University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law
Academics & Programs: Students at the S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah are quite confident that they are receiving the “best law education available in the country for the price.” The “extremely approachable” and “very student-oriented” professors “make every effort to meet with students and make sure they understand the material.” “I went to an expensive liberal arts school for undergrad that advertised itself as offering available and motivated professors,” relates a 3L. “My undergrad experience pales in comparison to the individual attention and encouragement I have received at this state school.” “Professors here actually try to minimize stress rather than build it up,” agrees a 1L. The standard Socratic Method is not en vogue. Some students tell us that professors’ more easygoing approach allows “for a more comfortable environment in which to learn.” Other students say it’s “just too easy to doze off.” “I know this sounds crazy,” admits a 1L, “but I wish more of the professors would use the Socratic Method or, at least, engage the students in class more.”
The administration at Utah “is always looking for new, creative ways to improve the school.” “The new dean has brought a new vision of Dream Big,” and administrators “demonstrate a great interest in not only hearing the students’ voices, but in improving student experience, academic quality, and transition to real-world practice.” “All the deans keep themselves highly available.” “Nobody’s got an attitude,” and “no one is too busy to answer a question.”
Students here are “right in the middle of Salt Lake City, surrounded by large and prestigious law firms.” The College of Law has “a great relationship with practitioners and judges in the community” and “There are plenty of opportunities to gain practical experience.” “It is fairly easy to do judicial clinics and other legal internships.” “Terrific outreach programs afford students opportunities to work pro bono with public interest organizations.” The “excellent first-year legal writing program” is “rigorous and well thought out.” “You’ll walk out of here writing better than most lawyers who have been practicing for years,” claims a 2L. If you want to specialize, “There are plenty of courses, especially in natural resources law.” The Professional Development Office is “friendly and helpful,” but “A lot of students get jobs from other sources.”
Campus Life/Facilities: “A new [law school] building is in the works,” but in the meantime, the current “aging” and “undersized” building is “from the late 60s and reflects that boring architecture.” “Our building sucks, in a word,” laments a 2L. “The campus seems designed to drive students off campus as soon as classes are over.” The computer network is “spotty in some places,” and the library gets average reviews.
“People at this school actually seem happy,” and “There is a sense of community and connectedness” on campus. “We’re small,” explains one student. “You’ll know most of the school and faculty by the time you’re a 2L.” “The U fosters a great environment, where everyone helps everyone else.” “Individual personalities flourish and the interaction of personalities is like that among family members who have known each other their entire lives.” “People here see the whole person. It’s a very collaborative environment.”
Students report that their peers are “equal parts brilliant, collegial, encouraging, competitive, and just flat-out a joy.” It’s “probably an older and more mature crowd than at the average law school.” Many students “are married with children.” “I don’t regret for a moment choosing to come here as a thirty-something, second-career mom,” says a 2L. “I fit in.” “The nontraditional demographic allows for an interesting mix and a few extra designated drivers.” The Church of Latter-day Saints is, of course, prevalent everywhere in Utah. “Don’t think that because this isn’t BYU there won’t be plenty of Mormons.” Politically, “The school is fairly evenly split between liberals and conservatives.” “The divide can be fierce at times,” but “Overall there is great acceptance of different viewpoints and lifestyles.”
“The social life is not great” here. “Salt Lake culture is fairly conservative,” and “The Mormon influence is felt both in the city and in the law school.” Though wild parties are few, Utah sponsors “many social events which are geared toward building relationships between the school and the local bar.” “Throughout the week there are plenty of opportunities to hang out with students in many different social settings and activities.” Off campus, “Salt Lake City is a gorgeous place to live” “The city is clean; the crime rate is low.” And It’s surrounded by “one of the most scenic and beautiful areas in the country.” “Outdoor life is great.” “We are six hours away from red-rock desert and half an hour’s drive from the greatest snow on earth,” declares a 1L. “You can spend all that tuition money you’re saving on ski passes and road trips.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.