W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic

The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic at SMU 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.

Diane M. Sumoski
Director/Supervising Attorney of the W.W. Caruth, Jr., 
Child Advocacy Clinic and Lecturer in Law

“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.” 

Child Advocacy Clinic Alumni

Laura Canada Lewis
Litigation Attorney, Mullin Russ Kilejian PC

“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.”    

Lindsey Craft
Legal Aid Society of Lubbock

My involvement in the Child Advocacy Clinic changed my career path in ways I never could have foreseen. The Clinic instilled in me a passion for advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children; for being the voice for those who otherwise may go unheard. It afforded me hands on experience in courtroom etiquette, trial preparation, and working with other attorneys and agencies – experience I now frequently draw upon in my current practice with the Legal Aid Society of Lubbock. The Clinic was truly instrumental to my legal education and I am thankful for the opportunity provided by SMU Law to both learn and serve."  


Contact Information

Diane M. Sumoski
W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic


Vanessa Gonzalez
Administrative Assistant
W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic 
Mailing Address:
SMU Dedman School of Law
P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275-0116
Physical Address:
SMU Dedman School of Law
3315 Daniel Avenue, Suite 30
Dallas, TX 75205
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