The mention of the great state of Wyoming conjures up mental images of cowboys riding across vast prairies, the majestic Grand Teton Mountains, and the awesome Yellowstone National Park. The Cowboy State is known for its independent nature as well as for an off-beat sense of humor in the creation of the Jackalope, a mythological creature that is a cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope. If you're considering studying law in Wyoming, you'll find the choice of schools is limited to the University of Wyoming College of Law. This limited choice reflects the sparse population, roughly a half a million people.
University of Wyoming College of Law
The University of Wyoming College of Law is located in Laramie, Wyoming in the southeast corner of the state, close to the border of Colorado. It is a third tier American Bar Association accredited school of law that opened in 1920. It is a small law school of approximately 225 students, with an incoming class of about 90 students as of 2016. The school boasts of small class sizes and individual attention. One of the selling points for the school, is the fact that is has one of the lowest law school tuitions in the country. Further, it has routinely been rated as one of the best schools for practical legal experience
The first year curriculum includes: Contracts, Property, Torts, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Legal Research and Writing, Criminal Law, Appellate Advocacy, and Introduction to Law. In the second year, students are required to take Evidence and Professional Responsibility. The third year student chooses from a number of electives and seminar courses in the area of law that interests them. The school has a program called Pathways that will help students select the courses, clinics and externships to further the student's legal education goals.
In addition to the core curriculum of law school studies, the school offers a number of law clinics to provide practical experience. These include clinics for Civil Legal Services, Defender Aid Program, and Energy Environmental and Natural Resources to name a few. The school also has a Summer Trial Institute, which is a two week intensive course where students work with practicing attorneys to prepare and bring a mock case to trial before a jury.
The school also offers three joint degree programs. It is possible to obtain a JD while obtaining a Masters in Environmental and Natural Resources, or a Masters in Business Administration, or a Masters in Public Administration at the same time.
One of UW College of Law's most famous alumni is trial lawyer, Gerry Spence. Spence is a nationally recognized criminal trial lawyer who has won numerous high profile cases, including the Karen Silkwood case, which was made into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Cher. Spence has served as a legal commentator on numerous television programs and was the legal consultant at NBC for the O.J. Simpson trial.
In addition to Mr. Spence, UW College of Law counts among its alumni several politicians and justices, including U.S. Sentator Alan Simpson and the Honorable Gregory A. Phillips, United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
More Information About Choosing a Law School
There are a lot of factors that go into the choice of a law school. These factors include the cost of the education, the curriculum offered, the location, the school ranking, and many personal considerations. FindLaw's Law Student section contains many articles that offer tips and advice as you select a school, settle into legal academic life, take the bar exam, and go onto your first job. Check the Law Student section site often as you make your journey, because new articles and information are added all of the time. Good luck on your exciting legal journey.