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.
jtw1386
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SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby jtw1386 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:10 am

Anything and everything you wanted to know about SMU

woody_10
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby woody_10 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:13 am

Do you know anything about part-time students transferring into the full time program?

-Thanks

jtw1386
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby jtw1386 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:15 am

Yeah, I am actually a part-time student. They don't allow you to transfer from the part-time to the full-time or vice versa.

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MoS
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby MoS » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:16 am

What are the 1L summer job prospects like?

What are the 3L job prospects like?

Has the economic crunch has less of an effect in the Dallas area?

What type of networking activities do you get to participate in with Dallas lawyers?

Did you get scholarship information with your admission or did that come later?

How well do you think you were prepared for your first finals?

How competitive is it?

Also, do you know anything about the Law Institute for the Americas? The website is terrible, I am just curious if is it is really NAFTA/CAFTA-DR heavy, or if it deals with human rights and migrants issues too.

Thanks

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reasonable_man
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:19 am

Is it tough admitting Harriet [deleted] went to your school?

jtw1386
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby jtw1386 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:36 am

1. 1L summer job prospects are mostly based on what you can find yourself through networking. There are plenty of opportunities to network throughout the year, so if you put some effort into it, by the time second semester rolls around you should have enough contacts to find a summer job. Most law firms aren't looking for 1L's, so there is no active pursuant, at least not at this point into my first year. I'm in the part-time class, we have about 72 students, and at least 20 of us have jobs already lined up for the summer.

2. I'm not that familiar with the 3L job prospects. I don't have the exact percentage, but the most recent graduating class did pretty well considering the economy. SMU has great on-campus interviews that brings out most of the big firms and a lot of medium and small sized firms. Again, networking is real big at SMU, and there are lots of opportunities to take advantage of them, and if you do that, finding a job by graduation will not be that difficult.

3. As far as law firms go during this economy, most have of the big firms have performing the same as all the other locations across the US. Surprisingly the medium and small sized firms in Dallas have done very well. There are some medium sized firms, with about 10 lawyers, that have doubled their firm size in the past year. I would say Dallas has done pretty well during this economic crunch. Don't get me wrong, things have been better, but in two years or so, things will be a lot better.

4. Ive kind of already touched on this a little, but the networking opportunities are great in Dallas. Since it is the only law school in Dallas, we get a lot of opportunities to attend speeches, happy hours, forums, and seminars. They do a lot of events with local Dallas judges. The Dallas Association of Young Lawyers puts on a lot of events, and SMU has a great relationship with them. There are probably 15-20 opportunities per month to do some kind of networking.

5. scholarship info came with the admission packet, but it doesn't talk a lot about it. They do give out a lot of scholarship money, which is helpful since it is pretty expensive. My gpa and lsat were not that great, and I still got $10,000 a year.

6. I think I prepared enough for finals. I had a lot of help from some upper classmen friends, but its definitely a learnign experience. You'll study more for one final than you could ever imagine.

7. It's not that competitive. Don't get me wrong, there are those few who are just competive and don't want to help anyone, but that is not the majority. For the most part, everyone is very friendly and helpful, and willing to send notes if you miss class. Everyone wants to get a good grade, but everyone wants to help too.

8. I honestly don't much about the Law Institute for the Americas, sorry.

brocklanders12
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby brocklanders12 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:37 am

How socially connected and cohesive are the students? I live in a college town and my former roommate is in law school and everyone seemed to hang out with each other. Is that lost by being in a large city? Obviously, this may be different for you as a part time student with work compared to the full timers.

jtw1386
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby jtw1386 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm

All of the students, whether it is part-time or full-time are socially connected. I went to undergrad in Austin, so I was used to a big party scene, and surprisngly SMU does pretty well. On the weekends, and even some weekdays, there are plenty of people going out to one of the many bars in Dallas to hang out. Every Friday night is what is called "bar review" where all the law school goes out and just parties. Those always have a good turnout. Basically, you can be as soically connected as you want. If you don't want to be social at all, you can do that. But if you are the type of person that has to go out every night with a group of people, there are plenty of people at SMU that do the same thing. You really get to know the people in your section, since you seem them everyday, and those are probably going to be the people you hang out with the most. Unless you already know an upperclassmen, you probably won't hang out with them too much.

dewrober
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby dewrober » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:45 pm

Anyway you could share your numbers? I am also thinking about the PT program in the future.

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mcflooter06
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby mcflooter06 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:56 pm

jtw1386 wrote:
2. I'm not that familiar with the 3L job prospects. I don't have the exact percentage, but the most recent graduating class did pretty well considering the economy. SMU has great on-campus interviews that brings out most of the big firms and a lot of medium and small sized firms. Again, networking is real big at SMU, and there are lots of opportunities to take advantage of them, and if you do that, finding a job by graduation will not be that difficult.



My boyfriend graduated in '09, and it was rough, but definitely not as bad as the rest of the country. He got out with a good job (granted, not biglaw), and I know a good deal of people who did get into biglaw (top 10% and law review, mostly, but thats expected). A LOT of the kids who got offers after summer associate/OCI were asked to move back their start date, though. There are still tons of kids from that class jobless. However, I really do not see it as bad as it is in other places. And besides, I offer anecdotal evidence- who knows what will happen in 3 years?

brocklanders12
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby brocklanders12 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:11 am

jtw1386 wrote:All of the students, whether it is part-time or full-time are socially connected. I went to undergrad in Austin, so I was used to a big party scene, and surprisngly SMU does pretty well. On the weekends, and even some weekdays, there are plenty of people going out to one of the many bars in Dallas to hang out. Every Friday night is what is called "bar review" where all the law school goes out and just parties. Those always have a good turnout. Basically, you can be as soically connected as you want. If you don't want to be social at all, you can do that. But if you are the type of person that has to go out every night with a group of people, there are plenty of people at SMU that do the same thing. You really get to know the people in your section, since you seem them everyday, and those are probably going to be the people you hang out with the most. Unless you already know an upperclassmen, you probably won't hang out with them too much.


Thanks, that sounds awesome!

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MoS
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby MoS » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:41 am

I know they send out housing information with acceptances, but what is the price range close to campus versus a couple miles off campus?

How good is the career services office? Are they helpful?

jtw1386
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby jtw1386 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:31 pm

dewrober wrote:Anyway you could share your numbers? I am also thinking about the PT program in the future.



My gpa was a 3.62, and my lsat was a 162.

jtw1386
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby jtw1386 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:40 pm

MoS wrote:I know they send out housing information with acceptances, but what is the price range close to campus versus a couple miles off campus?

How good is the career services office? Are they helpful?


Around campus is very expensive. If your not familiar with the Dallas area, SMU is in the heart of University/Highland Park, which is where a lot of the rich people in Dallas live. If you want a nice place near campus, you are going to pay high for it, and if you want a crappy place it will still be a bit higher than anywhere else. The best thing to do, if your serious about coming to SMU, is to look in cities just north of Dallas, like Richardson or Plano. A lot of people in my class ended up getting apartments there. I grew up in Dallas, so I was familiar with the price differences in the cities. You can find a really good apartment in Richardson or Plano for a lot less than near campus. The drive into campus will be at the worst, 30 minutes if you move to the far north of Plano, which is where I live.

I haven't had much contact with career services, which may be an indication of how helpful they are. They require all 1L's to send them their resume, and they they basically convert it into a legal resume, which is nice. They send out emails every week for local firms that are looking for help. They normally don't want 1L's, but the occasional one will include 1L's. A lot of these jobs are good for the evening students because they are during the day when most of the day time students have class. Career Services puts on a lot of events each week throughout each semester that gives you some insights in life after school. For example, they had one seminar about "Life in Biglaw firm" that had partners come out and speak. Another one was "How to land a small to medium sized firm job", which also included partners and stuff. These are also good opportunities to network since there is usually at least a handful of partners from different law firms there. Your 1L year the career services people don't really seem to be that helpful, but thats not to say that next semester or next year they will. At this point I would give them a 6 out of 10.

GoBlues
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby GoBlues » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:05 pm

First off, thank you for the information.

My questions: What made you choose PT over FT? Are there any stipulations or guidelines to this? In your opinion, what are the pro's and con's of PT and FT?

Thank you for your time!

jtw1386
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby jtw1386 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:10 am

Well I work part-time during the day, so it was really either part-time or nothing at all. I really enjoy the part-time program. You have the same classes as the full-time, but full-time takes two additional classes per semester. In some cases, some of our professors are even better, but that doesn't really have to do with part-time vs. full-time though. The downside with the part-time is that you have an extra year, so while you are in your last year, your first year full-time buddies will have a job or looking for a job. The advantage, at least in my opinion, comes during finals and the workload of classes in general. If you are working full-time during the day, then your night classes are going to be a lot to handle, but if you are working part-time or not at all, then the workload is very manageable. When it comes time for finals, and after everyone has turned in their first year memo, which is usually about a month before finals, the full-time students have to study for 5 finals, while the part-time students only have to study for 3 finals. Doesn't seem like a lot, but the extra time you have in between finals, not haveing to worry about the two additional ones the full-timers are having to prepare for, really gives you plenty of time to study and prepare. Other than that, everything else is pretty much the same between the programs.

iahurricane
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby iahurricane » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:57 pm

jtw1386 wrote:Yeah, I am actually a part-time student. They don't allow you to transfer from the part-time to the full-time or vice versa.


Not really true. After the first your you can take as much or as little classes as you want. You can easily graduate in 3 1/2 years as a part time and even 3 if you really want.

Horns4LYFE
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby Horns4LYFE » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:11 pm

iahurricane wrote:
jtw1386 wrote:Yeah, I am actually a part-time student. They don't allow you to transfer from the part-time to the full-time or vice versa.


Not really true. After the first your you can take as much or as little classes as you want. You can easily graduate in 3 1/2 years as a part time and even 3 if you really want.


+1

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SpencerPratt
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby SpencerPratt » Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:59 pm

This is all great information.

With my low GPA, I was accepted into the PT program and will probably be my only T1 acceptance. I'm looking at WL status at some T2 schools, so it could be T1 PT or T3 for me. I was considering working part-time during the day to pay for living expenses, so this may work out well. If graduating in 3 1/2 years is an option, it may make my decision easier.

Overall, do you think part-time T1 would be a better decision than FT at T3? Are PT students looked at as "inferior" by FT students?

Thanks.

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xanderdellus
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby xanderdellus » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:12 pm

US News reports that there were no students in Public Interest law. How do you account for that? It seems like an unlikely statistic.

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kalvano
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:15 pm

xanderdellus wrote:US News reports that there were no students in Public Interest law. How do you account for that? It seems like an unlikely statistic.



That's a mistake. Unless they aren't counting Dallas DA / PD placement as public interest?

Horns4LYFE
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby Horns4LYFE » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:45 pm

SpencerPratt wrote:This is all great information.

With my low GPA, I was accepted into the PT program and will probably be my only T1 acceptance. I'm looking at WL status at some T2 schools, so it could be T1 PT or T3 for me. I was considering working part-time during the day to pay for living expenses, so this may work out well. If graduating in 3 1/2 years is an option, it may make my decision easier.

Overall, do you think part-time T1 would be a better decision than FT at T3? Are PT students looked at as "inferior" by FT students?

Thanks.


It is not to say PT at SMU is looked at unfavorably. They aren't looked at as inferior, but I guarantee they will agree having only 3 finals a semester for their first 2 years is WAY less stressful than haveing 5 finals. I guarantee any law student would love to have 3 finals in 9 days as opposed to 5 finals in 9 days. The admit statistics for PT students are not as high as they are for FT, but this in no way indicates definitive success in law school.

I know some students who were PT day (SMU I believe may not have this as an option anymore) who BOTH were on SMU Law Review (very prestigious).

PT is what you make of it. I for one based on my LSAT alone (which I will not disclose) finished ahead of a majority of the FT students this semester, most with 10+ points HIGHER on their LSAT (and students from prestigious UG schools, notably Stanford and Yale), and some with SUBSTANTIAL scholarships.

Plus, an SMU PT degree doesn't indicate "PT" on it. It is the same degree any SMU Law student would get. After the PT equivalent of the FT 1L (2 years), those students are for all intents and purposes are treated as regular 2L's.

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SpencerPratt
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby SpencerPratt » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:16 am

Thanks for the responses!

What are the normal times for evening classes?

iahurricane
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby iahurricane » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:11 am

SpencerPratt wrote:Thanks for the responses!

What are the normal times for evening classes?


monday-thursday 6-9.

and yes you would be crazy to chose a t3 ft over smu pt since pt makes no difference on how employers view you.

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fixer
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Re: SMU 1L Taking Questions

Postby fixer » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:57 am

I realize OP is part time, but does anyone have a "typical" weekly class schedule for a 1L at SMU? I know the courses and the number of hours, but what are the times of the classes? Are they back to back? If there are gaps, how long? How early do they start and how late is the last class? I realize different sections have different schedules. I am just looking for and example of a schedule.




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