News Archive 2008 July

Tomorrow We Unveil the Top Ten Most Mormon Friendly Law Schools in the Country

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!

University of Chicago Law Professor’s Blog Link Added

We have recently added the University of Chicago Professor’s Law Blog to our blog links. This is one of the premier legal blogs in the country. Their blog is almost continuously updated with new articles that are thoroughly researched and covering intriguing topics. Also they have many links to other great legal blogs and websites. If you love to read you’ll enjoy the University of Chicago Professor’s Law Blog.

Legislating From the Bench?

This article was written by By Orson Scott Card and was recently posted on It is a very interesting article and brings up many thought provoking legal topics.

As latter day saints are we required to follow a government that is working in clear opposition to the will of the Lord? Is there really some vast conspiracy by gay promoting groups in the world to brain wash our children in the public legal education? Courts know that they are to interpret statutes with the intent with which they were written so how do some courts remedy the contradiction of some of their radical rulings? His article starts below.

The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to “gay marriage,” is that it marks the end of democracy in America.These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.The pretext is that state constitutions require it — but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past 15 years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.It is such an obvious overreach by judges, far beyond any rational definition of their authority, that even those who support the outcome of the decisions should be horrified by the means.We already know where these decisions lead. We have seen it with the court decisions legalizing abortion. At first, it was only early abortions; within a few years, though, any abortion up to the killing of a viable baby in mid-birth was made legal.Not only that, but the courts upheld obviously unconstitutional limitations on free speech and public assembly: It is now illegal even to kneel and pray in front of a clinic that performs abortions.Do not suppose for a moment that the “gay marriage” diktats will not be supported by methods just as undemocratic, unconstitutional and intolerant.Already in several states, there are textbooks for children in the earliest grades that show “gay marriages” as normal. How long do you think it will be before such textbooks become mandatory — and parents have no way to opt out of having their children taught from them?And if you choose to home-school your children so they are not propagandized with the “normality” of “gay marriage,” you will find more states trying to do as California is doing — making it illegal to take your children out of the propaganda mill that our schools are rapidly becoming.How dangerous is this, politically? Please remember that for the mildest of comments critical of the political agenda of homosexual activists, I have been called a “homophobe” for years.This is a term that was invented to describe people with a pathological fear of homosexuals — the kind of people who engage in acts of violence against gays. But the term was immediately extended to apply to anyone who opposed the homosexual activist agenda in any way.A term that has mental-health implications (homophobe) is now routinely applied to anyone who deviates from the politically correct line. How long before opposing gay marriage, or refusing to recognize it, gets you officially classified as “mentally ill”?Remember how rapidly gay marriage has become a requirement. When gay rights were being enforced by the courts back in the ’70s and ’80s, we were repeatedly told by all the proponents of gay rights that they would never attempt to legalize gay marriage.It took about 15 minutes for that promise to be broken.And you can guess how long it will now take before any group that speaks against “gay marriage” being identical to marriage will be attacked using the same tools that have been used against anti-abortion groups — RICO laws, for instance.Here’s the irony: There is no branch of government with the authority to redefine marriage. Marriage is older than government. Its meaning is universal: It is the permanent or semipermanent bond between a man and a woman, establishing responsibilities between the couple and any children that ensue.The laws concerning marriage did not create marriage, they merely attempted to solve problems in such areas as inheritance, property, paternity, divorce, adoption and so on.If the government passed a law declaring that grey was now green, and asphalt was specifically designated as a botanical organism, would that make all our streets into “greenery” and all our parking lots into “parks”?If a court declared that from now on, “blind” and “sighted” would be synonyms, would that mean that it would be safe for blind people to drive cars?There is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a man and a woman.This is a permanent fact of nature.

If America becomes a place where our children are taken from us by law and forced to attend schools where they are taught that cohabitation is as good as marriage, that motherhood doesn’t require a husband or father, and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality for their future lives, then why in the world should married people continue to accept the authority of such a government?What these dictator-judges do not seem to understand is that their authority extends only as far as people choose to obey them.How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

How to Study for the LSAT

1. Take the LSAT very seriously. If you think that you can go to Borders, buy a LSAT review book, read it once and be prepared for the LSAT, you most likely aren’t going to score anywhere near where you could or should be. Personally I studied daily for the LSAT for almost an entire year and even took the entire month before the test off so I could study all day. I spent 10 hours a day reveiving old tests and doing different drills to work on my speed. Some of you might say this is overkill or that I must be a slow learner to need to spend that type of time to become proficient at the LSAT. The fact of the matter is my story is not unique, I personally studied with dozens of people who put in just as much time and effort as I did. I’ve even heard of people who take an entire year off after graduate school or undergrad to just study for the LSAT. Those individuals are often studying with a professional company and then have private tutor on the side.

What does any of this have to do with you? It has everything to do with you because this is YOUR competition. It’s fine if you want to read a ‘how to book’ one weekend and then take the LSAT the next but the likelihood of you getting into a good school or receiving a scholarship at any school is diminished.

2. The second suggestion I have for achieving success on the LSAT is to find a company of professionals that can give you expertise and focus. I studied with ACE LSAT and had an amazingly great experience with them. The instructors truly care about your success and have such an enthusiasm for the LSAT that you soon find yourself actually enjoying the test. ACE LSAT currently has three different locations they teach from. One (the original location) is in Provo, Utah, another location is in Salt Lake City, Utah, and their third is in Las Vegas, Nevada. The instructor that I studied with in Salt Lake was unbelievably great and very confidence inspiring. There’s something about being taught how to study for the LSAT by someone who scored a perfect 180 on the LSAT. When he would say “this isn’t that hard, you can get it” it made you think to yourself “yeah, this really isn’t that hard, I can do this.” In addition to having awesome instructors ACE LSAT does a lot of cool things like hooking you up with food and drinks. They even bring Einstein bagels to BYU and the University of Utah on the days the actual LSAT is administered to give you some extra energy and to wish you luck.

Lest, you think that I wrote this post for some ulterior motive, I can promise you that if every person that ever reads this blog signs up to study the LSAT with ACE I won’t receive a single dime. I was just one of many and by no means was I one of the stand out students. ACE LSAT truly is so awesome at what they do that anybody who is studying for the LSAT should take their live classes or buy their DVD’s to prepare for the test. I’d be an ingrate if I didn’t publicly tell them “thanks!”

Law Student Help

Are you a current law student who has found different resources or methods of studying that really work and that you would like to share with others? Have you recently graduated and have insight and experience that would help those who are in law school right now? Did you graduate many years ago but feel like you have wisdom that others would benefit from? Send us your tips, ideas, short cuts, and so on to and we will post them here on the blog. Additionally, we are currently gather class “outlines” that we will post so that current law students can benefit from them.

If you have any ideas of stories that you would like to hear or things you would like to see us do different don’t hesitate to shoot us an email.

Top 10 Most Mormon Friendly Law Schools

On August 1, 2008 will be anouncing the top ten friendliest Mormon law schools in the country! Stay tuned to see how your law school or alma mater ranks. We will be taking 5 different elements into consideration. 1. Number of Mormons in the law school. 2. Cost of living. 3. Cost of Tuition. 4. Distance to nearest temple. 5. Prestige of School.

Where do you think your school will rank? Should we rank your school high or low?

Convicts Need The Book of Mormon Too

ACLU of Louisiana Protects Religious Liberty for All; Sues State of Louisiana for Denying Inmate Access to Religious Materials and Services

BATON ROUGE, LA The ACLU Foundation of Louisiana has sponsored a lawsuit against the Department of Corrections on behalf of an Angola inmate who has been systematically denied access to religious materials and prevented from conducting religious services.

Inmates have First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion that restrains the government from deciding which religions and religious texts are acceptable to study, and which are not, said Katie Schwartzmann, Staff Attorney, ACLU Foundation of Louisiana. Angola officials may not control the private practice of religion, unless it clearly poses a safety or security risk.

Norman Sanders, who has belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints all of his life, has been denied access to Mormon publications available from bookstores and other vendors. Orders from reputable Mormon publishers are routinely returned.

Since December of 2003, the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola only allows inmates to order books and other written materials from vendors on an approved vendor list. Mr. Sanders has made numerous requests since that time to add respected distributors of Mormon publications, such as Brigham Young University, to the list. These requests were denied.

Also, officials at the Louisiana State Penitentiary and Warden Burl Cain have ignored repeated requests by Mr. Sanders to conduct Mormon religious services at Angola. Mormons should receive the same accommodation of their beliefs as do individuals of other faiths, said Joe Cook, Executive Director, ACLU of Louisiana. Fair and equal treatment means they deserve the right to a place to meet, have a minister and discuss their beliefs like other groups.

I found this case worthy of a post because how often do you see the ACLU coming to the defense of a Mormon? We may never see this again so let’s all enjoy the moment.