Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top Ten Most Mormon Friendly Law Schools

Top Ten Most Mormon Friendly Law Schools 2008

1. Arizona State University- Tempe, Arizona
75 Mormon Law Students
Cost of living $13,000
Cost of tuition $26,000
Distance to the nearest Temple 10 miles
Prestige 52 points
Total: 389

2. University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Law - Las Vegas, Nevada
100 Mormon Law Students
Cost of living $14,460
Cost of tuition $20,000
12 Miles to the nearest Temple
Prestige 0 points
Total: 338

3. Creighton University School of Law- Omaha, Nebraska
50 Mormon Law Students
Cost of living $16,530
Cost of tuition $25,000
Distance to nearest Temple: 7 miles
Prestige: 0 points
Total: 318

4. Gonzaga University School of Law- Spokane, Washington
40 Mormon law students
Cost of living: $14,375
Cost of tuition: $29,000
Distance to nearest Temple: 11 miles
Prestige: 0 points
Total: 304 points

5. University of Idaho School of Law- Moscow, Idaho
100 Mormon students
Cost of Living $15,2703
Cost of Tuition $20,0004
Distance to nearest Temple – 85 Miles
Prestige 0 points.
Total: 290

6. George Washington University School of Law- Washington D.C.
70 Law Students
Cost of living: $20,500
Cost of tuition $38,000
Distance to nearest Temple: 18 miles
Prestige: 20 points
Total: 283 Points

7. Harvard Law School
36 Mormon law students
Cost of living: $21,469
Cost of tuition: $41,000
Distance to Temple: 4 Miles
Prestige: 99 Points
Total: 256 Points

8. Georgetown Law School -
33 Mormon law students
Cost of living: $20,210
Cost of tuition: $39,000
Distance to nearest Temple: 22 Miles
Prestige: 87 points
Total: 248 Points

9. Columbia University School of Law- New York City, New York
19 Mormon Law students
Cost of living: $19,705
Cost of tuition: $43,000
Distance to nearest Temple: 5 Miles
Prestige: 97 Points
Total: 236 Points

10. New York University School of Law- New York City, New York
18 Mormon Students
Cost of Living: $22,305
Cost of tuition: $39,000
Distance to nearest Temple: 4 Miles
Prestige: 96 Points
Total: 235 Points

Honorable Mention:
University of Dayton School of Law
– Dayton, Ohio
6 Mormon Law Students
Cost of living: $11,700
Cost of tuition: $33,000
Distance to nearest Temple: 68 miles
Prestige: 0 points

The University of Dayton School of Law has been awarded an honorable mention on the first annual most "Mormon friendly" law schools because it is the only ABA approved law school in the country where a J.D. can be received in only 24 months instead of the typical 36 months. The extra year in law school not only costs law students another year of living off of loans but they also lose a year income. For example if a law student is married, and has one child they might need to borrow $30,000 in loans to pay for their living expenses during their third year. They also are losing out on a year's worth of income. For argument's sake let's say their first year income would have been $70,000. That is a $100,000 difference between a student who studies at the University of Dayton School of Law and who studies at a traditional three year school. Additionally, one year less of law school is reason enough to look seriously at the University of Dayton School of law.


  1. I think this list is really short-sighted, and I don't think the criteria are actually reflective of which schools are "Mormon-friendly".

    For example, I'm wondering why the cost of tuition was included in the criteria - this has nothing to do with what Mormons as a group are looking for.

    Yes, some Mormons are looking for a cheap place to go to school. It has been my experience that some base this on a false interpretation of the Get out of Debt rule. President Hinckley has always made exception for educational debt and has also told us to get the best education we can and excel. The point is that not all LDS law students factor money in. Some don't think about that at all. My point is, that shouldn't really be criteria for this list becasue it's not universal enough. It has nothing really to do with being Mormon.

    Another point - you mentioned that the number of students enrolled can be linked to the presence of JRCLS. Why not separate out the JRCLS or other law society preference into a separate category? Lots of schools have a society, but it may not be active. It might be useful to factor in whether the society actually functions. How connected to the attorney chapters of JRCLS is it? And you noted temples in proximity, but what about wards - both married and single? Where I went to law school, there was a temple pretty close but only a very small singles ward.

    There could be other things to factor in that might be of use in determining whether a school is "Mormon-friendly". I just don't think you've captured what Mormons are looking for in this list, with this criteria.

  2. I agree with Partridge. I was assuming that "Mormon friendly" meant things like campus atmosphere, type of students, type of curriculum, etc. These rankings wouldn't influence my decision on where to attend law school at all...sorry.

    I attended Pepperdine and I think that should certainly be in the top 10. It's a Christian school, a dry campus, the students are generally respectful and moral, and it's got some of the most prominent "conservative" law scholars in the country there (Ken Starr, Doug Kmiec, and others). The JRCLS even had a conference there this Spring. It's also close to a temple and there are many LDS students there.

  3. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics!

    I actually attend the most Mormon friendly law school in the land (if only more mormons would come!): The University of Iowa College of Law. It's fairly high ranking, low cost of living, low tuition (esp. if you are a research assistant, then you get in-state tuition) make it the best kept secret for Mormons wanting to go to law school. Our 3L class had 9 LDS kids, and the 1Ls this year had 7, so the cat is creeping out of the bag. The great news: all but one of the 3Ls has a great job!

  4. George Washington is ranked 20th in this years rankings. They should have recieved 80 points, not 20. That would place them at #2 on this list.

  5. The methodology on the # of LDS students is flawed. It ignores that some law schools have a higher number of students and, therefore, more LDS students. A more fair way of scoring this category would be to consider the # of LDS students as a percentage of the entire student body.

  6. If you look at the previous day's posting you can see that neither BYU or the U were considered in this list. Because they would always be the first two schools they were just excluded.

  7. Anon--
    Exactly. Definitely need to consider percentages.
    A top 20 list could be good too, or a list of the top 10 Mormon schools that are ranked.

  8. Percentages should be replaced for # of students. Ease of obtaining in-state tuition should also be considered. Attrition rates should play a factor (nothing worse than being 1 out of 3 students in the first year who get kicked out).

  9. I went to George Mason University Law School, and while I was there we had about 60-80 LDS law students, the tuition was low, it is a top tier law school (higher than quite a few on the list, and just as close to the DC temple as Georgetown and GW. I can't help but think that this list was created on a completely ad hoc basis, just tossing out names of law schools that the website editors thought of and ranking them. How awful is that? What a disservice to those of us who were actually interested and thought this might be a valid attempt to inform potential LDS law students.

  10. i go to cardozo in nyc. there are only 3 of us who are mormon, and i like it. i think just having lots of mormons at your school is not necessarily good or bad. that being said, i'm fine with making a list, lists are always subjective.

    there is now a philippines chapter of the j.reuben clark society, you should update it when you get a chance.

  11. Re: "The University of Dayton School of Law has been awarded an honorable mention on the first annual most "Mormon friendly" law schools because it is the only ABA approved law school in the country where a J.D. can be received in only 24 months instead of the typical 36 months."

    News of Northwestern’s ambitious new program to offer a two-year JD circulated this morning.(See Insider Higher Ed, the Chicago Trib and NU’s press release.) The idea is not new, but Northwestern, according to reports, will be the first top-tier school to offer both two- and three-year programs.

  12. The University of Dayton is the only law school in the country where you can currently graduate in two years. Northwestern has announced their two year plan but it is currently not in effect.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Where's Texas Tech?? <5 miles from a temple, well under $25k tuition and a decent LDS student body, not to mention it's the best value for your money among Texas law schools. I agree with earlier comments, the wards should factor in - Lubbock has 4 wards and a lot of young and middle-age student families that make it fun to live there (despite the fact you are 5 hours from anywhere).

    If TTU was in any other city it would be a Tier 1 school, based on its faculty, technology and intangibles. Not to mention a joint degree program that includes a Masters in Financial Planning from the #1 PFP program in the nation (great for aspiring estate planners).

    In the end it was a good start and an interesting concept, but fatally flawed in its results.

  15. The University of Kansas should certainly be considered. We have 17 Mormon law students, cheap cost of living, and a very active JRCLS. We have the same 24 month program that Dayton has.
    Did I mention a national championship and an orange bowl victory!

  16. With great deference to other schools mentioned here, I have to add a few notes of praise to GW.

    1. With the exception of BYU, I think we are probably the only law school in the country with an admissions director who goes out of her way to recruit Mormons. GW holds recruiting fairs in Utah, and will likely add Arizona and UNLV institute programs to the list this year. The school throws and a social for the LDS students at the beginning of every year.

    2. The JRCLS at GW has tremendous faculty support. Two years ago, we started the GW National Religious Freedom Moot Court. Two of the best establishment clause scholars in the country advise to competition, and have only agreed to do so in the future so long as JRCLS stays involved.

    3. Washington DC has the largest LDS single population in the East (and possibly of any city outside the mountain west).

    4. We have an exceptionally strong institute program which is supported by the BYU Washington Seminar.

    These are just a few off the top of my head.

    Also, George Mason is an incredibly friendly atmosphere for Mormons. Not only are there a ton at the school, but they are all extremely active in JRCLS.

    The DC attroneys chapter of JRCLS is very close to both schools.

  17. To add, not reiterate....

    I think this approach gives too much attention to temple proximity. In terms of being LDS-friendly, the better criteria would be the number of mambers (wards and stakes?) in the immediate area.

    Having multiple schools with LDS students in a small area matters; though one JRCLS chapter may be small, having two near each other (like St Louis U and Washington U in St. Louis) can partially make up for the small numbers.

    If you're going to include Dayton for the reasons mentioned (which really are principally economics, like cost of living and tuition), you need to evaluate other possibilities - like having evening options (SMU?), or the opportunity to begin in January rather than just August (Washburn).

    The pro-Iowa comment my have roots in the school having a prominent LDS prof (Eric Anderson). But other schools also recruit LDS students - most notably Washburn, but also so some degree University of Missouri-Kansas City (both with some LDS faculty) and SLU.

    I'm still curious, how did you get the LDS student numbers? I don't know how to come up with that for the law school where I teach as an adjunct.


    Nebraska had 35 (roughly ten percent of the student body is Mormon)members last year and will have more than 35 this coming school year. Nebraska is top tier by US news. We are only 45 miles from the Winter Quarters temple. There is a student ward as well as 6 family Wards in Lincoln. This year we had 71 applicants from Utah. We have a LDS law professor who is a national authority on Criminal and Family law, Martin Gardner. We have weekly discussions held at the law school taught by the director of the institute on subjects from the New Testament to religion and the law; these meetings as all of ours are, are open to the entire student body. We run a blood drive at the school. And have monthly social meetings. Last year a Nebraska Supreme Court Justice and many others spoke at these family inclusive activities. Our out of state tuition is competitive 23k, BUT- almost all of our LDS students receive in-state tuition for $9,000 dollars per year, not including scholarships. Nebraska grants out of state tuition to a married student with a working spouse. As a lifelong Utahn and Utah grad, I can't imagine a more LDS friendly atmosphere, while still having access to a diverse experience.

  19. RE: bubba

    As it turns out, GW is not the only school that actively recruits LDS students. At the University of Minnesota, one of the associate deans travels with one of the LDS students to Utah twice each year to attend recruiting fairs and to host a dinner of potential students (mostly from BYU and the UofU). She told me that the law school doesn't do that for any other schools. Minnesota's law school has about 25 LDS students, and the temple is less than 15 miles away. It has been consistently ranked in the top 20 *(though I understand it slipped in the US News rankings to 21 or 22, mostly b/c it was without a dean for a little over a year). Like Iowa, I would say UMN is one of the best kept secrets for LDS law students.

  20. I would also have to say University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law is a very LDS friendly school. They have quite a few LDS kids there and they also have institute on a weekly basis and an active JRCLS chapter. I read somewhere that BYU is one of the largest feeder schools for McGeorge.

  21. I'm going to have to second the Nebraska comments. I'm a 1L and about 15% of my class is LDS, all from out of state. The in state tuition requirements are lax, allowing almost all LDS students with a working spouse to get in state tuition immediately ($10k a year). I have only been here 3 weeks and already have in state tuition. The JRCLS is very active with activities, meetings and perhaps most importantly the best outline database in the law school. The six Lincoln Wards are very supportive of law students and their families. Of all the schools I looked at, considered and even visited (including some on your top 10 list that frankly baffle me), UNL was by far the most LDS friendly.

  22. Ironic that BYU doesn't make the list. Maybe that one's too obvious...

  23. Hey, don't worry about going to a "Mormon-Friendly" law school. Just attend the best law school you can get into (See US News rankings for information on this). The better school you enter, the better your geographic options to practice law. You can then live in the most Mormon friendly town, if you so wish.