Malinda L. Seymore

Professor of Law

Malinda L. Seymore

“From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.” Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963)

Get to Know Malinda L. Seymore

What drew you to the law?

Even as a child I was fascinated by the law, imagining myself as a modern-day Clarence Darrow defending the innocent. In middle school I picked the Sacco and Vanzetti trial as the subject of one term paper and the Nuremburg trials as the subject of another. I was often told that I had an over-developed sense of justice!

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I especially enjoy exploring with students not only what the law is, but also what the law could or should be. In the courses I teach — particularly criminal law and procedure — I like discussing current events (like the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri) to show students how the law is relevant in people’s everyday lives. The law is not simply a neutral set of rules that even-handedly governs behavior; it can have disparate effects on different groups. Understanding how the law affects people strengthens a lawyer’s understanding of the true impact he or she can have on society.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

I believe that students need to understand more than the law — including the effects of the law on people’s lives — to be good lawyers. For instance, in my Adoption Law class, we examine the psychology and sociology of adoption so that as lawyers my students can be effective counselors as well as advocates for each member of the adoption triad (birth parents, adopted person, and adoptive parents). As the Rules of Professional Responsibility note, in order to appropriately serve clients a lawyer may need to “refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social and political factors, that may be relevant to the client’s situation.”

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I had the privilege of working as a briefing attorney (the traditional law clerk position), research attorney and staff attorney for wonderful judges at the Dallas Court of Appeals. Working for the court was invaluable experience, perhaps equal in education to law school itself, in understanding the law.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

My kids. My daughters were adopted from China, which has also sparked an interest in China. We spent a semester in China in 2007, when I was a Fulbright Scholar teaching at Xiamen University Law School.

What are your research interests?

My interests are eclectic. I’ve written in areas as diverse as evidence doctrine and feminist theory, the Constitution’s requirement that the president be a natural-born citizen, prohibitions on attorney-client sexual relations and differences in how American and Chinese lawyers are trained. My most recent articles focus on adoption law.

Publications

My publications are available on BePress SelectedWorks™.

Presentations

  • Faculty Member, Evidence Summit, Texas Center for the Judiciary (June 28, 2012)
  • Presented “16 & Pregnant: Minors’ Consent to Abortion & Adoption,” Faculty Colloquium, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (March 28, 2012)
  • Presented “The Law is Male,” Pre-Professional Program, Texas Wesleyan University (Feb. 27, 2012)
  • Presented “Erle Stanley Gardner, Perry Mason and the Court of Last Resort,” at the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law Conference on the Road to Innocence (Oct. 8, 2010)
  • Presented “Openness in International Adoption: Legalities & Practicalities,” at the 6th Biennial Adoption Conference – Open Arms, Open Minds: The Ethics of Adoption held in New York, New York at the St. John’s University Manhattan campus (Oct. 15, 2010)
  • Presented at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools’ annual conference held in Palm Beach, Florida, on "Global Law School: Teaching/Studying Abroad, Bringing it Home” (Aug. 2, 2010)
  • Presented to the Women’s Policy Forum on “Current Issues in International Adoption” at the Ridglea Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas (June 9, 2010)
  • Presented at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools’ annual conference held in Palm Beach, Florida, on the “Pedagogy of Rape Shield Laws: Using Procedure to Teach Doctrine” (August 2009)
  • Presented “The Case of the Crooked Convictions: Erle Stanley Gardner, Perry Mason, and the Court of Last Resort,” Faculty Colloquium, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (Oct. 9, 2007)
  • Dialogue on Chinese and American Legal Education, Panel Member, Fulbright Mid-Year Meeting, Guangzhou, China (March 2, 2007)
  • Presented “International Comity & International Adoption: When is International Adoption “Repugnant?” International Adoption & Cultural Transformation Conference, Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (Nov. 6, 2003)

Expertise

  • Criminal law
  • Criminal procedure
  • Evidence
  • Adoption

Courses

  • Adoption Law
  • Criminal Procedure & Trial Rights
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Women & the Law
  • Professional Responsibility

Academic Experience

  • Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2013-present)
  • Professor of Law
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (1996-2013)
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (1996-2000)
  • Associate Professor of Law
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (1991-1996)
  • Assistant Professor of Law
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (1990-1991)

Education

  • J.D., Baylor University School of Law, cum laude
    • Law Review, Senior Notes and Comments Editor
    • Charles Petty Award in Law and Medicine
  • B.A., Political Science and Medieval History, Rice University

Awards / Honors

  • Frederic White Scholarship Award, 2013-2014
  • Fulbright Scholar/Lecturer in Law, Xiamen University School of Law, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China, February-August 2007
  • Professor of the Year, 1990-1991; 1993-1994