4 out of 5 Stars
You actually have a good chance at landing a biglaw job if you have good grades, especially compared to similarly ranked schools.Downers
It is EXPENSIVE. If you don’t have a lot of scholarship money, it may not be worth the debt.Comments
If you want biglaw and you know you can make good grades, it’s worth the financial risk. But if you want to do something else (that doesn’t pay well) and don’t have a big scholarship, go to another school. There are a lot of academically equivalent schools that cost a lot less than SMU and won’t financially cripple you.Would You Recommend
The alumni network is second to none in the Dallas area, and the school places well in biglaw through on-campus interviews despite its ranking.
The Corporate Counsel Externship Program is a fantastic resource that allows students to gain real-world experience working in-house for DFW corporations.
An excellent choice especially if transactional work is what you're interested in.Downers
The program is pretty weak when it comes to litigation—especially compared to Baylor.
The school's facilities haven't been updated since the 80's, which is surprising considering the astronomical tuition.
Additionally, bar passage rates have been on the decline. While SMU used to be second only to University of Texas, it's quickly losing clout to A&M law and Baylor.Comments
If you want to make the most of your time at SMU, definitely consider the Corporate Counsel Externship as well as one of the clinics available.Would You Recommend
Endless support from Career Services, professors are always willing to help studentsDowners
1L course load was very heavy and not manageable if you want to do well in gradesComments
Being located in Dallas is a huge advantage, the legal market is great right now and firms recruit straight from SMU.Would You Recommend
SMU Dedman School of Law is a great school! The professors are very distinguished and the legal clinics are second to none!Downers
Without scholarships, an education from SMU Dedman School of Law comes with a hefty price tag.Comments
SMU is a great school! A lot of doors are opened by attending the SMU Dedman School of Law due to strong alumni connections dedicated to seeing students succeed.Would You Recommend
Smaller class sizes combined with very prestigious professors. The more central law courses tend to be more theoretical, while procedural and smaller electives are more practicalQuality of Life
Great resources, accessibility, and location but expensive tuitionAdmissions
Standard: LSAT, Cumulative undergraduate GPA, Personal statement, optional letters of recommendationLevel
Almost all of the professors are excellent - great teachers, very knowledgeable, and accessible. The Socratic method is definitely a bigger focus 1L year, with some of the upperclass courses being more lecture style. The 1L legal research and writing course is very demanding, but it seems to prepare us well for clerkships. Academic advising is lacking - I'm not really sure that there's any point person to go to to talk about planning your course work. The registrar can help you make sure you are meeting your degree requirements, but that's about it. The school is competitive because of the quality of the students, but almost everyone is competitive with himself, and not openly competitive with other students. Most students are very willing to share notes and outlines, and help each other out. It's a very collegial environment.Quality of Life
The campus is pretty. The facilities are older, but nice aesthetically. The cost of living is higher than most places in Texas, but lower than most large cities elsewhere in the US.Admissions
The applications process is pretty standard. They ask for all the usual information, as well as an essay. There seem to be quite a few scholarship opportunities, from both the school and private groups. However, this is probably necessary since the tuition is on the expensive side.Level
Median lsat score is a 164. Most applications are processed through LSAC, and each student is automatically considered for scholarship.Level
The facilities are a bit old, but the neighborhood is fantastic.Level
I have found the general quality of classes to be exceptional. The full-year legal writing program the first year provided very practical experience such that employers over the summer have noticed the ability of SMU students to write well organized and thoughtful memos. Generally, the classes and professors provide a good mix of the foundational theory with anecdotal practical application. A mild Socratic method is the norm--students will be called on to discuss cases, but teachers are generally far from adversarial and there is no need to stand up. There is a decent variety of classes and subjects, though scheduling has drawn the ire of some daytime students due to what can appear to be a disproportionately night-time heavy schedule of in-demand classes to accommodate night students. I've found the faculty to be excellent. The majority of my professors have had at least some degree of experience in practice, either in firm work or government work. As someone focused on a transactional practice, the professors have been excellent in corporate fields of study: Greg Crespi (Business Enterprise) and Chris Hanna (Tax) in particular. The student body is very collegial for a law school with a forced curve and significantly worse employment prospects for those outside the top 25%-33%.Quality of Life
Overall, the facilities are great. Since SMU is in the Park Cities area of Dallas, it is fairly picturesque--almost a bubble. The students at SMU make a huge difference: they are generally very nice people who care about relationships with colleagues. While competition always exists, I would say SMU is one of the best I've heard of at balancing relationships and competition.Admissions
The application was fairly standard and was available for online submission. The essay questions were generic enough that I was able to use a personal statement that I had used in other applications. In addition to a general personal statement question, the school gave me the option to write an essay to explain particular reasons I wanted to come to SMU. This was helpful to explain my personal ties to Dallas and intentions to stay in the DFW area after graduation. The school provided me with a scholarship offer automatically by letter without further application. In addition, the school offers a number of very attractive full-tuition scholarships (which are very competitive): Hatton Sumners, Sarah Hughes (Minority), and Ray Hutchison scholarships. The Sumners and Hughes require a separate application and certain pre-qualifications. Despite the availability of generous scholarships, I've found--as have my classmates--that the financial aid office fails to be very helpful and accommodating to students seeking any loans.Level
There are a lot of good professors at SMU and a few really great ones. Most employ the Socratic method, although not as much in upper division courses. The class size is generally 20-60 students for upper division courses (1L classes are about 100). The students generally seem to get along very well, and although the atmosphere can be intense, it is not unpleasantly competitive. Research opportunities are available with professors, and many judges in the DFW area offer internships/externships. SMU also has numerous study abroad opportunities; the most popular is an exchange program with Oxford.Quality of Life
SMU's facilities are very nice. They easily date back to the '60s, but the school has done a good job of adapting them with technology (wi-fi, digital projectors, laptop power ports, etc.). The library is staffed with very knowledgeable people and has an extensive collection. The computer labs are modern and accessible. Crime is not a big concern. The grounds are very beautiful. Generally, the atmosphere is very pleasant.Admissions
Fairly standard admissions processLevel