Contact: Meredith Dickenson or Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
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April 15, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- The SMU Dedman School of Law has received a record number of applications for its Fall 2002 entering class.

Applications to the school's three-year J.D. program are up 52 percent from last year. Nationwide applications to law schools are up 27 percent, according to Lynn Bozalis, director of admissions at the Dedman School of Law.

Bozalis says the law school has been receiving applications since December. The deadline for accepting applications was April 1. Applicants will be notified in April and May as to whether they have been accepted to the Dedman School of Law. Last year the law school received 1,582 applications, and this year it will process 2,300.

Some of the factors for the increase may include the school's ranking last year in the top 50 of best American law schools by U.S. News & World Report and the recent downturn in the economy. These reasons, however, do not explain entirely why an increased number of applications to Dedman School of Law are nearly twice the national average. SMU Dedman Law Dean John Attanasio attributes part of the school's growing appeal to the stature of its alumni.

"There is a widespread recognition that the people who go here do well in life," said Attanasio. "Not only have we educated a disproportionate share of the local leaders in business, government and law, but also across the world. Dedman law alumni hold positions as members of the U.S. Congress, state Supreme court judges, managing partners in law firms, and as CEOs and general counsels of major companies."

The school also is seeing better qualified applicants. Over the last four years, undergraduate GPAs for entering students have risen from 3.17 to 3.47, and scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) have increased from a 74th to a 81st percentile.

For the Spring 2002 semester, the law school had a total enrollment of 857 students, with 724 J.D. students. Most graduates of the Dedman School of Law receive the basic Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, a full-time, three-year degree program. The school also awards two joint degrees: the Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.), a four-and-one-half-year program offered with SMU Edwin L. Cox School of Business and the Juris Doctor/Master of Applied Economics (J.D./M.A.), a four-year program offered with the Department of Economics in SMU Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The school offers a Master of Laws (L.L.M.) degree in taxation and a Master of Laws degree in comparative and international law (M.C.L.) for foreign law school graduates. It also offers, on a limited basis, a general Master of Laws degree and a Doctor of Science of Law (S.J.D.) degree.