Two students studying in the library

Library Facts

SMU’s Underwood Law Library is the largest private academic law library west of the Mississippi River. Its collections include approximately 666,498 law-related volumes and equivalents, ranking the library among the top 20% of law libraries in the United States. Combined with the resources of SMU’s other libraries, almost 5 million titles are available to our faculty and students, comprising the largest private research library collection in Texas and ranking third in the state in total volumes, after the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

The Underwood Law Library subscribes to hundreds of databases, including Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg BNA, Bloomberg Law, HeinOnline, ProQuest Congressional, Checkpoint, Making of Modern Law (Gale), and Tax Analysts. The other SMU libraries’ databases are also available to law school faculty and students. All databases are accessible from any location with a computer and Internet connection.

The subject area strengths of the library’s collections mirror those of the Law School’s curriculum and of faculty research concentrations: corporate law, commercial and banking law, criminal law, securities, taxation, air and space law, constitutional law, intellectual property law, international law, law and medicine, and legal ethics.


  • Collection development policy
  • Number of volumes and volume equivalents: 666,498 (as of 5-31-21)
  • Total research materials expenditures: $1,113,729 (2020-2021)
  • Oldest book in the library: Jodocus Erfordensis, Vocabularius Utriusque Iuris (Basel, Michael Wennsler 1473)


  • Square feet: 97,859
  • Seating: 806
  • Shelving: 81,258 linear feet (15.4 miles) 


  • Full-time library employees: 14 (includes director)
  • Librarians with a law degree, library degree, and bachelor’s degree: 5