While Utah isn’t as well known as other states in the nation, it is home to two highly ranked law schools–the Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School, located in Provo, Utah, and the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Below you’ll find more information on these two exceptional Utah based law schools.
Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School
The Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School (“Clark Law”) is unique among this nation’s law schools. It is owned and operated by the LDS Church (the Mormon’s) and has a honor code that students must abide by. While it may be a bit much for non-lds students, for those that can handle living by a strict set of moral guidelines, a unique ideology and the practices of the Mormon’s, they can look forward to receiving an excellent legal education at a very affordable price. In fact, the cost of tuition at BYU’s law school is lower than the tuition at most other law schools in the nation–and the quality of the education is just as good as that offered at many of the best law schools.
Notwithstanding the fact that Clark Law doesn’t have as many applicants as other law schools, it is still very selective. Of the approximately 850 applications it receives each year, it offers admission to about 250. Of the 250 that receive an offer for addmission about 150 will accept. The average GPA of entering students is about 3.75 and the average LSAT score is 165. If you want to get in, make sure to come in at or above these numbers. However, with a student body that is 80% white and 65% male the school is always seeking minority applicants. The school values diversity.
Clark Law has often referred to itself as the “Best Bargain in American Legal Education”, and we’d have to agree. Tuition for Mormon students is roughtly $10,000 per semester and for non-mormon students tuition is $20,000. (Mormon’s receive a discount since about 50% of the cost of operating the school is subsidized by donations from members of the LDS Church.) Either way, the cost of attending BYU is substantially lower than the cost attending any other law school that offers a comparable education.
All first year students at Clark Law can look forward to a curriculum that is similar to that offered at most major law schools. Notwithstanding it lower than average enrollment rates, first year classes are about the same size as those at similarly ranked law schools. On average, first year sections are usuall filled with about 100 students. The curriculum at Clark Law is challenging and the work load for first years can be daunting. Consequently, the school offers special tutorial services for first year students to help them deal with the rigors of the curriculum and workload. Once students have completed all core curriculum they can round out their legal education by selecting from over a 100 elective courses. Unlike BYU undergraduate programs, where all students are required to enroll in religious courses, Clark Law students are only required to take law courses. However, as it is a Mormon school, you’re sure to get a bit of a Mormon perspective.
BYU’s honor code ensures that students stay focused on their studies. No alcohol is allowed. The law school social scene at BYU is very different than the scene at other schools, where bars and parties are an integral part of student life. To add insult to injury, the social scene at Clark Law is dominated by married couples. But don’t despair, if you’re single the BYU campus is just next door–which is home to tens of thousands of single people. In all, BYU is a pretty fun place to earn any degree, if you can handle having fun without the booze and unrescricted partying.
Job prospects for students graduating from Clark Law are a little bit more national than other law schools, as the school has an extensive alumni network and is affiliated with a large number of Mormon lawyers and law firms throughout the United States. Most Clark Law graduates end up working within the Rocky Mountain region but many will find jobs back east (in the DC area) or on the West Coast. The first-year salary for most law students starts at about $115,000. BYU is also known for its placement of students in Supreme Court clerkships and nearly 95% of it students pass the bar exam their first try.
The BYU Law school is located at 341 JRCB P.O. Box 28000, Provo, UT 84602. Admissions counselors can be contacted at (801) 422-4274 or via their website at http://www.law2.byu.edu.
University of Utah S.J. Quinney
The University of Utah College of law, officially known at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney Law School is located in Salt Lake City on the bench of the Rocky Mountains. Similar to its neighbor down the street down the street in Provo (Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School), the S.J. Quinney school of law is a relatively small school that admits about 120 new students each year. One of the benefits of attending a small school like S.J. Quinney is that students and professors develop a close relationship that fosters an environment learning and allows students greater networking opportunities. The University of Utah College of Law offers a relatively low cost of attendance for in-state students and is especially popular among students seeking to launch a law career within the state of Utah.
University of Utah College of law accepts about 30% of its applicants each year. Most recently the school received 950 applications, of which it extended offers to 300. Of the 300 offers, 120 accepted. The LSAT scores for entering students fluctuate between 156 and 162, and the average GPA is between 3.3 and 3.7. Applicants with test scores and GPAs in the aforemented ranges should have a good chance of being accepted to the University of Utah College of law, while students with higher scores can apply for scholarships. Women and minoritiess often receive special consideration, as the school is alway looking to diversify its student body.
The cost of attending the University of Utah College of Law for in-state students is about half that for out-of-state students. But in either case, tuition rates are very competitive. Average tuition for Utah residents is about $13,500, while non-residents pay about double that ($28,000). Non-residents can move to Utah early to establish residency and qualify for lower tuition–which many do.
As is the case at most law schools, the first year of school at the University of Utah College of Law is quite challenging. Prior to beginning first year classes students participate in a four-day introductory legal studies course designed to prepare them for the rigors of law school. While the first year of law school is composed of a standard core curriculum, during their second year of studies students have the opportunity to begin to focus their studies in more specific areas of law that in line with their long-term career aspirations. During their last year, students are provide the option enrolling in an intensive year-long course focuses specifically in their preferred field of law. The can also choose from over 50 elective courses. The school also offers clinical programs that enable students to get hands-on training in various law fields including Criminal Law, Health Law, Civil Law and Environmental Law. For students interested in working overseas, the University of Utah College of Law offers courses on the legal system in Europe and England.
In addition to the superb legal education students can expect to receive, there are several other reasons to attend the law school at the University of Utah. The cost of real estate (buying or renting) in the Salt Lake City valley is quite affordable. Most law students can easily find a place to stay, close to campus, at a very affordable rate. And if you decide you don’t want to live near campus, there are public transit and light rail systems that makes getting to and from school (or getting anywhere) easy and painless. Salt Lake City offers a vibrant night lifendash;bars, clubs, restaurants, theatres, you name it. Salt Lake offers a little of everything when it comes to entertainment. The University of Utah is located next to one of the most beautiful expanses of mountains found anywhere in the Rockies. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just like getting close to nature, you’ll really enjoy living in Salt Lake City. Fishing, hiking, camping, boating, if it’s an outdoor activity it’s in Utah. So when you have some free time, if you have some free time, there’s plenty to keep you busy and entertained.
Employment prospects for law students graduating from the University of Utah are strongest for those seeking opportunities in Utah. In fact, most of the firms that recruit from the University of Utah College of Law are based in Utah. However, students can seek employment opportunities elsewhere and many students end up working with firms back east or on the West Coast. Several law firms from California and Nevada also recruit from the University of Utah College of Law. If you attend law school at the University of Utah and are determined to work out of state, plan on dedicating quite a bit of time to your job search. Within 9 months of graduation about 90% of students have found jobs. About 60% of graduate find work in the private sector, 15% in government and 10% in judicial clerkships. First year salaries range anywhere from $40,000 to $140,000. The average salary for recent grads is about $75,000.
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law is located at University of Utah College of Law
332 South 1400 East, Room 101, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. The admission department can be contacted at 801.581.6833 or by email at [email protected]. To learn more about the college of law visit http://www.law.utah.edu/.