• Full-Time Faculty
  • Mary Spector

  • Associate Dean for Clinics and Professor of Law, Director of the Consumer Advocacy Project and Co-Director of the Civil Clinic

  • fulltime Faculty
  • Mary Spector

  • Associate Dean for Clinics and Professor of Law, Director of the Consumer Advocacy Project and Co-Director of the Civil Clinic

Mary Spector

Associate Dean for Clinics and Professor of Law, Director of the Consumer Advocacy Project and Co-Director of the Civil Clinic

  • Biography

    • 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.
  • Education

    • B.A., Simmons College
      J.D., cum laude, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
  • Courses

    • Consumer Ad Clinic
      Consumer Law
      Consumer Ad Project

       
  • 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)
  • Presentations

    • Collection Texas Style:  A Snapshot of Consumer Collection Practices In and Out of the Courts
      UC Hastings/Stanford Access to Justice Conference
      San Francisco, CA, (forthcoming, November 2015)

      Debt Collection Dialogue
      Panel Moderator
      Federal Trade Commission
      Dallas, TX, (forthcoming, September 29, 2015)

      Collection Texas-Style: Re-examining Collection Litigation in Texas Courts
      15th Annual International Association of Consumer Law Conference
      University of Amsterdam
      Amsterdam, The Netherlands (June 2015)

      Debt Collection Update
      State Bar of Texas, Annual Meeting
      Section on Consumer and Commercial Law
      San Antonio, TX (June 2015)

      Civil Legal Aid Research Workshop
      Panelist:  Consumer Protection and Civil Legal Aid
      Department of Justice & National Science Foundation
      Washington, DC (2015)

      Roundtable:  Debt Collection and the Latino Community
      Panelist:  Credit Reporting Issues Among Limited English Proficiency Latinos
      Federal Trade Commission-Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
      Long Beach, CA (2014)

      Panelist: What is a Bellow Scholar:  Developing an Empirical Project
      (with Michael Gregory and Judith Fox)
      Bellow Scholar Fall Workshop
      Notre Dame Law School
      South Bend, IN (2014)

      Panelist: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Credit Cards (but Were Afraid to Ask)
      American Bankruptcy Institute
      CARE Financial Literacy Conference
      Dallas, TX (2014)

      Panelist:  Making the Most of Consumer Clinics
      Teaching Consumer Law Conference
      Santa Fe, NM (2014

      Can Empirical Research in our Clinics Help us Become Better Clinicians? 
      (with Judith Fox and Michael Gregory)
      AALS, 37th Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education
      Chicago, IL (2014)

      Educating and Assisting Consumers
      Federal Trade Commission
      Texas Forum on Identity Theft
      Dallas, TX  (2014)

      Understanding Consumer Reports:  Integrating Policy and Research into the Law School Clinic
      Faculty Forum Series
      SMU Dedman School of Law
      Dallas, TX (2013)
       
      Understanding Consumer Reports:  A Pilot Project
      Clinical Law Review Writers’ Workshop
      New York University Law School
      New York, NY (2013)

      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)

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

      State of the Debt Collection Industry: 
      Collection Litigation

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

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

      Privacy and the Law
      Panelist
      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)

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

      Teaching Debt Collection
      Speaker & Panel Moderator
      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)

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


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

      Bellow Presentations
      Moderator
      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)

      Settlement, Collection and Modification:
      Debt Buyer Litigation Findings

      Panelist
      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
      (with Peter Holland)
      AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education
      Baltimore, MD (2010)

      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 Details: Exploring 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)

      Avoiding a Promotion Commotion: Prizes, Free Offers and Unsolicited Faxes and the Telemarketing Sales Rule
      Panelist
      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
      (with Maureen Armour, Lori A. Nessel and Bryan Lonegan of Seton Hall University)
      AALS Clinical Legal Education Conference
      Tucson, AZ (2008)

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

      Concerns about Debt Collection: Consumers' Perspective
      Panelist
      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
      (with Nina Schwartz)
      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)