Texas A&M University School of Law
|Texas A&M University|
School of Law
|Parent school||Texas A&M University|
|School type||Public university|
|Endowment||$11.6 billion (University System and Foundations, 2017)|
|Dean||Robert B. Ahdieh|
|Location||Fort Worth, Texas, United States|
|USNWR ranking||83rd (2020)|
Texas A&M University School of Law is a public, ABA-accredited law school located in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. The law school is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree through its full-time and part-time programs. Students may also pursue a Master of Laws (LL.M) or Master of Jurisprudence (M.Jur.) degree either online or in-residence.
Founded in 1989, the law school began as the Dallas/Fort Worth School of Law in Irving, Texas, then became the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 1992. On June 26, 2012, Texas A&M University reached an agreement with Texas Wesleyan University whereby it would take over ownership and operational control of the law school, to be renamed the Texas A&M University School of Law. The agreement was finalized on August 12, 2013, with Texas A&M purchasing the school and all its physical and licensing assets for $73 million.
The school confers the Juris Doctor degree upon students who satisfactorily complete a 90-hour course of study, rigorous writing requirement, experiential learning requirement, and a 30-hour pro bono requirement. Concentrations are available in Business Law; Criminal Law, Justice & Policy; Dispute Resolution; Estate Planning; Family Law; Intellectual Property; Workplace Law; Energy Law; Environmental Law; and Water Law.
Since the law school's acquisition by Texas A&M University, it has increased the size of the faculty by 30% while reducing the size of incoming classes for an 8.4:1 student-faculty ratio in the 2016-17 academic year. It also boosted the overall scholarship budget by 65%.
Through the Advocacy Program, students may compete in Moot Court (appellate advocacy), Mock Trial (trial advocacy) and Alternative Dispute Resolution (negotiation, mediation and arbitration).
The Texas A&M Law Fellowship is devoted to raising awareness of legal work in the public interest sector. The student-run organization awards fellowships to deserving students who work in public interest organizations during the summer by raising money at the annual Law Fellowship Gala and Auction.
The legal clinics offered at the law school include the Community Legal Access Clinic, Criminal Defense Clinic, Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, Family Law and Benefits Clinic, Immigrant Rights Clinic, Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, Low Income Tax Clinic, and Wills and Estates Clinic. Students who are accepted into the clinic are supervised by practicing attorneys and a faculty supervisor. In 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office approved a clinic at the law school after the school had shown a strong intellectual property program. The school has expanded that program, doubling that faculty in 2015.
As part of the transition from a private to a public institution, in 2015 the law school announced that it would offer in-state tuition beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, resulting in a 15.39% reduction in tuition and fees for Texas residents. It also guarantees a locked tuition rate to all students for up to four academic years.
For the 2017-18 academic year, full-time resident tuition and fees are $28,504; for non-residents, tuition and fees are $34,498.
Texas A&M University is ranked 83rd in the 2020 edition of the U.S. News Rankings of Best Law Schools. The overall ranking has increased significantly since 2015 when it was unranked. U.S. News had previously ranked the law school 149th (2016), 111th (2017), and 92nd (2018). The school is also ranked 8th for its intellectual property law program and 23rd for its part-time law program for 2020.
In 2018, the law school had an overall first-time bar exam pass rate of 82.83%. That performance was fifth best among Texas law schools behind Baylor Law School (92.03%), University of Texas School of Law (90.88%), Texas Tech University School of Law (87.07%), and SMU Dedman School of Law (84.81%), while ahead of University of Houston Law Center (80.00%), South Texas College of Law (72.12%), St. Mary's University School of Law (61.67%), UNT Dallas College of Law (60.38%), and Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law (45.19%).
For all 2016 Texas A&M law graduates, 93.94% ultimately passed the bar exam within two years of graduation. That performance was fourth best among Texas law schools behind Baylor Law School (98.08%), SMU Dedman School of Law (96.31%), and Texas Tech University School of Law (94.44%), while ahead of University of Texas School of Law (91.98%), St. Mary's University School of Law (91.71%), South Texas College of Law (89.91%), Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law (87.41%), and University of Houston Law Center (85.15%). UNT Dallas College of Law did not have a graduating class in 2016.
Out of 183 total graduates of the Class of 2017, 74.32% (or 136 graduates) obtained full-time, long-term employment for which bar passage was required or for which a J.D. was an advantage within 10 months of graduation. 63.93% (or 117 graduates) were employed in long-term, full-time, bar passage required jobs excluding solo practice.
16.39% (or 30 graduates) were unemployed and seeking work, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short term, or part-time job within 10 months of graduation.
On April 7, 2014, Texas A&M University Provost Karen L. Watson sent a letter to alumni of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law confirming that Texas A&M would not be re-issuing diplomas to Texas Wesleyan alumni as it lacked the necessary accreditation to do so. In August 2015, some Texas Wesleyan University School of Law alumni filed a class-action suit against Texas A&M University to resolve their alumni status. The lawsuit was dismissed by the judge for the Northern District of Texas on January 14, 2016.
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