Exploring the J. Reuben Clark Law School

Since its founding in 1973, the J. Reuben Clark Law School has been a dynamic part of Brigham Young University. The relationship between the University and the Law School is strong and fulfills the charge issued by then-BYU President Dallin H. Oaks in his inaugural address—that the Law School “should be part of Brigham Young University in all respects, with the law faculty and students fully participating and contributing in the intellectual and spiritual life of the University.” The benefits of this relationship are numerous. For undergraduates, benefits mean learning opportunities and direct access to an exceptional graduate program. For the Law School, benefits include direct access to an outstanding student body that is the envy of law schools across the country and whose members consistently constitute over half of each BYU Law entering class.

A law degree remains the pre-eminent degree for training leaders, and at BYU Law we are committed to providing the type of training that prepares our students for lifetimes of service to the profession, to their communities and families, and to “those of the last wagon.”[1] We also believe lawyers can be healers, peacemakers, and problem solvers, and we bring unique religious perspectives to these dimensions of professional life.

One of BYU Law’s contributions to the intellectual life of undergraduates is our World of Law discussion series—an easily accessible opportunity for students to gain insights about key legal issues and potential practice areas. The series is taught by some of BYU Law’s outstanding professors, and this year’s presenters include Eric Jensen, Brett Scharffs, Elysa Dishman and Gladriel Shobe who will address topics ranging from religious freedom to national security.

The Law School also encourages undergraduate student participation by inviting student visitors to first-year law classes.  Class visits can be scheduled online, and students interested in attending other events can stay up-to-date by liking our BYU Law Facebook page or contacting the Admissions Office to be placed on our distribution list.

Unlike many graduate programs that require specific undergraduate majors, the law school builds on analytical and communication skills developed in a wide variety of majors, and BYU Law attracts students from the gamut of BYU’s strong academic programs. The students in this fall’s entering class represent 39 different majors, with English, Business Management, Economics, Engineering and Accounting leading the list. We encourage potential students to engage and excel in intellectual pursuits that align with their particular interests, knowing that the law embraces all disciplines and is intertwined with virtually every field of academic endeavor.

With BYU undergraduates as key contributors to its reputation and ranking, BYU Law continues to excel not only in fulfilling its mission to teach the laws of men in the light of the laws of God, but also in ways measured on more secular terms. Our high academic standards coupled with high bar passage rates and low tuition costs have earned BYU Law ranking among the top 20 law schools for value by The National Jurist. Our low tuition costs and generously endowed scholarships have resulted in the best salary to debt ratio in the nation, and we are the #3 law school in the country for graduates with the least debt. Thanks to generous contributions, over 75% of the entering class received merit scholarships in 2017, and every member of the class will receive at least a $1,000 stipend.

The successful placement of our graduates is testament to the extensive support provided by our national and international network of alumni and Clark Law Society members. The Law School offers innovative opportunities for practical training—from a Community Law Clinic housed at Deseret Industries to a Legal Design Lab, BYU Law enables students to use their legal skills to aid communities and innovate across industries.

We continue to rely on a dynamic and highly qualified contingent of BYU undergraduates to complete their graduate studies at BYU Law, where we are deeply committed to professional excellence as well as the ideal that this is compatible with a life of faith.

[1] From an address given by President J. Reuben Clark, October 5, 1947 and reprinted in the Ensign, July 1997.

Gayla Sorenson is the Dean of Admissions at BYU Law, with previous professional experiences including being a Vice President, Law at Motorola, Inc. and Director of Global Compliance at Biomet, Inc. She has volunteered extensively with the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.