In order to earn the J.D. degree, a student must successfully complete 87 hours of credit, with a Grade Point Average of at least a C (2.0). In addition to the required courses described above, you must take the following courses:
- Constitutional Law II (3 hours)
- Professional Responsibility (3 hours)
Edited Writing seminars are designed to be a “capstone” experience for third year students, although 2Ls are allowed to take edited writing classes if space is available. These classes require the student to participate in an intensive, scholarly expository writing project. It may take the form of a single paper, of at least 30 pages, or several shorter papers, as the professor may direct. The professor will review and criticize the student's writing. Subject matter will vary at the discretion of the professor. Enrollment in each seminar is limited to 20 students. Classes that fulfill this requirement will be labeled “EW” in the registration materials.
Students may get General Writing credit from any class in which more than half of the grade is based on a paper rather than exam, from law review writing credit, and for 2 or 3 hour Directed Research papers. Courses that fulfill this requirement will be labeled “GW” in the registration materials.
Each student must complete at least one upper level course which includes substantial instruction in professional skills generally regarded as necessary for effective and responsible participation in the legal profession. This includes skills such as trial and appellate advocacy, alternative methods of dispute resolution, counseling, interviewing, negotiating, problem solving, factual investigation, organization and management of legal work, and drafting. To be “substantial,” instruction in professional skills must engage each student in skills performances that are assessed by the instructor. Courses that satisfy this requirement will be labeled “PS” in the registration materials.
After the first year of law school, each student must complete at least thirty hours of law-related public service work. The work must be uncompensated, and must be adequately supervised The goal of SMU's public service requirement is to enhance the legal profession and the law school curriculum by exposing lawyers-to-be to the importance of and the need for a life-long commitment to public service through a mandatory public service requirement. (Accordingly, the law faculty has also committed to perform an equivalent amount of public service work.) There are a number of pre-approved placements, and students may also request approval of new placements. For further information, see the Public Service website.