"The building as it's been envisioned . . . is going to have a very open and collegial atmosphere. I think that's much more in line with the way law is practiced now." Vicki Baldwin ('99), President-Elect, College of Law Board of Trustees
Through the Building Justice Project, the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law is designing and constructing a new law school building after 50 years in its current facility. The new facility will build on our tradition of excellence and dramatically improve our ability to prepare lawyers and leaders for the 21st century; to produce cutting edge scholarship to address the most critical issues facing the state of Utah, the nation, and the world; and to provide critical service to our community.
In this site, we are proud to release the results of our nearly completed design process. The included images, while still under development, depict designs that integrate the essential components of a traditional law school facility with exciting innovations in building and educational design.
Through its superb teaching faculty, the College of Law combines classroom education with a wide range of clinical and other skills training opportunities. Every student who wants to graduate with hands-on experience has multiple opportunities to do so, and most of our students take advantage of those opportunities to prepare themselves for their future careers.
In 2011-2012, students contributed an aggregate of 47,375 hours of formal public service through clinical, pro bono and think tank placements. Beyond meeting local community needs for legal services, students at the College of Law interned at human rights organizations, presented at major academic conferences, contributed to the drafting of appellate and Supreme Court arguments, and assisted the U in the creation of new businesses.
In 2012, the College of Law was ranked among the top 20 Most Innovative law schools and the top 20 Best Value law schools by the National Jurist magazine. LawSchoolTransparency.com also ranked the College of Law as one of the top twenty most transparent law schools. The College was the only school in the country to make the top twenty in all three rankings.
The College of Law offers one of the most affordable programs in the country. The College of Law ranked 28th in the nation this past year among ABA-accredited law schools in long-term, full-time JD-required employment and recorded the 35th-lowest average student debt. A record 76% of our incoming class for the 2012-2013 academic year received financial assistance through scholarships.
In the 2014 U.S. News and World Report rankings, the College of Law is ranked 41st among 194 ABA-accredited U.S. law schools. In the past five years, the College of Law has climbed sixteen spots, from 57th in 2008.
The College of Law has made advances on many fronts by admitting highly qualified candidates, providing extraordinary support for students, hiring world-class faculty, contributing record levels of student service learning, and winning national competitions. The physical facility, which the College of Law has occupied since 1963, has impeded even greater accomplishments.
The following quotes, taken from the American Bar Association’s (ABA) accreditation reviews in 2001 and 2009, reflect the reality of the current building:
But we did not need the ABA to tell us this. Students and faculty have long endured an inefficient HVAC system, cramped study space, and the absences of useful meeting, office, and classroom facilities. More importantly, we lack the space and modern technological facilities needed to expand and improve our focus on contemporary skills training, and to allow our existing and new centers of excellence to thrive. We also want to provide our students, faculty, staff, and guests the most accessible and sustainable facility possible, consistent with our longstanding commitment to these important values.
In short, the current building is no longer adequate to meet programmatic and student needs.
In 2012, the Utah Legislature approved a new, 155,000 gross-square-foot building to replace the College of Law’s current 98,000 gross-square-foot facility. The building’s stats will immediately improve the learning environment for College of Law students. To cite two relevant statistics, student space will jump from 7 square feet to 60 square feet outside of class, and from 18 to 30 square feet inside the classroom.
The building’s vision incorporates:
After six years of intensive planning, meetings with various internal and external constituencies, and numerous revisions, the College of Law community is extremely excited about the new facility. It is as innovative as the programs it will house.
Each of these new building features will help: