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The Dedman School of Law offers two graduate degree programs for lawyers trained outside of the United States:

The LL.M. degree for Foreign Law School Graduates is a one- year, full-time program for students who hold a basic law degree from a recognized foreign law school. Students enrolled in this degree program must complete 24 credit hours including the required two-credit course in Perspectives of the American Legal System. The remaining courses are elective and offer a wide range of choices. Students may take courses in international and comparative law that focus on such areas as business, banking and finance, trade, taxation, intellectual property, environmental law, criminal law, and human rights. They may also choose from a large selection of basic and advanced U.S. law courses, including first year foundation courses and upper division elective courses that cover such diverse topics as antitrust, securities, family law, criminal law and procedure, bankruptcy, corporate law, taxation (including partnership, corporate, and federal income tax), environmental law, oil and gas, employment law, intellectual property (including patent, trademark, and copyright), internet technology, and constitutional law (including free speech, freedom of religion, and civil rights).

The S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) is the highest post-graduate degree offered by the Dedman School of Law. It is primarily a research and writing degree program in which the candidate conducts extensive post-graduate level legal research leading to submission of an acceptable doctoral dissertation of publishable quality within a five-year period. This program is intended for highly qualified candidates seeking a legal academic career or a high level, policy-oriented governmental or inter-governmental position.

For more information about academic requirements for these two programs, see Degree Requirements.

For more information about admission to these programs, contact the Admissions Office at lawadmit@smu.edu.

Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and Professor of Practice

J. Mark McWatters

Email: mmcwatters@smu.edu

Phone: 214-768-2839

B.B.A. Texas Christian University
M.B.A. Michigan State University
J.D. University of Texas School of Law
LL.M. Columbia University School of Law
LL.M. New York University School of Law


J. Mark McWatters serves as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs at the SMU Dedman School of Law.  In such capacity, he oversees the law school's LL.M. and S.J.D. programs.  In addition, he serves as Professor of Practice, teaching multiple courses in the taxation area at the law school and at the SMU Cox School of Business.  In April 2012, he was appointed to the Governing Board of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and in September 2012, he was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

Immediately prior to joining SMU Dedman School of Law, Mark served as a member of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Congressional Oversight Panel which was charged by the U.S. Department of Treasury with overseeing the investment of $700 billion of taxpayer funds in a large array of significant financial institutions.  Prior to his appointment to the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel, he practiced for over twenty-five years as a domestic and cross-border tax, M&A and corporate finance attorney and served as a partner with Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. (now Norton Rose Fulbright), Patton Boggs L.L.P. and Hughes & Luce L.L.P. (now K&L Gates L.L.P.) and as counsel with HBK Capital Management L.P.  In addition, he served as a judicial clerk to the Hon. Walter Ely of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Los Angeles.

Mark received his J.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Law where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.  He also received an LL.M. degree from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a James Kent Scholar, and an LL.M. degree in Taxation from New York University School of Law.  Mark is licensed to practice law in Texas and New York and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Texas.