SMU Law School: A Guide to Programs and Admissions


Choosing the right law school is crucial to shaping your legal career. SMU Law School is a beacon of academic excellence and practical training among the many esteemed institutions. Nestled in the heart of a vibrant city, SMU Law School offers a unique blend of innovative programs, renowned faculty, and modern campus amenities. 

Read on to discover what makes Southern Methodist University Law School an exceptional choice for your legal education and how you can take the first steps toward a fulfilling legal career.

About SMU School of Law

Established in February 1925, SMU School of Law marked an important milestone with the celebration of its 75th anniversary. In 2001, it was renamed Dedman School of Law in honor of Dallas benefactors Nancy and Robert H. Dedman, Sr., and their family. SMU Dedman School of Law, with a distinguished legacy of over 17,000 graduates, has earned national and international acclaim for nurturing top-tier lawyers who thrive in legal and business environments.

The campus is in a beautiful residential area near downtown Dallas. The location offers an intimate learning community within a vibrant urban center, enhanced by an outstanding teaching faculty, distinguished guest lecturers, and a diverse student body from approximately 200 colleges and universities.

SMU Dedman School of Law provides fantastic opportunities inside and outside the classroom, blending a rich tradition with modern innovation. With students from 35 states and over 20 countries, it’s a place where local connects with global, and every student embarks on a journey filled with unparalleled educational experiences. 


Is SMU a Good Law School?

Considering a law school’s rankings, acceptance rate, bar passing rate, and career opportunities provides a comprehensive view of the institution’s quality and the success of its graduates. 

SMU Law School Ranking

Here’s a breakdown of the law school rankings in the following programs:

Ranking Category
45 Best Law Schools 
47 Business/Corporate Law 
51 Clinical Training
79 Constitutional Law 
64 Contracts/Commercial Law 
36 Criminal Law 
50 Dispute Resolution 
80 Environmental Law 
29 Health Care Law 
60 Intellectual Property Law 
42 International Law 
104 Legal Writing 
50 Tax Law 
47 Trial Advocacy 

SMU Law School is known for its quality education and standing in the academic community. The SMU Dedman Law School ranking is a testament to its commitment to excellence. SMU (Dedman) is ranked No. 45 (tie) in Best Law Schools, which reflects its strong performance across various widely accepted indicators of excellence. 

These law school rankings provide prospective students with a clear understanding of where the institution stands in the broader landscape of legal education and confirm its reputation as a leading law school.

SMU Law School Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate sheds light on the competitiveness of the admissions process. SMU Sedman School of Law’s acceptance rate of 33.9% is relatively low, especially compared to many general university programs.

A lower acceptance rate is often seen as a sign of selectivity and prestige. It means that the admissions process is rigorous and that the school is likely looking for candidates who meet specific high standards regarding academic achievements, test scores, and other relevant qualifications. 

While this selectivity can make admission more challenging, it also suggests that those accepted into the program have strong potential for success in their legal studies and future careers.

Bar Passing Rate

An 85.94% pass rate on the bar exam, as achieved by SMU Law School graduates in 2021 for first-time takers, is considered a high passing rate.

This figure demonstrates a strong alignment between the school’s curriculum and the bar exam requirements. It also reflects the effectiveness of the school’s educational approach, resources, and faculty in preparing students for this critical professional milestone.

To help you pursue a legal education, use the Law School Predictor. This tool assesses your chances of being accepted into different law schools, including SMU, based on your GPA and LSAT score.

Career Opportunities and Rankings at Dedman School of Law

Dedman School of Law has made its mark with excellent job placement, holding impressive local and national rankings. The rankings, all based on statistics provided to the American Bar Association (ABA) for the class of 2020, are represented below:

  • Ranked #26 among the “Go-To Law Schools” for placing the highest percentage of 2021 graduates into associate positions at the nation’s 100 largest law firms; The National Law Journal, March 2022
  • Positioned at #29 in the Top 50 “Go-To Law Schools”; The National Law Journal, March 2022

What SMU Law School Looks for in Applicants

SMU Dedman Law School takes a well-rounded approach, focusing on a blend of academic achievements and personal attributes. They seek candidates who meet academic standards and demonstrate passion and commitment to the legal field. Here’s a look into what SMU Law School emphasizes during the selection process:

SMU Law School GPA

The GPA is one of the core criteria for admissions at SMU Law School. The SMU Law School GPA requirements reflect the academic quality and determination of the institution’s values. To have a good shot at being accepted, here’s what you might consider aiming for:

  • 25th percentile GPA: 3.35
  • Median GPA: 3.71
  • 75th percentile GPA: 3.87

These numbers highlight the importance of maintaining a strong GPA throughout your undergraduate studies if you aim to join SMU’s respected legal community. For a better opportunity to be admitted, strive for a GPA that’s 3.71 or above.

SMU Law School LSAT Score

The LSAT score is essential to law school admissions as it provides insight into a student’s reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and critical thinking skills. The LSAT percentiles, which represent the typical scores that SMU Law School considers favorable, are as follows:

  • 25th percentile score: 160
  • Median LSAT score: 164
  • 75th percentile score: 165

These SMU LSAT scores show what the school typically looks for in its applicants. Aim for an LSAT score of 164 or higher to have a better chance of admission.

SMU Law School GRE Considerations

SMU does accept the GRE for admissions purposes, but only for those who have not previously taken the LSAT. This option broadens the opportunities for diverse candidates who may not have initially considered law as a career.

What are the Academic Programs and Specializations Offered by SMU?

The SMU Dedman School of Law has a range of prestigious programs tailored to different career paths and interests:

1. Juris Doctor (J.D.): The course runs for three years full-time.

2. Joint Degrees: For those interested in business or economics, options like the J.D./M.B.A. program or the J.D./M.A. in Economics are available.

3. Graduate Degrees (LL.M. and S.J.D.):

  • LL.M. Programs: Offered to U.S. and foreign-trained lawyers, with specialized programs like the LL.M. in Taxation and LL.M. (General). A J.D. degree from an ABA-approved school is needed for admission.
  • LL.M. for Foreign Law Graduates: This one-year, full-time program is for students with a recognized foreign law degree.
  • S.J.D.: The Doctor of Juridical Science is Dedman’s top post-graduate degree, aimed at those looking for high-ranking governmental positions or academic legal careers.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines


J.D. Application Requirements

Thinking about taking a legal career path? SMU offers a prestigious Juris Doctor (J.D.) program, and here’s what you need to know about the SMU Law School requirements for admission.


  1. Electronic Application

Applicants must submit an electronic application through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), which is accessible even to the visually impaired.


  1. CAS Report

A CAS report is crucial to the SMU Law School requirements. It’s a comprehensive summary of your academic history, and SMU requires it to review your application.


  1. Letters of Recommendation (Optional)

While not mandatory, you can enhance your application by providing up to three letters of recommendation. These can be submitted through the CAS Letter of Recommendation Service.

J.D. Application Deadlines

You can apply to SMU starting in early November and throughout the year. Here’s how it works:

Deadline Regular Decision Late Decision
Due Date for Applications and Related Materials March 1 After March 1
Decision Notification End of April After file completion, on a rolling basis

Remember, your file won’t be reviewed until all required materials are received, so make sure you have everything in place. The law school requirements may seem stringent, but they ensure that only the most committed and capable individuals are chosen.

SMU Law School Tuition and Scholarships

Knowing the tuition cost for SMU Law School is a vital step in planning your legal education. Understanding the financial commitment not only allows you to budget and seek financial aid if necessary but also helps you weigh the value of the education against the investment required, ensuring that you make an informed decision.

Here’s the breakdown of the tuition per semester:

Program Credit Hours Tuition General Student Fee Total Tuition
J.D. 1-8 $2,164 $304 $2,468
J.D. 9-11 $21,093 $304 $21,397
J.D. 12-17 (standard course load) $28,127 $304 $28,431
J.D. Over 17 $28,127 + $2,164/TCH $304 $30,291
LL.M. 1-7 $2,396 $304 $2,700
LL.M. 8-14 $28,127 $304 $28,431
LL.M. Over 14 $28,127 + $2,396/TCH $304 $30,291

SMU Dedman School of Law Scholarships Grants

SMU Dedman School of Law offers various scholarship opportunities to incoming students, both full and partial, based on academic achievement, LSAT performance, or individual experiences that might enhance the learning environment. 

Some scholarships are automatically considered with the application, while others, like the prestigious Hutchison Scholarship and the Thomas. W. Luce, III Centennial Dedman Law Scholars Program covers the full cost of tuition and fees. Other awards from private foundations, such as the Sumners Foundation Scholarship and the Sarah T. Hughes Scholarship, have specific requirements and deadlines. 

Some scholarships emphasize diversity and inclusion, reflecting the institution’s commitment to excellence. Overall, these financial aids aim to attract talented students and provide support based on merit and need.

Enhance Your Chances of Admission with Odyssey Test Prep

Is law school hard? Passing the LSAT, which measures skills in reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and critical thinking, is crucial to begin law school. The LSAT is considered the best predictor for admission, so you must thoroughly prepare to ace the test. 

Here are the recommended LSAT programs to help you overcome the LSAT:

LSAT Prep Course

An LSAT Prep Course is like a roadmap guiding you through the twists and turns of the exam. It offers structure, practice, and professional insights into what the LSAT demands. You’ll get detailed explanations, practice tests, and feedback on where you stand. The advantages? A clearer understanding of what to expect, strategies to tackle each section, and increased confidence. Enroll Now and Boost Your LSAT Score! Investing in a prep course could mean the difference between an average score and a great one.

LSAT Tutoring

LSAT Tutoring offers personalized one-on-one support for your specific needs. An LSAT tutor can focus on providing personalized strategies and targeted practice in every LSAT section. The advantages of this approach include flexibility, personalized attention, and guidance tailored to your unique challenges. Don’t Settle for Less – Choose Top-notch LSAT Tutoring.

Law School Admissions Consulting

Law School Admissions Consulting provides a comprehensive look at the application process. These services provide personalized guidance, from selecting schools that fit your goals to crafting an unforgettable personal statement. The advantage? A cohesive, compelling application that represents you at your best. It’s not just about a test score; it’s about presenting yourself as a complete and promising candidate. Don’t Leave Your Law School Admissions to Chance – Get Help from an LSAT Expert.


SMU Law School is more than an institution; it’s a community dedicated to fostering the legal leaders of tomorrow. Admission to a prestigious institution demands dedication, preparation, and support, not just desire.

Take advantage of an LSAT Free Consultation to understand your needs, explore your options, and make an informed decision that aligns with your goals. Seeking professional guidance can unlock your potential and help you achieve the LSAT score that opens doors to prestigious law schools like SMU.

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