The graduate program for foreign law school graduates is rooted in the efforts of SMU’s School of Law in the early 1950s to make the school a leading international legal center. More than 2000 international graduates of the school from more than 80 countries now occupy prominent positions in government, legal practice, business, the judiciary and legal education around the world.
The primary goal of the program is to enhance the international student’s legal skills so that he or she may become a more effective lawyer and member of society. In this respect, the program seeks to develop
- An appreciation of the role of law in national and international development.
- The ability to identify, through comparative and international studies, policy considerations of various legal rules.
- An appreciation of the role of the lawyer in social and economic change.
- Legal analysis and problem-solving abilities to enable the student to meet the complex needs of the modern world.
- A basic understanding of the U.S. legal system, as studied from a comparative perspective.
- A frame of reference for dealing with business and legal interests in a transnational setting.
This LL.M. degree can also qualify a person to take the bar examination in Texas, New York and California, if the student meets certain curricular requirements and otherwise complies with the regulations of such states.
An applicant for admission to this LL.M. degree program must be a graduate of a recognized foreign law school. The applicant’s undergraduate record must demonstrate scholarly legal aptitude. An applicant for whom English is a second language must present evidence of a TOEFL English language proficiency test, with an Internet-based score of 90 or written score of 575 or IELTS band score of 6. U.S.-trained law students may not apply to this degree program. Students who do not meet these requirements can apply for conditional admission, subject to completion of an approved English as a Second Language program, or a waiver for good cause.
An applicant must include with the application: a short curriculum vitae; evidence of proficiency in English (normally a TOEFL English language proficiency test score of 90 on the Internet-based test or 575 on the written test); a certified transcript in English of grades received in law school; letters of recommendation in English (or translated into English); evidence of financial ability to pay tuition, fees and all other expenses during the applicant’s stay in the United States; and a recent head-and-shoulders photograph of the applicant.
The Robert G. Storey Memorial Fund provides scholarship support to an outstanding foreign graduate law student who undertakes an intensive course of study in comparative and international law. The Sohmen Endowed Scholarship Fund and Sohmen Chinese Scholars Program Endowment provide full tuition and fees and a monthly living stipend for up to four students from China. Additional scholarships are available for qualified students and are awarded at the time of admission.
International applicants should note that the Dedman School of Law has no funds to grant for travel expenses, either to or from the United States or within the United States, nor does it have any administrative influence through which governmental or private agencies can be persuaded to assist in travel.