Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

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Basic Information
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Surprisingly, Southern Methodist University is the only law school in Dallas, the state’s second-largest city. And that has worked to the advantage of its alumni. SMU ranks second in a recent study of where partners from Dallas’ largest law firms went to school.

“Our top draw is our location in Dallas and our connection with the Dallas legal community,” said Jill Nikirk, assistant dean of admissions at SMU. “Dallas is a really nice place to live and a place where you can make the same as attorneys in Manhattan but with a much lower cost of living.”

Nikirk points to a recent study by the National Association for Law Placement, which ranks Dallas first among all U.S. cities in terms of buying power for recent associates. The study shows that an associate in Dallas would only need to earn $67,870 to have the same buying power as an associate in New York City. But the average associate actually earns $150,000.

To prepare its graduates for those jobs, the school focuses on traditional corporate law, real estate and international law, in addition to offering seven clinical programs. It publishes five journals, including the nation’s only one on air law and the International Lawyer, the official publication of the international section of the American Bar Association.

While tuition is not cheap at $40,186, the school has the highest median grant for full-time students at $20,000, with 75 percent of full-time students receiving some scholarship money.

Nikirk said the school starts offering merit scholarships as soon as applications start arriving and until the money runs out. So it behooves students to apply early.

The school offers an evening program, with about 38 percent of students in that program.

Published Winter 2012

Admission Profile
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75th Percentile1633.78
25th Percentile1553.39
Financial Profile
Tuition Part-time$38,323$38,323
Living Expenses
Median grant$24000
Percent receiving grants86.00%
Estimated net tuition
Employment & Bar Exam Profile
Post-grad employment 92.40%
NJ Employment85.72
Bar Passage83.98%
Academic Profile
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Business, Corporate, Banking
Criminal Law and Procedure
Employment and Labor Law
Environmental/Natural Resource Law
Estate Planning
Family Law/Child & Family
Health Law
Human Rights
Intellectual Property Law
International Law
Public Interest/Social Justice
Real Estate Transactions
Tax Law
Technology Law
Trial Advocacy