Karen Sargent, Esq., Assistant Dean
Executive Director of Career Services, Large Firms
Assistant Dean since 2004, Karen Sargent oversees all aspects of managing the Office of Career Services, developing and implementing policies and procedures, conducting employer outreach, authoring career education resources and programs, and counseling students. She serves as the principle contact to local and national law firms and legal employers.
Karen earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with high honors from SMU in 1977 and her Juris Doctor from SMU Law in 1979 where she served on the Board of Editors of the Southwestern Law Journal. After graduating, she practiced tax and corporate law with the Houston office of Andrews Kurth LLP. 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 the practical skills course, Lawyering, and Legal Research, Writing & Advocacy. In 2003 she returned to SMU Dedman School of Law as an Assistant Director of Admissions. Professionally, Karen is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation. As a member of the Dallas Bar Association, she has been an active member of the Admissions and Membership Committee since 2005.
Rey Rodriguez, Esq.
Director, Corporations and Emerging Legal Careers
Director, Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Rey Rodriguez is responsible for developing internships and post-graduate jobs with corporate employers, overseeing the professional development of students and counseling JD students. Rey is also the liaison to student organizations and serves as the law school’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives.
Rey earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1989, summa cum laude from UTEP and was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar. He graduated as the valedictorian from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1993. While attending SMU, he was a Judge Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholar and served as a Notes and Comments Editor of the SMU Law Review Association. After graduating, Rey clerked for current Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht. From 1994 to 2003, Rey practiced with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he concentrated in Texas appeals, business and consumer litigation. From 2003 to 2014, he served as counsel, senior counsel and then a litigation partner at Fulbright & Jaworski. Rey is a past vice chair of the Dallas Bar Foundation and an editor for the ABA. He works closely with the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, the J.L. Turner Legal Association, and the Dallas Asian American Bar Association.
Dana Minissale, Esq.
Director, Mid-size, Boutique and Small Firm
Dana Minissale is responsible for developing clerkships and job opportunities with mid-sized, boutique and small law firms, overseeing the professional development of students and counseling JD students.
Dana joined SMU Dedman School of Law with 26 years of experience as a highly respected commercial litigator. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Texas and graduated from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1990. While attending SMU, Dana served as a Leading Articles Editor for the Southwestern Law Journal. Dana also served as a moot court associate justice and was a member of Phi Delta Phi. After graduating, Dana served as a Briefing Attorney to the Honorable Gordon Rowe at the 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas. She was a founding partner of Gerstle, Minissale & Snelson, LLP, where she handled professional liability and coverage litigation. Dana is a member of the Peer Assistance Committee of the Dallas Bar Association and is actively involved as an outreach volunteer with NAMI Dallas.
Beth D. Lee, Associate
Associate Director, Government Agencies
Beth Lee is responsible for developing internships and postgraduate jobs with government agencies, overseeing the counseling of evening program JD students, transfer students and visiting students.
Beth joined the Office of Career Services as a career counselor in August 2002, was promoted to Assistant Director in October 2004 and Associate Director in 2013. Before joining the Office of Career Services, she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from SMU in 1985. She later worked in sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Electronic Data Systems, Lotus Development Corp., KPMG and for the international law firm of Baker Botts as Manager of Client Relations. Beth is a member of a Dallas Business Committee for the Arts Leadership Arts Graduate. Other affiliations include the American Marketing Association, Legal Marketing Association, Professional Services Marketing Association, Community Affairs Council, and Dallas Contributors Network.
Linda A. Hale, Esq.
Adviser, Judicial Clerkships and Internships,
Liaison to the Judiciary
Adviser, International LL.M. Program
Linda Hale serves as the adviser for students seeking opportunities in the judicial system, both during and after law school, and is the law school’s liaison to the judiciary, responsible for developing internships, externships and post-graduate judicial clerkships with federal and state courts. Linda also serves as the Career Services Adviser for students in the International LL.M. Program.
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 commercial litigation partner there focusing on oil and gas and toxic tort 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 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 Foundation and a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, and has been AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as a practicing lawyer for more than 27 years. Linda joined SMU Dedman School of Law as a Director of the Office of Career Services in December 2010, and transitioned to her current role in August 2016.
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, corporations, government agencies and public interest employers. Mary Beth manages school and student participation in regional job fairs and maintains Symplicity, the web-enabled recruiting site for law students and legal professionals, as well as the website for the Office of Career Services.
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.