About Us

OLA Mission Statement

The Southern Methodist University Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) seeks to advance the mission and core values of SMU by providing practical, ethical, effective, high-quality legal services in a timely and professional manner. OLA is a team of dedicated legal professionals charged with providing legal advice on a broad range of topics, including, but not limited to, student and academic affairs, employment matters, real estate, financing and other commercial transactions, regulatory compliance, government relations, intellectual property, litigation, tax, policy development and academic research.

OLA’s client is SMU as an institution. OLA advances the interest of its client by advising the Board of Trustees, administrators, and other staff and faculty of SMU on legal matters of significance to the institution.  OLA strives to serve SMU by:

  • promoting a culture of integrity, trust and ethical behavior;
  • acting as a strategic partner to SMU stakeholders;
  • supporting academic innovation and research development;
  • working collaboratively to support University programs and initiatives;
  • providing education and awareness of relevant higher education litigation, governmental updates and regulations, and legal best practices;
  • upholding the University’s core values of excellence, integrity, intellectual freedom, open dialogue and diversity and inclusion;
  • representing the University in judicial and governmental proceedings by zealously advocating and defending its interests; and
  • authorizing, coordinating and supervising the selection and use of outside counsel, when necessary and appropriate.

OLA does not provide legal advice on personal legal matters. For personal legal advice, members of the SMU community should consult a private attorney.


Some of the legal material found at this site has been abridged from laws, regulations, court decisions, administrative rulings, SMU policies and other sources. Further details may be necessary for complete analysis and understanding in particular matters. The information contained at this site, and related links, is not a substitute for professional legal counsel. Any discrepancy between the information at this site and SMU policy is not intended to alter or amend official SMU policy or procedure. Links to non-SMU information are provided as a courtesy. They are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement of the linked materials by Southern Methodist University or the Office of Legal Affairs. SMU employees and students should consult a private attorney for personal legal advice.