ASU Law Moving to Downtown Phoenix

Arizona State University recently announced that it will be moving its Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law from Tempe to downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix City Council and Arizona Board of Regents have approved plans for development of ASU’s Arizona Center for Law and Society. ASU will reportedly spend between $100 and $120 million to build the law center. Phoenix city will give ASU $3 million when construction starts and another $9 million as development progresses to sweeten the deal.

The new center could eventually house as many as 1,000 ASU law students downtown. The law school will be built on a city owned parking lot bounded by Polk, Taylor, First and Second Street and is just southeast of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Construction on the new law school is slated to start in early 2014 with the completion expected in late 2015. The school is expected to be up and running for the Spring semester of 2016. The ASU building will be six stories tall and encompass 250,000 to 300,000 square feet.

“This is an investment that makes sense for ASU College of Law, its students and the city of Phoenix,” said Phoenix Councilman Bill Gates in a statement. “The move will position one of our nation’s top public law schools within walking distance of local, state and federal courts, our state’s top law firms and business headquarters.” ASU’s law school is currently public though rumor has it that they are trying to privatize the law school. Maybe this new building is part of the privatization plan…

JRCLS is Recruiting Law Students to Participate in an Externship

The J. Reuben Clark Law School’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies is recruiting law students with demonstrated academic excellence to participate in its 2013 Spring/Summer Externship Program. Selected student scholars will spend eight to ten weeks at Brigham Young University working on a range of projects related to the Center’s Mission “to help secure the blessing of freedom of religion and belief for all people.” More information about the mission and activities of the Center is available at www.iclrs.org.
 
Past summer externs have been involved in a number of projects that have permitted them to obtain credit from their own law schools, including assisting in the preparation of Supreme Court briefs, reviewing pending religion-related legislation from many countries, and working on books and articles in progress. In summer 2013, the Center will be heavily involved in producing a legal encyclopedia that will describe church-state systems in all countries on earth. In addition, many externs will assist in the preparation of a new edition of an important ongoing Center project, the four-volume treatise Religious Organization and the Law (available online at Westlaw.com under the database RELORGS). While the Center’s primary focus is on religious freedom issues, work on the annual treatise updates and revisions permits students to explore the interface between religion and other practice areas, as they make extremely valuable contributions to research and writing on a broad range of subjects, including constitutional law, employment law, litigation, tax law, intellectual property, healthcare, social services, bankruptcy, risk management, corporate choice and organization, fiduciary duties, immigration law, marriage and family law, public and private education, mergers and dissolutions, land use, and charitable grants and fundraising.
 
To apply for an externship, please submit a cover letter and resume to Deborah Wright, Coordinator and Administrative Assistant for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at wrightde@law.byu.edu by 12 p.m. MST on Monday, January 14, 2013. If you are accepted, you will be notified on Thursday, January 31, 2013. We will need to know of your commitment to the externship by Thursday, February 28, 2012. The Center will work with you to schedule the dates of your time with us, and we will work with your school to explore whether credits for the externship can be arranged.
 
We would also like to notify you that each year the Center, in cooperation with the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, sponsors a writing competition for law students on the subject of religious freedom. Last year’s winner received a cash award of $1,500 and traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive his award at the 2012 International Religious Liberty Award Dinner. The papers, of 9,000-13,300 words, are due each year by August 1. Award recipients have published their papers in journals following the competition. Information about the contest appears on the Center’s website in January.

Christ As Testator

With the semester winding down and finals starting up, it has been difficult to find time to post recently. There is something I thought would be interesting to share, however. Recently I was reading in the New Testament right before I started studying for my Decedent’s Estates class, and I found a passage where Paul describes the purpose of the Atonement in terms of estate planning. It offered new, and timely, insights into a topic we have all studied. In case some of you haven’t taken a decedent’s estates class, or if it has been a while, here is a little basic refresher:

For someone to give a gift at death, they need to complete a will or testament. If the testament is not completed by the person giving the gift (the “testator“), that person’s wishes cannot be fulfilled. However, even if the testator completes the testament long before his death, the devisees (people receiving the gifts) have absolutely NO interest in the gift until the testator dies. They can only claim the gift after the testator dies. In other words, the testator has to die before the devisees can receive their inheritance.

In Hebrews chapter 9 verse 15 Paul says “by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions (the testamentary “gift”) . . . they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

Then, in the next verse, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

“For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”

Christ is the testator, and we are the devisees. He had a testamentary gift He wanted to give to us (our “eternal inheritance”), but in order for us to claim that gift, according to Estate law, He had to die first. Only then, through the Testator‘s death, can we receive our inheritance of redemption and eternal life.

It has always interested me to see how an individual’s career choice can inform his understanding of the gospel (i.e. Elder Uchtdorf always talks about aviation, and Elder Oaks tends to talk a lot about justice and mercy). For myself, as I took a break from studying for my Decedent’s Estates final, I was offered a new insight (well, new to me) as to why the Atonement was necessary.

2011 Top Ten Most Mormon Friendly Law Schools

1. Arizona State University School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 110
Cost of Living: $11,700
Cost of Tuition: $35,147
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 10 Miles
US News Ranking: 40
2. Gonzaga University School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 50
Cost of Living: $8,775
Cost of Tuition: $32,775
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 12 Miles
US News Ranking: Not in Top 100
3. University of Denver School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 35
Cost of Living: $9,963
Cost of Tuition: $37,152
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 8 Miles
US News Ranking: 77
4. UNLV Law School
Number of LDS Law Students: 65
Cost of Living: $13,520
Cost of Tuition: $34,238
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 13 Miles
US News Ranking: 71
5. University of Idaho School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 75
Cost of Living: $9,318
Cost of Tuition: $24,532
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 83 Miles
US News Ranking: Not in Top 100
6. University of Nebraska School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 31
Cost of Living: $8368
Cost of Tuition: $28,649
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 58 Miles
US News Ranking: 84
7. Phoenix School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 90
Cost of Living: $12,316
Cost of Tuition: $36036
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 21 Miles
US News Ranking: Not in Top 100
8. Creighton University School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 50 Students
Cost of Living: $13,500
Cost of Tuition: $33054
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 7 Miles
US News Ranking: Not in Top 100
9. George Washington University Law School
Number of LDS Law Students: 58
Cost of Living: $16500
Cost of Tuition: $43999
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 10 Miles
US News Ranking: 20
10. George Mason University School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 30
Cost of Living: $16710
Cost of Tuition: $36278
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 21 Miles
US News Ranking: 40
Honorable Mention: University of Arizona School of Law
Number of LDS Law Students: 35
Cost of Living: $11,840
Cost of Tuition: $41,051
Distance to Nearest LDS Temple: 114 Miles
US News Ranking: 42

Biggest Surprises of the 2011 Top Ten List

A few things jumped out at me after I reviewed the data from this year’s top ten list.

First, is the skyrocketing costs of law school.  For example, consider the University of Arizona School of Law. Out of state tuition is $41,051, plus $11,840 in living expenses for a total one year cost of $63,101! That’s mind blowing! $63K a year, for a single person to live in Tucson and attend a public school.

Another thing that stood out to me is the number of LDS students at Virginia and Phoenix. Currently, the University of Virginia Law currently has 60 LDS students and the Phoenix School of Law with 90.
Very impressive, way to go.

Lastly, I’m always underwhelmed with the University of Colorado Law School, which as far as I could tell has no LDS students. From the outside, Colorado Law would appear to be a strong hold for LDS students.It lies just east of the “Mormon Belt“, it is highly ranked, and reasonably priced.
But then again why settle for the world’s second best snow?

7 Deadly Sins of LSAT Prep

The 7 Deadly Sins of LSAT Preparation
My name is Brent Dunn. I am the founder of ACE Test Preparation, and have been helping students prepare for the LSAT for over 15 years. I am not going to bore you with all the cool things that I have been able to be a part of in that time. I probably know some of the people reading this from previous classes. I am going to be as blunt as possible about the mistakes that many LSAT takers make in their study. I realize that there are exceptions to each of these. Many people have a “friend of a friend who just took the test on a whim and got a 177.” If you are going to do well on the LSAT you should probably start by applying your critical reasoning skills to those sorts of stories, and decide if using those as a basis for your preparation is likely to yield the desired result. 
1-Failure To Study
Unlike the SAT and ACT where your schoolwork offers at least a reasonable amount of preparation for the exam the LSAT is a different creature altogether. Not many people take Logic Puzzles 201 as part of their college coursework. Even very intelligent people who have succeeded gloriously in their undergraduate programs are often humbled by the LSAT. There is a reason why the more than half of the LSAT test takers score below 60 percent. College classes generally are not going to prepare you all that well for the test. I tell people in my classes that we love people that go in and take the test cold…someone has to be bottom quartile, and better them than you.
2- Procrastination
This really goes along well with the first deadly sin. People have a tendency to underestimate the amount of time that they will need to put into the test. Those people who have taken the time to gather the data have found that about 300-400 hours of study is what most people need to reach a consistent score pattern that will be close to their diminishing returns point. If you decide to start studying two months before the test that means you would need to be putting in 40 hour weeks studying LSAT. Most students simply don’t have that kind of time or stamina.
3- Studying the Wrong Things
There are over 3000 pages of actual previously administered tests available. Books/classes that use their own created questions/tests are just trying to cut costs, but it is your score that will suffer. LSAT tests are extremely nuanced, and people who create their own questions/tests nearly always fail to achieve the same level of intricacy. People who have taken real LSAT questions enough to have achieved high level competency can usually spot a ‘fake’ LSAT question fairly easily.
4- Trying to ‘Game’ the Test
This goes along with the previous deadly sin. Doing well on the LSAT isn’t a matter of learning how to guess, or trying to create some system for trying to pick out the easiest/hardest questions. People who do well on the LSAT learn to master basic skills of analysis, put in the time to learn the patterns of reasoning, and drill until their skills are habit. Cramming, or taking a 2-3 day class right before the test isn’t going to do much for you.
5- Hubris
For those who do put in the time to study, most will encounter questions that they don’t like. Even after seeing what the credited response is, they will say, “Well, I still think my answer choice is better.” Newsflash—you don’t get to grade the LSAT, so it doesn’t really matter what you think. Are you planning on adding an addendum to your application explaining that the admissions committee should add 4 points to your score because you think your answers were better? Good luck with that. What you really need to do is figure out why LSAC thinks that is the better response, and then adjust your thinking to match theirs (at least while taking the tests).
6- Failure to Take Simulated Tests
Based on the data that many different groups have collected, one of the strongest correlations between preparation activities and actual score is based on the number of timed, simulated practice exams. You need to regularly take timed practice tests in conditions as similar to the actual test conditions as you can create. Any good LSAT class will have these as a part of your study, but if you study on your own you should find a group of people and reserve a room for practice tests a least weekly.
7- Choosing the Wrong LSAT Class
I am not going to advocate any particular class, because I obviously have my view on what is best. Instead, I am going to tell you things that you could verify by reading posts on forums, or talking to law students. Look more for a good teacher than at the class itself. Read any chatboard and you will find this popping up over and over. “My teacher for company X was great, and really helped me.” Later on someone will post, “No way, that company sucks, I had a horrible experience.” Find out about the teachers, their background, how long they have been teaching, what sort of student successes have they generated, what sorts of reviews have they received. If possible go sit in on their class. Sometimes it is a matter of a teaching style that matches your learning style. An LSAT class is a big investment. Not just from the roughly $1000 dollars you are going to spend. What you get on the LSAT has the potential to make the price you pay for a class seem like a pittance. Take the time to find the class that gives you the best chance of success.  

The Annual Rex Lee Advocacy Award and Shawn Bentley Public Service Awards

WASHINGTON, DC.  This year the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society held its 11th Annual Rex Lee Advocacy and Shawn Bentley Public Service Awards luncheon on Monday, May 9th at the Washington Court Hotel near Capitol Hill.
The Rex Lee Advocacy award spotlights those who exhibit the highest ethical standards and excellence in advocacy. The lunch also remembers Shawn Bentley and his contribution to public service by awarding two scholarships to law students who are working in the public arena in Washington, D.C. this summer.
Before introducing his colleague and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Mike Lee said the lunch is aterrific event that encourages us to be mentors and public servants while honoring the memories and examples of Rex Lee and Shawn Bentley, both of whom were great members of our [legal] profession.
Senator Reid followed by congratulating the room of legal professionals for their notable accomplishments.  A former trial lawyer himself, Reid extolled the virtues of attorneys who speak for those without a voice, often changing public policy and legal precedent in the process.  He encouraged those present to be proud of their profession, but tomake sure people are treated fairly and to ensure the courthouse remains open to everyone.  Senator Reid then helped Judge Griffith present the Shawn Bentley Public Service Awards to law students Ryan Merriman and Hunter Anderson.
DC Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Griffith shared his memories of Shawn Bentley, whose notable public service was tragically cut short. Judge Griffith noted that at the end of the workday on the Hill, he and Shawn talked about thereally important thingsfaith, life and family. 
Dean James Rasband of the J. Reuben Clark Law School presented the Rex Lee Advocacy Award to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkmann for her lifetime of excellence in oral advocacy. In describing her qualifications, he mentioned an interview Beth gave where she talked about preparing for a Supreme Court oral argument.  She talked about completely immersing herself in the facts of the case and working late into the night to prepare.  Dean Rasband noted that excellence comes not only from brilliant minds, but also long hours and hard work.  Ginny Isaacson, President of the Law Societys DC Chapter added, This is a great lesson for law students and attorneys that a lot of hard work precedes excellence.  Rex Lee and Shawn Bentley were great examples of that and this lunch seeks to encourage and honor those attributes.

The mission of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society is to strive through public service and professional excellence to promote fairness and virtue founded upon the rule of law. The Society also seeks to affirm the strength brought by a lawyers personal religious conviction. More information and pictures of the event can be found at the Chapters website: www.jrclsdc.org or by emailing events@jrclsdc.org. By Michael Isom

Rex Lee Advocacy Award
Senator Mike Lee
(from L to R) Judge Thomas Griffith, Senator Harry Reid, Ryan Merriman, Hunter Anderson