Brigham Young University Law School
Academics & Programs: Law students at Brigham Young University love the “small class sizes,” “superb” academic experience, and the “lowest tuition that you’ll find anywhere for a respected law school.” Add “great professors” to the mix and you’ve got the makings of a solid law school experience. “BYU has a great faculty with amazing credentials” (several faculty have moved from top schools and have clerked for the Supreme Court), and “all faculty members are incredibly student-oriented,” says a 2L. The school doesn’t hedge on the quality of 1L professors either. “The school uses some of its brightest and best faculty to teach first-year classes,” explains a 1L. “I have had multiple professors who were previously U.S. Supreme Court clerks as professors in each semester.” Professors here are “always open to meeting with students,” some going so far as to give out “cell phone numbers in class.” “[Professors] take time to attend law school events and make genuine efforts to know students, especially students are willing to get involved and meet professors halfway,” says a 2L. Students find the administration “transparent in its policies and responsive to students’ needs and concerns.” The administration “doesn’t please all the students all the time, of course, but my sense is that the school wants to satisfy its students as well as prospective employers and works hard to do so.”
Students are quick to point out that for the “minimal tuition price,” the “value of the education” at BYU Law “can’t be beat.” That said, nearly all agree that a “broader range of courses” is needed. In addition to more classes, many note that they could benefit from “a more robust clinical program.” “[BYU Law] places a lot of emphasis on externships— and the externship program is pretty awesome—but we could gain a lot more practical experience with on-campus clinical opportunities,” says a 2L. Finally, some students would like a school as religious as BYU to be, well, more religious. “I have only had one professor who legitimately integrated gospel aspects into law teaching, and it was only very briefly,” says a 2L. “I know many people wonder if BYU Law School is like Sunday School, but I can say it definitely is not.”
Most students believe that BYU is “a ‘law firm’ school” since “that is where most people end up and that is mostly who comes to campus to interview.” “I have sought advice on non-firm careers, and have obtained little useful help from BYU thus far,” says a 3L. “Both my summer jobs have come from my own work and connections.” Regardless, students appreciate the “helpful” Career Services Office, though they “could do a better job marketing the school and its students to the larger, regional firms outside of Utah.” The “networking” and “benefits” of “the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the alumni” are also a plus for BYU Law job hunters.
Campus Life/Facilities: The school boasts “Internet connection in all the classrooms,” “personal study space” (i.e., everyone has their “own individual desk in the library”), and overall “great” facilities. “The law building itself is a bit dated” (circa 1973), but “They’re progressively renovating,” says a 1L. The administration has recently built a state-of-the-art moot court room, and all classrooms, carrels, study rooms, and sitting areas in the library have wireless Internet and computer power jacks. Plenty of students find themselves wishing for a “face-lift” for the building and classrooms, but, as one 2L explains, “When I am paying seventy percent less [in tuition] than my colleagues are at peer schools, I guess I cannot complain.”
When you’ve got a student body that’s “ninety-nine percent Mormon and sixty-five percent married,” the social life is, for lack of better words, “quite unique!” “The reason that the students are so hardworking and competitive is that many of the students are married, or are planning on getting married, so their studies and academic success [mean] more than just mere prestige, or even a high salary,” says a 3L. “These students understand that others are depending on them to do well” and are “more willing to take responsibility for their time and efforts.” The environment is “competitive, but civil.” “I know that everyone else is working very hard, and yet I have never felt that other students were ‘out to get me,’” says a 2L. As for diversity, it depends on who you ask. For some students, the lack of diversity can be blamed on BYU Law being “very conservative,” which “tends to attract more conservative people.” On the other hand, some find that their “colleagues are more diverse” than “expected for a Mormon school in the middle of Utah.”
Since a “large percentage” of students are “already married,” many find the traditional law school “social dynamic” changed “significantly.” “People tend [to] get together for game nights and baby showers instead of parties or clubbing,” says a 2L. “It feels less like college and more like real life.” Also, as BYU has a strict honor code, don’t expect to “find a lot of people here to party with.” Conversely, some students wish others adhered a little less to the code in question. “I wish more of my classmates would drink themselves out of the running.” “As a completely dry campus nobody does anything but study and the competition is extremely fierce,” says a 1L. Indeed, most social life revolves around the library. But when students take a break from the books, Salt Lake City and its more varied social scenery is only “forty-five minutes away.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.