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SMU Dedman Law

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Co-Director of Civil Clinic, Director Consumer Law Project and Professor of Law


Email: mspector@mail.smu.edu

Phone: 214-768-2578

Education:

B.A., 1979, Simmons College
J.D., 1986, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Professor Spector joined the faculty in 1995 as Co-Director of the SMU Civil Clinic where she continues to supervise students representing clients in state and federal courts. She also teaches Consumer Law and is a recipient of the University Golden Mustang Teaching Award, the Law School’s Don Smart Directed Research Award and Women in Law’s Faculty Appreciation Award. She writes and speaks in the areas of consumer credit, landlord-tenant law and clinical legal education. For her project on consumer debt collection litigation published in the Virginia Law & Business Review (2011), Professor Spector was honored with the Bellow Scholar Award from the AALS Clinical Section.
 
A graduate of the Cardozo School of Law with honors, Professor Spector served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jerry Buchmeyer, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas before joining the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld as an associate. Prior to joining the law school faculty, she was an adjunct instructor of Legal Writing and Research, a visiting supervising attorney with the SMU Legal Clinic and a field instructor with the SMU/Legal Services of North Texas externship program. Outside of the Law School, Professor Spector received the Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Award and has served on a number of university, professional and community committees and boards.

Primary Articles


Where the FCRA meets the FDCPA:  The Impact of the Unfair Collection Practices on the Credit Report, 20 Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy 479 (2013)

From Representation to Research and Back Again:  Reflections on Developing an Empirical Project, 16 University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law Law Review 55 (2012)

Roark Reed - Remembering a Colleague, 65 SMU Law Review 749 (2012) (with Maureen N. Armour)

Litigating Consumer Debt Collection:  A Study, 31 Banking  and Finance Services Policy Report 1 (2012)
                                                                       
Debts, Details and Defaults: Exploring the Impact of Debt Collection Litigation on Consumers and the Courts, 6 Virginia Law & Business Review 257 (2011)
 
Taming the Beast:  Payday Loans, Regulatory Efforts and Unintended Consequences, 57 DePaul Law Review 961 (2008)
 
Tenant Stories: Obstacles and Challenges Facing Tenants Today, 40 The John Marshall Law Review 407 (2007)

Tenants' Rights, Procedural Wrongs:  Summary Evictions and the Need for Reform, 46 Wayne Law Review 135 (2000)

Crossing the Threshold:  Examining the Abatement of Public Nuisances Within the Home, 31 Connecticut Law Review 547 (1999)

Epilogue:  Theory in Basement, 51 SMU Law Review 1555 (1998) (with Maureen N. Armour)

Note, Vertical and Horizontal Aspects of Takings Jurisprudence:  Is Airspace Property?, 7 Cardozo Law Review 489 (1986)

 

Public Testimony

Testimony, Examining the Uses of Consumer Credit Data:  Hearing on H.R. 2086 and H.R. 6363 Before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutes and Consumer Credit of the House Committee on Financial Services
United States Congress, 112th Congress (Washington, DC (2012))

Panelist, Concerns in Reporting Consumer Debt, Field Hearing on Credit Reporting, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Detroit, MI (2012))
 

Speeches/Presentations

                     
Understanding Consumer Reports:  A Pilot Project
11th International Journal Clinical Education Conference on Common Ground:  Sharing Across Models of Experiential Legal Education
Griffith University & Northumbria University (Brisbane, QLD, Australia (2013))

Understanding Consumer Reports:  A Pilot Project
14th Annual International Association of Consumer Law Conference
University of Sydney (Sydney, NSW, Australia (2013))

Participant, Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collections Workshop
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Washington, DC (2013))

Panelist, State of the Debt Collection Industry
Loyola Consumer Law Review Symposium on Debt Collection in the Modern Economy
Loyola University Chicago School of Law (Chicago, IL (2013))

Program Chair and Moderator, The Debt Crisis and the National Response:  Big Changes or Tinkering on the Edges?
AALS Annual Meeting, Sections on Poverty Law and Clinical Legal Education, Joint Program (New Orleans, LA (2013)

Panelist, Privacy and the Law
First Inaugural IMPACT Symposium on Privacy:  From Domestic Space to Cyberspace
Southern Methodist University, Dedman College Interdisplicary Institute (Dallas, TX (2012))

Completing the Cycle:  From Advocacy to Research and Back Again
Bellow/UCI Law Review Symposium
University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA (2012))

Where the FCRA Meets the FDCPA:  The Impact of Un-fair Collection Practices on the Credit Report
Faculty Forum Series
SMU Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX (2012))

Panelist, Intersection with Other Consumer Issues:  Debt Collection 
Symposium on Credit Scoring and Credit Reporting
Suffolk University Law School and National Consumer Law Center (Boston, MA (2012))

Speaker & Panel Moderator, Teaching Debt Collection
6th Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston (Houston, TX (2012))

Exploring the Impact of Consumer Debt Collection Litigation
Faculty Enrichment Program
St. Mary's University School of Law (San Antonio, TX (2012))

Fixing a "Broken System":  Using Data to Shape Meaningful Change in the Litigation of Consumer Debts
Clinical Law Review Writers' Workshop
New York University (New York, NY (2011))

Co-Chair, 5th Annual Bellow Scholar Workshop
New York University (New York, NY (2011)) (with Michael Gregory, Harvard Law School)

Panelist, Protecting Consumers in Collection Litigation
13th Annual International Conference IACL
Brunel University (London, UK (2011))

Moderator, Bellow Presentations
AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education
(Seattle, WA (2011))

Litigation Research Update
4th Annual Bellow Scholar Workshop:  Merging Access-to-Justice Work and Empirical Research
District of Columbia David Clark School of Law, Bellow Symposium
(Washington, DC (2010))

Panelist, Settlement, Collection and Modification:  Debt Buyer Litigation Findings
Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston (Houston, TX (2010))

Works in Progress:  Conducting an Empirical Study
AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education
(Baltimore, MD (2010))

Consumer Working Group Leader
AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education
(Baltimore, MD (2010)) (with Peter Holland)

Exploring the Litigation of Consumer Debts
Cardozo Alumni in Teaching, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Yeshiva University (New York, NY (2009))

Debts, Defaults and DetailsExploring the Impact of Debt Collection on Consumers and the Courts
Empirical Research Workshop, Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies
University of Pennsylvania Law School (Philadlelphia, PA (2009))

Clinics and Collaboration:  Debt Collection Litigation
International Journal of Clinical Legal Education Conference
Murdoch University (Western Australia, (2009))

Work-in-Progress:  A Study of Consumer Debt Collection Litigation
AALS Clinical Legal Education Workshop
Bellow Scholar (Cleveland, OH (2009))

Work-in-Progress:  Consumer Debt Project
Faculty Forum, SMU Dedman School of Law
(Dallas, TX (2009))

Common Tenant Problems and the Role of the Volunteer Attorney
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program-Housing Crisis Center
Continuing Legal Education (Dallas, TX (2009))

Collecting and Litigating Consumer Debts:  A Consumer's Perspective
Center for Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management
Southern Methodist University (Plano, TX (2008))

Panelist, Avoiding a Promotion Commotion:  Prizes, Free Offers and Unsolicited Faxes and the Telemarketing Sales Rule
Federal Trade Commission, Green Lights and Red Flags:  FTC/BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers
(Dallas, TX (2008))

Consumer Law or Consumer Protection?
Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston (Houston, TX (2008))

Debts, Defaults and Details:  Exploring the Impact of Debt Collection Litigation on American Courts
Center for Law and Social Justice Conference on Emerging Issues in Subprime Lending
Seton Hall University (Newark, NJ (2008))

Are We Crazy? Supervising Students in High-Risk Situations
AALS Clinical Legal Education Conference
(Tucson, AZ (2008)) (with Maureen Armour, Lori A. Nessel and Bryan Lonegan of Seton Hall University)

Common Tenant Problems and the Role of the Volunteer Attorney
Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program-Housing Crisis Center, Continuing Legal Education
(Dallas, TX (2008))

Panelist, Concerns about Debt Collection:  Consumers' Perspective
Collecting Consumer Debts:  The Challenge of Change, An FTC Workshop
Federal Trade Commission (Washington, DC (2007))

Taming The Beast:  Payday Loans, Regulatory Efforts, and Unintended Consequences
International Association of Consumer Law, 11th International Conference of Consumer Law
(Capetown, South Africa (2007))

The State of Tenants' Rights Today and in the Future:  Is the Reform in Rights a Guarantee?
Conference on What King Wrought?:  The Impact of the Summer of 1966 on Housing Rights, A Forty Year Retrospective and Perspective
John Marshall Law School (Chicago, IL (2006))

Writing as Disciplined Thinking
13th Annual Teaching Effectiveness Symposium
SMU Center for Teaching Excellence (Dallas, TX (2005))

Teaching Consumer Law:  Clinical Methods in the Consumer Law Course
Teaching Consumer Law Conference
University of Houston (Houston, TX (2004))
 

Other

Book Chapters

Payday Loans: Unintended Consequences of American Efforts to Tame the Beast, in THE FUTURE OF CONSUMER CREDIT REGULATION:  CREATIVE APPROACHES TO EMERGING PROBLEMS 107-28 (Michelle Kelly-Louw, James Nehf & Peter Rott, eds., Ashgate Pub. 2008)

Works-in-Progress

Understanding Consumer Reports:  A Pilot Project Integrating Policy and Research into the Law School Clinic

Fixing Broken Systems:  Using Data to Shape Meaningful Change

Media

Interview, Payday Loans for Christmas Cash Could Spur Yearlong Debt Cycle, NBC-DFW Evening News, (2012), available at http://www.nbcdfw.com/investigations/Payday-Loans-for-Christmas-Cash-Could-Spur-Yearlong-Debt-Cycle-184198071.html

Law for the People, KNON Community Radio Program, Landlord-Tenant Law (2005)