preLaw - Spring 2017 - 18
Salt Lake City
"Go west, young man..."
Horace Greeley's call to the frontier may
seem outdated. But when it comes to the
legal profession, the West is still a land of
opportunity for future lawyers.
The Mountain States, in particular, offer
more job opportunities per law school graduate than all but one other region in the
country. And the upper Northwest is no
slouch when it comes to jobs.
The 20 schools that serve this vast region,
not surprisingly, report strong employment
numbers, trailing only New York and the
We highlight the diverse schools that feed
the robust employment in the West, including those in the Northwest: Washington,
Oregon, Idaho; the Southwest: Arizona,
New Mexico and Nevada; the Rockies:
Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana;
And, yes, even Hawai'i and a satellite campus in Alaska. We leave out California
because it stands as an island, with its own
economy and lackluster job market.
With eight private law schools and 12
public law schools, the region has plenty of
options for students who want to make the
West their home.
Top of The cLass
When it comes to the West, there is no
Yale Law School, Stanford, Harvard or
University of Chicago. If you're looking for
prestige, this is not the region to choose.
But many schools in this area hold their
own when it comes to credentials, with
The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
at Arizona State University, University of
Washington School of Law and Brigham
Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law
School leading the pack.
Arizona State University had the highest
employment rate in the region for the Class
of 2015, based on The National Jurist's
weighted scores. Its graduates also outperformed their peers in the state by nearly 20
percent on the bar exam.
"We care about attracting the best
students and surrounding them with the
resources they need to be successful," said
Dean Douglas Sylvester. "This includes
hiring world-class faculty, providing
opportunities and access for students in
the community and anywhere they want
to go, creating a strong support system
that includes networking with prospective
employers, and ensuring public service is
part of our students' DNA."
The school is on a hot streak. It moved
into a new $129 million building in downtown Phoenix last year, so students learn
in a state-of-the-art setting. Plus, it's seeing
increased interest from prospective students.
Applications for Fall 2016 were up 30 percent from the previous year.
Its in-state competition is The University
of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law,
in Tucson, Ariz. University of Arizona is
leading the way in experimenting with
admissions. This past fall, it allowed applicants to submit GRE scores in lieu of LSAT
scores, which have long been considered the
best indicator for law school success.
Since the economic downturn, University
The West beckons, with openness, unbridled optimism and a robust legal job
By Katie thisdell
market. We profile the 20 schools that feed this vast region.