SMU DEDMAN SCHOOL OF LAW | W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic

The Legal Clinics at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law began in 1947, nearly twenty years before legal clinics became a national movement. For almost sixty years, low-income persons have been able to obtain legal representation through this community legal clinic.

Over the years clinical education at the school has evolved to reflect changes in the profession, clinical pedagogy, local legal service needs and practice opportunities. During this time, students have had opportunities to participate in an array of clinics, including Domestic Violence, Poverty Law, Child Advocacy, Criminal Prosecution, Criminal Defense, Civil Litigation (including consumer and civil rights litigation), Nursing Home Advocacy, Federal Taxpayer Advocacy, Small Business, and Political Asylum.

It is the philosophy of SMU Dedman School of Law that the best way to develop professional responsibility in law students is through their preparation and legal work in actual situations. The clinics provide a learning environment in which students experience what being a lawyer means. The school's commitment to clinical education is evidenced by the size of the program; over 100 students each year are able to participate in the clinical program.

There are currently six clinics available for students: the Civil Clinic, the Criminal Defense Clinic, the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, the Taxpayers Clinic, the Small Business Clinic, the Consumer Law Clinic, and the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic. For more information on these clinics, go to


Since 2001, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation through Communities Foundation of Texas has provided SMU Dedman School of Law a generous grant to establish and fund the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic. One of the primary purposes of the clinic has been to develop an interdisciplinary practice model that emphasizes early intervention in child abuse and neglect cases. The clinic combines three goals:

  1. Providing essential service to abused children and families;
  2. Training law students, attorneys, and other professionals in the child advocacy field; and
  3. Researching projects that are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of this interdisciplinary practice model.



For information about Communities Foundation of Texas, go to


In 1974, W.W. "Will" Caruth, Jr. established the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation as a supporting organization of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT). Through the years, Will Caruth shared much of his fortune with others through the foundation and helped CFT improve the Dallas community where his family has lived since 1848. He had preferences for bold giving in the areas of education, public safety, medical and scientific research, and "bootstrapping" social assistance initiatives.

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