Mackenzie Arnold, Class of 2024

1. Tell us about yourself.

My name is Mackenzie Arnold, and I am a first-year student at SMU Dedman School of Law. I grew up in a DFW suburb, but after spending some time in Alabama (and London for a semester) for undergrad, I decided to come back and lay my roots in the great state of Texas.

2. Why did you decide to come to SMU Law?

I decided to come to SMU Law because I missed Texas and knew I wanted to make it my forever home. However, for someone who had spent their whole life in the DFW area, I had never been to SMU’s campus. I flew back home for a weekend to tour the law school and was sold after meeting some great students and faculty.

3. What has been your favorite class and why?

My favorite class so far has been legal writing. Coming to law school with a Bachelor of Arts in English, I was warned by some professors that I probably would not like legal writing compared to what I had been doing in my English classes at the time. That could not have been more incorrect. I find joy in researching answers and crafting articulate and succinct writing pieces.

4. When you are not in school or studying, what do you do for fun?

Other than reading casebooks, some things I enjoy are training for marathons, recreating Great British Baking Show Creations, and finding a comfy chair to cozy up in to read a great work of fiction. I’m happiest when I’m outside (when the weather is between 55-85 degrees preferably) and enjoy always being busy and moving.

5. What extracurricular activities have you enjoyed most and why? (SBA, moot court, etc.)

When I came to law school, I took advantage of the “Meet the Organizations” Fair and joined a fair number of clubs/societies. However, the ones I’ve enjoyed most are the ones I’ve taken the deepest dive into. I was elected to be the SBA representative for my 1L section, and I have enjoyed that immensely because I have gotten to know my section and see the behind-the-scenes workings at the law school. Another honorable mention would be the Christian Legal Society. Spending time in community weekly with a fellow group of law students with shared values and goals has been extremely encouraging.

6. How has law school challenged you most?

Law school has forced me to face failure constantly but remain resilient as I strive to overcome concepts and classes that do not come to me so quickly. I have always been the student who has outworked everyone else and subsequently reaped the rewards. Law school is different, and everyone is exceptionally bright and hard-working, so I’ve had to push myself even harder to understand new concepts and prepare for unfamiliar exam materials.

7. What has been your most memorable law school moment so far?

I’m not sure if there’s a specific moment in mind, but there’s a particular place. Any time the weather is slightly bearable, you can find me out on the law quad. Whether I’m eating a meal, reading through a casebook, or chatting with a fellow classmate, I love to be sitting at one of the tables left out there. I’ve had so many amazing conversations and met so many wonderful people just by being present and available on that beautiful green lawn.

8. What do you plan to do post-graduation?

Currently, I am leaning towards obtaining a judicial clerkship post-graduation. I love legal research and writing and foresee myself going the litigation route, so that seems to be a great next step. After that, I’m not exactly positive, but I’m leaning toward working in criminal or family law (or hopefully somewhere where those two things intersect).

9. Have you had any important mentors during law school? If so, who?

So far, the best mentors I have had in law school would be two amazing women within the Career Services Office. My assigned advisor is kind, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. But I’ve been so lucky to also be in touch with another team member who works more with the judicial internship/clerkship side of things, and she has also proven to be indispensable to me. I also keep in touch with my two mentors from undergrad, who are still prevalent resources for me.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?

In five years, I see myself settling into my legal career after finishing law school and wrapping up my judicial clerkship. I am currently leaning towards spending my legal career in the public/government sector working as a litigator. In ten years, I foresee myself continuing to work my way up in my career, with many trials under my belt, having laid my permanent roots in the DFW area.