By Kristen Bush
The report is out and BYU is in the Top 50 — again.
In the U.S. News & World Report guide’s “Best Graduate Schools,” the J. Reuben Clark Law school was ranked 32nd in the nation.
“It’s nice to be ranked tightly in a poll,” said Scott Cameron, associate dean for the law school.
Cameron said he feels BYU received a strong rating.
“Insofar as both prospective students and employers rely on the statistics, it’s important to rank high,” Cameron said.
BYU’s reputation among law firms is dependent on how prepared and honest the law students are, he said.
“Most firms see our students as older, more mature, and more reliable,” Cameron said.
However, Cameron said undergraduate students and businesses alike should look at other sources when comparing law schools.
Kathy Pullins, associate dean of students for the law school, said BYU does not put much emphasis on the U.S. News and World Report. The law school is more concerned with personal improvement than with how it compares to other schools, she said.
There are many details that do not get considered when the rankings are determined, Cameron said.
For example, he said BYU’s law attrition rate is under 2%. He said he thinks this is due to the quality of students at admission.
“The students who apply and are accepted are strong,” he said.
“We are stressing professional responsibility and ethics,” Pullins said.
Pullins said in terms of students’ awareness of ethics and their commitments, the law students are a cut above.
“I’m impressed with the quality of students that I work with year in and year out,” she said.
Cameron said the curriculum taught at the different schools has more similarities than differences. However, BYU has an advantage of smaller first year classes, he said.
“The opportunity for a lot of interaction with the faculty is increased by having a relatively small student body,” he said.
Cameron said part of the law school’s success is due to its faculty.
“Our professors teach both the substance of the law and the method of analyzing it well,” Pullins said.
BYU’s law program has a strong faculty that prepares students for the bar, he said.
According to U.S. News & World Report, BYU’s passage rate for the bar is over four points higher than the average passage rate for the state of Utah.
“BYU students score well on all bar exams,” Cameron said.
Approximately 1/3 of BYU students sit for the Utah bar exam, and 2/3 sit for other bar exams throughout the US, he said.