SMU Law School Presents Kathleen LaValle With Distinguished Alumni Award


For fifteen years, Jackson Walker attorney Kathleen LaValle has dedicated herself to Dallas CASA, a nonprofit that provides advocacy for children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Recently, SMU Dedman School of Law recognized Kathleen’s commitment to the social service agency by honoring her with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service.

“To receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for the work I have done with Dallas CASA is an incredible privilege,” Kathleen said. “To me, this award is not to honor me, but to recognize the wonderful work our volunteers are doing at Dallas CASA. Every day, we strive to help abused and neglected children in protective care gain safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. I hope our mission continues to be recognized and shared with the local community.”

Dallas CASA was chartered in 1980 and is the largest of the CASA programs in Texas and one of the largest CASA programs in the country. Last year, over 1,300 Dallas CASA volunteers served more than 3,100 abused and neglected children. Today, Dallas CASA serves three out of four Dallas County children living in foster care.

In January 2003, Kathleen began getting involved in Dallas CASA as a volunteer Board Member and Chair before accepting the full-time position of Executive Director and President in July 2014. Prior to accepting that position, she led Jackson Walker’s women’s initiative, Jackson Walker Women (JW2), and served as a member of the Firm’s statewide Diversity Steering Committee.

SMU Dedman School of Law began the Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony in 1986 with three alumni selected of the 6,300 worldwide. Every year, the Mustang Bar Law Alumni Association selects former SMU Law students who have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievements, leadership, and service. For more information, visit the 31st Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony website.

Meet Kathleen

Kathleen M. LaValle has handled a wide range of complex litigation at the trial and appellate level in state and federal courts, including the areas of antitrust, banking and lender liability, healthcare, libel and slander, securities fraud, breach of warranty, product liability, telecommunications, business tort, oil and gas, intellectual property, toxic tort and environmental, and employment discrimination. With each changing trend in complex commercial litigation, she has played a significant role in defining the applicable law, shaping the appropriate procedures, and developing winning strategies. In addition to her work with Dallas CASA, Kathleen volunteers her time to the Dallas County Child Welfare Board, the Diocesan Review Board, and the Mayor’s Taskforce on Poverty. In 2014, she received the ATHENA Award from the Dallas Regional Chamber for professional achievement and community service. Kathleen has also been recognized by the prestigious Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for Energy: State Regulatory and Litigation since 2011 as well as The Best Lawyers in America for Commercial, Antitrust, and Regulatory Enforcement Litigation in 2018.