College of Law

Johanna Kalb, Dean; Aliza Cover, Assistant Dean for Faculty Development; Leon Samuels, Assistant Dean of Students - Boise; Erin Tomlin, Assistant Dean of Students - Moscow (Front Street Bldg.; 208/364-4620/Menard Law Building 208/885-2255)

The College of Law was organized in 1909 and is the only accredited law school in the state of Idaho. The College is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association.

Purpose of the College

The College of Law prepares students to enter the legal profession and represent individuals, businesses, and public and private entities in a wide array of legal and policy matters. The college also prepares students to engage in law-related endeavors in business, government, and non-governmental organizations and to provide important public service in their communities. The curriculum provides instruction over three academic years in the legal rules and principles generally applicable in the United States and international courts, including an emphasis on the ethical responsibilities assumed by legal professionals. The study of law also prepares students for positions of leadership in government, business, or non-profit organizations.

The college's faculty adapt their methods of instruction to promote each student's highest potential. The college encourages individual initiative, the development of critical and logical thought, and effective written and oral communication. Students develop practical skills throughout the curriculum and participate in law-related volunteer service as a condition of graduation. Because the law changes rapidly, mere accumulation of information is subordinated to the more important ends of individual development and training in research, analysis, and critical habits of thought.

Admission to the Bar

The College of Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, and its degree is accepted by all state bar associations. Educational prerequisites vary among states, and the secretary of the bar examiners in the state in which the applicant intends to practice should be contacted to determine the existence of special requirements.

Suggestions for Pre-legal Study

The subject matter of pre-legal education is less important than the quality of work performed. Although the most common pre-law majors are English, political science, social sciences, or business, law students are drawn from a broad range of undergraduate programs from agriculture and engineering to English and philosophy. The study of law requires logical analysis and effective written and oral communication. Any rigorous course of study that develops these skills is good preparation for law school. Beyond this, a well-rounded education is best. American government and western political philosophy are important in public law; economic and accounting concepts are basic to much business and commercial law; history, literature, philosophy, and psychology all provide useful insights into cultural tradition and human motivation that are important to the interpretation and application of law.

Most universities have a pre-law advisor, often through the Political Science Department, to advise students in selecting appropriate pre-law courses. At the University of Idaho, a pre-law advisor is available through the Political Science Department to guide students in selecting courses within the particular college or university that will meet these objectives. The Admissions Office at the College of Law is also available for general consultation in program planning.

3+3 Program

The American Bar Association’s accreditation standards permit law schools to enroll students still in the process of completing their baccalaureate degrees so long as it will be completed by the end of the first year in the Juris Doctor degree. As a result of this standard, many law schools have 3+3 programs that allow undergraduate students, with the permission of their major advisor, to count up to 30 credits of the first year law curriculum toward the completion of the baccalaureate degree. A qualified student would complete three years of the baccalaureate degree and finish the remaining credits through the courses in the first year curriculum of the law degree. The law degree takes three years to complete, thus the 3+3 program title. The combined curriculum takes a year off of a student’s schooling.  

The conditions that must be met for a 3+3 degree student to receive serious consideration from the College of Law Admissions Committee are:

  1. demonstration of outstanding ability by a cumulative grade point average at the most recently entered class median or higher, currently a 3.24 GPA;
  2. demonstration of excellent aptitude for law study by a score on the LSAT at the most recently entered class median or higher, currently a 152; and
  3. submission of a letter from the undergraduate major department attesting to the fact that the applicant will receive the baccalaureate degree after the successful completion of up to 30 credits of law study.