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PUBLIC SERVICE PROGRAM

IF YOU ARE SEEKING LEGAL ASSISTANCE, PLEASE CONTACT THE SMU LEGAL CLINIC'S VOICEMAIL:  214-768-2562
 

SMU Dedman School of Law is strongly committed to instilling a sense of community responsibility in our students through engaging in law-related public service.

Since 1996, SMU Dedman law students have been required to complete 30 hours of law-related public service to graduate.  SMU was one of the first, and remains one of the few law schools to implement a mandatory Public Service Graduation Requirement.  In the last 18 years, SMU Dedman law students have volunteered more than 187,980 hours in law-related efforts to assist the underserved.
 
Through the Public Service Program, all J.D. students are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of law-related public service to be eligible to graduate.  The goal of the public service graduation requirement is to enhance the legal profession and the law school curriculum by exposing lawyers-to-be to the importance of and need for a life-long commitment to public service.  The program allows students to learn and develop valuable skills in a hands-on setting, and provides early exposure to the need for legal assistance in the community.
 
Students may perform their public service at a pre-approved public service placement after completing two semesters of law school.  Public service work that qualifies for the graduation requirement must be law-related, uncompensated (no academic credit, monetary, or other tangible benefits), and adequately supervised by an attorney.  Examples of approved placements include work for legal service organizations, nonprofit community groups, and government offices that are responsible for protecting the rights of individuals.  Work done for attorneys in private practice must be pro bono work on behalf of a person or group, ordinarily unable to secure legal representation.  The program does not endorse any particular ideology, but rather provides students the opportunity to choose a placement based on individual interest and time availability.  Consequently, the Public Service Program strives to offer a broad and diverse pool of potential public service placements. 
 
The value of the public service graduation requirement is many-fold.  It provides needed assistance for the under-served in our community while at the same time offers law students the opportunity to gain legal experience, explore different areas of law, develop practical lawyering skills, and cultivate professional contacts in the legal community.
 
As well as aiding students in identifying placements to complete their mandatory public service hours, the Public Service Program advises and assists law students with securing public service internships, externships, and scholarships and advises and supports students interested in pursuing public service careers upon graduation.  Additionally, the Public Service Program helps coordinate, secure, and distribute funding for summer stipends to enable public-service minded students to elect to work in unpaid summer public service internships. 

     DEADLINES FOR SUBMISSION OF PUBLIC SERVICE HOURS:  

May 2015 graduation - April 24, 2015 at 5 p.m.
August 2015 graduation - July 13, 2015 at 5 p.m.
December 2014 graduation - December 5, 2014 at 5 p.m. 

                   

Public Service Progam Staff: Mailing Address:                                   
Laura G. Burstein, Esq. SMU Dedman School of Law
SMU Dedman School of Law Public Service Program
Director of Public Service and Academic Support P.O. Box 750112
Email: Lburstein@smu.edu Dallas, TX 75275-0112
Telephone: (214) 768-2567  
Fax: (214) 768-4390  
  Physical Address:
Lynn L. Moubry SMU Dedman School of Law
Assistant for Public Service and Academic Support Public Service Program
Email: Lmoubry@smu.edu Carr Collins Hall
Telephone: (214) 768-2761 3300 University Boulevard, Suite 300
Fax: (214) 768-4688 Dallas, TX 75205

 

                                                             Office Hours:

                                                             Monday through Friday - 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

                                                             Extended hours available by appointment.