SMU Dedman School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction

Founded in 1925, SMU Dedman School of Law is located on a magnificent tree-lined campus in a beautiful residential neighborhood just five miles north of downtown Dallas. SMU offers an intimate learning community within a vibrant urban center.

With a relatively small entering class size, an outstanding teaching faculty, and distinguished guest lecturers, SMU offers a scholarly community with fantastic opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. SMU also has a well-rounded, diverse student body from approximately 200 colleges and universities, 35 states, and over 20 countries.

Law School Campus

SMU offers a beautiful setting in which to pursue legal studies. The Law School Quadrangle, a six-acre, self-contained corner of the campus, offers students convenient access to all law school facilities. The larger SMU campus offers students a variety of housing options, a childcare facility, a health center, and a fitness/wellness center.

The law school has its own dining hall and a four-story parking garage with 500 spaces.

Curriculum

SMU offers seven degree programs: JD, JD/MBA (traditional four-year and fast-track three-year), JD/MA in Economics, LLM (General), LLM (Taxation), LLM (for foreign attorneys), and SJD.

Students find a sophisticated curriculum that complements SMU’s wide breadth of class offerings with extensive depth of focus. The JD curriculum is designed to achieve the goal of producing lawyers who are capable and responsible professionals through its emphasis on providing substantive knowledge, ethical and moral training, and practical skills to serve clients in local, national, and global communities.

Each JD student must complete 87 credit hours. Thirty-one of these hours comprise the mandatory first-year curriculum. After the first year, students must complete a course in professional responsibility, two upper-level writing courses (including an edited writing seminar in which an extensive scholarly, expository writing project is reviewed and critiqued by the professor), Constitutional Law II, and a practical skills course.

SMU offers many small classes in which students will get to know their classmates and professors. Each entering class is divided into three sections. Each semester, first-year students are assigned to a legal research, writing, and advocacy class of fewer than 25 students. Most of SMU’s upper-division courses have fewer than 25 students, and almost 90 percent have fewer than 50 students.

SMU’s rich upper-division curricular offerings, with 150 upper-division courses per year, provide students with a wide range of courses and the freedom to tailor a program of study that furthers their professional and personal goals. With traditional strengths in business, litigation, tax, and international law, the curriculum extends to many areas, including intellectual property, health care, environmental, and family law.

SMU’s LLM programs are intended to enhance careers in the private practice of law, teaching, and public service by providing the opportunity for students who already have their basic law degree to increase their understanding of legal theory and policies. The LLM program for foreign attorneys is the largest graduate program, enrolling approximately 60 students from about 20 countries each year. SMU has over 2,000 international alumni from over 80 countries, including many who hold significant positions in major international corporations, in the highest courts of their nations, and in other key government and private entities.

Student Activities and Law Reviews

Students are able to enhance their legal education by participating in numerous programs and conferences sponsored by various faculty and student groups and centers. Selected law students serve on five major journals for which they receive academic credit. Law students are able to expand their legal education experience by participating in any of over 20 moot court, trial advocacy, client counseling, and negotiation competitions held at the local, regional, national, and international levels. In addition, they may become active in any of the over 40 student organizations on campus.

Externships and Clinics

SMU Dedman Law offers a wide array of corporate, judicial, government, regulatory, and public interest externships for course credit. Popular externships include those with the US Attorney’s Office, the SEC, and the EPA. Additionally, SMU’s Corporate Counsel Externship program allows students to learn hands-on in corporate legal departments for one semester and attend a weekly class to learn about substantive and ethical issues facing in-house counsel.

Clinics offer students an opportunity to engage in the practice of law for up to six hours of course credit. Currently, SMU has 10 clinical opportunities: civil litigation, criminal defense, federal taxation, small business, trademark, consumer law, child advocacy, violence against women, family law, and patent law.

Public Service

All students are required to perform 30 hours of public service before graduating. This model public service program not only allows the student to learn in a hands-on setting, but also provides an early exposure to pro bono practice, which is integral to the US legal system. SMU professors voluntarily hold themselves to this same requirement.

Overseas Study

SMU offers students an opportunity to study law for six weeks at University College at Oxford University in England.

Career Services and Bar Passage

SMU Dedman School of Law is committed to helping students achieve their career goals through an individualized career development program. This commitment is reflected in consistently strong employment. For the class of 2016, 88.5 percent of all graduates were placed nine months after graduation in full-time, long-term bar passage required, JD advantage, and professional positions. And while most of our graduates choose to practice in Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, our graduates hold prominent positions and leadership roles throughout the international, national, and Texas communities. For detailed information about employment, please see our website.

The experienced staff in the Office of Career Services assists students in securing legal and legal-related employment with law firms, the judiciary, government, business, and public interest entities. The office hosts seminars and speakers about relevant legal topics, educates students about job search techniques and interview skills, and sponsors on- and off-campus interview programs and job fairs, all of which provide numerous opportunities for students to meet with practitioners. The Office of Career Services also works closely with employers to make the legal hiring process as easy as possible and assists in filling positions at all levels—from summer clerks to lateral hires. Numerous employers interact with our students during the school year through programs and events. Each year, several hundred private law firms, corporations, government agencies, and public interest organizations come to SMU Dedman Law to recruit students for summer clerkships or internships and permanent employment.

SMU graduates’ pass rate on the July 2017 Texas bar exam was 85.44 percent for first-time takers.

Admission

SMU looks for excellent, well-rounded students with strong academic backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives that will enrich its educational community. Each application is considered in its entirety: LSAT score, undergraduate performance, graduate studies, work experience, activities, personal statement, and letters of recommendation are all read and evaluated. Applications may be accessed via an LSAC.org account.

Scholarships

SMU provides approximately 85 percent of its entering class with scholarship assistance. SMU law scholarships, including several full-tuition Hutchison scholarships, are awarded on the basis of the admission application, including the applicant’s answer to an optional question. In addition, two private foundations, the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation and the Dallas Bar Foundation, fund and select five to nine additional full-tuition scholarships per entering class. Both foundations require a separate scholarship application, available from the SMU Admissions Office’s website. The Sarah T. Hughes Scholarships, sponsored by the Dallas Bar Foundation, are awarded to outstanding minority applicants. The Sumners Scholars are selected from a competitive pool of applicants with strong academics and extracurricular activities. To be considered for the Hatton W. Sumners and Sarah T. Hughes Scholarships, you must be accepted for admission by February 15. (To be admitted by February 15, you must have a complete application for admission on file no later than January 15.) The Hutchison and Hatton W. Sumners Scholarships require grades in the top third of the scholar’s class for maintenance.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at SMU Dedman:

3.44 to 3.84

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at SMU Dedman:

156 to 164

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at SMU Dedman:

3.44 to 3.84

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at SMU Dedman:

156 to 164

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at SMU Dedman:

3.44 to 3.84

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at SMU Dedman:

156 to 164

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

Office of Admissions, PO Box 750110,
Dallas, TX 75275-0110,
United States