Are you considering a rewarding career in the legal profession and wondering how to become a lawyer in Utah? You have come to the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the two prominent law schools in the state, outline the steps to becoming a lawyer, and provide valuable insights into dual degree options, networking, and professional development opportunities. Get ready to embark on an exciting journey towards achieving your dream of practicing law in the beautiful state of Utah.
What you’re about to learn in this guide:
Obtain an undergraduate degree and prepare for the LSAT to apply to law schools in Utah.
Complete law school, pass the bar exam, and comply with CLE requirements to become a licensed attorney in Utah.
Networking opportunities can lead to increased job security & salary expectations of $100K+ per year as a lawyer in Utah.
Utah Law School Overview
Utah is home to two highly regarded Utah law schools, both offering quality legal education and a variety of programs to meet your career aspirations: Brigham Young University Law School and the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. These law schools have built a strong reputation, with Utah Law ranked 10th on the Utah national ranking of top-value law schools.
We will now explore the unique offerings and features of each law school, guiding you towards a thriving legal career.
Brigham Young University Law School
Brigham Young University (BYU) Law School is renowned for its commitment to personalized education and affordable tuition for Latter-day Saints (LDS) students. The institution offers a Juris Doctor program, four joint degree programs, and a Master of Laws program. With a competitive acceptance rate and a median GPA that reflects its academic rigor, BYU Law School fosters an engaging learning environment through its 18-to-1 student-faculty ratio.
BYU students can take advantage of abundant scholarship opportunities in several fields, including:
Law and social change
Law and corpus linguistics
This grants them access to rewarding possibilities for furthering their education and career goals.
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
The S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah is known for its innovative programs and emphasis on experiential learning. Offering a Juris Doctor program and specializations in areas such as environmental law through the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment, the college provides students with numerous opportunities to extend their education beyond the classroom.
Students at the Quinney College of Law can:
Participate in twenty campus organizations
Engage in hands-on learning through various clinics
Benefit from the third-lowest student-faculty ratio in the country
With a strong focus on practical skills, the Quinney College of Law is an excellent choice for aspiring lawyers.
Steps to Becoming a Lawyer in Utah
Having explored Utah’s law schools, we will now detail the process of becoming a lawyer in the state. These steps include:
Obtaining an undergraduate degree
Preparing for and taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
Applying to law schools
Completing law school and earning a Juris Doctor degree
Passing the Utah Bar Exam
Each step is crucial in your journey towards becoming a licensed attorney in Utah.
Obtain an Undergraduate Degree
The Utah State Bar Office of Bar Admissions doesn’t stipulate any particular pre-legal undergraduate education. However, acquiring a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for admission into an American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law school. As an undergraduate, you may choose any major, but it’s recommended to take courses in:
These courses will help prepare you for Rueben Clark Law School and the legal profession, ensuring you meet the minimum grade point average required for success.
An undergraduate degree not only serves as a prerequisite for law school but also provides a solid foundation for your legal studies. It helps develop critical thinking and communication skills, giving you a competitive edge when applying to law school. Additionally, some law schools offer dual degree programs that allow students to obtain both a Juris Doctor and a Master’s degree in a related field.
Prepare for and Take the LSAT
The LSAT is a standardized test designed to assess your aptitude for law school. It consists of multiple-choice sections evaluating reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning capabilities. Your LSAT score plays a significant role in your law school application in Utah, so it’s essential to perform well on the exam.
When preparing for the LSAT, devising a study plan that concentrates on particular areas and bridges any knowledge gaps is vital. Consider using test prep materials, online resources, and practice exams to familiarize yourself with the test format and content. You may also benefit from the assistance of a tutor or enrolling in an LSAT prep course to maximize your chances of achieving a competitive score.
Apply to Law Schools in Utah
Following the acquisition of your LSAT score, the subsequent step is to submit applications to Utah’s law schools. A strong application is critical, as it showcases your accomplishments, interests, and potential to succeed in law school. Your application should include a well-crafted personal statement, a robust resume, and letters of recommendation. These components help distinguish you from other applicants and demonstrate your commitment to pursuing a legal career.
During the application process, it’s imperative to investigate the individual admission requirements, deadlines, and procedures of each of Utah’s law schools. Each institution may have unique criteria, so tailor your application accordingly. You can submit your application electronically or via post.
Complete Law School and Earn a Juris Doctor Degree
Completing law school in Utah typically takes three years of full-time study or part-time study. The requirements for earning a Juris Doctor degree may vary by institution but generally include completing a specific number of credit hours, passing a bar exam, and completing a certain amount of clinical hours.
Obtaining a Juris Doctor degree opens doors to various professional opportunities, including working as a lawyer, judge, or professor. It can also lead to a higher salary and greater job security. For more information on completing a Juris Doctor degree program, consult the American Bar Association, the Utah State Bar, and the websites of Utah’s law schools.
Pass the Utah Bar Exam
The final step towards becoming a licensed attorney in Utah is passing the Utah Bar Exam. This two-day examination consists of the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Performance Test (MPT), and the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). The first day includes six 30-minute MEE questions and two 90-minute MPT questions, while the second day focuses on the MBE. The exam is held in February and July.
Effective preparation for the Utah Bar Exam involves reviewing the materials offered by the Utah State Bar, completing practice exams, and participating in a bar review course. Passing the Utah Bar Exam is a milestone in your legal career, granting you the license to practice law in the state.
Dual Degree Options and Specializations
Brigham Young University Law School is one university that provides law studies. The University of Utah S.J. is another university offering legal degree programs. Quinney College of Law offers a range of dual degree options and specializations, such as:
JD/MS in Taxation
These programs allow you to tailor your education to your career goals and interests, including city and metropolitan planning, potentially opening doors to specialized practice areas and industries.
Pursuit of a dual degree or specialization enables you to augment your legal expertise and broaden your professional prospects. These programs may require additional coursework, but the investment in time and effort can be well worth it in the long run, providing you with a unique skill set and a competitive edge in the job market.
Navigating Utah CLE Requirements
As a licensed attorney in Utah, you must navigate Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements to maintain your license. The Utah Supreme Court Board of Continuing Legal Education oversees the implementation of CLE requirements in the state. Utah attorneys are required to complete 12 credit hours of CLE annually, including 1 credit hour of legal ethics and 1 credit hour of professionalism.
To ensure compliance with CLE requirements, Utah lawyers should:
Contact their state MCLE regulatory entity
Stay updated on any changes to the rules
Take advantage of resources provided by the American Bar Association and the Utah CLE Board, such as seminars, workshops, and online courses, to stay current in their legal practice and meet their CLE obligations.
Networking and Professional Development
For law students and attorneys in Utah, networking and professional development are of paramount importance. Building connections and enhancing skills can lead to job opportunities, mentorship, and career growth. Several organizations and events are available to help you expand your professional network and improve your legal expertise, including:
The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) events hosted by the Utah State Bar
Utah Women Lawyers (UWL) events and mentoring programs
The Utah State Bar’s New Lawyer Training Program (NLTP)
Active participation in these organizations and events facilitates the establishment of invaluable connections with fellow attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals. Networking and professional development not only benefit your career but also contribute to the overall growth of the legal community in Utah.
Job Market and Salary Expectations
The job market outlook for lawyers in Utah is projected to grow by 25% from 2020 to 2030, with an estimated 450 annual job openings during that period. Factors such as location, practice area, and experience can influence job market and salary expectations for lawyers in the state. Opportunities for lawyers in Utah are available in both the private and public sectors.
The average salary for attorneys in Utah is reported to be $100,327 per year. Entry-level lawyers can expect to earn an annual salary of approximately $90,984 to $91,112. As you gain experience and expertise in your chosen practice area, your earning potential is likely to increase, making the pursuit of a legal career in Utah a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor.
In conclusion, embarking on a journey to become a lawyer in Utah involves several essential steps, including obtaining an undergraduate degree, preparing for and taking the LSAT, applying to law schools, completing law school and earning a Juris Doctor degree, and passing the Utah Bar Exam. Both Brigham Young University Law School and the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law offer exceptional legal education, dual degree options, and specializations to help you achieve your career goals.
As you navigate the path to becoming a lawyer in Utah, remember the importance of networking and professional development in growing your legal career. With dedication, hard work, and a passion for the legal profession, you can make a lasting impact in Utah’s legal community and beyond.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many years does it take to become a lawyer in Utah?
It typically takes three years to become a lawyer in Utah by attending a full-time law program at either BYU or the University of Utah. Part-time programs are also available.
Can you become a lawyer without going to law school in Utah?
No, you cannot become a lawyer without attending an ABA-approved law school in Utah.
What colleges in Utah have a law school?
BYU and UU are the only universities in Utah with law schools, allowing students from both universities to engage in the “Holy War” on the courtroom stage.
How hard is it to get into Utah Law school?
University of Utah Law School is extremely competitive, receiving over 7,000 applications for 500 seats and having an acceptance rate of 20% or 33.45%. Getting accepted into the S.J. Quinney College of Law is a difficult feat with a 48% acceptance rate.
What undergraduate majors are recommended for preparing for law school?
Undergraduate majors recommended for preparing for law school are English, history, political science, economics, philosophy, and mathematics.