Southern Methodist University welcomes criminal and family law scholar Jennifer M. Collins as the new dean of the Dedman School of Law. Collins is an active law professor and vice provost at Wake Forest University and will begin her duties at the University starting on July 1st.
Collins has been a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorneys office in the District of Columbia, homicide section, where she prosecuted over 30 jury trails. She worked in private practice in Washington and was an attorney-adviser at the U.S. Department of Legal Counsel.
“SMU is an absolutely outstanding institution,” she said. “I was so impressed when I made the visit with the faculty, students and incredibly dedicated, welcoming alumni base. I thought it would be a terrific community to join.” She also said it was the right time to take on a new challenge.
John Attanasio, who was the dean for 15-years, was not offered a new contract, and some alumni and financial donors were angry with the news, but early feedback on Collins’ appointment has been positive. “It was clear there was an overwhelming support for her on the committee, and I didn’t think we could find anybody better in the country.” said Mike Boone, who served on the search committee and is chairman-elect of SMU’s Board of Trustees.
There were six leading candidates and Collins triumphed over all, according to faculty and staff members. “I will give her every benefit of the doubt, and I hope that she’s a great dean and can deal with all the various responsibilities,” said prominent Dedman alumnus Darell Jordan, a commercial litigator at the law firm Dykema and a previous president of the State Bar of Texas. “I think her resume stood out from the others. The fact that she’s prosecuted and has real-world experience will be an asset.”
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