Jake Torres, Class of 2017

Jake Torres

"Our professors are very accessible to students - answering legal questions and helping with career advice. Also, SMU does a fantastic job of preparing students to become great attorneys. "

Why did you come to SMU?

My wife and I applied to law school at the same time. Since we met as undergrads at SMU we knew we wanted to come back to SMU for law school. We also found out we had a baby on the way shortly after submitting our applications. 

What is your favorite class?

My favorite class so far has been contracts taught by Professor Paul Rogers. He is a well-known antitrust scholar and he even served as the dean of the law school for a decade. I enjoyed contracts because it is one of the farthest reaching subjects you will study in law school. Contracts are everywhere, and understanding them not only makes you a smarter consumer, but also a better advocate. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Dallas?

My daughter is a little older now and she loves to play outside. There are several beautiful places in Dallas we like to visit including Klyde Warren Park, White Rock Lake, and even the SMU campus.

What has been the most valuable opportunity you have had so far to gain practical experience?    

During the summer after my first year, I interned for Chief District Judge Jorge Solis in the Northern District of Texas. I spent several weeks in his chambers helping draft court orders, observing trials, and assisting his clerks. The internship allowed me to participate in the federal court system and apply my legal researching and writing skills. 

What’s is your favorite extracurricular experience?

This semester I am a student attorney in the SMU Civil Clinic. The Civil Clinic offers legal representation for low-income clients. In the Civil Clinic students are assigned to cases involving tenant advocacy, consumer litigation, and civil rights. Through the clinic I have worked directly with clients, participated in negotiations, and appeared in court. Our legal clinics give students the opportunity to take everything we learn in the classroom and use it to help clients. 

How has SMU Law legal writing helped you in law school?

Legal writing is more than citing cases and statutes. It forces lawyers and law students to think through arguments and counterarguments. Great attorneys are able to analyze different sides of an issue and advocate for their clients’ specific needs. SMU does a fantastic job of preparing students to become great attorneys. 

What would you like to do after graduation?

I want to stay in Dallas. I have not settled on a specific area of the law, but I am interested in litigation. 

What tips do you have for a new law student?

There are a lot of books and websites that offer advice for students transitioning to law school, and I suggest reviewing a few of those. For some advice specific to SMU, I suggest visiting your professors during office hours. Our professors are very accessible to students, and they want you to help you work through legal questions and give career advice. I also recommend forming a study group. The culture at SMU is very friendly. Working through cases is much easier when you have a group than trying to do everything on your own.