Set in the heart of Austin, Texas just a few miles from the Colorado River, the University of Texas at Austin School of Law (Texas Law) is one of the most prestigious law schools in the country–consistently ranked in the top 20 of all law schools. The law school’s history dates back to the late 1800’s and its story is intertwined with the legal battle to desegregate the school. The landmark case Sweatt v. Painter (1950) led to the admission of the first African-American student at the school and was a test case for desegregation case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Today, the Law School reflects the progressive character of the surrounding city, housing both the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice as well as the Center for Women in Law. Acceptance into the law school is notably competitive with less than 20% of applicants receiving offers of admission to one of the 288 first year seats.
First year students at Texas Law take six core courses which cover the traditional first year curriculum of civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. In addition, students take courses in legal writing and communication as well as a course in persuasive writing and advocacy. All first year courses are required. The only other required courses for graduation are a section of professional responsibility, a class in criminal procedure or advanced constitutional law, six hours of experiential learning, and an upper class writing seminar.
Second and third year students enjoy complete flexibility to take the courses that suit their career goals and learning styles in close supervision by the faculty. Texas Law offers a large volume of upper level classes that touch upon virtually every practice area. The law school also has one of the most robust experiential education programs with a highly regarded trial advocacy and clinical program.
Texas Law offers a Masters of Law (LL.M) degree with concentration in one of six practice areas: Business, Cybersecurity, Environmental and Energy, Human Rights, International Law, and a focus of the laws of the United States for foreign lawyers. The LL.M program is a one-year curriculum that requires 24 credit hours for completion. The LL.M programs incorporate rigorous coursework and Texas Law’s robust experiential education programs to allow graduate students to build the theoretical and practical skills to be successful in their chosen practice area.
In addition to their graduate degree, the law school offers nine distinct joint degree programs which pair the Juris Doctor with another graduate degree. Texas Law offers standard joint degree programs with the schools of Business and Social Work but also unique joint programs that pair the legal education with Middle Eastern, Latin American, or Eurasian Studies. The law school also has a unique partnership with the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) that allows select students to earn both a J.D. and a Licenciatura en Derecho. Finally, Texas Law has created joint doctoral programs with the Philosophy and Government departments which allow students to obtain both the juris doctor and PhD degrees at the same time.
Career and Career Placement
Graduates of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law overwhelmingly find long term employment within 10 months of graduation. Almost 97% of the 2018 graduating glass found jobs within the first 10 months of graduation. The majority of students accepted positions requiring a law license with almost 70% entering careers in law firms of all sizes. Over 10% of the class accepts clerkships in the Federal Court system. Texas Law also produces high starting salaries with a total median salary of $130,000. While the overwhelming majority of graduates remain in Texas, there are notable portions who accept jobs in New York and California.
With 16 full time staff, Texas Law Career Services center offers its students a complete suite of career support services including counselors dedicated to judicial clerkships and public interest careers. To help support public interest careers, students may even apply for travel assistance when traveling to interview for judicial clerkships or public interest jobs. The Career Services Center offers a host of on-campus and off-campus resources which intend to prepare students for every facet of the job seeking process.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Texas Law offers one of the most complete trial advocacy programs in the country and is nationally recognized for its moot court program and appellate advocacy programs. The school also features programs in alternative dispute resolution. The law school offers a state-of-the-art facility for the practical training of lawyers garnering the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Emil Gumpert Award for its robust program. Texas Law compliments its trial advocacy program with a legal clinic that houses over 15 different centers that provide students with opportunities to represent clients in real-world legal situations. Clinics are graded on a pass/fail scale as students work closely with faculty in both trial and transactional situations.
Texas Law also offers its students unique internships with public interest and government offices throughout the city and state. The law school is also committed to pro bono work with a dedicated program–Richard and Ginni Mithoff Pro Bono Program–which encourages students to give back to the surrounding communities to help meet their legal needs.
Texas Law ranks among the highest in the nation for the quality of student life. The law school offers over 40 student run organizations and journals. The school also works with the University at large to provide students with a range of health, wellness, and student services to encourage a balanced life. The six story law school building is full of student spaces for studying and socialization including an atrium and a cafe for on-campus dining.
At the University of Texas, students are a vital part of the fastest growing city in the United States which is consistently ranked as having one of the highest quality of life in the country. The city of Austin is full of music and innovation including the annual South by Southwest festival. Law students can also enjoy one of the most acclaimed culinary scenes in the South. Student housing is available around the campus area or by easy access on Austin many bike paths.