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The University of Utah College of Law

Note: This profile is eventually going to be replaced by the TLS wiki profile for University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

By Hadi Sedigh, published September 2010

University of Utah College of LawThe University of Utah College of Law is a public law school located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Salt Lake City. With a student body that is smaller than a single entering class of many law schools, Utah Law offers applicants the opportunity to study law in an intimate environment that allows students to establish close relationships with their classmates and professors. For Utah residents, who can attend the school at a relatively low cost due to its public standing, and also for applicants who hope to find employment in the state, the University of Utah College of Law is a great option.

Admissions and Tuition:

Usually admitting about 30% of its yearly applicant pool, the University of Utah law school is fairly selective in its admissions process.  For the entering class of 2007, 950 applicants petitioned for entry into the law school, about 300 were admitted, 122 of which accepted admissions offers and matriculated to form Utah Law’s Class of 2010. The LSAT scores of this entering class at the 25th and 75th percentiles were 156 and 162, respectively, while the undergraduate GPAs of the class at the same percentiles were 3.31 and 3.77, respectively. Generally speaking, applicants with numbers that fall within these ranges should be competitive in future admissions cycles at Utah Law, while those with numbers above this class’s 75th percentile numbers will likely be considered for sizable merit scholarships.  It should also be mentioned that, in one recent admissions cycle, not a single candidate with an LSAT of 165 or above combined with a GPA of 3.5 or above was rejected.  On the other hand, applicants with numbers near or below the 2007 entering class’s 25th percentile numbers have a much tougher time gaining admission to Utah Law School, and should take care to put together strong applications that effectively highlight any relevant form of diversity that they may be able to bring to the student body of Utah Law School. 

As mentioned in the introduction, attending the University of Utah Law School is a wise investment for Utah residents, who can attend the school at less than half the cost charged to non-residents. For the 2007-2008 academic year, resident students were charged $13,210, while non-residents were charged $28,250. Fortunately for non-residents, the school states that most students who enter from outside of the state are able to establish residency before the spring semester of their second year at the law school.

Admissions and Curriculum:

Before enrolling in the standard set of first-year law school requirements at Utah Law School, students partake in a rigorous four-day course that introduces them to legal studies and serves as a transition to the difficult first-year of law school. During their second-year, students choose from among foundational courses that continue their in-depth introduction to the law and prepare them for more focused courses in various areas of the law. In their third and last year at Utah Law, students can enroll in a year-long intensive course that focuses on an area of the law in which they are interested, and can also choose from among 50 advanced elective courses. Clinical programs that allow students to gain real lawyering experience are plentiful as well, and are offered in such areas as Environmental Law, Health Law, Civil Law, and Criminal Law. Students can also participate in the efforts of the Utah Criminal Justice Center, a partnership between the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and the University of Utah that aims to be a model for productive collaboration between academic and governmental institutions.  For students with hopes of taking their legal education beyond American borders, meanwhile, the school offers the London Law Consortium, which consists of courses on the legal systems of England and of the European Union.

Quality of Life:

Various features that generally contribute to a high quality of life are present in and around the University of Utah law school campus.  Housing is in Salt Lake City is generally very affordable, and most Utah Law students are able to find suitable and affordable housing in close proximity to the campus. Those who stray further from campus won’t have many problems with transportation, as Salt Lake City’s efficient light rail system allows students to get to and fro quickly. Although Salt Lake City is no Las Vegas in terms of night life, bars and pubs are plentiful throughout the town, and there are certainly enough to keep busy law students entertained during their scarce free time. The Student  Bar Association also does its part in providing socialization opportunities to law students, who can attend weekly bar reviews that allow them to browse various bars throughout Salt Lake City with their fellow law students, as well as a variety of other events throughout the academic year.  All this, added to the fact that crime and safety are usually not concerns for law students, makes for an enjoyable and affordable three years of law school for students at Utah Law.  Obviously, because the majority of students at the University of Utah and residents in Salt Lake City are Mormon, anyone planning on attending the University of Utah should be comfortable with this and consider personally visiting the law school to confirm their choice.

Employment Prospects and Bar Passage:

Each year, a large majority of University of Utah law school graduates stay within the state, where employment prospects are predictably strongest, to begin their practice of the law. Most of the law firms that annually visit the campus to interview students are based in the state of Utah, although recruiters from Nevada and California frequently visit as well.  Students hoping to work outside of Utah and its neighboring states will likely have a much more limited employment prospects and will likely have to put in much more leg work in their job search. That said, Utah Law’s alumni network and career services office help students land jobs regardless of which region they hope to work in, and, altogether, about 90% of graduates have typically found jobs within 9 months of graduation.  Note that this is a lower percentage of employment than similarly ranked law schools.  Of those employed, between 50% and 60% usually begin their practice of the law in the private sector, while about 15% take on government jobs, and about 10% attain judicial clerkship opportunities.  For those in recent graduating classes who entered the private sector, first-year salaries ranged from $40,000 to $140,000, with a median first-year salary of approximately $75,000.

In terms of bar passage, Utah Law students generally succeed at the same rate as all test takers in the state of Utah, although it should be noted that Utah’s overall state passage rate is usually among the very highest in the country. For the summer 2005 and winter 2006 administrations of the exam in the state, Utah Law students taking the exam for the first time succeeded at the same 90% rate as all first-time takers in the state.

Synopsis:

The University of Utah College of Law is among the most reputable law schools in the Mountain West region and offers a very low rate of in-state tuition. Thus, for residents of the state of Utah, as well as for applicants with hopes of finding employment in and around the state, the University of Utah College of Law is a great place to pursue a legal education.  While personally visiting a law school is always recommended, this seems particularly true of applicants who are not familiar with the Mormon religion and/or Salt Lake City.

Contact Information:

University of Utah College of Law
332 South 1400 East, Room 101
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
801.581.6833
admissions@law.utah.edu
http://www.law.utah.edu/

Quick Reference:

U.S. News 2008 ranking: 57th
Application deadline: 2/1
Application fee: $60
Entering class size: 122 (2007)
Median LSAT: 160 (2007)
Median undergraduate GPA: 3.57 (2007)
Yearly tuition: Residents: $13,210, Non-Residents: $28,250 (2007-2008)
Average private sector first-year salary: $70,000 (Class of 2005)









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