Rising Scholars Program Immerses High School Students in Legal Profession

2024 Rising Scholars Program
Nearly two dozen high school seniors from schools across the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond – including students from as far away as Florida and California – converged on the SMU campus in June to immerse themselves in a unique, weeklong law school experience.

Now in its fourth year, the SMU Dedman School of Law Rising Scholars program seeks to give participants a peek into the lives of law school students and practicing attorneys by offering mini-classes, professional development workshops, college admissions presentations, and panel discussions with attorneys from a variety of legal sectors including litigation, the judiciary, and in-house corporate counsel roles.

The residential program ends with a moot court competition where students get to develop and display their critical thinking and communication skills as they deliver arguments in support of their clients.

"We are thrilled to offer this exceptional program to the DFW community for the fourth year in a row," said Dean Jason P. Nance. “We hope this experience will equip students with key tools for their future careers, inside and out of the legal profession."

The program is managed by the Dedman School of Law’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and made possible through funding provided by American Airlines and AT&T – both of which are headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. AT&T has been a Rising Scholars sponsor since the program began in 2021, while American Airlines joined in 2023.

In addition to being a major contributor to the funding of the program, American Airlines presented each student with a travel bag containing snacks, drinkware, and – most important – 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles that can be used to travel wherever American flies as the students prepare for their college careers.