Texas A&M Law School joins UT among the state’s leading programs

Texas now has two law schools ranked among the top 50 in a new ranking from US News & World Report.

Ranked 46th, The University of Texas A&M Law School in Fort Worth joins the University of Texas at Austin, one of the state’s leading campuses for students seeking a career in the legal industry. UT Law School ranks 17th.

“Since we decided to invest in the school and try to really make it happen, we went from a lack of rankings just a few years ago to a rise in rankings,” said Texas A&M University spokesman Timothy Eaton. “It usually doesn’t happen that way.”

The state has 10 law schools, including Southern Methodist University, North Texas University of Dallas and Baylor University, among other institutions. For a long time, the state boasted only in the UT law school among the best ranked.

The Texas A&M School has risen more than 100 places out of nearly 200 law schools accredited by the U.S. Bar Association since being acquired by the system in 2013.

“We have not seen a law school progress so quickly,” said Robert Ahadia, dean of the Texas A&M law school. “In a way, it very much reflects the mindset of Texas A&M.”

The rapid rise comes eight years after the Texas A&M system acquired the school in Fort Worth for a total of $ 73.5 million from the University of Texas at Wesleyan in 2013 – making it the first public law school in North Texas. The system has been interested in adding a law school for more than 40 years.

A year later, the University of North Texas at Dallas opened its own school, which was recently fully approved by the U.S. Bar Association.

The Texas A&M School currently has approximately 1,200 students and 60 full-time faculty members.

Sources in the system announced last year that they were planning a new campus in downtown Fort Worth, which would include space for a law school. They expect to break through this summer.

The University of Texas A&M - which already has a law school in downtown Fort Worth - is planning ...

In addition to the core programming around training future attorneys, the system offers a master’s degree program without attorneys.

The school now enrolls close to 700 students working in the fields of health, banking and finance, energy sector, human relations, cyber security and more, where a legal background is valuable, but where they are not looking to practice, Ahadia said.

“We have students debating where to go to law school,” he said. “It presents them with another very strong Texas option for them to consider.”

Jenson Westmoreland, a third-year law student focusing on intellectual property, said the upward impact of the school was clear.

“A&M is on the way up and it’s going to be, in the end, one of the best law schools in the country,” he said.

However, Westmoreland said the faculty does not focus on the school’s position on the board, but on the experience, careers and success of the students.

“(The ranking) comes as a by-product of how good our professors are and how they prepare us for the real world as lawyers,” he said.

Through the various clinics offered on campus – which give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge by working with real clients who may have difficulty finding advice elsewhere – he has been able to gain real-world experience that will prepare him for future work.

Alexis Simchek, a second-year student who focused on intellectual property, said law school students have the advantage of being placed in a market full of potential for their careers.

Although it was once considered a back-up program by some students, Simchak added that many now choose the Texas A&M Law School over Ivy League campuses because of its rising publicity in the legal industry and the overall cost of attendance.

The tuition and fees are about $ 32,600 per year for Texas residents. The national average for a state student in a public university stood at about $ 29,600 during the 2021-2022 academic year, according to the annual US News survey of full-time law degree programs.

“It does not sound, it’s unprecedented,” said Karen Gran Schuler, a U.S. district judge in the northern Texas borough, as Texas A&M “jumps” its way up.

The school’s efforts to establish itself as a national leader in the “pay dividends” region and for the legal community to recognize its work, Gran Schuler said.

“Watch out for Longhorn,” she said, noting the A&M-UT rivalry. “Do not look over your shoulder because – faithful to their mascot Reveille – the agitators laugh at your heels.”

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