• Full-Time Faculty
  • Diane M. Sumoski

  • Director of the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic and Lecturer in Law

"I capitalize on 25+ years of law practice to train student attorneys to represent abused and neglected children. It's exciting to help lawyers develop essential skills and make a difference for our clients and community."

  • fulltime Faculty
  • Diane M. Sumoski

  • Director of the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic and Lecturer in Law

"I capitalize on 25+ years of law practice to train student attorneys to represent abused and neglected children. It's exciting to help lawyers develop essential skills and make a difference for our clients and community."

Diane M. Sumoski

Director of the W. W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic and Lecturer in Law

  • Biography

    • Diane M. Sumoski, Director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, Director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Institute for Children's Rights, and Lecturer in Law. B.A., 1984 Franklin & Marshall College; J.D., 1987 Cornell Law School (cum laude). Professor Sumoski, in her clinical course, teaches child advocacy law as well as investigative, case preparation, and trial advocacy skills. Upon graduation from law school, Professor Sumoski began her legal career at the Dallas law firm of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P., where she became a Partner in 1993. Professor Sumoski served as Pro Bono Partner at Carrington Coleman for fifteen years and supervised associates in all family law pro bono cases at the firm. She also served on the firm’s Executive Committee for five years. After joining the faculty at SMU Dedman School of Law in 2013, she became Of Counsel at the firm. 

      Ms. Sumoski is currently serving on the Advisory Committee to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in connection with developing a child welfare law specialization.  She has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since 2010. She has held numerous leadership positions in the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association, including, Director of the Section’s Public Service Division, Chair of the Expert Witnesses Committee, Chair of the Woman Advocate Committee, Chair of the Special Committee of the Future of Multidistrict Litigation, and Co-Chair for the Section’s Annual Meeting. Professor Sumoski also has served as Chair of the Host Committee for the Fifth Circuit Judicial Conference. Professor Sumoski is a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Bar Association since 2009. She has served as Chair of numerous DBA committees, resulting in her being awarded with the JoAnna Moreland Outstanding Committee Chair award in both 2008 (for her service as the Chair of the Pro Bono Activities Committee) and 2012 (for her service as Chair of the Judiciary Committee). With respect to her pro bono efforts in private practice, Professor Sumoski received the Women’s Legal Advocacy Award from Legal Services of Northwest Texas in 2010 for her work benefiting women and children and the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program’s award for Outstanding Pro Bono Coordinator in 1998 and 2005. She also served as Chair of the DBA’s Equal Access to Justice Campaign, which raises funds to support pro bono legal services to the poor as provided through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and Legal Services of North Texas. Professor Sumoski is also a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Northwest Texas and serves on the Dallas Committee for a Qualified Judiciary. 

      Professor Sumoski is admitted to practice law in all Districts of Texas as well as in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and is a Life Fellow in the Dallas Bar Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation.
  • Areas of Expertise

    • Child Welfare Law
      Investigative, case preparation
      Trial Advocacy Skills
      Civil Litigation
  • Education

    • B.A., Franklin & Marshall College
      J.D., cum laude, Cornell Law School
       
  • Book Chapters

    • Bridging the Gender Gap, 27 THE LITIGATION MANUAL 31, (First Supplement 2007)
  • Other Publications

    • Asserting the Constitutional Rights of Children in Child Welfare Proceedings
      published in conference materials for the 16th ABA Annual National Conference on Children and the Law (2015) (co-authored with Barbara Elias-Perciful)

      Expert Advice: Practical Tips for the First Meeting with your Expert
      ABA Annual Meeting
      Section of Litigation Conference (2008)

      Enron: Navigating the Civil Side of the Corporate Case of the Century
      American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference
      San Antonio, TX (2007)
       
  • Presentations

    • Standing
      W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic and Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Kinship Legal Custody Program C.L.E. (which she organized)
      Dallas, TX (March and October 2015)

      Referral Resources for Students in Crisis
      DBA Education Symposium
      Dallas, TX ( 2015)

       Asserting Constitutional Rights of Children in Individual Child Welfare Proceedings and Lessons Learned from Impact Litigation
      16th ABA National Conference on Children and the Law
      Washington, D.C. (2015)

      Empowered, Effective, and Ethical Guardians/Attorneys Ad Litem for Children
      Dallas Bar Association 6th Annual Child Welfare Conference
      Dallas, TX (2015)

      Dallas CASA and Education Advocacy for Children in the Child Welfare System
      Dallas CASA
      Dallas, TX (2014)

      Interactions Between Attorneys and Experts:  Ethical and Practical Concerns
      Forensic Group
      Dallas, TX (2014)

      Overview of a Child Welfare Case:  From Removal to Permanency
      Circles of Care, Inc. Foster Agency
      Dallas, TX (2014)

      Evidence You Need to Know
      Dallas Bar Association Trial Skills Section
      Dallas, TX (2014)

      Opening Statements
      Dallas Bar Association Trial Academy 2013
      Dallas, TX (2012 and 2013)

      Determining Jurisdiction for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims
      Dallas Bar Association
      Dallas, TX (2012)

      What Attorneys Want (and Sometimes Even Need) From their Experts
      Forensic Expert Witness Association
      Dallas, TX (2008)

      A Lawyer's Professional Responsibility to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services
      Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Summit
      Dallas, TX (2008)

      Expert Advice: Practical Tips for the First Meeting with your Expert
      ABA Annual Meeting
      Section of Litigation Conference
      New York, NY (2008)

      Bridging the Gender Gap in the Courtroom
      Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association (2007)

      Creating a Visual Strategy with your Expert: Using Demonstratives with Expert Witnesses
      American Bar Association Annual Meeting
      San Francisco, CA (2007)

      Discovery Problems and their Solutions
      American Bar Association Annual Meeting
      Chicago, IL (2005)
  • Other

    • Advisory Committee to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, focusing on a Child Welfare Law Specialization 

      Planning Committee, Special Education, Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice System Conference, Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas (Austin, TX - 2014)