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ACU Pre-Law partners with SMU for scholarship

Students in the pre-law program at Abilene Christian University have an exclusive opportunity to receive funding for their law school studies through a new partnership with Southern Methodist’s Dedman School of Law.


ACU pre-law students with Riley, center, at the SMU Dedman School of Law.
ACU pre-law students with Riley, center, at the SMU Dedman School of Law.

SMU’s Dedman School of Law is looking to enroll more highly qualified students from ACU into its existing Juris Doctor program and has established a new Dean’s Scholarship designated specifically for an ACU pre-law student.

“The new scholarship confirms that the ACU pre-law program produces the kinds of students that some of the nation’s top law schools not only want to admit but attract through scholarships,” said Chris Riley (’00), J.D., assistant professor in the department of political science and criminal justice and university pre-law advisor

Earlier in the spring, Riley took 13 students to the Dedman School of Law. Many of his students were impressed by the tour and inquired about a dedicated ACU pre-law scholarship from SMU like the ones that ACU already had in place with Baylor University School of Law and Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law.

Each December, Riley solicits applications from existing pre-law students, who are considered and nominated by a group of ACU faculty and staff attorneys each spring. The candidates’ leadership opportunities, standardized test scores, undergraduate GPA and several other factors will be considered when determining who receives the scholarship.

Several ACU alumni have attended the Dedman School of Law including Abigail Schults (’20), the managing editor of the SMU Law Review, and Hon. Shelton Gibbs IV (’02), a state district judge for the 422nd District Court in Texas and a current trustee of ACU’s board. Riley is hoping the establishment of the scholarship allows future students to learn at a prestigious institution and sets students up for success in the future.

“Being able to tell prospective pre-law students that they have the ability to earn ACU-exclusive law school scholarships makes recruiting so much easier,” Riley said. “It provides a realistic path for them to follow while providing a financial incentive for being successful at ACU.”

Learn more about ACU’s pre-law program and legal studies minor.

— Connor Mullins

Aug. 28, 2023

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