Closing Argument

Issue: Winter 2022

Letter from the Dean

Dear S.J. Quinney College of Law alumni and friends:

We hope this message finds you safe and learning to navigate through the challenges facing all of us in our professional and personal lives. As we all continue to adapt to the changes in our world, the law school has made significant adjustments. After a rapid transition to distance learning, our students have completed their on-line final exams and our 3L class officially graduated on May 8.

The economic impact of the pandemic on society is still unclear, but millions of people nationwide are dealing with loss of employment and economic uncertainty. We also recognize that the legal profession is under immense pressure, as clients struggle to cope with the extraordinary changes of the last few weeks. As employers assess their futures, some are delaying hire dates, others have converted firm offers into contingent ones, and a few have already rescinded offers.

Our graduating students face the same uncertainty. For new graduates, landing a job is essential to launching their careers, and weathering these extraordinary times. We know you are cognizant of these realities and we believe our new graduates are uniquely qualified to immediately assist you in meeting the challenges you are facing.

It isn’t just permanent positions that are threatened. Summer opportunities for first and second-year students are under pressure. From reductions in length and compensation, to converting paid jobs to unpaid jobs, with some even being canceled altogether. Summer internships are critical learning opportunities for develop-ing career experience and professionalism, as well as forming a network that will be the backbone of a student’s success. It is with the backdrop of these challenges that we are reaching out to you, our loyal alumni.

Our hope is that some of you can offer part-time, short-term, or even project work to our students this summer. Due to the current economic situation, students are aware they will need to be more flexible as they seek summer experiences. Any opportunity, from assisting a large matter to an individual research assignment will provide invaluable experience, be it paid or unpaid. Again, the intent is to provide students meaningful learning experiences that will provide them with practical skills, contacts, and portfolio materials for future career efforts. As a benefit to you, our students retain access to critical tools like Lexis and Westlaw, not to mention the school’s online law library and team of highly skilled legal librarians.

We are in the process of determining the number of students who are looking for these types of opportunities. Please know that we are not asking for commitments at this time, just an indication of interest. You might think about the kinds of projects that would be ideal for first or second-year students. You might also consider if you have projects for our graduating third-year students, who, under the new diploma privilege rule, must complete 360 hours of supervised practice to be admitted to the Utah State Bar. If you have a project for a new graduate, you can post it to a new a new website for connecting graduates from the U and BYU to attorneys with projects at You can also email Arturo Thompson, Assistant Dean for the Career Development Office (CDO), at, and he will make sure someone from the CDO will reply and assist you directly. You can also email Arturo if you are unable to consider participation at this time, but may going forward, and he will make sure the CDO keeps you informed as this effort evolves.

As mentioned above, this effort is coupled with the recent emergency grant of diploma privilege by the Utah Supreme Court (an effort that was a great collaboration, including significant research work done behind the scenes by the College of Law’s own Louisa Heiny). Diploma privilege requires first time applicants for the Utah bar to fulfill 360 hours of supervised practice in lieu of sitting for the exam. This includes new graduates from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and the J. Reuben Clark Brigham Young University Law School. This change in admission requirements represents an amazing opportunity for law students in Utah to begin developing real practice skills and will allow them to enter the profession as fully licensed attorneys’ months before applicants in other states. This is not only a benefit to you in your planning, but also to the public as many of these students should assist in pro bono efforts you may have in your pipeline.

Any experience you can offer our students is critical and exemplifies to our students and new graduates what it means to
be an alumnus of the U. Your support will not only help their development as professionals, but it can also help provide immediate certainty and financial stability as they work to meet the needs of themselves and their families. We truly appreciate the support given to the law school by you and your peers, not only during these difficult days, but over the years. We welcome any feedback as we work to support the success of our newest graduates and continue to navigate the realities of our new world.