HISTORY OF CLINICAL EDUCATION AT SMU DEDMAN SCHOOL OF LAW
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 www.clinics.law.smu.edu.
In 2001, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation through Communities Foundation
of Texas provided SMU Dedman School of Law an eight year, 1.2 million
dollar grant to establish the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic.
One of the primary purposes of the clinic is to develop an interdisciplinary
practice model that emphasizes early intervention in child abuse and
neglect cases. The clinic combines three goals:
- Service to children and families referred by the Dallas County Juvenile Court;
- Training to law students, attorneys, and other professionals; and
- Research projects that are designed to evaluate the effectiveness of this interdisciplinary practice model.
COMMUNITIES FOUNDATION OF TEXAS
For information about Communities Foundation of Texas, go to www.cftexas.org.
ABOUT W.W. CARUTH, JR.
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