SMU 1L, Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Stephanie13
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby Stephanie13 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:52 pm

What is the atmosphere like? Does SMU Law have the same reputation for preps and polo shirts as the undergrad does? How competitive is the student body, would you say SMU has a cutthroat atmosphere? Thanks!

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TonyDigital
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby TonyDigital » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:18 pm

I might get an acceptance from SMU but will probably be looking at paying sticker if I do. As I'm sure you know, SMU has a very high sticker price. Do you think it's worth it? Thanks...

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TonyDigital
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby TonyDigital » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:40 pm

Do you know if a lot of SMU grads compete well with UH grads for jobs in Houston? Or do most SMU grads self-select to stay in Dallas?

Also PM sent. Thanks.

Stephanie13
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby Stephanie13 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 5:43 pm

How well do SMU grads fair in Austin? How do you like SMU? And how did you come to choose it? Oh and thanks for taking questions!!

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eberl032
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby eberl032 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:13 pm

Is the political atmosphere as conservative as Ive read? (This is ok with me, but others may not agree..) Whats Dallas like? Ive never been to Texas. Have you noticed any specialties that seem to stick out? (i.e exceptional environmental program, or tax program, ect...) Thanks.

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Bustang
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby Bustang » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:16 pm

What other schools did you apply to? Are you happy with your decision of choosing SMU? Can you chime in on my personal situation of choosing between U of H/SMU at sticker vs. Baylor with full tuition covered?

jms1987
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby jms1987 » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:14 pm

Thanks for taking questions, SMU is one of the schools I'm interested in and I was just going to ask if any 1L's were around, lol. Whats the Dallas area like to live in so far?

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riburn3
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby riburn3 » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:31 am

How's the social scene at SMU? Do classmates hang out with each other?

How has your workload been so far? Do you feel overwhelmed?

jadedV
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby jadedV » Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:01 am

riburn3 wrote:How's the social scene at SMU? Do classmates hang out with each other?

How has your workload been so far? Do you feel overwhelmed?



I'm going to chime in on this one, being a fellow SMU 1L myself ;)

Dallas is a fun city to live in, and because of this I believe the social scene at SMU is VERY active. This is the busiest time of the year for 1L's, yet people are still going out on Thursday and Friday nights (without going overboard, for the most part). Many students able to balance fun and academics, which is great to see in law school. But like I said, this is the busiest time in the semester, and with finals looming, we'll see how well they've truly balanced things.

I'll also say that I believe SMU's faculty is EXCELLENT. Many of our professors graduated from ivy league schools and have incredible records. I would encourage you to look at the faulty biographies on SMU's webpage. Their teaching, for the most part, is engaging and effective. This is something SMU should really do a better job advertising, because I did my research, yet I am still pleasantly surprised every day.

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MoS
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby MoS » Sun Nov 29, 2009 2:56 am

Is there anything you wish you had know about SMU (coarses, professors, students, etc.) before you attended?/ Was there anything shocking to you after the first week or so?

Yeah I know this is two weeks old, but I hope you still have time to respond. Thanks

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FunkyJD
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby FunkyJD » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:30 pm

From your experience and observations, how would you critique SMU Law's career services office? Are the folks there proactive and helpful to students (in terms of providing useful career advice, helping students obtain good externships, and bringing top firms to campus for recruiting), or are they more of a disappointment?

gprime
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby gprime » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:30 pm

How Christian is SMU? Am I going to need to sign a declaration of faith, as many Christian universities require? Would I be able to find a single Jew or Atheist outside of the faculty? Or for that matter on the faculty?

nontradintexas
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby nontradintexas » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:37 pm

gprime wrote:How Christian is SMU? Am I going to need to sign a declaration of faith, as many Christian universities require? Would I be able to find a single Jew or Atheist outside of the faculty? Or for that matter on the faculty?


Religion is not an issue - you don't have to sign anything and I haven't seen any type of university-mandated religious activity and I don't recall God ever being mentioned by a member of the faculty or administration.

There is a fairly active Christian Legal Society, but there are also Jewish and Muslim societies, too. Not sure if there is an atheist society, but it could be they're all too apathetic to unite. :wink: In reality, though, it would not be discouraged.

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kalvano
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:55 pm

gprime wrote:How Christian is SMU? Am I going to need to sign a declaration of faith, as many Christian universities require? Would I be able to find a single Jew or Atheist outside of the faculty? Or for that matter on the faculty?



It's not a "Christian" university in the sense you are thinking of.

jadedV
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby jadedV » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:47 am

MoS wrote:Is there anything you wish you had know about SMU (coarses, professors, students, etc.) before you attended?/ Was there anything shocking to you after the first week or so?

Yeah I know this is two weeks old, but I hope you still have time to respond. Thanks


What I was surprised at is the lack of diversity in the 1L class. However, the older classes (and especially the evening students) seem more diverse.

Like I said earlier, I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I have enjoyed the professors. SMU has a very talented staff.

FunkyJD wrote:From your experience and observations, how would you critique SMU Law's career services office? Are the folks there proactive and helpful to students (in terms of providing useful career advice, helping students obtain good externships, and bringing top firms to campus for recruiting), or are they more of a disappointment?


I do like the career services office so far. They send out emails almost daily about jobs and internship opportunities. I have always gotten a quick response back from the career services, and I have been able to personally meet with them at my convenience. I'm only a 1L so I can't speak for the OCI's, but so far we (1L's) have been invited to several law firm receptions by some of the top law firms in the nation that have offices in Dallas. So far, so good.

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MoS
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby MoS » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:16 am

I have heard that the professors are not the nicest group. Not that they pick on people, but they are extremely difficult to reach outside of class. I think this complaint was based on a Princeton Review statistic, they are in the bottom 20 in the professors that rock, catagory. Any truth to this? Are they the anti-rock professors?

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Cavalier
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby Cavalier » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:16 am

Do you have your grades yet?

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UTL_plz
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby UTL_plz » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:14 pm

Thanks for taking time to answer questions, betasteve.

I am wondering about a 1L's class schedule. I found on SMU's website the following:

Fall
Civil Procedure I (3 hours)
Contracts I (2 hours)
Criminal Law (3 hours)
Legal Research, Writing & Advocacy (3 hours)
Property I (2 hours)
Torts I (3 hours)

Spring
Civil Procedure II (2 hours)
Constitutional Law I (2 hours)
Contracts II (3 hours)
Legal Research, Writing & Advocacy (3 hours)
Property II (3 hours)
Torts II (2 hours)


Thats 6 classes each semester and 16 hours, with most of the major 1L courses being offered in two parts. Many other law schools offer these first year courses -- contracts, torts, property, civpro, con law, crim -- by giving half of them in the fall and the other half in the spring. For example, UH gives 3 major 1L courses and LRW in the fall, and the 3 others majors and LRW in the spring, for a total of 4 classes each semester, or 14 hours.

What are your thoughts about SMU's first year course load and scheduling?

Horns4LYFE
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby Horns4LYFE » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:38 am

Ok, I'll bite.

I too am a 1L at SMU.

I am aiming for a job in the Houston legal community, so perhaps I can better assist you in answering some of your questions.

I know my fellow classmate Betasteve did his best to answer some of y'alls questions on job placement, but I feel that is an area where I have some experience.

SMU has a MAJOR lock on Dallas, and for the most part, Fort Worth. Not a big shocker, I know. However, many will be surprised to know that SMU does have a decent name in Houston as well. Sure Houston has three law schools of its own (with U of H and STCL at the top), but the SMU name does travel to Houston. Speaking from experience, I was recently offered a position with one of the prosecutor's offices for this summer (not going to say whether it was County Attorney, District Attorney, or US Attorney, but it was definitely one of them). I had to turn it down because of previous internship commitments, however, the group I was with included a few U of H students, one or two STCL students, some Ivy and some Random top 50 schools.

For anyone contemplating between U of H and SMU, I have a contrary view to Betasteve, I am going to go out on a limb and say SMU is worth sticker. The faculty is amazing and there truly are tons of opportunities to find an internship, clerkship, or job. The better the grades, the easier that task will be (obviously). Betasteve can attest, the caliber of speakers that come to the school even for lunch-time presentations is amazing. Just last week we had a mixed panel of various State and Appellate court judges and US Circuit Court Judges lecture us on appellate arguments. Pretty neat stuff for a law student.

Having spoken with various Houston area attorneys (some judges, some mediators, some partners at large firms, some solo practitioners) the consensus is that Houston has an enormous legal market that SMU students typically shy away from. It is true that most SMU students are going to try to find a job in the metroplex. However, there is ample opportunity to venture into the Houston legal community as well.

Also, don't go to Baylor.

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ec2xs
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby ec2xs » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:44 am

Does SMU have any pull in Austin or San Antonio?

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chadwick218
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby chadwick218 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:51 am

With the quality of SMU's undergraduate pool, how successful are law students in hooking up with undergraduates?

Ahh, if only future law students were treated like the Tennesee football recruits.

fallguy
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby fallguy » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:33 am

Horns4LYFE wrote:
SMU has a MAJOR lock on Dallas, and for the most part, Fort Worth.




Does anyone know more about SMU's placement in Fort Worth, or even the legal market in Fort Worth? I live there now, and I really like it. When people say that SMU dominates Dallas, I newer knew if that meant they dominate the whole Metroplex. You know, because Fort Worth has this whole "Dallas ain't the boss of me!" thing going on.

Any insight would be appreciated.

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UTL_plz
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby UTL_plz » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:51 am

Can you give a little more insight on the first year courses? Specifically, since Ks, CivPro, Property, and Torts are all separated in two parts and given each semester, would you say the classes get more in depth than similar classes offered elsewhere? Or perhaps you cover the same material that, say, UH covers only in twice the time at a slower pace?

Have professors addressed this at all? Have they mentioned whether the Spring Final will be cumulative of all the first year material?

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kalvano
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:29 pm

fallguy wrote:
Horns4LYFE wrote:
SMU has a MAJOR lock on Dallas, and for the most part, Fort Worth.




Does anyone know more about SMU's placement in Fort Worth, or even the legal market in Fort Worth? I live there now, and I really like it. When people say that SMU dominates Dallas, I newer knew if that meant they dominate the whole Metroplex. You know, because Fort Worth has this whole "Dallas ain't the boss of me!" thing going on.

Any insight would be appreciated.



Fort Worth, too. The only school in Fort Worth is Wesleyan. SMU will do just fine in Fort Worth.

nontradintexas
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Re: SMU 1L, Taking Questions

Postby nontradintexas » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:53 pm

UTL_plz wrote:Can you give a little more insight on the first year courses? Specifically, since Ks, CivPro, Property, and Torts are all separated in two parts and given each semester, would you say the classes get more in depth than similar classes offered elsewhere? Or perhaps you cover the same material that, say, UH covers only in twice the time at a slower pace?

Have professors addressed this at all? Have they mentioned whether the Spring Final will be cumulative of all the first year material?


Professors haven't really mentioned this much. My Property prof said that SMU at one time had Property as a 1 semester, 4 hour course, and she was not able to cover nearly as much material as she does now. I would think that is pretty common. We don't take too many topics (in any subject) slowly. I'm fairly sure that we are covering more material, or at least covering slightly more material in a more in-depth fashion.

Several profs have mentioned that the spring final will not specifically cover fall material, but of course there will be some overlap because of the cumulative nature of the topics. For example, it would be difficult to have a torts final that didn't in some way involve negligence (a fall topic).




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