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1st Amendment Clinic Assistant Director, SMU

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.

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).

For more information and to apply, click here.