J. Reuben Clark Law School

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J. Reuben Clark Law School
BYU Medallion Logo.svg
Type Private
Established 1973
Affiliation The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dean D. Gordon Smith
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 (BYU). Founded in 1973, the school is named after J. Reuben Clark, Jr., a former U.S. Ambassador, Undersecretary of State, and general authority of the institution's sponsoring organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The BYU Law School's 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. The BYU Law School 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 BYU 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. Future 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 25th best law library in the country.[4]



Many admitted students have graduate and doctoral degrees in a wide range of academic disciplines, and most have spent time abroad.[5] Entering students graduated from over 70 different undergraduate colleges and universities in 11 countries and nearly 40 US states.

In 2009, the incoming class had a median GPA of 3.73 and a median LSAT score of 165.[6] Based on these numbers, the J. Reuben Clark Law School ranks 12th in the nation for GPA [7] and 25th in the nation for LSAT admissions standards.[8]

Admission to the BYU Law School is open to people of any faith or sexual orientation, subject to the school's Honor Code.[9] Among other things, the Honor Code precludes the admission and retention of students who are former members of the LDS Church,[10] or whose actions are categorized as "homosexual behavior," which includes both sexual relations and "all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings".[11] To verify Honor Code compliance, students are required to obtain, and maintain during their course of study, an ecclesiastical endorsement from a religious leader or designated BYU chaplain.[12] In 2016, the American Bar Association, which accredits the school, conducted a review to determine whether BYU Law School's admission and retention policy was in accordance with its nondiscrimination policy.[13]

Academic offerings[edit]

The JRCLS offers traditional J.D. and LL.M. (Comparative Law) programs, as well as five 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, a JD/MPP in connection with the Public Policy Graduate Program, 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.[14]

The student-to-faculty ratio at BYU Law is about 18 to one.[15] The current faculty includes seven former United States Supreme Court clerks, a former 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),[16] the International Law and Religion Symposium (October),[17] 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,[18] the BYU Education and Law Journal,[19] and the BYU International Law & Management Review.[20]

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

Rankings and reputation[edit]

BYU Law School's placement in the U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the nearly 200 law schools in the United States generally fluctuates between 30th and 40th in the country, [21] though the 2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Grad Schools ranked BYU Law 46th overall. [22]

  • 3rd for "Law Degrees With Most Financial Value at Graduation" [23]
  • 7th in Federal Judicial Clerkship Placement
  • 10th for Graduates with the Least Debt
  • 17th in Legal Writing
  • 34th in the Country Overall [24]

The National Jurist named BYU Law School

  • 1st in "Best Value Law Schools" (2016)[25]
  • 1st in "Best Law Schools for Mormons" (2014)[26]
  • 20th in "Best Law Schools"(overall) (2013)[27]

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

  • 8th in the Country Overall[28]
  • 10th for Best Academic Experience[29]
  • 16th for Best Teaching Faculty[30]
  • 21st for Most Selective Admissions[31]

Recent Leiter’s Law School Rankings placed the law school

Above the Law has ranked BYU Law School #24 in the United States based on their own outcome-based criteria.[32]


According to BYU's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, within nine months of graduation 64.6% of the Class of 2013 found full-time, long-term, bar-passage-requirement employment; 11.5% found full-time, long-term, JD-advantage employment; and 5.4% found part-time, long-term, bar-passage-required or JD-advantage employment. [33] Overall, 92% of the Class of 2013 found employment within nine months of graduation, and 83.7% of those who found employment were in full-time, long-term positions. [34] BYU's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 20.4%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[35]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at BYU for the 2013-2014 academic year is $31,325 for LDS students and $42,632 for students who are not LDS.[36] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $116,157 for LDS and $159,872 for non-LDS.[37]

Associated organizations[edit]

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,[38] Trial Advocacy,[39] and various other student-edited publications.[40] 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.[41][42]

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.[43] The Society holds an annual conference for students and practicing attorneys. Prior conferences have featured former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and current U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.[44][45]

Notable people[edit]


Faculty include Kif Augustine-Adams, Cole Durham, Frederick Gedicks, James D. Gordon III, Cheryl B. Preston, Brett Scharffs, D. Gordon Smith, James Rasband, Lynn Wardle, Kevin J Worthen.

Notable former faculty have included Dee Benson (U.S. District Court, UT), Larry Echohawk (Asst. Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs), Michael Goldsmith (Vice Chairman of the U.S. Sentencing Commission), Thomas B. Griffith (U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C.), Bruce C. Hafen, H. Reese Hansen, RonNell Andersen Jones, Dale A. Kimball (U.S. District Court, UT), Thomas R. Lee (UT Supreme Court), Mike Lee (U.S. Senate).


Notable JRCLS alumni include 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, nine U.S. Attorneys and an NFL Hall-of-Famer.

Law clerks of the United States Supreme Court[edit]

For the 2003–2013 Terms of the United States Supreme Court, BYU Law was ranked #13 nationally in Brian Leiter's rankings for Supreme Court clerkship placement (per capita).[46]

As of 2014, the following sortable table lists all of the law clerks that attended the J. Reuben Clark Law School who have served for Supreme Court justices, the year their service began and ended, the year they graduated, and any previous clerkships they held. (To sort, click on the arrow in the header. To sort by multiple columns, click on the first column's sort arrow, then shift-click on subsequent columns' sort arrows.)

Seat Num Justice Law clerk Started Finished Graduation year Previous clerkship
0CJ 97 Burger, WWarren E. Burger Stewart, Monte N.Monte N. Stewart 1977 1978 1976 J. C. Wallace (9th Cir.)
0CJ 97 Burger, WWarren E. Burger Keetch, Von G.Von G. Keetch (shared with Scalia) 1989 1990 1987 G. Pratt (2d Cir.)
0CJ 97 Burger, WWarren E. Burger Tilleman, Karl M.Karl M. Tilleman (shared with Thomas) 1992 1993 1990 J. Noonan (9th Cir.)
0CJ 100 Rehnquist, WWilliam Rehnquist Sargent, Stephen M. Stephen M. Sargent 1994 1995 1993 Tacha (10th Cir.)
0CJ 100 Rehnquist, WWilliam Rehnquist Jorgensen, Jay T.Jay T. Jorgensen 1999 2000 1997 Alito (3d Cir.)
4 99 Powell, LLewis F. Powell, Jr. Andersen, Eric G.Eric G. Andersen 1978 1979 1977 J. C. Wallace (9th Cir.)
4 99 Powell, LLewis F. Powell, Jr. Mosman, Michael W.Michael W. Mosman 1985 1986 1984 Wilkey (D.C. Cir.)
6 93 White, BByron White Worthen, Kevin JKevin J Worthen 1983 1984 1982 Wilkey (D.C. Cir.)
8 102 O'Connor, SSandra Day O'Connor Lindberg, Denise Posse-BlancoDenise Posse-Blanco Lindberg 1990 1991 1988 McKay (10th Cir.)
8 110 Alito, SSamuel Alito Smith, Hannah ClaysonHannah Clayson Smith 2006-02February 2006 2006-07July 2006 2001 C. Thomas / Alito (3d Cir.)
8 110 Alito, SSamuel Alito Lee, MikeMichael S. Lee 2006 2007 1997 Alito (3d Cir.) / Benson (D. Utah)
8 110 Alito, SSamuel Alito Moore, David H. David H. Moore 2007 2008 1996 Alito (3d Cir.)
9 103 Scalia, AAntonin Scalia Keetch, Von G.Von G. Keetch (shared with Burger) 1989 1990 1987 G. Pratt (2d Cir.)
10 106 Thomas, CClarence Thomas Smith, Hannah ClaysonHannah Clayson Smith 2003 2004 2001 Alito (3d Cir.)
10 106 Thomas, CClarence Thomas Stander, RobertRobert Stander 2014 2011 Sutton (6th Cir.)/ Lee (Utah)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Approved Private Law Schools". American Bar Association. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Founding Documents". JRCLS, BYU. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  3. ^ "BYU Law School". LexisNexis. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  4. ^ "Best Law Libraries". The National Jurist. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.law2.byu.edu/admissions/pdf_documents/Profile%202008-2009.pdf Incoming Class Profile, BYU Law School
  6. ^ "Admissions: FAQ". Law2.byu.edu. 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  7. ^ "Average Raw Data Law School Rankings: Highest GPA". Ilrg.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  8. ^ "Brian Leiter Student Quality Rankings, 2009". Leiterrankings.com. 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  9. ^ "Acceptance Criteria: Non-Discrimination Policy". BYU Law. Retrieved 2016-04-23. 
  10. ^ "Church Educational System Honor Code". BYU University Policies. Students must be in good Honor Code standing to be admitted to, continue enrollment at, and graduate from BYU....Excommunication, disfellowshipment, or disaffiliation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints automatically results in the loss of good Honor Code standing. 
  11. ^ "Church Educational System Honor Code". BYU University Policies. Retrieved 2016-04-23. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings. 
  12. ^ "Church Educational System Honor Code: Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement". BYU University Policies. 
  13. ^ Karen, Sloan (2016-04-18). "Inquiry Into BYU Law School's Expulsion of Ex-Mormons Proceeds". The National Law Journal. 
  14. ^ "LLM Program for Foreign Lawyers" (PDF). BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "BYU, Clark". Best Graduate Schools. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  16. ^ "World Family Policy Center homepage". JRCLS, BYU. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  17. ^ "International Center for Law and Family Studies homepage". JRCLS, BYU. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  18. ^ "BYU Journal of Public Law". Law2.byu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  19. ^ Williams, Taryn. "BYU Education and Law Journal: Current Issue". Law2.byu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  20. ^ "BYU International Law & Management Review". Byuilmr.org. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  21. ^ Historical U.S. News Rankings
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ Delece Smith-Barrow. "Most Valuable Law Degree Rankings, U.S. News & World Report". US News & World Report. 
  24. ^ "USNWR BYU Law School Ranking, 2016". 
  25. ^ "National Jurist Best Value Rankings". 
  26. ^ http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cypress/prelaw_2014winter/#/30
  27. ^ "National Jurist - February 2013". 
  28. ^ "Princeton Review's Top 50 Law Schools". 
  29. ^ "Best Academic Experience Rankings". 
  30. ^ "Faculty Rankings". 
  31. ^ "Admissions Selectivity Ranking". 
  32. ^ Above the Law 2014 Top 50 Law Schools retrieved 05-08-2014
  33. ^ "Employment Statistics" (PDF). 
  34. ^ "Employment Statistics" (PDF). 
  35. ^ "BYU University Profile". 
  36. ^ "Tuition and Expenses". 
  37. ^ "BYU University Profile". 
  38. ^ [2] Archived October 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ "Trial Advocacy - Organizations". Law2.byu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  40. ^ [3] Archived December 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ http://www.law2.byu.edu/organizations/minoritylaw/
  42. ^ "BYU Law Organizations". Law2.byu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  43. ^ "J. Reuben Clark Law Society". Jrcls.org. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  44. ^ "J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference". Jrclsconference.org. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  45. ^ "Elder Holland addresses Clark law society on 25th anniversary". LDS Church News. February 23, 2013. 
  46. ^ Nevers, Shawn. BYU Law Alum to Clerk for SCOTUS, Hunter's Query January 15, 2014 retrieved 2014-29-04

External links[edit]