In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and S.J.D. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in applied economics) and J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration).
The Dedman School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, family law, international law, litigation, securities law, and tax law. In addition, Civil, Criminal, and Tax clinics may be taken by second- or third-year students who meet prerequisites. Seminars include such topics as Advanced Commercial Law, Antitrust, and Civil Rights. Directed Research is worth a maximum of 3 hours. Field work may be done through Directed Studies, and is worth 1 to 2 hours. A mandatory 30 hours of pro bono work is required for graduation. The special lecture series includes the Murrah Lecture and the Tate Lecture. A summer program at Oxford University is provided for students who wish to study abroad. The Academic Support Tutorial program is available by invitation only. The non-credit Student Mentoring program is available for all first-year law students. Minority programs include Minority Law Day, the Diversity Clerkship Program, Southeastern Minority Job Fair, Sunbelt Minority Job Fair, the Black/Hispanic/Asian Law Students Associations, and Multicultural Orientation. Special interest group programs include the Board of Advocates and law student groups.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 87 total credits, of which 37 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Legal Research, Writing, and Advocacy, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of a writing requirement, an edited writing seminar, Constitutional Law II, and Professional Responsibility. The required orientation program for first-year students consists of a 2-day introduction to the study of law.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and a 30-hour pro bono work requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 2665 applied, 635 were accepted, and 282 enrolled. Thirty transfers enrolled. The median GPA of the most recent first-year class was 3.69. The highest LSAT percentile was 99.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. Minimum acceptable GPA is 2.0 on a scale of 4.0. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is February 15. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a nonrefundable application fee of $75, 2 letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis beginning December. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 70% of current law students receive some form of aid. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and others, depending on the type of scholarship being sought. The aid application deadline for fall entry is June 1. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include scholarships, which are available on a need and merit basis and are designed to promote the diversity of the student body and the legal profession, and to assist those who have had fewer academic opportunities. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance beginning May 1 and on a rolling basis after that until the first day of classes.
About 45% of the student body are women; 23%, minorities; 4%, African American; 11%, Asian American; 8%, Hispanic; and 1%, Native American. The average age of entering students is 25; age range is 20 to 56. About 17% of students have a graduate degree. About 3% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 96% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit the SMU Law Review, Journal of Air Law and Commerce, The International Lawyer, SMU Science and Technology Law Review, and Law and Business Review of the Americas. Moot court competitions include the Jackson and Walker, National Frederick Douglass and Jessup Moot Court competitions. Other competitions include the ABA Client Counseling, ABA National Trial, ATLA Mock Trial, Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court, Thomas Tang Moot Court, Wagner Moot Court, and others. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus clubs and other organizations include Student Bar Association, Board of Advocates, Barristers, BLSA, Federalist Society, Phi Alpha Delta, Criminal Law Association, Corporate Law Association, and Environmental Law Society.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students and part-time are offered both day and evening and must be completed within 5 years. New full- and part-time students are admitted in the fall. There is an 8-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are not offered.