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SMU Dedman Law

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Assistant Professor of Law


Email: jdweaver@smu.edu

Phone: 214-768-2641

Education:

B.A., 1992, University of Pennsylvania
J.D., 1995, University of Virginia


Twitter:  @ProfJDWeaver

Professor Weaver teaches Family Law, Advanced Family Law, Professional Responsibility, and Children and the Law.  Her research and scholarship focus on the analysis of current laws and policy practices in the child protection system and their impact on children and families.  She also writes about the intersection of race, gender, and family law.  

Professor Weaver received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she served as notes development editor of the Virginia Law Review.  She began her legal career in 1995 with the national firm of Littler Mendelson and eventually began a solo practice in 1997.  She practiced in the areas of juvenile, employment and business law before coming to SMU Dedman School of Law in 2002. 

Professor Weaver was the first director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, where she taught an interdisciplinary course and supervised law students who served as guardians and attorneys ad litem for abused and neglected children.  She also coordinated seminars and child welfare symposiums that provided continuing education for attorneys and social workers in the child welfare field.  Her creation of the Community Advisory Group and subsequent Youth-at-Risk Roundtables resulted in improvements in the quality of services and legal representation for children.  She received the honor of being named one of twenty-five Extraordinary Minorities in Texas Law by the Texas Lawyer in 2009 for her work as founding Director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic. 

Professor Weaver was promoted from lecturer to senior lecturer before joining the tenure track faculty at the law school in 2009.  She was the 2012 Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Children and the Law, and was a visiting scholar at Emory University School of Law for two weeks in the fall of 2012.  She is currently the co-chair of the 2015 Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference.


Primary Articles

Overstepping Ethical Boundaries? Limitations on State Efforts to Provide Access to Justice in Family Courts, 82 Fordham Law Review 2705 (2014)

Grandma in the White House:  Legal Support for Intergenerational Caregiving, 43 Seton Hall Law Review 1 (2013) (lead article)

The Principle of Subsidiarity Applied:  Reforming the Legal Framework to Capture the Psychological Abuse of Children, 18 Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law 247 (2011)

The Texas Mis-step:  Why the Largest Child Removal in Modern U.S. History Failed, Vol. 16 William & Mary Journal of Women & Law 449 (2010)(lead article)

The African-American Child Welfare Act:  A Legal Redress for African-American Disproportionality in Child Protection Cases, 10 Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy 109 (2008)

 

Short Publications

Beyond Child Welfare:  Theories on Child Homelessness, 21 Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice __ (forthcoming 2014)

The First Father:  Perspectives on the President’s Fatherhood Initiative, 50 Family Court Review 297 (2012)
 
African-American Single Grandmothers:  Does the Gender-Entrapment Theory Apply? Essay Response to Professor Beth Richie, 37 Washington University Journal of Law & Social Policy 153 (2011)

_______________________________

Works in Progress

Slavery and the Origins of Family Law
 
Vulnerability, Resistant Assets, and Reciprocal Exchange
                       
The Fluid Family Theory
 
Child Sexual Victimization: When Abused Children Become Neglectful Mothers
 
Father Chasing:  Ethical Duties in the Establishment of Voluntary Paternity


Speeches/Presentations

"The Fluid Family Theory," invited Panelist, The Future of Families and Family Law, Brigham Young University School of Law (October 10, 2014)
 
"Slavery and the Origins of Family Law," 2014 Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop, University of Wisconsin School of Law (June 27, 2014)

"30 Year Anniversary of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project Roundtable," invited Panelist, Law and Society Association Annual Meeting:  Law and Inequalities:  Global and Local (May 30, 2014)

"Slavery and the Origins of Family Law," Emerging Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, University of Minnesota Law School (May 28, 2014)

"The Impact of Slavery on Private Family Law," Competitively Selected Presenter, 2014 Critical Race Theory Conference, “Re-Envisioning Race in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era:  New Approaches in Critical Race Theory," Yale Law School (April 5, 2014)
 
"Beyond Child Welfare:  Theories on Child Homelessness," invited Panelist, Symposium 2014:  Emerging Issues in Child Welfare, Washington and Lee University School of Law (February 28, 2014)

"Overstepping Ethical Boundaries?  Limitations on State Efforts to Provide Access to Justice in Family Courts," invited Panelist, 2013 Stein Ethics Center Colloquium, Legal Monopoly of Lawyers, Fordham Law School (October 18, 2013)

"The Impact of Slavery on Private Family Law," Selected Panelist, Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference 2014, University of Baltimore School of Law (January 24, 2014)

"Grandma in the White House:  Legal Support for Intergenerational Caregiving," 2013 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, AALS Section on Children and the Law Panel Presentation, “Evolving Responsibilities:  The Impact of Recent Trends on Children and Families” (January 5, 2013)

"Child Sexual Victimization:  When Abused Children Become Neglectful Mothers," Brown Bag Lunch Visiting Scholar Presentation, Emory University School of Law (November 8, 2012)

"Grandma in the White House," Faculty Development Brown Bag Workshop, Georgia State University School of Law (November 6, 2012)

"Grandma in the White House," Faculty Enrichment Workshop, University of Florida Levin College of Law (November 2, 2012)

"Child Sexual Victimization:  When Abused Children Become Neglectful Mothers," 2012 Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop, Suffolk University Law School (June 30, 2012)

"Family and Race in Post-Obama America," 2012 Lutie A. Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop, Suffolk University Law School (June 29, 2012)

"African-American Grandmothers:  Does the Gender Entrapment Theory Apply?," Art, Life & Law, “Sharing ideas, experiences and solutions:  a conversation surrounding kinship care within the African American family,”  South Dallas Cultural Center (June 22, 2012)

"The Principal of Subsidiarity Applied:  Reforming the Legal Framework to Capture the Psychological Abuse of Children," Blue Ribbon Task Force, San Antonio, Texas (June 18, 2012)

"Grandma in the White House," Sustaining Families:  Global and Local Perspectives, Midwest Family Law Consortium, University of Iowa School of Law (June 16, 2012)
 
"Child Sexual Victimization:  When Abused Children Become Neglectful Mothers," Sustaining Families:  Global and Local Perspectives, Midwest Family Law Conference, University of Iowa School of Law (June 14, 2012)
 
"Child Sexual Victimization:  When Abused Children Become Neglectful Mothers," Emerging Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference, Fordham University School of Law (May 22, 2012)
 
"Grandma in the White House," SMU Faculty Forum, SMU Dedman School of Law (April 12, 2012)

"Grandma in the White House," 2011 Lutie A. Lytle Faculty Writing Workshop, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law (June 18, 2011)

"The First Father:  Perspectives on the President’s Fatherhood Initiative," 2011 Annual Law and Society Meeting, San Francisco, California  (June 4, 2011)

"The First Father:  Perspectives on the President’s Fatherhood Initiative," Emerging Family Law Scholars and Teachers Conference 2011, University of California Hastings College of Law (June 2, 2011)

"African-American Single Mothers & Grandmothers:  Does the Gender-Entrapment Theory Apply?," Access to Equal Justice Colloquium on “Black Feminism, Gender Violence and the Build-up of a Prison Nation,” Washington University School of Law (March 28, 2011)

"Grandma in the White House," Feminism and Legal Theory Project Workshop, “Aging as a Feminist Concern,” Emory University School of Law (January 22, 2011)

"Family and Race in Post-Obama America," Third National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference, Seton Hall University School of Law (September 10, 2010)

"Collaborative Practice in the CPS Context:  Helping Prevent the Ultimate Parental Alienation – Termination of Parental Rights," Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Annual Conference (June 5, 2010)

"Capturing the Psychological Abuse of Children," Feminism and Legal Theory Project Workshop, Emory University School of Law (March 20 2010)

"FLDS Reconsidered:  Establishing Substantial Psychological Abuse as Part of the Legal Standard for Emergency Child Removal," Children and the Law Junior Faculty Workshop, Washington and Lee University School of Law (July 17, 2009)

"Legal Implications of the FLDS Compound CPS Case," SMU Godbey Lecture Series, Southern Methodist University (October 6, 2008)

"Texas Mis-step:  Why the largest child removal in modern U.S. history failed," SMU Godbey Lecture Series, Southern Methodist University (September 29, 2008)

"The African-American Child Welfare Act:  A Legal Redress for African-American Disproportionality in Child Protection Cases," Setting the Agenda:  Examining Critical Legal Issues Facing African-Americans and Minority Communities in the 2008 Election, Berkeley Journal of African-American of Law and Policy Symposium (November 9, 2007)


Media

• Live Television Interview, Same Sex Marriage Rulings, Fox 4 News, Good Day, October 7, 2014, available online at http://www.myfoxdfw.com/clip/10663620/same-sex-marriage.

• Interview, Mother arrested at D/FW Airport after returning to U.S. with son, Dallas Morning News, July 10, 2014, available at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20140710-mother-arrested-at-dfw-airport-after-returning-to-u.s.-with-son.ece.
 
• Interview, Texas Inmates encounter a hitch in their wedding plans, Dallas Morning News, February 23, 2014, available at http://www.dallasnews.com/news/state/headlines/20140223-texas-inmates-encounter-a-hitch-in-their-wedding-plans.ece.
 
• Video Interview, Deadly Affection:  Part 2 – ‘Better tools, better education,’ Dallas Morning News, February 2, 2014, available at http://res.dallasnews.com/interactives/2014_deadlyaffection/part2/index.html.
 
• Radio Interview, CBS Radio (Dallas, KLIF FM), December 18, 2013, available at http://www.smu.edu/News/2013/jessica-weaver-ap-18dec2013 (regarding Affluenza case involving teen accused of drunk driving and manslaughter).
 
• Interview, Texas Prosecutor seeks to put ‘affluenza’ teen behind bars, Reuters, December 18, 2013, available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/18/us-usa-affluenza-texas-idUSBRE9BH1IS20131218.

Prosecutors:  No Appeal Options in Texas Wreck Case, Associated Press, December 16, 2013, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/prosecutors-appeal-options-texas-wreck-case-21238012.
 
• Live Television Interview, Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage, WFAA News Channel 8, Good Morning Texas, June 26, 2013, available at https://www.smu.edu/News/2013/supreme-court-marriage-ruling-26june2013?c=hpHeadlineNews_Professor-Jessica-Weaver-provides-commentary-on-U-.
 
• Television Interview, Same-Sex Marriage Supreme Court Rulings, CW News Channel 33, June 26, 2013, available at https://www.smu.edu/News/2013/supreme-court-marriage-ruling-26june2013?c=hpHeadlineNews_Professor-Jessica-Weaver-provides-commentary-on-U-.

• Television Interview, “Deion Sanders divorce drama:  Conflict of interest?,” WFAA News Channel 8, April 26, 2012, available at http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/Same-McKinney-law-firm-represents-Sanders-and-town-that-filed-charges-against-him-and-wife-149139855.html#.    

Extraordinary Minorities in Texas Law, Texas Lawyer, Vol. 25, No. 26, Section 2, September 28, 2009.

• Interview, CPS actions in polygamist sect case puzzle some child welfare experts, Dallas Morning News, June 18, 2008, available at http://smu.edu/newsinfo/excerpts/jessica-dixon-dmn-18june2008.asp.
 
• Television Interview, “High Court upholds polygamist sect case decision,” NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, May 29, 2008, available at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/24881533#24881533.  

• Live Television Interview, “Polygamy Ruling Raises Legal Debate on State Power,” News Hour with Jim Lehrer, May 22, 2008, available at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/jan-june08/sectkids_05-22.html.

• Interview, Sweep of Polygamists’ Kids Raise Legal Questions, Associated Press, April 25, 2008, available at http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-04-26-polygamist-retreat_N.htm.
 
• Television Interview, “Mothers Tell Their Side of the Story,” NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, April 16, 2008, available at http://www.smu.edu/flashvideo/?id=196.
 
• Radio Interview, “Child Advocacy and Options after Foster Care,” KNON, KERA 90.1FM, Think! Radio show, November 20, 2006, available at http://smu.edu/newsinfo/stories/jessica-dixon-kera-20nov2006.asp.