SMU Dedman recognized for professionalism initiative

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law was one of two recipients of the 2017 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award, an annual award that recognizes excellence and innovation in professionalism programs that help maintain the highest principles of integrity and dedication to the profession public.

SMU Dedman was recognized for its flagship professionalism initiative, a first-year curriculum aimed at enhancing law students’ professional development.

“Professionalism is a core component of learning at SMU Law, incorporated into the first-year curriculum through a series of required programs,” said Jennifer Collins, Professor of Law at the Dallas law school.  “Through our Inns of Court program, the Mustang Exchange mentoring program and the Public Service program, the professionalism initiative is designed to ensure that SMU graduates are ethical, compassionate attorneys committed to civility, public service and zealous advocacy on behalf of their clients.”

SMU Dedman Law’s Inns of Court program connects new students with classmates, law school faculty, career advisors and alumni. Meetings provide networking and skills building activities. The core areas of focus include career and professional development, academic advising, alumni connection, student affairs, diversity and inclusion and public service.

A second program, called the Mustang Exchange, is a flash mentoring program where students meet one-on-one with established lawyers for career conversations, mock interviews and job shadowing experiences.

Lastly, the law school’s Public Service Program requires law students to complete 30 hours of pro bono legal assistance. Students who volunteer more than 200 hours of pro bono legal services are recognized on the law school’s Pro Bono Honor Roll.

The ABA also honored the New Orleans Bar Association Young Lawyers Section for its Big Easy Bootcamp. Aimed at bridging the gap between law school and law practice, this daylong program features a panel discussion on topics such as ethics, professionalism, courtroom decorum, law practice management and the mechanics of practicing law.

The E. Smythe Gambrell Fund for Professionalism supports the two awards, which carry a $3,500 prize. 

Photo courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law