Patricia Davis

Patricia Davis | Farrow-Gillespie & HeathTitle IX Litigation
Employment Litigation

Of Counsel

Contact Farrow-GIllespie & Heath, Dallas, TX


Title IX protects students, faculty, and staff at federally-funded educational institutions from gender discrimination including sexual harassment and assault.

All members of educational communities are entitled both to be protected from sexual harassment and assault and to be treated with fairness and given due process if they are accused of harassment or assault. Title IX violations by schools can include:

  • maintaining a campus environment in which students are not protected from sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence;
  • not protecting and caring for those who report that they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted;
  • treating those who have been accused of sexual harassment or assault unfairly—not giving them the full protection of due process under school policy and federal law;
  • not taking reports of sexual assault or harassment seriously;
  • retaliation against those who report sexual assault or harassment;

Dr. Davis’s practice includes:

  • negotiating solutions to ongoing Title IX violations by institutions—helping students to achieve safety on their campuses;
  • assisting female and male students who have been victims of sexual assault and discrimination by their schools to obtain their rights to education in a safe campus environment;
  • assisting students and faculty members accused of sexual assault to obtain due process throughout the Title IX disciplinary processes, including filing defensive documents and representation at hearings;
  • assisting clients in filing and navigating Title IX complaints with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights against their educational institutions
  • representing clients in all phases of Title IX litigation against educational institutions, including mediation and obtaining financial and other types of settlements for injuries.

Dr. Davis is a former university professor and administrator, positions from which she retired after more than twenty years’ service. She is an experienced Title IX investigator in both the litigation and higher education contexts.  Pat was formerly a litigation attorney with Jackson Walker LLP, and she served as law clerk to the Honorable Barefoot Sanders (deceased), United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.

Dr. Davis has published two books relating to counseling and trauma with adolescents, and numerous articles on sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault as a weapon of war, and human trafficking. Her teaching and scholarship have won a number of national awards including a Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship and a Lilly Foundation Fellowship along with awards from the United Methodist Church for her work with adolescent girls, and the Carey Maguire Center Ethics Award at SMU.

Dr. Davis has served on many diverse non-profit boards including the Southern Methodist University Board of Trustees, the SMU Human Rights Advisory Board, the Video Association of Dallas, the International Rescue Committee Dallas Advisory Board, the Planned Parenthood of North Texas Religious Advisory Board, the Embrey Family Foundation Board of Directors, the Grace Presbytery Board on Housing, and the Alliance for Human Dignity (founding member and chair).  She has consulted with numerous additional boards on issues of strategic planning and sexual harassment/abuse. She holds an M.Div. and Ph.D. in counseling from Princeton Theological Seminary, and received her law degree from Southern Methodist University. Dr. Davis was chair of Southern Methodist University’s most recent (and successful) NCAA Gender Equity review.

Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter LLP | Dallas, TX

Practice Areas

  • Title IX Litigation
  • Title IX Consulting
  • Employment Litigation


  • J.D., Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University
  • Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary
  • M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
  • B.A., Indiana University

Professional Experience

  • Frederick Douglass Family Foundation (2012 – 2015)
    • Vice President, Research and Training
    • Creator of History, Human Rights and the Power of One—human trafficking prevention and early intervention curriculum and teacher/administrator training—(adopted by NYC Public Schools and in other schools across the U.S.)
    • National educational outreach
  • Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas (1991 – 2012)
    • Perkins School of Theology
      • Director, Center for Religious Leadership/Adjunct Professor of Pastoral     Care and Leadership, 2008 – 2012
      • Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, 1997 – 2004
      • Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, 1991-1997
      • Courses:  Ethical Dilemmas in Pastoral Leadership, Leadership in the Religious Context; Pastoral Care and Family Systems; Pastoral Care and Justice Issues; Pastoral Care of Women; Spirituality and the Life Cycle; Pastoral Care of Adolescent
    • Dedman College
      • Associate Director, Embrey Human Rights Program, 2006 – 2012
      • Courses:  Student Leadership Initiative (intensive service/travel/research course to U.S.-Mexico border (2011) and Rwanda/Uganda/South Africa (2012))
    • The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University
      • Deputy Director for Academics/Senior Lecturer, 2006 – 2008
      • (The Guildhall offers an M.A. in Videogame Development.)
      • Course: Professional Ethics, Culture, and Videogame Development
  • Jackson Walker L.L.P., 2004 – 2006
    • Associate, Litigation Section
    • Labor and employment, contract disputes, intellectual property, First Amendment litigation and federal court appointment to CJA Panel criminal cases.
  • Federal Judicial Law Clerk, 2002 – 2004
    • The Honorable Barefoot Sanders, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas, Texas
    • Civil and criminal case management, legal research, and judicial briefing for Judge Sanders.

Service and Awards

  • Theology Service (partial list)
    • Fund for Theological Education Scholarship Selection Committee (sponsored by the Lilly Endowment), 2008 – 2010
    • Member, Rank and Tenure Committee, Perkins School of Theology, 1998 – 2004
  • Awards (partial list)
    • Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology, 1997-1998 (national award)
    • Louisville Institute Summer Fellow, 1995 (national award)
    • Maguire Center Teaching Fellowship, 2009-2010 (SMU award)
  • University Service
    • Member, Academic Grievance and Appeals Committee for Students with Disabilities, 2009 – 2012
    • President, SMU Chapter, American Association of University Professors, 2007 – 2010
    • Member, Advisory Board, Center for the Study of Latino/a Religions and Cultures, 2009-2010
    • Chair, NCAA Self-Study, Gender Equity Committee, 2008-09
    • Chair, University Athletic Council, 2001-2002 (member, 2003)
    • President’s council for oversight of athletic budget, Title IX compliance, NCAA certification and compliance, academic policies, academic progress of student athletes, and admissions
    • President of the SMU Faculty Senate, 2000-2001
      • Represented 600+ faculty members to SMU Administration and Trustees in matters of academics, student affairs, athletics, tenure, ethics, salary and benefits
    • Trustee, ex officio, SMU Board of Trustees, 2000-2001
    • Executive, Trusteeship, Finance, and Legal and Governmental Affairs Committees
  • Board of Directors, Video Association of Dallas (Dallas Videofest), 2014
  • Board of Advisors, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Dallas, Texas, 2008 – 2010
  • Board of Directors, IGNITE for Texas, Dallas, Texas, 2010 – 2013
  • North Texas Task Force on Human Trafficking, 2010

Publications and Media

On Title IX
  • Counseling Adolescent Girls (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996).
  • Beyond Nice: The Spiritual Wisdom of Adolescent Girls (Minneapolis : Fortress Press, 2001).
Articles and Chapters
  • “Reframing: A New Method of Pastoral Care” Koinonia 2 (1990): 154-157.
  • “Women and the Burden of Empathy” Journal of Pastoral Theology 3 (1993): 29-38.
  • “The Endangered Self” Princeton Seminary Bulletin 15 (1994): 292-294.
  • “The Sky-Blue Soul: Women’s Religion in the Varieties” in The Struggle for Life: A Companion to William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience (West Lafayette: Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1995).
  • “Dialogue and Advocacy: A Case Study of a Course on Human Sexuality” Theological Education 33 (1997): 19-28.
  • Melanie Klein, Motherhood, and the “Heart of the Heart of Darkness” in Religion, Society, and Psychoanalysis (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997).
  • “The Incredible Woman: Listening to Women’s Silences in Pastoral Care and Counseling” Journal of Pastoral Theology 7 (1997): 162-163.
  • “Finding Voices in Faith Communities” in Women out of Order: Risking Change and Creating Care in a Multicultural World (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2000).
  • “Herod’s Hit man: Horror and the Development of Girls’ Spiritual Voices” in Papers of the Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology Vol. 4 (Pittsburgh: Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, 2000).
  • “Horror and the Development of Girls’ Spiritual Voices” in In Her Own Time (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000).
  • “Seeing Clearly: Social Context” in Starting Right: Thinking Theologically about Youth Ministry (Grand Rapids: Youth Specialties, 2000).
  • “The Politics of Prosecuting Rape as a War Crime” The International Lawyer 34 (Winter 2000): 1223-1248.
  • “Supervision and Sexuality” Journal of Supervision and Training in Ministry 21 (2001): 126-131.
  • “Live Free and Die: The Moral Dilemma of American Beauty” Journal of Pastoral Theology 11 (2001): 53-67.
  • “’Okay with Who I Am’: Listening to Lesbian Young Women Talk about their Spiritualities” in The Sacred Selves of Adolescent Girls: Hard Stories of Race, Class, and Gender (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2006).
  • “Human Trafficking, Sex Tourism, and Child Exploitation on the Southern Border,” (with Jim Walters) Journal of Applied Child Research, (February 2011).
  • “Backpage in Our Backyard,” Huffington Post, July 26, 2012 (
  • “Child Sex Tourism on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” in British Association for Human Identification:  Advances in Human Identification.
  • “Human Rights: An Alternate Conversation,” in God Loves Diversity and Justice, ed. Susanne Scholz, Lexington Books.
  • “The Pickle Case: Labor Trafficking as Civil Rights Violation,” in Human Trafficking Reconsidered: Forced Labor and Migration, ed. Kimberly Hoang and Rhacel Parrenas, Open Society Foundation Publication (forthcoming Fall 2013).
  • “Shine the Light of Advent on Child Prostitution,” on Soujourners Blog, (with Erika Howard) December 16, 2013,