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Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, Dallas, TX
by Heather Jung
Those wishing to extend their studies beyond the J.D. can do so through the school's graduate program. Students can earn general Master of Laws degrees or more specialized Master of Laws degrees in either taxation or comparative and international law. A Doctor of the Science of Law degree program is also available for those interested in attaining the highest postgraduate law degree offered by SMU.
Students who want to put their education into practice can participate in one of four clinics aimed at helping low-income members of the DFW community. Dedman boasts one of the nation's first community legal clinics, having founded its law school's legal clinics more than 20 years before the development of legal clinics was a national movement. According to the school's website, "The clinics still operate under the conviction of one of our earliest directors, Professor Talbert Rain, who said in 1950 that 'the administration of justice must be available to everyone so that no one will suffer any loss of property or rights because of economic status.'" The four clinics available are:
- The Civil Clinic, which represents low-income clients in areas such as consumer fraud, civil rights, and elder advocacy.
- The Criminal Justice Clinic, which represents members of the Dallas community who have been charged with "jailable offenses."
- The Federal Taxpayers' Clinic, which represents clients before the IRS to resolve tax problems.
- The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic, which represents abused and neglected children from the area.
Dean John Attanasio sums up the spirit and goals of Dedman best in his welcome letter:
"We at the School take pride in offering our students a total educational experience, including an active Student Bar Association, moot court, and mock trial activities, four respected law journals, a summer program in Oxford, England, a placement and career counseling center, and three fine clinical programs, including one of the very few in taxation. While our curriculum is extremely rich, we are still small enough to take a personal interest in each student. The school's law quadrangle provides an admirable setting for learning and includes the Underwood Law Library, a modern and comprehensive research facility equipped with state-of-the-art instructional technologies."
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