Founded in 1967, the Texas Tech UniversitySchool of Law (Texas Tech Law) started from humble beginnings. The law school’s founder–Alvin R. Allison–never attended law school despite passing the bar exam in 1934. After becoming a successful attorney, Allison fought to start an affordable law school in West Texas at his alma mater, Texas Tech University. Since opening its door to students in 1967, Texas Tech Law has produced an impressive list of alumni and developed a strong reputation for its legal writing programs. Its alumni include Karen Tandy, the first female head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Walter Huffman, the former head of the Judge Advocate General for the US Army.
Texas Tech Law requires all students to complete 90 hours of residential coursework to earn their Juris Doctor degree. The first-year curriculum includes the six core courses of American legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Students also take a two-semester study in the legal practice that covers the foundational skills of practical laws. The legal practice course is one of the many ways that Texas Tech Law emphasizes practical skills throughout the educational process.
Upper-class students at Texas Tech law are required to complete seven additional substantive courses, complete an upper-level writing assignment, satisfy the requirement for experiential education, and complete pro bono work prior to graduation. The substantive course requirements ensure students are well grounded in the fundamental subjects of the law as well as prepared for the bar exam. In total, 55 hours of the 90 required to graduate are required.
Students have the opportunity to concentrate in one of three areas where Texas Tech Law has notable expertise: business law, law and science, and criminal law and innocence. Concentrations provide a more prescribed roadmap for students that allows them to demonstrate considerable mastery in a practice area.
Juris Doctor candidates at Texas Tech Law also have the opportunity to enroll in a dual degree program. The dual degree programs pair the law degree with several degrees from other professional schools: business, science and engineering, sports managements, and government and public administration. In most cases, the dual degree combines the Juris Doctor with a Masters Degree such as an M.B.A. or a Master of Science in Sports Management. Students must be admitted separately to both programs. Once enrolled, however, students share coursework between both programs, allowing them to complete both degrees in less time than pursuing them separately. Generally, dual degree programs take 4-5 years for completion.
Career and Career Placement
Statistics from the most recent graduating class at Texas Tech Law show that over 90% of all students were employed within 10 months of graduation. Most students were employed in careers that either required a law license (90%) or preferred candidates with a Juris Doctor degree (8%). Law firm work and government legal positions accounted for almost 90% of all job choices. Average salaries for students who chose law firm work was over $75,000; government work paid an average of $57,000. Almost all graduates remained in Texas to begin their professional careers.
Texas Tech Law’s Career & Professional Development Center (CPDC) staffs two former attorneys who help guide students from their academic careers into their professional ones. At the core, the CPDC provides individual counseling to help shape students’ career goals in an increasingly changing legal landscape. The CPDC also provides programs and workshops designed to help students learn about various career opportunities. Programs are generally recorded, allowing students to access information at any time. The office administers on-campus interviews in both the fall and spring as well as supports students who participate in regional job fairs or off-campus interviews.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Texas Tech Law is committed to graduating practice-ready attorneys. Since its inception, the school has prioritized the need to train lawyers who have the practical skills to be successful upon graduation. Third-year students have the opportunity to participate in the law school’s renowned clinical program that offers students the opportunity to represent low-income clients on a range of issues. The clinical program offers students the opportunity to work in eight different practice areas under the supervision of practicing faculty experts.
Students also have the opportunity to earn 12 hours of credit through a regional externship program that places students in a legal office in any of a number of major Texas cities. In their externships, students work full-time alongside practicing attorneys in a variety of capacities. Externships range from public defender’s office to corporate law offices.
Texas Tech Law has a full-time director of Student Life who oversees the wide range of co-curricular activities at Texas Tech Law. The law school boasts over 30 student run organizations that bring like-minded students together on a number of social, political, and legal issues. Students run and publish seven different student publications. The law school also supports a number of wellness programs intended to help students balance their lives with the demands of legal education (and eventually their careers). All students are also required to complete 30 hours of pro bono work prior to graduation. This requirement demonstrates the school’s long-standing commitment to the surrounding West Texas community.
Texas Tech Law is located in West Texas in the thriving community of Lubbock. Although small for Texas standards, Lubbock is home to over 250,000 people. The university plays a central role in the city’s life especially the Texas Tech Red Raiders who compete in the Big 12 Conference as perennial powerhouses in major collegiate sports. The community is full of unique West Texas cuisine, art, and annual events. The city is home to several major museums including the Silent Wings Museum and memorials to Buddy Holly.