J. Reuben Clark Law School

The J. Reuben Clark Law School (BYU Law or JRCLS) is a professional school for the study of law in the western United States, located at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. Founded 47 years ago in 1973, the school is named after J. Reuben Clark, 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.

J. Reuben Clark Law School
Brigham Young University medallion.svg
Parent schoolBrigham Young University
Religious affiliationThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Established1973; 47 years ago (1973)[1]
School typePrivate
DeanD. Gordon Smith
LocationProvo, Utah, USA
40°14′58″N 111°38′43″W / 40.2494°N 111.6453°W / 40.2494; -111.6453Coordinates: 40°14′58″N 111°38′43″W / 40.2494°N 111.6453°W / 40.2494; -111.6453
Faculty40 (full-time), 57 (part-time)
USNWR ranking37 (2021)[2]
ABA profileABA Profile
BYU Law logo.png
Provo is located in the United States
Location in the continental United States
Provo is located in Utah
Location in Utah

BYU Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association, and a member of the Association of American Law Schools.[3] BYU Law consistently ranks among the nation's top tier of American Bar Association approved law schools according to U.S. News & World Report, and it is consistently recognized for its low tuition and high placement rate in Article III federal judicial clerkships.[4]


On March 9, 1971, the BYU Board of Trustees announced that a law school would be established at the university.[5] Just two-and-one-half years later the opening ceremonies were held on August 27, 1973.[6] Classes were initially held several blocks south in an old Catholic school building (St. Francis of Assisi, 300 N. 900 East),[1] affectionately referred to as "St. Reuben's" by the students.

Future U.S. Solicitor General Rex E. Lee was the charter dean of the law school. The JRCLS Building was completed and dedicated in 1975, and the law school graduated its first class in 1976. The law school has since graduated more than 5,000 students.[7]


The nearly 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) BYU Law building is located on the east side of the campus of Brigham Young University and backdropped by Y Mountain. 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.[8] In 2014, the National Jurist ranked the Howard W. Hunter Law Library as the 25th best law library in the country.[9]

The campus is located within the original jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the District of Utah and the appellate jurisdiction of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).



Many admitted students have graduate and/or doctoral degrees in a wide range of academic disciplines, and most have spent time abroad.[10] 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.[11] Based on these numbers, BYU Law ranks 12th in the nation for GPA[12] and 25th in the nation for LSAT admissions standards.[13]

Admission to the BYU Law School is open to people of any faith or sexual orientation, subject to the school's Honor Code.[14] Among other things, the Honor Code precludes the admission and retention of students who are former members of the LDS Church,[15] 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".[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

Degree programsEdit

Juris Doctor (JD) programEdit

Most of the students at BYU Law are enrolled in the Juris Doctor (JD) program. JD students are required to take 90 semester hours of credit in order to graduate. In the first year of law school all students are required to take one semester each of Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Torts, Introduction to Legal Research and Writing, Introduction to Advocacy, Legislation and Regulation, and Structures of the Constitution. Additionally, each student must take Professional Responsibility during their second or third year and prepare a substantial paper (at least 30 pgs).[19] Students must also fulfill a Professional Skills Requirement by completing six hours of externship credit or Professional Skills Courses. In addition to their substantive coursework, many second and third-year students participate in moot court, a scholarly publication, a clinic, or an externship.

Joint Degree programsEdit

For students interested in a more general interdisciplinary course of study, the School of Law offers five joint degree programs (usually completed in four years, as opposed to three for a standard JD):

JD-MBA, with the Marriott School of Business
JD-MPA, with the Romney Institute of Public Service and Ethics within the Marriott School of Business
JD-MAcc, with the School of Accountancy within the Marriott School of Business
JD-MEd, with the David O. McKay School of Education

Master of Laws (LLM) programEdit

For foreign lawyers seeking a master's degree in Comparative American law, BYU Law offers a two semester Master of Laws (LLM) program. Applicants must have a law degree or certification from an institution located outside the U.S. to participate in the program.[20]

Academic offeringsEdit

The student-to-faculty ratio at BYU Law is about 18 to one.[21] The current faculty includes numerous former U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Court judicial law clerks.[citation needed] The school hosts several events each year, including the World Family Policy Center / United Nations Conference (July),[22] the International Law and Religion Symposium (October),[23] 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,[24] the BYU Education and Law Journal,[25] and the BYU International Law & Management Review.[26]

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

Rankings and honorsEdit

The U.S. News & World Report's "Best Law Schools" ranked BYU Law 37th in the country overall (2021),[2] and 3rd for "Law Degrees With Most Financial Value at Graduation" (2016)[27]

The National Jurist named BYU Law 1st in "Best Value Law Schools" (2016),[28] and 20th in "Best Law Schools"(overall) (2013)[29] In 2020, The National Jurist reported data from the U.S. Department of Education reflecting that BYU Law had the lowest median federal student debt ($51,250) of any law school in the country.[30]

Princeton Review's "Best Law School" ranked BYU Law 2nd for "Most Conservative Students," and 3rd in "Most Competitive Students," (2007)[31]

Leiter’s Law School Rankings placed the law school


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.[34] 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 2016-17 academic year is $33,464 for LDS students and $46,144 for students who are not LDS.[36] Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $118,778.[37] It further estimated the cost of living at $20,352 and the cost of tuition and fees for LDS students at $12,310 while Non-LDS students would pay $24,620 during the 2016-17 term.[38]

Associated organizationsEdit

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,[39] Trial Advocacy,[40] and various other student-edited publications.[41] 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.[42][43]

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 BYU Law 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 claims the following current or former government officials: 14 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges, 18 U.S. District Court Judges, 4 U.S. Attorneys, 6 U.S. Senators, 9 U.S. Congressmen, dozens of legal officers in Fortune 500 companies, and over 100 State Supreme Court, Appellate Court, and District Court judges.[44] 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.[45][46]

Students of the law school were among the members of the first chapter of the American Inns of Court, organized in 1980.[47]

Notable peopleEdit


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

Notable former faculty have included Hon. Dee Benson, Larry Echohawk, Michael Goldsmith, James D. Gordon III, Hon. Thomas B. Griffith, Bruce C. Hafen, H. Reese Hansen, RonNell Andersen Jones, Hon. Dale A. Kimball, Hon. Mike Lee, Justice Thomas R. Lee, and Hon. Howard C. Nielson Jr., James Rasband


Notable BYU Law alumni include three U.S. Circuit Judges, five U.S. District Judges, one U.S. Senator, three U.S. Congressmen, three university presidents, numerous law professors, and a NFL Hall-of-Famer.

Alumni law clerks of the United States Supreme CourtEdit

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).[32]

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/9 97/103 Burger, WWarren E. Burger (shared with Antonin Scalia) Keetch, Von G.Von G. Keetch 1989 1990 1987 G. Pratt (2d Cir.)
0CJ/10 97/106 Burger, WWarren E. Burger (shared with Clarence Thomas) Tilleman, Karl M.Karl M. Tilleman 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.)
1 99 Powell, LLewis F. Powell, Jr. Andersen, Eric G.Prof. Eric G. Andersen 1978 1979 1977 J. C. Wallace (9th Cir.)
1 99 Powell, LLewis F. Powell, Jr. Mosman, Michael W.Hon. Michael W. Mosman 1985 1986 1984 Wilkey (D.C. Cir.)
6 93 White, BByron White Worthen, Kevin JPres. Kevin J Worthen 1983 1984 1982 Wilkey (D.C. Cir.)
8 102 O'Connor, SSandra Day O'Connor Lindberg, Denise Posse-BlancoHon. Denise 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, MikeSen. Michael S. Lee 2006 2007 1997 Alito (3d Cir.) / Benson (D. Utah)
8 110 Alito, SSamuel Alito Moore, David H. Prof. David H. Moore 2007 2008 1996 Alito (3d 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 2015 2011 Sutton (6th Cir.) / Lee (Utah)
9 106 GorsuchNeil Gorsuch Barclay, StephanieProf. Stephanie Barclay[48] 2021 (anticipated) TBD 2011 Smith (9th Cir.)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Rea, Dorothy O. (May 16, 1974). "BYU law school thriving at end of first year". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). p. B5.
  2. ^ a b https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/brigham-young-university-03156
  3. ^ "Approved Private Law Schools". American Bar Association. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  4. ^ https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/slideshows/10-law-schools-where-you-can-pay-off-your-debt?slide=8
  5. ^ "Pres. Wilkinson resigns BYU position". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). March 9, 1971. p. A1.
  6. ^ "Rites formally open BYU school of law". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). August 27, 1973. p. B1.
  7. ^ "Founding Documents". JRCLS, BYU. Archived from the original on 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  8. ^ "BYU Law School". LexisNexis. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
  9. ^ "Best Law Libraries". The National Jurist. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  10. ^ http://www.law2.byu.edu/admissions/pdf_documents/Profile%202008-2009.pdf[permanent dead link] Incoming Class Profile, BYU Law School
  11. ^ "Admissions: FAQ". Law2.byu.edu. 2007-03-01. Archived from the original on 2007-04-29. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  12. ^ "Average Raw Data Law School Rankings: Highest GPA". Ilrg.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  13. ^ "Brian Leiter Student Quality Rankings, 2009". Leiterrankings.com. 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  14. ^ "Acceptance Criteria: Non-Discrimination Policy". BYU Law. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "Church Educational System Honor Code: Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement". BYU University Policies.
  18. ^ Karen, Sloan (2016-04-18). "Inquiry Into BYU Law School's Expulsion of Ex-Mormons Proceeds". The National Law Journal.
  19. ^ "Academic Requirements". law.byu.edu. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  20. ^ "LLM Program for Foreign Lawyers" (PDF). BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  21. ^ "BYU, Clark". Best Graduate Schools. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  22. ^ "World Family Policy Center homepage". JRCLS, BYU. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  23. ^ "International Center for Law and Family Studies homepage". JRCLS, BYU. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  24. ^ "BYU Journal of Public Law". Law2.byu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  25. ^ Williams, Taryn. "BYU Education and Law Journal: Current Issue". Law2.byu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  26. ^ "BYU International Law & Management Review". Byuilmr.org. Archived from the original on 2011-04-14. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  27. ^ Delece Smith-Barrow. "Most Valuable Law Degree Rankings, U.S. News & World Report". US News & World Report.
  28. ^ "National Jurist Best Value Rankings".
  29. ^ "National Jurist - February 2013".
  30. ^ https://www.bluetoad.com/publication/frame.php?i=651937&p=11&pn=&ver=html5
  31. ^ "Princeton Review's Top 50 Law Schools".
  32. ^ a b Nevers, Shawn. BYU Law Alum to Clerk for SCOTUS, Hunter's Query January 15, 2014 Archived April 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine retrieved 2014-29-04
  33. ^ http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2018/08/top-50-law-schools-based-on-scholarly-impact-2018.html
  34. ^ a b "Employment Statistics" (PDF).
  35. ^ "BYU University Profile".
  36. ^ "Tuition and Expenses".
  37. ^ "BYU University Profile".
  38. ^ "Brigham Young University, Finances". www.lstreports.com. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  39. ^ [1] Archived October 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ "Trial Advocacy - Organizations". Law2.byu.edu. Archived from the original on 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  41. ^ [2] Archived December 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-04-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ "BYU Law Organizations". Law2.byu.edu. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  44. ^ "J. Reuben Clark Law Society". Jrcls.org. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  45. ^ "J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference". Jrclsconference.org. Archived from the original on 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-10-05.
  46. ^ "Elder Holland addresses Clark law society on 25th anniversary". LDS Church News. February 23, 2013.
  47. ^ https://home.innsofcourt.org/AIC/About_Us/History/AIC/AIC_About_Us/History_of_the_American_Inns_of_Court.aspx?hkey=a37ee0c7-2df9-4af4-967e-1602688fd8f4
  48. ^ https://news.byu.edu/news/byu-laws-pipeline-us-supreme-court-continues

External linksEdit