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Earn your LLM from SMU Dedman School of Law, the law school of Dallas for 100 years

Experiences are the lifeblood of success for any student seeking to become an accomplished legal professional. Theoretical knowledge is important but it is through real-world application that we truly understand what it takes to become competent and confident practitioners in the legal landscape of today and tomorrow. SMU Dedman School of Law understands this best, which explains why it’s been Dallas’s law school for 100 years.

Zoom into the city, and it’s quickly obvious this is one of the nation’s fastest-growing economies. Dallas ranked as the fourth largest metropolitan area and ninth largest city in the country. It is home to many Fortune 500 and 1000 headquarters — making this the ideal location to practise law. Pair this with access to a vibrant legal community and a moderate cost of living, and it is little wonder why Dallas is the city for young attorneys. 

Dorothee Atwell, who completed her LLM in 2009, first arrived at SMU Dedman School of Law after working as a junior associate at legal firm Jones Day’s office in Frankfurt. “After having had this amazing year at SMU, I went back to Jones Day in Frankfurt and stayed there for another six years. Then, I joined Universal Investment, one of Germany’s largest fund houses,” she shares.

SMU Dedman School of Law

SMU Dedman School of Law offers international students an opportunity to become part of a vibrant, scholarly community with the advantage of studying in Dallas, Texas. Source: SMU Dedman School of Law

Today, Atwell is a partner at international law firm Allen and Overy. She heads the German funds practice, leveraging her extensive experience to advise on increasingly important regulatory aspects in connection with the set-up, structuring and management of funds, among other matters. 

The LLM for Foreign Law School Graduates is a one-year, full-time programme for students who have earned a law degree from a recognised international law school. Apart from a required two-credit course “Perspectives of the American Legal System,” students can choose from a wide range of module choices to tailor their LLM according to their professional goals.

Regardless of which they choose, all LLM students can seek guidance and insights from some of the industry’s finest practitioners. The faculty is recognised throughout the region, nation, and even internationally for its contributions to the law. 

Martin Camp, Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Programmes, was a partner for 20 years at Jones Day, practising mergers and acquisition and corporate real estate services before joining the law school in 2005. While he was an attorney, he also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Law School and SMU Dedman School of Law, teaching real estate transactions and land use law. Camp is the academic advisor for the LLM students and also teaches Business Associations and Property for LLMs. 

The expertise and insights of faculty members like Camp pair well with what LLM students learn in SMU Dedman Law School’s premier Corporate Counsel Externship Programme. Each year, more than 100 third-year JD and international LLM students join this innovative academic programme that combines a corporate counsel class with externships in corporate legal departments. The capstone learning experience supplements the school’s rich business law curriculum with hands-on experience and is part of the Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law & Leadership.

The externship is a chance for LLM students to apply what they learned in classrooms and seminars, under the supervision of in-house counsel. While they complete their externships at major corporations, students continue to take weekly classes that complement their work. These cover topics like corporate governance, risk management, and commercial contracts.

Source: SMU Dedman School of Law

The Corporate Counsel Externship Program, an innovative, academic programme that combines a corporate counsel class with externships in corporate legal departments. Source: SMU Dedman School of Law

Networking is just as important in this LLM programme. Through the Inns of Court initiative, first-year students get to connect with their peers, faculty, student leaders, career advisors, and alumni for a community experience that extends throughout their time at the law school and beyond graduation. 

The result? A memorable law school experience. “I wouldn’t miss my time at SMU for the world — not only have friendships been forged, but I’ve also had a wonderful education, lots of international experience, and I was able to experience America from their heartland for the first time,” Atwell shares.

SMU Dedman School of Law

Dean Jason Nance at a new student Inns of Court programme – LLM students get to connect with their peers, faculty, student leaders, career advisors, and alumni. Source: SMU Dedman School of Law

Outside the classroom, campus life is vibrant. There are over 200 student organisations for students to choose from. They can curate their own experience, find their people, and be part of strong support system. SMU is also a gateway to distinctive neighbourhoods, tight-knit communities, and a lively entertainment scene. Graduates and students looking for work opportunities will rest easy knowing that Dallas was named one of the best big cities for jobs by Forbes. 

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