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Karen Sargent, Esq., Assistant Dean of Career Services

Assistant Dean since 2004, Karen Sargent oversees all aspects of managing the Office of Career Services, developing and implementing policies and procedures, authoring career education resources and programs, conducting employer outreach and counseling students. She serves as the principal contact to local and national law firms and legal employers.

email: kcsargent@smu.edu
phone: 214/768-2797

From 1985 to 2000, before joining the Office of Career Services, Karen served as a part-time faculty member at the Law School, teaching courses in Legal Research, Writing & Advocacy and the practical skills course, Lawyering. In 2003 she returned to SMU Dedman School of Law as an Assistant Director of Admissions where she helped to admit the first class of the new Evening Program.  Karen earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with high honors from SMU in 1977 and her Juris Doctor from SMU in 1979.  She served on the Board of Editors of the Southwestern Law Journal. After graduating, she practiced tax and corporate/securities law as an associate with the Houston office of Andrews Kurth LLP. Professionally, Karen is a member of the National Association for Law Placement, the American Bar Association and the Dallas Bar Association. She works closely with the J.L. Turner Legal Association, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association and the Dallas Asian American Bar Association. In addition to her position as Assistant Dean, Karen has served on the community boards of a number of local non-profit organizations. 


Steve Yeager, Esq., Director of Career Services

Steve Yeager is responsible for developing clerkships and permanent jobs with small and midsize law firms and internships with corporate employers, overseeing the professional development of students and counseling full-time JD students.

email: syeager@smu.edu
phone: 214/768-2850

Steve earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1990, summa cum laude in Finance and Real Estate from the Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.  He graduated cum laude from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1993.  While attending SMU, he served as Notes and Comments Editor of the SMU Law Review Association, was a member of Barristers and managed the tutorial program for all first year law students.  From 1993 to 2002, Steve practiced with the Dallas office of Jones Day, where he concentrated in complex business and products liability litigation.  From 2002 to 2008, he served as general counsel of Charity Capital, a financial services firm in Dallas, Texas. Professionally, Steve is a member of the Dallas Bar Association.  He is also involved with the KIDS HOPE USA mentoring program and his son’s Boy Scout troop.  He joined SMU Dedman School of Law as Director of the Office of Career Services in June 2009.


Linda A. Hale, Esq., Director of Career Services

Linda Hale is responsible for developing internships and permanent opportunities with federal, state and local government agencies and with the courts for judicial internships and post-graduate judicial clerkships, assisting in developing small firm employment opportunities, and counseling full-time JD students. 

email: lahale@smu.edu

phone: 214/768-2622

Linda earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Baylor University in 1978 and graduated from Baylor Law School in 1981. While attending Baylor Law School, she was a member of the Order of the Barristers and of the Texas Championship Jessup International Moot Court Team, which placed third in the country in national competition.  Linda joined Shank, Irwin in Dallas upon law school graduation, becoming a litigation partner there focusing on toxic tort and oil and gas litigation.  From 1990-1992, Linda served as Assistant University Counsel for Southern Methodist University, and from 1993-2010 served Of Counsel to the Conant Whittenburg, Conant, French & Chaney, and Clouse Dunn Khoshbin firms, continuing in business litigation, with a focus on plaintiffs’ class action securities work, among others. From 2002-2006, Linda also served as an Associate Municipal Judge for the City of Dallas. Professionally, Linda is a member of the Dallas Bar Association and a Sustaining Member of Attorneys Serving the Community, a Life Fellow of the Dallas Bar Association and a Fellow of the Texas Bar Association, and has been AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as a  practicing lawyer for more than 20 years.  She is also a very active volunteer in the Dallas Public Schools.  Linda joined SMU Dedman School of Law as a Director of the Office of Career Services in December 2010.


Beth Lee, Associate Director

Beth Lee joined the Office of Career Services in August 2002 and assumed the role as Associate Director of the Evening Program in December 2013. She previously served as Assistant Director responsible for facilitating all law school recruiting programs and job fairs.  As Associate Director, she develops and implements career planning functions primarily for the first and second year Evening Program J.D. students and shares responsibility for career planning for third and fourth year Evening Program J.D. students with the other Career Services counselors. Beth also serves as counselor for Transfer and Visiting Students.  She facilitates the communications of practice area and skill building events and Hot Jobs & Opportunities announcements and works with employers on job postings for students and alumni.

Email: beth@smu.edu
Phone: 214-768-4065

Beth joined the Office of Career Services in August 2002, after having served as the Manager of Client Relations for the international law firm of Baker Botts. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from SMU in 1985 and later worked in sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Electronic Data Systems, Lotus Development Corp., and KPMG.  Outside of her primary duties as Assistant Director, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Sunbelt Minority Recruitment Program, Southeastern Minority Job Fair, Southeastern Law Placement Consortium and the Texas Off-Campus Recruitment Program. Beth is a member of the National Association for Legal Career Professionals and a Dallas Business Committee for the Arts Leadership Arts Graduate.


Mary Beth Nielsen, Assistant Director, Recruiting and Events

Mary Beth Nielsen facilitates all law school recruiting programs, including the On- and Off-Campus Interview Programs for law firms, government agencies and public interest employers, and she manages school and student participation in regional job fairs. Mary Beth maintains Symplicity, the web-enabled recruiting site for law students and legal professionals, as well as the website for the Office of Career Services. 

email: mnielsen@smu.edu
phone: 214/768-4049

Mary Beth joined the Office of Career Services in January 2014, after having served as the Career Advisor Liaison to the College of Communication in Career Services at Texas Christian University. From 2009-2011, she worked as the graduate assistant for internships in the Ole Miss Career Center. She earned her Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The University of Mississippi in 2011 and graduated magna cum laude from The University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2009. Mary Beth is a member of the National Association for Legal Placement, National Career Development Association, the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers.



Office Hours:

Monday through Thursday
8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
8:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Counseling sessions are by appointment.


(214) 768-2797


(214) 768-4390

Physical Address:

3300 University Blvd, Suite 300
Dallas, TX 75205

Mailing Address:

SMU Dedman School of Law
Office of Career Services
P.O. Box 750112
Dallas, TX 75275-0112


Karen C. Sargent Esq., Assistant Dean

Executive Director of Career Services
 kcsargent@smu.edu,  (214) 768-3893

Linda A. Hale Esq., Director

Mid-Sized and Small Firm Development
Liaison to the Judiciary
 lahale@smu.edu,  (214) 768-2622

Rey Rodriquez Esq., Director

Corporate Development
Mid-Sized and Small Firm Development
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
 reyr@smu.edu,  (214) 768-2850

Beth D. Lee, Associate Director

Evening Program
Government Development
 beth@smu.edu,  (214) 768-4065


Recruiting and Events
 mnielsen@smu.edu,  (214) 768-4049


 cbenaglio@smu.edu,  (214) 768-1469

Claudia Beltran, Admin. Assistant

 cbeltran@smu.edu,  (214) 768-2797