMU, Mr. Ward served as Vice President for University Administration and General Counsel at Arizona State University from 2004 to 2008. He served as General Counsel to ASU from 1991 to 2008. As Vice President for University Administration, his areas of responsibility included human resources, the police department, university audit and advisory services, and the risk management and environmental health and safety department. Mr. Ward also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at ASU. Prior to his association with ASU, he served the University of South Carolina System as General Counsel from 1979 to 1991. Previously, he was engaged in private practice in the Washington, D.C., office of Casey, Lane & Mittendorf.


Mr. Ward served as president (1996-97) and as a member of the Board of Directors (1988-92 and 1993-98) of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). In 1993, he established NACUA’s electronic discussion list, NACUANET, which has more than 5,000 participating members in the United States and eight foreign countries. In June 2000, he received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award from NACUA. He served as a member of the NCAA General Counsel Advisory Board from 2000-2010. Also, he has served in the American Bar Association House of Delegates. In 2002, Mr. Ward received the Thomas S. Biggs Award at the Stetson University College of Law, National Conference on Law of Higher Education. Mr. Ward is an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell's highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. Mr. Ward was the recipient of the 2020 Robert H. Dedman Award for Ethics & Law from the Texas General Counsel Forum. He is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

Mr. Ward graduated from the Southern Methodist University School of Law (J.D., 1975) and Eastern Illinois University (B.S., 1971; M.A., 1974). He has been admitted to practice law in Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, Indiana, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Phone: 214.768.1551
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: paul.ward@smu.edu

Assistant

Name: Diane Rives
Phone: 214.768.1903
Email: 
drives@smu.edu

 

Jesse L. Adkins

Jesse Adkins Portrait

Jesse L. Adkins joined the SMU Office of Legal Affairs in June 2019 as Associate University Counsel.

His primary areas of practice are financings, real estate, construction, campus services, facilities and other business matters, SMU Libraries, the Meadows Museum, general corporate matters, and research, technology transfer and intellectual property issues. 

Most recently, Jesse was the Associate Counsel and Assistant Secretary of NACCO Industries, Inc. (NYSE: NC) and its subsidiaries where he focused on corporate transactions, securities, M&A and governance.   Prior to joining NACCO, Jesse was an associate for a Dallas-based private equity firm and was the managing principal for an industrial property redevelopment company. 

Jesse is a graduate of the University of Arkansas (B.A. magna cum laude), SMU (J.D. cum laude, M.A. Economics), and the London School of Economics (M.Sc. Management).  At the LSE, his dissertation was awarded the mark of distinction, the highest honor bestowed by the School.  Jesse also has studied at Peking University and Moscow State University.   He is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and speaks Russian.  

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1204
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: jladkins@smu.edu

Assistant

Name: Summer Krywucki
Phone: 214.768.1202
Email: skrywucki@smu.edu

Susan M. Howe - Attorney

Portrait of Susan HoweSusan M. Howe joined SMU as Associate University Counsel in 2007. Prior to joining SMU, Ms. Howe served as in-house counsel for the University of Tulsa in the Office of the General Counsel, first as the Compliance Attorney and EEO/AA Officer, and subsequently as Assistant General Counsel. At the University of Tulsa College of Law, Ms. Howe completed the certificate program in Health Law and was the recipient of the CALI Award for Legal Excellence in Insurance Law.

Howe graduated from the University of Tulsa College of Law (J.D.) and the University of Tulsa (B.A.). Ms. Howe is an active member of the Texas, Oklahoma, and Dallas Bar Associations and is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1208
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: showe@smu.edu

Assistant

Name: Alyssa Mooney
Phone: 214.768.1205
Email: amooney@smu.edu

Kelly J. Thurman - Attorney

Kelly J. Thurman joined SMU as Associate University Counsel in June 2015.  Prior to joining SMU, Ms. Thurman served as in-house counsel for international law firm Locke Lord LLP, first as Employment Counsel and Director of Benefits and Compensation, and subsequently as Employment Counsel and Director of Compensation.  Before taking on an in-house role, Ms. Thurman was in private practice with Locke Lord from 1998 through 2007 as an Associate, and from 2008 through August 2012 as a Partner.  Ms. Thurman was named to D Magazine’s Best Women Lawyers in Dallas in 2010.  Prior to attending law school, Ms. Thurman worked as a Real Estate Paralegal for Locke Purnell Rain Harrell. 

Ms. Thurman graduated from the Texas Tech University School of Law (J.D., 1998 summa cum laude), and the University of Texas at Arlington (B.A. in Criminal Justice, 1992 cum laude).  At the Texas Tech University School of Law, Ms. Thurman was appointed to the Order of the Coif and served as the President of Women in Law from 1996-1997.  She is a member of the Texas Bar and is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA).      

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1309
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: kthurman@smu.edu

Assistant

Name: Alyssa Mooney
Phone: 214.768.1205
Email: amooney@smu.edu

Briana D. August - Higher Education Law Fellow 

Briana D. August joined SMU as Higher Education Law Fellow in August 2020. Prior to joining SMU’s Office of Legal Affairs, Ms. August clerked in several different legal areas including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. 

Ms. August graduated from SMU Dedman School of Law (J.D., 2020) and Belmont University (B.B.A, Marketing, 2015). At the Dedman School of Law, Ms. August worked as a faculty research assistant and received Best Speaker in her round of the Jackson Walker Moot Court Competition. Ms. August also served as President of the SMU Chapter of the Black Law Students Association in which the chapter received a regional Chapter of the Year Award under her tenure. Ms. August was also the recipient of the Donald C. McCleary Gardere Leadership Award and the Sarah Tran Graduation Award. 

 

Contact Information

Phone: 214.768.1230
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: baugust@smu.edu

Administrative Staff

Diane Rives

Executive Assistant to the Vice President

Phone: 214.768.1903
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: drives@smu.edu

Supports:
Paul J. Ward

Alyssa Mooney

Legal Assistant

Phone: 214.768.1205
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: amooney@smu.edu

Supports:
Susan M. Howe
Kelly J. Thurman

Summer Krywucki

Legal Assistant

Phone: 214.768.1202
Fax: 214.768.1281
Email: skrywucki@smu.edu

Supports:
Jesse Adkins

Office of Legal Affairs

Phone: 214-768-3233
Fax: 214-768-1281
Email: ola@smu.edu

Perkins Administration Building Suite 130

Disclaimer

Information on this website is provided by the SMU Office of Legal Affairs for the benefit of the faculty, staff, and students of the SMU community. It is not intended as legal advice or as an opinion on specific circumstances. The attorneys of the SMU Office of Legal Affairs are available to assist you in working through any of these topics, as well as a variety of other university-related matters.