SMU providing north Texas residents free legal assistance on COVID-19 related issues

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas is adapting to a pandemic world. It has created a unique clinic opportunity for its students while also serving the community. 

Neary 50 students are working under the supervision of SMU Law Clinic faculty to host a helpline five days a week. They are providing free legal assistance to residents who live in north Texas who have questions related to COVID-19. This clinic project is a call-in service where people who have COVID-19 related issues such as housing, immigration and consumer protection questions or concerns can get help. 

“We hope the Helpline will be an important resource for members of our Dallas/Fort Worth community who are struggling,” said professor Mary Spector, Associate Dean for Clinics at SMU. “It will also provide SMU Law students with the chance to gain valuable legal experience and professional skills. I’m proud of our students’ eagerness to step up to the legal challenges the pandemic presents.”

The law school says the COVID-19 Emergency Helpline Project was established with two primary goals in mind: to fill gaps in the availability of reasonably fast, reliable and necessary legal information and advice in certain key areas and to provide SMU law students with meaningful opportunities to develop important professional values and skills.

“This project is a wonderful example of how deeply committed SMU is to helping our students and to serving the beautiful city in which we are so fortunate to be located,” said Jennifer Collins, Dean of SMU Dedman School of Law. “We are very grateful to have such committed partners and to be able to provide support to our community as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times.”

In the instance that a caller has a more complicated issue or a question that SMU students are unable to answer, the law school is partnering with law firms and agencies in the area and will refer the caller to one of the other organizations that are also providing free services. Altogether there are 80 volunteer attorneys’ in addition to the law students.

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