Closing Argument

Issue: Winter 2022

Carolynn Clark Named Director of Master of Legal Studies Degree Program

Carolynn Clark has been named the new director of the Master of Legal Studies degree program at the College of Law. She began her role on May 1.

Clark received her law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2003. After law school, Clark completed a Carolynn Clark judicial clerkship with the Utah Supreme Court with now Chief Justice Matthew
Durrant. Afterwards, she worked for several years as a litigator at the law firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker in Salt Lake City, working in several areas, including, intellectual property, securities, employment, and family law. Clark completed a Master of Laws in mediation at Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in 2009 just prior to which time she began teaching and mediating. She is a Master Mediator and Domestic Mentor on the Utah Court Roster of Mediators and has conducted thousands of hours of mediation focusing on divorce, custody and parenting disputes, property division, and other related issues.

Prior to becoming director of the Master of Legal Studies pro-gram, Clark taught and directed the Conflict Resolution Graduate Certificate Program offered through the University of Utah’s Department of Communication. Before taking over as director of the Conflict Resolution Program, Clark instructed and administrated the basic mediation curriculum at the BYU Law School and also taught for two years as a legal writing instructor. Clark is a member of the Utah Judicial Committee for Alternative Dispute Resolution, and is also listed on the professional roster at Utah Dispute Resolution in Salt Lake City where she regularly volunteers her time for low-income clients.

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree program launched at the College of Law in the fall of 2018. The three-semester executive master’s degree program is designed for professionals who may benefit from legal training but do not wish to practice as an attorney. The MLS program’s curriculum is structured for working professionals and is designed to improve students’ fundamental understanding of the legal system.

The MLS degree program appeals to a broad audience. For example, the degree may be ideal for business executives who want to increase their knowledge of employment law; people who work in government agencies may find it helpful in providing a better understanding of environmental law, land use regulation or negotiation practices. The new offerings are a way for professionals from a wide array of fields to advance their careers and improve future job opportunities. Interaction with the legal system is a critical part of many professions, from human resources to land use planning, business management and financial advising.

The U’s program offers intensive courses every other Friday and Saturday to accommodate busy working professional. Students have access to the same top-notch legal expertise as students following a traditional law school path, but with a somewhat more focused approach designed to meet the needs of working professionals. While the degree does not allow graduates to obtain a law license or practice law, it equips them with skills critical in almost every industry and important to advancing their careers, including how to interface with legal and regulatory systems and how and when to optimize use of professional legal counsel.

Clark takes the helm from Jacqueline Morrison, who launched the MLS program and now serves as director of externships with the experiential learning program at the College of Law.