The grades are in. Students gave their respective Texas law schools high marks for faculty accessibility and creating a collegial atmosphere, but lower marks for the helpfulness of the schools’ placement offices, according to Texas Lawyer‘s 2008 Dear Dean Survey.

More than 1,100 of the students enrolled in Texas’ law schools during the spring 2008 semester or quarter participated in the survey. In addition to the categories mentioned above, the students graded their schools’ library services, technology, teaching quality, preparation for practice and student diversity. The survey participation rate among the students, at each school, ranged from 10 percent to 25 percent of those enrolled. [See "Survey Methodology" below.]

The overall results present a picture of how students judge their educational experience at Texas’ nine American Bar Association-accredited law schools.


Using a scale of one to five, with five the highest or best grade, SMU law students gave their school an overall score of 4.09, the highest among the nine schools. More than 97 percent of SMU’s law graduates are employed within nine months of graduation, says Dean John B. Attanasio. He adds that the high placement rate is likely to lead to satisfaction among students. The law students gave SMU high marks, above 4.0, for preparation for practice, collegiality, technology, teaching quality, library services and faculty accessibility. But the SMU law students gave their placement office the lowest grade, 3.61. Attanasio says it is not unusual for law school students to be disappointed with their placement offices. “The placement office is an area where students experience a certain level of disappointment, because they don’t always get the job they want,” he says.

If I could go back in time, I would:
Attend Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law — 85.44%
Attend a different law school — 8.74%
Enroll in an MBA program — 4.85%
Do something else — 4.85%
Average total law school debt — $67,612
Most influential professor — Gregory S. Crespi
Note: Total responses exceed 100 percent, because some students selected two choices.
Source: 103 students.


Texas Wesleyan law Dean Frederic White

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