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University of Utah College of Law


University of Utah College of Law

Coordinates: 40°45′44″N 111°51′07″W / 40.76222°N 111.85194°W / 40.76222; -111.85194

S.J. Quinney College of Law
Established 1913
School type Public university
Parent endowment $509,095,000[1]
Dean Hiram Chodosh
Location University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Enrollment 405[2]
Faculty 43[2]
USNWR ranking 41[3]
Bar pass rate 86% [2]
ABA profile S.J. Quinney College of Law Profile

The S.J. Quinney College of Law is the law school of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Established in 1913, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law is nationally recognized for its accomplished faculty, innovative curriculum, and low student-to-faculty ratio. Utah law is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is accredited by the American Bar Association.[4] The 2013 US News & World Report Law School Rankings place the S.J. Quinney College of Law at #41 in the country, just ahead of the neighboring BYU law school which ranks #44.[3]


The University of Utah was founded in 1850. The law school was later founded in 1913 to meet the growing legal needs of Utah and the western United States. As one of the oldest and most well-respected law schools in the west, the S.J. Quinney College of Law has left a lasting mark on the American legal system.

New law school building

On Oct. 30, 2009, Dean Hiram Chodosh announced to students, during his monthly "Dean's Report and Reception," that the University of Utah is moving forward on plans to construct a new law school facility in the near future. He and other faculty members have formed a committee and have been in discussions with University administration in order to get things going on the project, and to seek funding. Dean Chodosh also said that he is currently meeting with and interviewing architects for the project, and that the committee has already decided on an ideal square footage and interior design for the building. Dean Chodosh said that the only thing holding the S.J. Quinney College of Law back from attracting more of the brightest students in the nation, as well as a much deserved jump in the rankings, is a more modern facility. The ABA, according to Dean Chodosh, during their review of the law school last year, said that it was a top tier law school in terms of programs, faculty, and students, but was lacking in the quality of physical facilities.

During the spring 2010 "Dean Update" Dean Chodosh updated the students on the new law school building. He announced that ground will be broken in 2013, fundraising/lobbying is underway, and the site of the new school will be directly east of the current law school complex. The advantages of staying near the current site include the following: close proximity to Trax, within the historic and arguably most beautiful area of campus, and with the completion of the "Universe" retail/commercial/high density residential development - to be built directly west of the football stadium - the new law school will be in the heart of one of the most exciting areas on campus.[5]

During the April 9, 2012 "Bagels with the Dean" Dean Chodosh gave a very exciting update on the construction of the new law school. Some highlights include that the school has been approved for a $60 million bond, $30 million has been promised by private donors, and details of the school's exciting location and cutting-edge design were revealed. Click here to watch a recording of the event.

The new University of Utah Law School broke ground on their new building on June 4, 2013. For architectural renderings, floor plans, and detailed information about this state of the art facility, please visit the Building Justice website.


Located along the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, overlooking the Salt Lake City skyline, the University of Utah arguably enjoys one of the one most beautiful campuses in the world. The law school building is located in the south-west corner of campus directly north of the stadium light rail station and Rice-Eccles Stadium, home of the two-time BCS bowl champion Utah Utes football team. The law school is less than a 10-minute drive or TRAX light rail ride from downtown Salt Lake City-the seat of federal, state, and local governmental bodies. Salt Lake City is the economic center of the region and is regularly voted one of America's most livable cities.[6] The location provides ample professional opportunities for students, as well as superb outdoor recreational access and a strong cultural scene. Salt Lake City combines a network of professionals and practitioners in an urban capital city with perhaps the greatest proximity of outdoor recreational opportunities in the world. The world's best mountain resorts are only 20 minutes away, and you can arrive in St. George's famous red rock country in four or five hours.

Law library

The library houses more than 340,000 volumes of law and law-related material and serves as a depository for US government documents. Eight librarians (six with law degrees) teach the research component of the Legal Methods course. The law library, like the entire University of Utah campus, is a wireless environment. First-year students are provided with their own study hall - named Gibson Hall, AKA "the Gibby" - furnished with group-study tables and open carrels. Second and Third-year students are provided private carrels with personal lockable compartments in a modern spacious facility with the latest technological equipment and library research services.

Academic offerings

The law school offers the standard J.D.. Additionally they have three joint degree programs, a J.D./M.B.A. a J.D./M.P.A., and a J.D./M.P.P. The school also offers an advanced degree L.L.M. focusing on energy, environmental, and natural resources law.[7] With a student body that is smaller than a single entering class of many law schools, Utah Law offers applicants the opportunity to study law in an intimate environment that allows students to establish close relationships with their classmates and professors.


According to the widely cited USNWR 2013 Law School Rankings, the S.J. Quinney College of Law was named a "Top Tier" Law School and is currently ranked #41 out of more than 180 law schools in the United States.[3] Several University of Utah law students have been chosen for prestigious internships and clerkships, including four graduates who have served as clerks to Supreme Court Justices.[8] Tyler R. Green, a 2005 graduate of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas during the October 2009 term.[9] Utah has the 3rd lowest student to faculty ratio at 8.1:1, behind only Yale and Stanford at 7.3:1 and 8:1, respectively.[10]

Admissions, job placement, and bar passage

There were 1277 applicants for the incoming class of 2012 at the S.J. Quinney College of Law and 128 students were enrolled; the incoming class had a median LSAT score of 160 and median GPA of 3.60. The 25th-75th percentile LSAT range was 156-163, and the 25th-75th percentile range for GPA was 3.41-3.76.[11]

About 98% of 2009 graduates were employed within nine months of graduation.[12] Of those employed, around 60% began their practice in the private sector, while about 13% took on government jobs, and about 10% attained judicial clerkships. The average private sector starting salary is about $80,000.

The overall bar passage rate in 2009 was about 85.5%, with 75% passing in February and 90% passing in July.[11]

Dean Hiram Chodosh

Before assuming the deanship of the S.J. Quinney College of Law July 1, 2006, Dean Chodosh - a graduate of Wesleyan University and Yale Law School - was associate dean for academic affairs and Joseph C. Hostetler-Baker & Hostetler Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dean Chodosh joined the Case faculty in 1993 after three years in private practice in New York City with the international firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. At Case, he also directed the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center from 1998 to 2003. A leading expert in comparative and global justice reform with hands-on experience in more than 20 countries, he has served as a consultant on judicial reform for the International Monetary Fund, a senior reporter on several U.S. State Department reform studies, and an adviser to the World Bank's Justice Reform Group. A Fulbright Senior Scholar in India in 2003, Dean Chodosh is the author of Global Justice Reform: A Comparative Methodology, published in 2005 by New York University Press, and more than 25 articles, essays, and book chapters.[13]


Campus organizations[14] in alphabetical order include:

  • Business Law Society: The business law society is a student organization for anyone interested in the law and business. Events focus on how the law and business intersect. These events include speakers (varying from in-house counsel to the president of a multi-billion dollar company) and visits to businesses in Salt Lake City to see how the law and business interact in the real world.
  • Federalist Society[15] - The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order.[16] It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.[17]
  • Global Justice Think Tank[18] - Students who participate in the GJTT do research on contemporary global issues in a variety of service partnership arrangements. (e.g., the creation of a U.N. lustration guide for emerging democracies (October 2013); a mediation training course for Samadhan, the Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre (November 2012); a study on corruption in Asia for the UNDP; and research and publication of major symposia, including The Role of Values in Counterterrorism (March 2007) and Globalizing Philanthropy (May 2007).)
  • International Law Students Association[19] - ILSA focuses on assisting students with the study, clarification and development of their understanding of international law, both public and private, and the furtherance of the school's international law programs by facilitating student access to the The Center for Global Justice at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.[20]
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society[21][22] - The JRCLS is an international organization of law school students and graduates consisting of over 65 chapters throughout the world. Although closely associated with the LDS Church, membership in the church is not required to join JRCLS. The international 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, Harry Reid), 9 U.S. Congressman, 17 Fortune 500 Corporate Counselors, and 85 State Supreme Court, Appellate Court, and District Court judges.[23] The Society's 2010 annual conference for students and practicing attorneys will be held at the University of Utah. Prior conferences have been held Arizona State Law School, featuring former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, and Georgetown Law School.[24]
  • Jackie Chiles Law Society and also has a Facebook page to keep the organization's members updated on meetings and activities.
  • Minority Law Caucus - The Minority Law Caucus (MLC), founded in 1985, is a student organization at the University of Utah S.J.Quinney College of Law. MLC promotes diversity in the legal profession in general and at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in particular. Its first end-of-the-year scholarship auction was held in the spring of 1986.[14]
  • NRLF - Natural Resources Law Forum: Open to all S. J. Quinney students, we share common interests in environmental law and responsible outdoor recreation. NRLF coordinates educational activities to serve the community and facilitates contact with leaders in the field of natural resources law. NRLF also sponsors social and volunteer activities such as tree planting, hikes, and cleanup of trails and rivers.
  • OUTLaws - The OUTLaws is an association of LGBT and allied students at S.J. Quinney School of Law. Student leadership of OUTLaws has established the following organizational goals: (1) Educate fellow law students about legal issues and challenges of LGBT community, (2) Connect with the LGBT community in Utah to understand current local legal issues, (3) Provide volunteer support to existing local organizations (e.g., Equality Utah) working to improve legal standing of LGBT citizens and families, (4) Build relationships with practicing attorneys in Utah who are active in the LGBT community.[14] Click this link to watch the OUTLAWS 2010 "Day of Silence" promotional clip.[27]
  • PALS - The Persian American Legal Society (PALS), founded by solmaz copeland in 2009, is dedicated to enhancing the awareness and appreciation of Iranian and other Middle Eastern cultural traditions in Utah's legal community.[14]
  • PILO - Public Interest Law Organization. The mission of the Public Interest Law Organization (PILO) is to promote scholarship, activism, and career opportunities for law students interested in working for the public interest.This includes local, state, and federal government, as well as non profits and other organizations with public service missions.
  • SIPLA - The Student Intellectual Property Law Association is open to all University of Utah students. The group is excellent for students seeking to network with local intellectual property practitioners. The group visits several law firms for lunch throughout the school year and sponsors expert panels, which allow intellectual property law professionals from the community to come to the law school, meet students, and help them gain a better understanding of intellectual property law.
  • Sports Law Club The Sports Law Club provides a forum for students interested in sports law to explore career options, network with individuals working in the industry and discuss sports-related legal issues. It also organizes social events like student trips to local sports events and the annual ping pong tournament.
  • Student Bar Association[28] - The SBA is the official student government of the S.J. Quinney College of Law. SBA plans student activities, organizes the mentor program for 1L students and many other programs to help law students. The SBA also serves as the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) and elected student government of the College of Law. As voting members of the College Council, SBA Board members serve as representatives of the student body to the law school faculty and administration. Thus, the SBA is the student voice to this decision-making body of the law school. The SBA can affect policies regarding curriculum, grades, class and exam scheduling, legal clinics, and so on. The SBA participates in faculty retention, promotion and tenure evaluations. On the lighter side, the SBA also sponsors social events, philanthropies, and intramural sports.[14]
  • Women Lawyers of Utah and elects a liaison who attends WLU board meetings.

Scholarly publications

The S.J. Quinney College of Law currently publishes three legal journals:[29]

  • Utah Environmental Law Review[30]
  • Utah Law Review[31]
  • Journal of Law and Family Studies[32]


External links

  • Official law school website
  • Law school news and events
  • Official University of Utah website
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