Dedman School of Law

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Dedman School of Law
SMU Dedman Law.png
MottoVeritas Liberabit Vos
Parent schoolSouthern Methodist University
School typePrivate
Endowment$1.633 billion (parent institution for FY 2019)
DeanJennifer M. Collins
LocationDallas, Texas, U.S.
32°50′47″N 96°47′10″W / 32.8464°N 96.7861°W / 32.8464; -96.7861Coordinates: 32°50′47″N 96°47′10″W / 32.8464°N 96.7861°W / 32.8464; -96.7861
Faculty50 full-time; 10 emeritus; 94 adjunct
USNWR ranking56nd (2021)[1]

SMU Dedman School of Law, commonly referred to as SMU Law School or Dedman School of Law is a law school located in Dallas, Texas. It was founded in February 1925. SMU Law School is located on the campus of its parent institution, Southern Methodist University.

SMU’s Law School was renamed SMU Dedman School of Law in February 2001 in honor of its late benefactors, Robert H. Dedman Sr. and his wife, Nancy Dedman. SMU Law School was the only law school in Dallas until UNT opened its law school in 2014. The current dean of the law school is Jennifer Collins.

Some of the Law School’s alumni include White House Counsel, Chairs of the House Judiciary Committee, Foreign Minister of India, Chief Justices of Indonesia and Thailand, and the Chief Legal Counsel of AT&T and Mark Cuban Companies.

SMU Dedman School of Law is one of ten law schools in Texas. The school has graduated five Fortune 500 Chief Executives (the most of any school according to Business Insider), justices of the Texas Supreme Court, federal and state judges, and several U.S. and state government officials, senators, and representatives.

Academic Profile[edit]

SMU Dedman School of Law offers Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees.[2] 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.

Aerial view of the SMU Campus with downtown Dallas

The class that enrolled in the fall of 2019 has a median LSAT score of 161 and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.7. LSAT/UGPA medians were calculated by the Law School Admission Council based on matriculant lists provided by the law school to the American Bar Association.[3]

Each JD student must complete 87 credit hours. Thirty-one of these hours comprise the mandatory first-year curriculum. After the first year, students must complete a course in professional responsibility, two upper-level writing courses (including an edited writing seminar in which an extensive scholarly, expository writing project is reviewed and critiqued by the professor), Constitutional Law II, and a practical skills course. All students are required to perform 30 hours of public service before graduating.

Programs and Resources[edit]

Dedman Law is home to five independent 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.

Serving the community since 1947, Dedman Law offers several law clinics for upper-division students where, under the supervision of clinic directors, our students serve as advocates on behalf of the community in many areas of the law. The law clinics include: the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, Civil Clinic, Criminal Justice Clinic, Family Immigration Detention Clinic, Federal Taxpayers Clinic, First Amendment Clinic, Consumer Advocacy Project, Small Business Clinic & Trademark Clinic, Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women, Innocence Clinic, Patent Law Clinic, and Vansickle Family Law Clinic.

Dedman Law offers a summer program at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England, numerous international programs, and Underwood Law Library.

SMU Underwood Library

Underwood Law Library[edit]

SMU’s Underwood Law Library is the largest private academic law library west of the Mississippi River .[4] Its collections include approximately 662,465 law-related volumes and equivalents, ranking the library among the top 20% of all law libraries in the United States.[4]


In 2020, SMU Dedman School of Law was ranked No. 56 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[5]

The National Law Journal has ranked SMU Dedman School of Law 28th in “go-to” law schools.

Business Insider ranked SMU Dedman School of Law 21st in Law schools that have the best alumni for networking and finding legal jobs and 32nd overall. SmartClass ranked Dedman between 24th and 37th in the nation from 2008 until today rising every year since the ranking's inception.

The school was ranked 8th in the nation for Tax Law and 3rd in the nation for real estate law by Law Street Media.

SSRN ranked Dedman in the top 30 law schools utilizing a new methodology that assimilates bar passage rates, employment statistics, Professor access, and other actual performance metrics that accentuate output as opposed to input, such as LSAT scores or undergraduate GPA.

Among all publications, SMU Law places between 19th and 46th. Excluding their highest and lowest ranking they consistently rank within the top 20–30 institutions in America. The school boasts a strong alumni class, top regional placement, and consistently robust employment outcomes (employed 92% of 2018 class within 9 months of graduation and 24% in the NLJ 250).


Dedman School of Law Graduates

According to SMU's official 2018 ABA-required disclosures, 80% of the Class of 2018 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[6] SMU's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 10.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2018 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[7]

Dedman School of Law in 2014 ranked #1 among Texas law schools’ placement for permanent, full-time jobs requiring bar passage and professional jobs where a JD is an advantage, that were not funded by the law school.


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at SMU for the 2020-2021 academic year is $83,464.[8] The average amount borrowed for law school by members of the 2014 graduating class was $124,617.38.

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Southern Methodist University (Dedman)".
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-15. Retrieved 2009-07-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "FAQs | SMU Dedman School of Law | Dallas Texas". Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-14. Retrieved 2016-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2014-03-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2014-07-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Southern Methodist University". Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Raleigh Brown". Southern Methodist University.
  10. ^ "Judge Jeff Cox". Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  11. ^ "Todd Hunter's Biography". Retrieved March 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  13. ^ "Barbara M.G. Lynn". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  14. ^ "State Rep. Kenneth Sheets District 107 (R-Dallas)". The Texas Tribune. Archived from the original on March 23, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  15. ^ "William Steger". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 16 May 2013.

External links[edit]