1st Amendment Clinic Assistant Director (HR title: Law Fellow Higher Education) – (DED00000375)

Salary Range: 

Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications

About SMU

SMU’s more than 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and over 80 countries to take advantage of the University’s small classes, meaningful research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs.

SMU serves approximately 7,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students through eight degree-granting schools: Dedman College of Humanities and SciencesCox School of BusinessLyle School of EngineeringMeadows School of the ArtsSimmons School of Education and Human DevelopmentDedman School of LawPerkins School of Theology and Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.

SMU is data driven, and its powerful supercomputing ecosystem – paired with entrepreneurial drive – creates an unrivaled environment for the University to deliver research excellence.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical, enterprising leaders in their professions and communities. SMU’s relationship with Dallas – the dynamic center of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions – offers unique learning, research, social and career opportunities that provide a launch pad for global impact.

SMU is nonsectarian in its teaching and committed to academic freedom and open inquiry.

About Dedman School of Law:

The School of Law at SMU was established in February 1925. Highlighting the celebration of its 75th year, SMU School of Law was named Dedman School of Law in 2001 in honor of Dallas benefactors Nancy and Robert H. Dedman, Sr., and their family. With more than 15,000 graduates, SMU Dedman School of Law has a national and international reputation of training prominent lawyers in both law and business. As the first law school in Dallas, we are fortunate to be in a city with a thriving economy, many corporate headquarters, and an outstanding legal community. SMU Dedman School of Law continues to strive to develop the next century of leaders.

About the Clinic:

The First Amendment Clinic is supported by the Stanton Foundation, which was created by Dr. Frank Stanton, the long-time president of CBS and one of the founding fathers of the television industry. Dr. Stanton was a fierce defender of freedom of speech and the First Amendment and received numerous awards in recognition of his efforts to ensure the freedom of the press. The Clinic launched in the fall semester of 2020. It joined not only a vibrant clinical program at SMU comprised of 10 specialty clinics, but also a national network of First Amendment Clinics at select law schools. The Clinic focuses on two core First Amendment objectives: (1) representing individuals and entities in matters that further the First Amendment rights of free speech, free press, petition, and assembly; and (2) training a new group of diverse lawyers prepared to advocate for First Amendment principles.

About the Position:

This role is an on-campus, in-person position.

The assistant director/law fellow will report to and collaborate with the director of the First Amendment Clinic at SMU Dedman School of Law, Tom Leatherbury, and any other First Amendment Clinic Fellow to support the management and activities of the clinic.

This is a two -year full-time benefit eligible position. Reappointment for an additional one-year term is possible based on performance and funding availability. Expected start date is no earlier than June 1, 2024.

Essential Functions:

  • Provide supervision to students in the Clinic, including feedback, mentoring, and training.
  • Manage ongoing cases, ensuring that the work is done in a timely and professional manner.
  • Assist with the development of curriculum and teaching of the Clinic’s classroom component, focusing on substantive knowledge of First Amendment doctrine and the litigation process, as well as effective legal writing, advocacy, and client relations skills.
  • Work with the Director and any other Law Fellow to develop the focus of cases the Clinic will work on, such as federal civil rights cases, libel and privacy defense, other significant First Amendment issues amenable to meaningful amicus efforts, and other related matters advancing First Amendment rights.
  • Collaborate with the Director and any other Law Fellow on programming to bring free speech issues to the broader Law School and University communities.
  • Support the research and writing of policy papers, as well as shorter articles, columns, and op-eds, with the goal of influencing the public debate on First Amendment matters.
  • Develop and maintain relationships within the legal and journalism community, including regional (DFW and Texas) news platforms and journalists, law firms and advocacy organizations that focus on free speech and related fields, and First Amendment clinics at other law schools.
  • Assist with administrative activities as required, including managing the financial resources for the program and monitoring financial activities and transactions.


Education and Experience:

Juris Doctor degree is required.

Five years of litigation-related practice experience (may include judicial clerkships) and a background in constitutional law is required.

Additional work experience or a judicial clerkship or clerkships are desirable, but not required.

The assistant director/law fellow must be a member of the Texas Bar, or be eligible to waive in to the Texas Bar.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Candidate with judicial clerkship is desired. Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of constituencies. Must also demonstrate strong written communication skills. The successful candidate should also demonstrate the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships within the law school and university as well as with external partners. In addition, the Fellow should possess strong time management, organizational, and planning skills.

Candidate must have knowledge in Microsoft Word and Box.

Physical and Environmental Demands:

  • Sit for long periods of time

Deadline to Apply:

Open until filled.

Please submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, three references (names and email addresses, no letters), a writing sample (should be an unedited or slightly edited brief or bench memo), law school transcript, and other significant supporting materials (optional).

EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601, accessequity@smu.edu.


SMU offers staff a broad, competitive array of health and related benefits. In addition to traditional benefits such as health, dental, and vision plans, SMU offers a wide range of wellness programs to help attract, support, and retain our employees whose work continues to make SMU an outstanding education and research institution.

SMU is committed to providing an array of retirement programs that benefit and protect you and your family throughout your working years at SMU and, if you meet SMU’s retirement eligibility criteria, during your retirement years after you leave SMU.

The value of learning at SMU isn’t just about preparing our students for the future. Employees have access to a wide variety of professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition benefits.


To apply please click the link below.

Job Description – 1st Amendment Clinic Assistant Director (HR title: Law Fellow Higher Education) (DED00000375) (taleo.net)

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