Dedman School of Law

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Coordinates: 32°50′47″N 96°47′10″W / 32.8464°N 96.7861°W / 32.8464; -96.7861

SMU Dedman School of Law
SMU Dedman Law.png
Motto Veritas Liberabit Vos
Motto in English
The Truth Shall Set You Free
Established 1925
Type Private
Parent institution
Southern Methodist University
Dean Jennifer M. Collins
Academic staff
Students 900
Location Dallas, Texas, United States
Campus Urban

SMU Dedman School of Law, commonly referred to as SMU Law School or Dedman School of Law is a prominent professional graduate law school located in Dallas, Texas. It was founded in February 1925. SMU Law School is located on the picturesque campus of Southern Methodist University, renowned for its classic Collegiate Georgian architecture. The school was renamed Dedman School of Law in February 2001 in honor of its benefactors, the late Robert H. Dedman, Sr. and his wife, Nancy. The Dedman School of Law boasts one of the largest legal libraries in the American Southwest and in the nation with over 750,000 volumes. Graduates of the school include numerous state supreme court justices, U.S. federal judges, academics, state and nationally elected officials, philanthropists and prominent business leaders, including more Fortune 500 CEOs than any other law school in the world, amongst its distinguished alumni.

According to SMU Dedman's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 69.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[1]

Academic profile[edit]

SMU Dedman School of Law offers Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees.[2] In addition to the full-time, three-year J.D. program, the law school also offers a part-time, four-year evening J.D. program.[3] The school offers two joint degree programs, a J.D./M.A. in Economics and a J.D./M.B.A. The J.D./M.A. in Economics is offered in connection with the SMU Department of Economics in Dedman College and the J.D./M.B.A. is offered in connection with the Cox School of Business.

The SMU Dedman School of Law is one of the more selective law schools in the United States.[4] The average undergraduate GPA among students admitted to the full-time day program in 2007 was 3.69, while the median LSAT score was 164. Of the 2010 graduating class, about a quarter reported themselves as minorities and nearly half are women.

The SMU Dedman School of Law is one of the most expensive law schools in the country, yet over $5 million in scholarship aid was awarded during the 2007-2008 term and about 50% of incoming students received scholarship assistance.


SMU Dedman School of Law is currently ranked 42nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[5] Situated in Dallas, TX, many of its graduates are employed in the area. In a survey published by D Magazine in May 2003, about one-third of "leading lawyers" in Dallas are SMU Dedman School of Law graduates.

A sizeable number of its alumni work throughout the U.S. in every major city and abroad in over 100 countries.

Alumni include, both in the U.S. and abroad, three justices of the Supreme Court of Japan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indonesia, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, and several justices on the highest courts of Egypt, Brazil, and Columbia. Recently, five of the alumni were justices of the Supreme Court of Texas and another was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri. Currently nine alumni serve on federal courts in addition to over 100 judges on various other courts in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas, which includes the Presiding Judge for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Chief Judge for the Oklahoma State Court of Civil Appeals. Alumna Harriet Miers served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff and (later) White House Counsel for then-President George W. Bush. In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated Harriet Miers for a position as Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court. However, Miers later asked to be withdrawn from consideration when it became evident that neither side of the aisle would support her nomination. Former Texas State Senator O.H. "Ike" Harris of Dallas County and later Austin was the Dedman student president during the late 1950s. Another Dedman graduate was Judge William M. Steger of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, based in Tyler, who served from 1971 until his death in 2006.

Still another Dedman graduate is Texas State Representative Todd Ames Hunter, now in his seventh nonconsecutive term in Corpus Christi, where he maintains a law practice.[6]

Dedman School of Law alumni have held high government positions in the United States and abroad including Counsel to the President, Assistant Secretary of Education, Ambassador to Mexico, and Ambassador to Sweden. Eight alumni have served as U.S. Congressmen, five of which served at the same time. Alumni also have included the Chief of Staff for the Republic of Korea; the President of the Senate of Thailand; the Argentinean Ambassador to the U.S.; the Ministers of Justice for the Republic of Korea, Argentina, and Nepal; the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Georgia, Chief Minister of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in India; Minister of the Environment and Energy of Costa Rica; a Member of the Parliament of Kuwait; and managing partners of some of the largest law firms in Brazil and Argentina. In addition the Dallas County Judge and Dallas County District Attorney are graduates of the Law School.

Programs and resources[edit]

Dedman Law publishes five law journals: The SMU Law Review, The International Lawyer, Journal of Air Law and Commerce, Law and Business Review of the Americas, and the SMU Science & Technology Law Review. Dedman Law offers a summer program at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, five legal clinics, numerous international programs, and Underwood Law Library.

Adjunct Faculty of Note[edit]

Bryan Garner Distinguished Research Professor has written several books about English usage and style, including Garner's Modern American Usage and Elements of Legal Style. He is the editor-in-chief of all current editions of Black's Law Dictionary. He has coauthored two books with Justice Antonin Scalia: Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (2008) and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts (2012). Founder and president of LawProse, Inc.

Peter S. Vogel, a partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, has been Adjunct since 1986, and since 2000 taught courses on the Law of eCommerce and 2012 also taught a course on eDiscovery & eEvidence.


According to SMU's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 69.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[7] SMU's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 14.2%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[8]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at SMU for the 2014-2015 academic year is $66,757.[9] The average amount borrowed for law school by members of the 2014 graduating class was $124,617.38. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $259,552.[10]


External links[edit]