Member Spotlight: BYU Law School

Posted on October 8th, 2012

The BYU Law School, established in 1973 was named after J. Reuben Clark, a brilliant attorney and statesman. Rex E. Lee, first dean of the Law School said, “Surely the inspiring career of President Clark, ‘one of the greatest lawyers of [his] time’ would inspire law students to similarly revere and uphold the Constitution and to pursue equally honorable careers in the field of law.”

In an address to the first class of the BYU Law School, Dallin H. Oaks, president of Brigham Young University, said, “J. Reuben Clark was a widely acclaimed authority in international and constitutional law, a distinguished public servant, an eminent author, a wise counselor, and a servant of the Lord. His coherent philosophy of law and government was born of brilliance and nurtured by superior education, experience, love of country, and devotion to God. Men with his combination of brilliance, wisdom, and faith are all too rare, and we do well to seek their acquaintance.

“The life of J. Reuben Clark exemplifies the excellence of mind and character we seek to foster in the law school that now bears his name. Every person—and especially every young student of the law—can identify with the life of this great man and appropriately aspire to the greatness he attained.”

In the thirty-five years since the BYU Law School graduated its first class, it has developed a reputation for one of the strongest law schools in the western United States.  Its students rank among the top 20 percent of all schools based upon their LSAT scores and undergraduate grade point averages.

Twelve of BYU Law School’s alumni have clerked for Justices of the United States Supreme Court, as well as for federal judges at the District and Circuit court levels and state supreme court justices. The number of students offered judicial clerkships continues to steadily climb with 12 students offered a clerkship for the 2011-2012 term and 15 students offered clerkships for the upcoming 2012-2012 term.

In addition, the Law School runs one of the leading externship programs in the country with more than 80 percent of its students participating in externships in 25 different countries. The program was recently ranked number four in the October 2011 issue of the National Jurist for externship opportunities.

The Law School itself doubled the square footage of its Law Library in 1995 and has recently added at new Trial Courtroom.  Students participating in the Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program will practice their trial advocacy skills and prepare for competitions in the new facilities.

In addition, students will attend classes in the room during the week. Utah Bar members will also have the opportunity to take advantage of the new space for mock jury trials, giving students greater exposure to the world of advocacy.

The new courtroom features several new technological advances including a customized Tec Podium. A pop-out document camera gives access to digital white board capability permitting a dime to appear as large as 8 feet tall on each of two 13 foot wide screens. With the touch of a button, the classroom converts into a state-of-the-art courtroom as the Tec Podium rotates 180 degrees and becomes the lawyer’s podium. A video annotator is provided at the witness stand so that pointing or drawing on the monitor with a finger can be seen throughout the courtroom.