Samuel Calkins, Class of 2023

1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a 3L from Grand Prairie, Texas, and I graduated from the University of Texas in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. On campus, I am the International Law Review Association president and a First Year Student Mentor!

2. Why did you decide to come to SMU Law?
I decided to come to SMU Law because I knew I wanted to return to DFW and work in Dallas after graduation. I was also impressed with the clinical program that SMU had, including the First Amendment Clinic. Lastly, SMU has a very collegial environment where students push each other to be the best they can be.

3. What has been your favorite class and why?
My favorite class at SMU has to be Professor Carpenter’s First Amendment course. I have long been fascinated by the first amendment, and it was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about it from a leading expert in the field.

4. When you are not in school or studying, what do you do for fun?
When I am not in school, I like hanging out with my friends at one of the local dive bars. I also enjoy taking mental breaks by watching reality TV and supporting my Texas Longhorns.

5. What extracurricular activities have you enjoyed most and why? (ROTC, SBA, moot court, etc.)
I have loved my experience on the International Law Review Association. Being on a journal has helped me sharpen my legal research and writing skills and has helped me to become a more detail-oriented person. I have also enjoyed being a first-year student mentor through the SBA. I have enjoyed welcoming our new class of 1Ls each year and being a sounding board for all their problems and accomplishments!

6. How has law school challenged you most?
The most challenging part of law school is balancing your time and ensuring you don’t overcommit yourself. I also think it is essential to take time for yourself and not lose yourself in law school.

7. What has been your most memorable law school moment so far?
My most memorable law school experience was competing on the Mack Kidd Moot Court Team. Competing on a moot court team was extremely rewarding because of all the months of preparation that went into the competition. I also had terrific coaches that prepared all of us to be on the top of our game when the competition came around.

8. What do you plan to do post-graduation?.
After graduation, I plan to practice as a restructuring associate at Vinson & Elkins. I am also exploring the possibility of clerking in a bankruptcy court post-graduation.

9. Have you had any important mentors during law school? If so, who?
My closest mentor in law school was my SBA mentor, Marissa Spiwak. Even as a 3L, I talk to Marissa frequently to ask for advice and tell her what I have been up to. I also consider Beth Lee and Mary Beth Nielsen as mentors for all of their help and assistance while I was looking for a job. Even after I secured employment, Beth and Mary Beth have always been available to talk whenever I have questions or need anything.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
In five to ten years, I see myself practicing as a bankruptcy attorney in Dallas. I would also love to be an active member of both the bar and my community.