THE W.W. CARUTH, JR. CHILD ADVOCACY CLINIC
The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas, represents abused and neglected children in Dallas County. The clinic is appointed by the Juvenile District Courts to serve as Guardian/Attorney ad litem for children. Student attorneys, under the supervision of the clinic director, are responsible for determining the best interests of the children and representing the children's voice in court.
“The Clinic students are dedicated to their child clients, excited about the practice of law, and fully appreciative of the importance of advocating for these most vulnerable members of our community. At the Clinic, we know that these child clients are our future, and they deserve to grow up in a safe, healthy, and loving home. Representing these clients, while teaching, working with, and supervising these SMU law students in their first venture into law practice is about the most immensely fulfilling and invigorating opportunity I’ve had in my 25+ year law career.”
Diane M. Sumoski
Caruth Clinic Supervising Attorney
“If law school is about learning to ‘think like a lawyer,’ then the Clinic is about learning to walk and talk like a lawyer. The client interaction and real courtroom experience simply cannot be duplicated any other way. This experience is a confidence booster for new lawyers and an immediate advantage in the workplace. Students in the child advocacy clinic get the dual benefit of learning fundamental litigation skills that apply across every type of litigation, while also learning the benefit of serving the community and providing a voice to those too small to speak up for themselves.
I loved every minute of the time I spent working in the Clinic, I enjoy returning to help the Clinic whenever possible, and I am very thankful for the opportunities it provided me. The mentoring was invaluable and the education – priceless.”
- Laura Canada Lewis, Clinic Chief Counsel, 2014 - Litigation Attorney, Mullin Russ Kilejian PC
"The clinic was the best thing in law school. I recommend all young attorneys to participate in the experience. Not only is it an excellent opportunity to 'feel like an attorney,' but it motivated me to pursue a career in public interest."
- Saadia Memon, '03, Staff Attorney - Legal Aid of Northwest Texas