J. Reuben Clark Law School

J. Reuben Clark Law School
Established 1973
Type Private
Religious affiliation The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dean James R. Rasband
Academic staff 40 (full-time), 57 (part-time)
Students 450
Location Provo, Utah, USA
Affiliations Brigham Young University
Website www.law.byu.edu
BYU Law logo.png

Coordinates: 40°14′58″N 111°38′43″W / 40.24944°N 111.64528°W / 40.24944; -111.64528 The J. Reuben Clark Law School (JRCLS) is a professional graduate school located in Provo, Utah at Brigham Young University. Founded in 1973, the school is named after J. Reuben Clark, Jr.—former U.S. Ambassador, Undersecretary of State, and LDS Church General Authority—and its charter dean was former U.S. Solicitor General Rex E. Lee. The school offers traditional J.D. and LL.M. degrees, as well as five joint-degree programs. BYU Law ranks among the top graduate programs in the country, and is particularly renowned for its low tuition and high placement rate in Article III federal judicial clerkships. The law school is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, and is accredited by the American Bar Association.[1]



On March 9, 1971 the Brigham Young University Board of Trustees announced that a law school would be established at the university. Just two-and-one-half years later the opening ceremonies were held on August 27, 1973. Classes were initially held down the street from the current building in an old Catholic school building, affectionately referred to as "St. Reuben's" by the students. Former U.S. Solicitor General Rex E. Lee was the first dean of the School. The JRCLS Building was completed and dedicated in 1975, and the School graduated its first class in 1976. The School has since graduated more than 5,000 students.[2]


The nearly 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) JRCLS building is located on the east side of the BYU campus. The building's five floors contain eleven classrooms, three seminar rooms, a student commons area, a student lunchroom, spaces for student organizations and activities, a large computer lab, and a computer training room. The Howard W. Hunter Law Library occupies the north wing of the law building and houses a collection of over 450,000 volumes and volume equivalents in paper and microform. The library provides its law students with 470 individually assigned study carrels, 17 group study rooms, a reading room for quiet study, and a popular reading and conversation room. The library also has two classrooms where library faculty teach legal research and writing classes, familiarizing students with specific types of legal research and with library holdings.[3] The National Jurist ranks the Howard W. Hunter Law Library as the 11th best law library in the country.[4]

Academic offerings

The JRCLS offers traditional J.D. and LL.M. (Comparative Law) programs, as well as four joint-degree programs: a JD/MBA in conjunction with the Marriott School of Management (MSM), a JD/MPA administered by the Romney Institute of Public Management within the MSM, a JD/MAcc overseen by the School of Accountancy within the MSM, and a JD/EdD in association with the David O. McKay School of Education. The LL.M. is a one-year program for foreign lawyers leading to a master's degree in Comparative American Law. Established in 1988, the LLM program is designed specifically for attorneys from foreign countries who intend to return to their home countries upon graduation, and applicants must have a law degree or certification from an institution located outside the U.S. to participate in the program.[citation needed]

The student-to-faculty ratio at BYU Law is about 18 to one.[5] The current faculty includes seven former United States Supreme Court clerks, the current president of the Association of American Law Schools, an Undersecretary of the Interior, and several world-renowned constitutional, property, religious freedom, and family law scholars. The school hosts several events each year, including the World Family Policy Center / United Nations Conference (July),[6] the International Law and Religion Symposium (October),[7] and the Orrin G. Hatch Distinguished Trial Lawyer Lecture Series (November).

Students at BYU Law publish four law journals: the BYU Law Review, the BYU Journal of Public Law,[8] the BYU Education and Law Journal,[9] and the BYU International Law & Management Review.[10]

The JRCLS ranks 13th in the nation for U.S. Supreme Court clerk placement.

Rankings and Honors

BYU Law School's placement in the U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the nearly 200 law schools in the United States fluctuates between 30th and 44th in the country.[11] The most recent edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Grad Schools ranked BYU Law

  • 5th for "Law Degrees With Most Financial Value at Graduation" [12]
  • 7th in Federal Judicial Clerkship Placement
  • 10th for Graduates with the Least Debt
  • 17th in Legal Writing
  • 42nd in the Country Overall

Recent editions of the Princeton Review "Best Law School" rankings name the law school

  • 8th in the Country Overall[13]
  • 10th for Best Academic Experience[14]
  • 16th for Best Teaching Faculty[15]
  • 21st for Most Selective Admissions[16]

Recent Leiter’s Law School Rankings placed the law school

  • 13th in United States Supreme Court clerk placement over the last 10 years.
  • 25th in Admissions Selectivity

The National Jurist named BYU Law School

  • 2nd in the 2010 "Best Value Law Schools" ranking, which weighs schools' bar pass rate, nine month employment rate, and average income against cost of attendance and average indebtedness after graduation.[17]

In 2011 Malcolm Gladwell, in the New Yorker, ranked BYU Law School #2 in the nation. [18]

Admissions and Job Placement


Admission to the JRCLS is highly competitive. Successful applicants usually have exemplary grades, high standardized test scores, and unique records of non-academic achievement. Many admitted students have graduate and doctoral degrees in a wide range of academic disciplines, and most have spent time abroad.[19] Entering students graduated from over 70 different undergraduate colleges and universities in 11 countries and nearly 40 states.

In 2009, the incoming class had a median GPA of 3.73 and a median LSAT score of 165.[20] Based on these numbers, the J. Reuben Clark Law School ranks 12th in the nation for GPA [21] and 25th in the nation for LSAT admissions standards.[22]

Job placement

For the 2008 graduating class, 87% of graduates were employed at graduation [23] and 98% were employed within nine months of graduation.[24] The average starting salary for BYU Law graduates in private practice is $120,500,[25] placing BYU at #18 in the nation for highest post-grad compensation.[26] All alumni may participate in the BYU Law School Alumni Association.[27]


BYU Law students may participate in a wide variety of organizations while attending law school and after graduation. Co-curricular programs include Law Review, Moot Court,[28] Trial Advocacy,[29] and various other student-edited publications.[30] For extracurricular activities, students may choose from more than 30 student-run and professional associations, including the American Constitution Society, the Federalist Society, the Student Bar Association, and the Minority Law Students Association.[31][32]

Of particular note is the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, which is an organization of law school students and graduates consisting of 65 professional and 125 student chapters throughout the world. Although students and graduates of the J. Reuben Clark Law School are de facto members of the Society, there is no requirement to attend the Law School or to be a member of the LDS Church. The organization currently claims 14 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges, 18 U.S. District Court Judges, 4 U.S. Attorneys, 6 U.S. Senators (including the Senate Majority Leader), 9 U.S. Congressmen, dozens of legal officers in Fortune 500 companies, and over 100 State Supreme Court, Appellate Court, and District Court judges.[33] The Society holds an annual conference for students and practicing attorneys. Prior conferences have been held in Arizona, featuring former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and at the Harvard Law School.[34]



Faculty have included Kif Augustine-Adams, Dee V. Benson, Cole Durham, Larry Echohawk, Frederick Gedicks, Michael Goldsmith (1951-2009), James D. Gordon III, Thomas B. Griffith, Bruce C. Hafen, H. Reese Hansen, Dale A. Kimball, Thomas R. Lee, Mike Lee, Cheryl A. Preston, James Rasband, Brett Scharffs, Lynn Wardle, and Kevin J. Worthen.


In its short history, the JRCLS has produced a number of distinguished alumni, including: two judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, seven U.S. District Court judges, one U.S. Senator, three U.S. Congressmen, several Senior Advisors to the President of the United States, nine U.S. Attorneys, and a number of Fortune 500 corporate counselors. Other notable alumni include Michael R. Fordham ('96), an executive at J.P. Morgan Chase, and NFL Hall-of-Famer Steve Young ('94).[35]

See also


  1. ^ "Approved Private Law Schools". American Bar Association. http://www.abanet.org/legaled/approvedlawschools/private.html. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Founding Documents". JRCLS, BYU. http://www.law2.byu.edu/law_school/foundingdocumentsnew/index.php. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  3. ^ "BYU Law School". LexisNexis. http://www.martindale.com/xp/legal/Professional_Resources/Law_Schools/schl0101.xml. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  4. ^ Top Legal Libraries[dead link]
  5. ^ "BYU, Clark". Best Graduate Schools. U.S. News & World Report. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/grad/law/items/03156. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  6. ^ "World Family Policy Center homepage". JRCLS, BYU. http://www.worldfamilypolicy.org/. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  7. ^ "International Center for Law and Family Studies homepage". JRCLS, BYU. http://www.iclrs.org/. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  8. ^ "BYU Journal of Public Law". Law2.byu.edu. http://www.law2.byu.edu/jpl/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  9. ^ Williams, Taryn. "BYU Education and Law Journal: Current Issue". Law2.byu.edu. http://www.law2.byu.edu/jel/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  10. ^ "BYU International Law & Management Review". Byuilmr.org. http://www.byuilmr.org/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  11. ^ Historical U.S. News Rankings
  12. ^ Most Valuable Law Degree Rankings, U.S. News & World Report
  13. ^ Princeton Review's Top 50 Law Schools
  14. ^ Best Academic Experience Rankings
  15. ^ Faculty Rankings
  16. ^ Admissions Selectivity Ranking
  17. ^ National Jurist Best Value Rankings
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ http://www.law2.byu.edu/admissions/pdf_documents/Profile%202008-2009.pdf Incoming Class Profile, BYU Law School
  20. ^ "Admissions: FAQ". Law2.byu.edu. 2007-03-01. http://www.law2.byu.edu/admissions/faq.php. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  21. ^ "Average Raw Data Law School Rankings: Highest GPA". Ilrg.com. http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/index.php/1/desc/GPALow. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  22. ^ "Brian Leiter Student Quality Rankings, 2009". Leiterrankings.com. 2008-04-06. http://www.leiterrankings.com/students/2008student_quality.shtml. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  23. ^ "Brigham Young University (Clark) - Overview - Graduate Schools - Education - US News". Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. 2010-04-15. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/items/03156. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  24. ^ "2008 Raw Data Law School Rankings : Employed at Graduation (Descending)". Ilrg.com. http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/index.php/1/desc/EmployGrad/2008. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  25. ^ "Class of 2009 Starting Salaries" (PDF). http://www.law2.byu.edu/career_services/info_stats/salary.pdf. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  26. ^ "TaxProf Blog: National Jurist: Law School Ranking by Starting Salaries of Graduates". Taxprof.typepad.com. http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2008/01/national-jurist.html. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  27. ^ "BYU Law School". Byulaw.org. http://www.byulaw.org/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  28. ^ BYU Law School[dead link]
  29. ^ "Trial Advocacy - Organizations". Law2.byu.edu. http://www.law2.byu.edu/organizations/trial_advocacy/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  30. ^ BYU Law School[dead link]
  31. ^ http://www.law2.byu.edu/organizations/minoritylaw/
  32. ^ "BYU Law Organizations". Law2.byu.edu. http://www.law2.byu.edu/organizations/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  33. ^ "J. Reuben Clark Law Society". Jrcls.org. http://www.jrcls.org/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  34. ^ "J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference". Jrclsconference.org. http://jrclsconference.org/. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  35. ^ "Steve Young". Pro Football Hall of Fame. http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?PLAYER_ID=252. Retrieved 2008-05-11. 

External links

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