Test Drive

SMU Dedman School of Law: Test Drive

Class of 2021 Law Practice Initiative - Investing in our graduates...Your firm...And together in the future of our legal community

Test Drive has proven to be an attractive option for legal employers for the last ten years, and the program has been extended for employers and our 2021 graduates. Test Drive is now open for the Class of 2021.

Our 2010-2020 graduates began this program after sitting for the July or February bar exam. Our Class of 2020 began Test Drive after sitting for the September or October bar exam. Graduates have secured Test Drive employment in law firms, corporations and non-profit organizations, not only in Texas but all over the country. Read an article about the success of Test Drive.

We invite you to learn more about this pioneering program and thank you for your support of our graduates and SMU Dedman School of Law.

Test Drive
A pioneering concept enabling Class of 2021 graduates from SMU Dedman School of Law to target legal employers with whom there is potential employment and to work for that employer full-time, on a provisional basis, toward the goal of securing long-term employment. Test Drive is an opportunity for Class of 2021 graduates to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, work ethic, and professionalism to legal employers with whom they desire to work.



The Law School will fund $3,500 for a one month Test Drive -- a “no strings attached” opportunity to allow a legal employer the ability to evaluate a Class of 2020 graduate on a trial basis.

By applying to participate in Test Drive, the employer indicates an identified need to hire a new associate for full-time, long term employment.
  • If at the conclusion of the one month Test Drive the graduate has demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to perform the functions of the job, the employer and graduate would like to continue the relationship toward long-term, full-time employment, and there is a likelihood that this candidate will receive an offer of employment, the employer can petition the Law School to consider funding one, additional month of employment for $3,500.
  • If, however, the employer or graduate determines after one month not to pursue long-term employment, the employer, the graduate and the Law School have no further obligation


To post a Test Drive position:

Complete the Test Drive Job Posting Form.

Note: Graduates in the Class of 2021 must register and be approved to participate in the Test Drive program, and only those graduates who have been approved for the Test Drive program may be considered for jobs posted as a Test Drive. If the employer identifies a graduate to hire, who has not registered for the Test Drive program, the graduate must complete the registration process and be approved before a Test Drive may commence.

To register for Test Drive once a graduate has been identified:

Month One:
To register for a one-month Test Drive the employer submits the Test Drive Employer Registration.

To initiate funding for Test Drive employment, the Law School must receive the Employer Registration prior to the date employment commences. Upon receipt of the Employer Registration and approval of the Test Drive, the Law School will disburse to the employer $3,500 within approximately 28 days of receiving a Form W-9 from the employer. The graduate is an employee of the employer. The employer is responsible for paying the graduate-employee $3,500 less applicable federal and state withholding taxes and other deductions.

Month Two:
To continue Test Drive for a second month leading to full-time employment, the employer must complete and submit for approval the Test Drive Request - Month Two before commencing the second month of Test Drive employment. 

If an employer offers full-time, long-term employment to graduate at the end of month one, and if the graduate accepts the offer, the employer may complete and submit this Test Drive Request - Month Two, along with a copy of the offer letter and the graduate's signature confirming acceptance. Upon receipt, all relevant paperwork will be submitted to the Finance Office, and, approximately 4 weeks after approval of this Request, the school will send the employer a check for $3,500 to offset the graduate's compensation for month two. 

We are grateful for the continued support the legal community has shown for our law school and thank you for considering Test Drive.

Jennifer M. Collins                                                          
Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law               

Marcie Y. Davis
Assistant Dean of Career Services