The long wait is almost over! Tomorrow we announce the top ten most Mormon friendly law schools in the country. We are posting the criteria we used to develop our list a day early to let everyone have an opportunity to see how we created the list before we actually revealed it.
It is very important to note that neither law school from Utah was considered in this ranking. The reason is two-fold: First, it is a given that BYU’s law school would be considered the most Mormon friendly law school each year. Secondly, if we were to remove BYU from the ranking of most Mormon friendly law schools in the country, the University of Utah would then become the number one ranked most Mormon friendly law school in the country and we just couldn’t let the University of Utah be rankied number one so we decided to remove both schools from the running.
We looked at five wide ranging criteria to formulate our ranking. 1) Number of Mormon law students at a given law school. We found this element to be very important for several reasons. Law schools with a large Mormon population have student chapters of the J. Reuben Clark Legal Society which promotes comrade, spiritual growth, and networking. Because so many Mormon law students are married it is nice when spouses and children have an instant group of friends to bond with. 2) Cost of living. This is an important criteria for all students who are looking to go to law school but the cost of living is magnified if you are married and have children. For this ranking we assumed that the average Mormon law student was married and had one child. Encountering family living rentals that are affordable, safe, and close to law school can next to non-existent in many major metropolitan areas in the country. 3) Cost of tuition. Unfortunately the day will come when you have to begin repaying your student loans. Does it make sense to pay $40,000 or more a year in law school tuition when you can go to a school ranked slightly lower but is only $20,000 a year in tuition? It might but that’s up for you to decide. 4) Distance of law school to the nearest Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Having the opportunity to break away from the law library and spend time in the temple contemplating the things that are truly important in our lives is a great blessing. For some law schools the closest temple is just a few miles away but for others the nearest temple may be so far away that visiting with any frequency becomes very difficult. 5) Prestige of the law school. For good and bad rankings are extremely important to entering students when deciding where they want to study law. The rankings are also very important to many employers who like to recruit from top schools. We used the US News and World Report’s ranking to give a quantifiable meaning to the word “prestige”.
Each law school begins with 0 points and has the possibility of earning as much as 100 points for each criteria or 500 total points. 1) Each law school was granted one point per current Mormon law student but not to exceed 100 points (incidentally there were no law schools—excluding BYU and the University of Utah—with more than 100 Mormon law students).2) To tally the numeric value for the estimated annual cost of living we granted each school either 0, 25, 50, 75, or 100 points (0 points given to the law school’s with the highest estimated annual cost of living and 100 points to the law school’s with the lowest estimated annual cost of living). If the cost of living is less than $15,000 per year then the school received all 100 points. If the cost of living is between $15,001 and $17,000 then the school received 75 points. If the cost of living is between $17,001 and $19,000 then the law school received 50 points. If the cost of living is between $19,001 and $22,000 then the law school received 25 points. If the cost of living is over $22,001 per year then the law school received 0 points.3) To tally the numeric value for the cost of tuition we granted each school either 0, 25, 50, 75, or 100 points (25 points given to the more expensive schools and 100 points given to the less expensive schools) depending on the cost of their tuition. If the tuition was less than $25,000, then the law school received all 100 points. If the tuition was between $25,001 and $30,000 then the law school received 75 points. If the tuition was between $30,001 – $35,000 then the law school received 50 points. If the tuition was between $35,001 and $40,000 then the law school received 25 points. If the law school’s tuition was more than $40,000 (Yes, I am referring to the cost of only one year’s tuition!) then they received 0 points. 4) The numeric value of how close a particular law school is in relation to a particular Mormon temple was tallied as follows. Each school started with 100 points and lost a point for every mile that separates that particular law school and the nearest Mormon temple. No school could receive a negative number even if that law school is more than 100 miles from the nearest Mormon temple. 5) The numeric value for “prestige” was calculated by giving each law school 100 points and then subtracting a point for each position they were away from ranking number 1 in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2008 Law School Ranking. For example if a school was ranked 15 in the U.S. News Law School ranking then we granted 85 points. If a school ranked more than 100 positions from the number one ranking in the U.S. News ranking then they received 0 points. (A law school could not receive a negative number for this criteria)
We look forward to revealing the First annual top ten most Mormon Friendly law schools in the country!