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Brigham Young University (J. Reuben Clark Law School)




The J. Reuben Clark Law School is located on the east side of a beautifully planned mall in the eastern section of the Brigham Young University campus.

Designing the law building drew upon the expert talents of BYU's academic facilities planners and the experience of law building planners from throughout the country. The building's five floors contain nine classrooms, three seminar rooms, a student commons area, a student lunchroom, and ample spaces for student organizations and activities.

The classrooms contain a variety of innovative seating arrangements designed exclusively for law teaching purposes. Each student—even in larger classes—has an unrestricted view of the professor and other students in the classroom. The classrooms are designed to allow the active involvement of every student in class discussions, no matter how large or small the group.

One of the most technologically advanced law libraries in the world, the Howard W. Hunter Law Library is housed in the north wing of the law building. The library houses a collection of over 450,000 volumes and volume equivalents in paper and microform. Print collections of rare historical materials are a research source for legal researchers and genealogists. Via interlibrary loan, students have access to many more titles found in the catalogs and collections of over 167 other institutions, including major institutions worldwide that, like the Hunter Library, subscribe to the Research Library Information Network (RLIN). RLIN includes most of the major research libraries in the United States and many in Europe, Asia, and other countries in the Americas. Through our partnership with the Harold B. Lee Library (the main BYU campus library) library patrons also have access to the resources of the 8.1 million union list records of the 6600 members of the Online Computer Library Center and the extensive electronic databases provided by the Utah Academic Library Consortium, of which the Hunter Library is a governing member.

The library houses 475 individual, private study carrels with full Internet and LAN computer connectivity. Students have carrel access to electronic resources including Westlaw, LEXIS, and the growing Hunter Law Library Electronic Reserve, including archives of past examinations. The Ashton Legal Research Training Lab provides state of the art facilities for advanced legal research and related computer training. Printers for student use are available on all floors of the library. Copy machines are available throughout the library The library provides 17 group study rooms, spacious casual seating, and office and research space for the law school’s three scholarly journals and two advocacy programs. Specialized rooms are dedicated to video viewing, interactive video, microforms, and television hookups providing real time viewing of classes for parents who must occasionally bring young children to class. A small children’s library and a twenty-four hour access reference library provide assistance to students with young families though others use them as well.

The library hosts the Spirit of the Law lecture series, the First Fridays Chamber Music series, and occasional lectures of interest to the Law School community. The library exhibits material from the collections of the BYU Museum of Art and the BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures as well as its own growing art collection.

The library faculty are highly regarded for their scholarship and willingness to be of service to both the Law School community and the larger community. All faculty members have graduate professional degrees in library science or law and most have both degrees. All are active in law library associations, publishing, and research.

The Law School's Career Services staff is available to offer encouragement and advice to all students and alumni. Whether you are seeking your first summer clerkship or your second permanent position, Career Services can help you connect with employers. When the legal employment market shifts, the Career Services staff responds by developing innovative programs to meet new challenges. Staffed by a director, assistant director, and two recruiting coordinators, the office specializes in helping students make the transition from law student to lawyer. Both the director and assistant director are attorneys, and both worked as practicing attorneys before joining the Law School. The recruiting coordinators are highly skilled professionals with excellent writing and communication skills. Their combined work experiences give them the insight needed to help students make a good impression with prospective legal employers. Some of the services specifically offered by the professionals in the Career Services Office are described below.

The J. Reuben Clark Law School is the only ABA-accredited law school offering professional development classes. Designed to make students aware of their many options, the lecture series features panels of practicing attorneys, who participate as guest lecturers and spotlight their area of practice. These presentations allow students to assess their interests and skills and subsequently set their own career goals. The skills training class teaches, in a step-by-step manner, how to draft a résumé and cover letter, develop good interviewing skills, make networking connections that can lead to employment and other skills important to the job search process.

In addition to an extensive resource library, the Career Services Office prepares and publishes several books, including: The Professional Development Handbook, The 2L/3L Job Hunt Book, and The Judicial Clerkship Handbook. Each is designed to help students successfully navigate the job search, make them aware of various resources, and inform them of job openings. As the first step of the career-planning educational strategy, each first-year student receives the Professional Development Handbook. The handbook directs students through the job search in a logical manner. Assignments designed to initiate a legal job search are included.

Every successful job seeker knows that networking is the key to success. Acting as a team, the Career Services and the 5,000 J. Reuben Clark Law Society members throughout the world provide students with multiple networking opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to meet practicing attorneys in an informal setting at the semi-annual general conference networking receptions in Salt Lake City.

In addition, students interested in a specific geographic location can participate in conference calls with Law Society members practicing in particular cities. Bryan Farris, Class of 1999, felt that the conference calls were one of the best programs the Career Services Office offered. "It gave me the chance to speak with Law Society members in a comfortable atmosphere where I knew that they had time to talk to me. All of those I spoke with were more than willing to help me anyway they could."

Furthermore, the Career Services Office, together with the Alumni Board, organizes a mentoring program matching students with Law Society members. Each mentor agrees to review the student's résumé, perform a mock interview, provide advice about career options, and answer questions regarding how to balance professional and other demands. Finally, Law Society members and other employers participate in an annual Career Fair, which provides students with the opportunity to learn more about specific employers during short presentations and mock interviews.

The purpose of the Juris Doctor program is to teach students the laws of men in the light of the laws of God. It seeks to provide a rigorous and intellectually challenging legal education that prepares students to function in the wide range of activities that occupy a lawyer's professional life. Consistent with the Aims of a BYU Education, it strives to be spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building, leading to lifelong learning and service.

The program’s goals and expected learning outcomes are:

1. To teach the fundamental principles of law, using a predominantly theoretical approach.
2. To teach the basic skills involved in lawyering, including legal analysis and reasoning, problem solving, legal research, oral and written communication, counseling, negotiation, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas, and other skills.
3. To promote loyalty to and understanding of the Constitution of the United States.
4. To foster an enlightened devotion to the rule of law.
5. To approach the law from a scholarly and objective point of view, with the largest latitude in the matters being considered.
6. To incorporate religious, ethical, and moral values in the instruction.
7. To encourage service to others.

Because lawyers play an important role in forming and implementing social, economic, and public policy, the Law School must provide broad training. This breadth cuts across the lines of isolated fields and brings the insights of other disciplines into the study of law.

The specific objective of the curriculum is to maximize the students' mastery of legal reasoning and legal method, while teaching a core of the basic substantive rules of the law and imparting an appreciation for its institutions and traditions.

Students are taught to analyze complex factual situations; to separate the relevant from the irrelevant; and to reason inductively, deductively, and by analogy. They learn to recognize the potential inapplicability of established rules to situations materially different from those in which the rules were developed.

Students are also schooled in the arts of written and oral advocacy, draftsmanship, and negotiation. In addition, they learn to recognize the deficiencies in existing rules and to contribute to the creation of new rules, advocating positions with clarity, persuasion, and honor.

The development of these skills must embrace the great variety of activities in which lawyers engage. Lawyers are probably best known for their work in the private sector, representing clients in and out of the courtroom in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. In addition, lawyers have traditionally occupied key roles in forming and executing policy at all levels of government. The Law School prepares its graduates to function as responsible, well-informed participants in the public and private affairs of a society in which the law plays a vital role in setting and regulating standards.

Legal education at this school does not include the sponsorship of particular political objectives, except as may flow from loyalty to the Constitution and from a commitment to the highest ideals of personal character and individual liberty as the foundation upon which an enduring legal system must rest.

Legal training involves the learning of skills by practice. The student must be an active participant in that process. Because a variety of legal skills must be developed, several methods are used.

* Socratic or Inductive Teaching
The case method is the basic tool of traditional American legal education. Employed more in formal first-year classes than in other courses, this method assumes that students have "briefed" a series of assigned cases before coming to class. The cases are generally verbatim excerpts from the judicial opinions of state and federal appellate courts, which provide a summary of the factual and procedural context of a case as well as statements of law.
The teacher calls on the students to respond in a stimulating question-and-answer dialogue, frequently involving several class members and often including more questions than answers. The learning experience occurs not only in the interchange between teacher and students but also among the students themselves. Students soon learn that a key to gaining maximum benefit from these interchanges is the ability to listen with discrimination.
This process, applied skillfully day after day by expert teachers and by students possessing a sense of awareness and curiosity, hones the minds of students, develops their respect for facts, and creates a sensitivity to essential differences among issues, policies, and reasons.
Effective student participation in this process requires intensive and consistent daily preparation.

* Problem Solving
In a portion of the first-year courses, and in later courses, students are given practical legal problems. These problems may involve the drafting of legal documents, the forming of a course of action for a hypothetical client, or the creating of a solution to a challenging legal question to which no institutional source of law has yet given an answer.
Such problems may require the effort of one student for a few days, or they may involve a team of students who spend several weeks on a problem.
The problem-solving approach to legal education can be most effectively implemented in courses taught in small sections, allowing the teacher to give individual feedback to each student. Because of the importance of such individual attention, the curriculum is designed so that each student participates in at least one first-year course as a member of a small section.

* Seminars
By the time students reach their third year, and sometimes earlier, they will be prepared to engage in significant legal research in selected areas of specialization. A primary source of such experience will be seminars taught informally in small groups by professors who are experts in the selected subjects. Frequently a student will be expected to defend his or her seminar paper before classmates under circumstances that provide lively and constructive discussion.

* Individual Research
All second and third year students will be required to complete a substantial writing project. This project, completed under close faculty supervision, will utilize the writing and reasoning skills students will have developed in the course of their legal studies.

* Clinical Experience
Of increasing importance in legal education is the role of practical, on-the-job training. The Law School provides opportunities for students to develop practical skills in three main programs: externships, LAWHELP seminars, and simulation courses.
Through the externship program students may work for judges, agencies, or law firms and earn credit while gaining "real world" experience. Students are frequently placed with public defenders, legal services, city and county attorneys, judges, attorneys general, and guardians ad litem. They receive one credit for each 50 hours of work. During the summer, students may complete externships across the country or even in foreign countries.
LAWHELP seminars include a one-credit course on the topic, together with a one-credit practical experience externship. The LAWHELP seminars will include Elder Law, Domestic Violence Intervention, Domestic Relations, Mediation, Immigration, Child Advocacy, Public Lands & Natural Resources, Advanced Mediation, Advanced Community Lawyering, Judicial Tribal Courts and Appellate Courts. Training in the development of practical skills is also provided by well-developed simulated courses in civil, criminal, appellate, and nonlitigation situations. The Law School maintains a complete audiovisual facility that allows students to self-critique and review with the professor.

A high percentage of law students and law faculty at BYU speak foreign languages and have lived abroad. As a result, interest in international legal studies and careers is very high. Although most American lawyers who practice international law are members of American law firms and live in the United States, some work with American firms while living in other countries, some are employed by the U.S. government or international organizations, and a few are members of foreign law firms. Whatever the professional setting in which law students intend to practice, the faculty at the J. Reuben Clark Law School believe that all law students should be better prepared to serve in a "globalized" society. The Law School offers a wide range of both foundational and specialized courses in public and private international law, as well as opportunities for enrichment from other departments of the university.

The Law School's master's degree (LLM) program in American and comparative legal studies for foreign lawyers gives JD students at BYU the chance to associate with and learn from practicing attorneys from all over the world. BYU law students also successfully compete in the Jessup international law moot court competition. To broaden opportunities for careers in international law, the Law School Career Services staff works hard to identify summer employment and externships, as well as full-time professional employment positions.



School name:Brigham Young UniversityJ. Reuben Clark Law School
Address:P.O. Box 28000
Zip & city:UT 84602 Utah
Phone:801-422-4274
Web:http://www.law.byu.edu
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