How to Apply

We are delighted you are considering SMU Dedman School of Law for your legal education. For nearly 100 years, this law school has trained women and men to be prominent lawyers in both business and law, nationally and internationally.

SMU Dedman Law offers a full-time, three-year J.D. program and a part-time, four-year evening program.  SEE THE J.D. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS BELOW.  We also offer two joint degrees, a J.D./M.B.A. offered jointly by the law school and the Cox School of Business, and a J.D./M.A. in economics offered jointly by the law school and the SMU Department of Economics in Dedman College.   Learn more about joint degree programs. 

The graduate degree (LL.M.) programs offered by SMU Dedman Law are the LL.M. (General), the LL.M.in Taxation and the LL.M. degree for Foreign Law School Graduates.  SEE THE LL.M. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS BELOW.


J.D. Application Requirements

J.D. applicants must submit the following

  1. An electronic application via the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), available hereThis application process is fully accessible to the visually impaired.
  2. Résumé
  3. Personal statement
  4. Motivation for attending SMU Dedman School of Law
  5. $75 nonrefundable application fee, payable to SMU Dedman School of Law
  6. CAS report
Your file will not be reviewed until all required materials have been received.

Letters of recommendation are optional.  If you choose to submit letters of recommendation, we will accept up to three (3).  Submit your letters of recommendation through the CAS Letter of Recommendation Service.
 

J.D. Application Deadlines

Applications are processed on a continuous basis beginning in early November. It is in your best interest to submit your application as early as possible.
  Early Decision* Regular Decision Late Decision
LSAT Exam June or October December or February** Any
Application and Supporting Materials Due November 15 February 15 After February 15
Decision Notification End of January End of April After file completion, on a rolling basis
*Our early decision program is non-binding.  Any application that is complete by the early decision deadline will be evaluated as part of our early decision program.  Early decision applications may be accepted, denied, or held for further review.  If your application is held for further review, it will be reconsidered with regular decision applications.
**We will accept a February LSAT score for regular decision, even if the scores are not posted by February 15.
 

Early Decision

Our early decision program is non-binding. Applications and supporting materials, including your CAS report, must be received by November 15. By the end of January, we will inform you that your application has been accepted, denied, or held for further review. If your application is held for further review, it will be reconsidered with regular decision applications.  If you are applying for the Hatton W. Sumners Scholarship or the Sarah T. Hughes Scholarship (both as described here), It is strongly recommended that you submit your application and supporting documentation by the early decision deadlines.

Regular Decision

Applications and supporting materials, including your CAS report, must be received by February 15. We will accept the February LSAT for regular decision, even if the scores are posted after February 15. We will inform you that your application has been accepted, denied, or placed on a waiting list by the end of April.


Late Decision

Late decision applications are considered on a space-available basis. Applications will be reviewed upon completion, and decisions will be made shortly thereafter.
 

Waiver of Minimum Hour Requirement (Reduced Load Option)

A limited number of well-qualified J.D. applicants may request a waiver of the minimum hour requirement. Applicants seeking admission under the reduced-load option should submit a written statement explaining why they are interested in this option.
 

Qualifications for Admission to the Bar

In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners. 
 

The Admissions Process

The goal of our admissions process is to identify applicants who will flourish in law school and who will gain a distinct lifelong advantage by having attained a Dedman law degree. The application process is our opportunity to look at you as a whole person. We want to know about you and your accomplishments.

Throughout the admissions process, the Admissions Office will make every effort to give you prompt and individualized attention. Every application is read in its entirety; no decisions are made on the "numbers" alone. When evaluating an application, we look for well-rounded students who have proven evidence of academic success and who will enrich our overall educational community. Work and life experiences are also valuable components of an application, but they will be weighted more heavily in applications to the part-time evening program.

You are welcome to apply to our full-time day program, our part-time evening program, or both programs with only one application and one application fee. Please note, however, that an accepted applicant is only offered admission to one program. For this reason, please state a program preference in your application. If you are interested in learning more about our part-time evening program, please attend one of our information sessions.


Before you apply

Register to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Registration materials and test dates may be obtained at www.LSAC.org.
Register with the LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Registration for the CAS can be accomplished at the same time you register for the LSAT. Please note that LSAC will not send any law school a report until they have received transcripts from every undergraduate institution you have attended, including summer sessions and semesters abroad. You also must pay any necessary fees. SMU's LSAC code is 6660.

Although exceptions may be made in special circumstances, an entering student is required to have received a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university prior to enrollment in the School of Law. The School of Law does not prescribe a fixed course of pre-legal study, but does examine the record of each applicant to determine whether the undergraduate courses taken reflect adequate preparation for the study of law. The student should pursue a well-rounded course of study, with particular attention devoted to the development of analytical skills, and facility and style in the use of the English language.

Graduate programs (LL.M.) APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

LL.M. applicants must submit the following

Applicants to the LL.M. programs (Comparative and International, Taxation, and General) must submit the following:
  1. Completed application
    1. APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS in PDF format 
    2. Download the LL.M. APPLICATION in PDF format (For the accessibility version, please click here; recommendation form, please click here)
    3. LSAC ELECTRONIC APPLICATION
  2. Personal statement
  3. Résumé
  4. Two letters of recommendation
  5. $75 (U.S. dollars) nonrefundable application fee payable to SMU Dedman School of Law (this will be waived for any international student who so requests)
  6. Certified undergraduate and law school transcripts. Transcripts must be mailed directly to the Admissions Office from your schools.
    1. In addition, international applicants must submit personal and bank certifications of sufficient financial resources to cover anticipated tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. These certifications must be in U.S. dollars. 
    2. International applicants for whom English is not the first language also must take the TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE(TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Service, PO Box 6151 Princeton, New Jersey 08541. The score must be reported to the Admissions Office directly from the Educational Testing Service. It is important when applying that you indicate on the TOEFL form the code number 6660, department code 03, to ensure that your score is sent to SMU Dedman School of Law. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 575 or its equivalent.

Application Deadline

Applications for LL.M. programs are processed on a continuous basis beginning in early December. It is in your best interest to submit your application as early as possible. Applications must be postmarked by April 1. All supporting documentation must be received by April 15. Late applications will be accepted on a space-available basis. Applications will be reviewed upon completion, and decisions will be made shortly thereafter.
 

Bar Exam Eligibility

International students who wish to practice law in this country and qualify for admission to the bar in one of the states or the District of Columbia should familiarize themselves with the bar admission requirements in the particular jurisdiction where they plan to practice. Bar admission requirements vary from state to state. Some states require applicants to have a J.D. degree, and others will require only a certain number of course credits from a law school in this country.  Texas now allows qualified foreign educated attorneys who have completed an LL.M. degree to sit for the Texas Bar examination.
 
For complete rules governing Admission to the State Bar of Texas CLICK HERE.

For a fact sheet that summarizes the Eligibility of Foreign-Educated Applicants and Foreign Attorneys to take the Texas Bar Examination CLICK HERE.
 

Application to the J.D. Program

The J.D. is the basic law degree for U.S. law students.  For this reason, the School of Law does not normally consider the degree appropriate for international students already possessing basic law degrees within their home countries.  However, in a limited number of instances, international students who have graduated with distinction in the LL.M. program of the Dedman School of Law and who can demonstrate legitimate graduate study objectives for furthering their careers in their home countries may be considered for admission to the J.D. program.  These students are not required to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).  Admission under such conditions will normally entail an additional study of 72-87 credit hours.  Advanced credit, if any, is based upon the student’s foreign law study, not on the LL.M. credit.​
 
 

 

 
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