How far would you go to help students pass an exam? Bob Adler, dean of the College of Law, would run 100 miles.
As a part of the law school’s 100-100 initiative to improve bar passage, Adler is training to run the Zion 100 race on April 8. The goal is to reach a 100 percent pass rate for those taking the bar exam (a required test to practice law) for the first time and 100 percent full-time professional employment for recent graduates.
Adler said he believes the high costs of education are a big obstacle in obtaining their goals. Students who work while in school tend to have lower grades, and if they graduate with debt, they face fewer job opportunities because they are looking for high-paying jobs.
To raise money for scholarships, Adler is challenging alumni to pledge the amount they can per mile.
Four people are already in the 100-100 club, including Adler himself, and are donating $100 per mile he runs. The end goal is $250,000, and the college has already raised over $85,000 in new scholarship money.
Adler has been running since the early 2000s and has completed several ultra-runner races, including the Wasatch 100 twice and the Bear 100.
Seeing similarities between the two, Adler said, “Law school is like a marathon, not like a sprint.”
“If you start too fast you are going to burn out before the end of the semester,” Adler said. “If you start too slowly and you have to sprint at the end, that’s going to be tough as well.”
Using the same advice for when he runs, Adler tells students to pace themselves, get some rest and not obsess about their work.
While 100-mile runs are exhausting, Adler said they are also incredibly rewarding to complete, and he is looking forward to crossing the finish line in Virgin, Utah.
Adler said knowing each mile will pay for student education will help him push to the end, but it is also helping him maintain a rigorous training regime to prepare. He wakes up early in the morning so he can make sure to get in about 40 miles a week.
Dan Barnett, an attorney for Parr Brown Gee & Loveless and a U alum, first met Adler when Adler was an associate professor and Barnett was a student. They later began to run together and got into trail running. Barnett, who has completed around 14 runs, knows it is no small feat.
“Anybody who starts a 100-mile run perfectly confident that they will finish is deluded,” he said.
Barnett said Adler is admirable for committing to something that will push him.
“It takes some courage to do what he is doing,” Barnett said.
Barnett will be running the Zion 100 with Adler, at least for the first 50 miles. After that, both Adler and Barnett think the other will run ahead.
Alumni donations have increased this year, which Adler hopes will continue even if this run does not become a tradition.
The majority of scholarship money will go toward need-based students who are struggling financially. However, some donors want their money to be merit-based or to focus on certain fields in law.
In order to reach the 100 percent goals, the College of Law has hired new faculty to increase and improve academic support for struggling students and expanded their job placement programs for prospective graduates.