Seattle University School of Law


Seattle University School of Law or Seattle Law School, or SU Law, (formerly University of Puget Sound School of Law,) is a professional graduate school affiliated with Seattle University, the Northwest's largest independent university.

Seattle University School of Law
Established1972
School typePrivate, Jesuit
Parent endowment$195 million (2016)[1]
DeanAnnette Clark
LocationSeattle, Washington, United States
Enrollment489 full-time, 120 part-time
Faculty59 full-time, 154 non-full-time
USNWR ranking126th (2022)[2]
Bar pass rate75.3% 2015 (WA state average is 79.9%)[3]
Websitelaw.seattleu.edu

The School is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Alumni of Seattle University School of Law practice in all 50 U.S. states and 18 foreign countries.[4] The law school offers degree programs for Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M) and Master of Studies in Law (MLS).[5]

According to Seattle University School of Law's 2017 ABA-required disclosures, 76.5% of the class of 2017 obtained bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation; 17% held positions for which a J.D. provides an advantage.[6]

History


The law school was founded as the University of Puget Sound Law School in Tacoma, in 1972.[7] The law school had a favorable admissions policy, and focused on large enrollments, despite the ensuing high attrition (failure) rate.[7] In the mid-1970s, when faced with declining admissions due to demographic changes, the law school responded by increasing enrollment.[7] Despite this, the ABA provided full accreditation to the law school in 1975.[7] In the 1974–75 academic year, the student bar association was established, the first edition of the law review was published, and the first law clinic was started.

In September 1980 the Norton Clapp Law Center was dedicated. This new law center helped to draw a class of 466 students—130 more than anticipated—into the entering class of 1980.

Move to Seattle

Dean Bond resigned to return to teaching in July 1993 and was succeeded by Professor Donald M. Carmichael, a faculty member at the law school since 1978, who had also served as the school's associate dean for academic affairs from 1987 to 1993.

Kellye Testy was appointed dean on February 15, 2005. During her tenure at the law school she co-founded the Law School's Access to Justice Institute, the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, and the Center on Corporations, Law & Society.[8][9] In 2009, Testy left Seattle University to be the new dean at the University of Washington School of Law. Mark Niles, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C., served as dean of the School of Law from 2010 to 2013 before returning to American University.

In 2013, the School of Law welcomed its current dean, Annette Clark. Dean Clark is the first alumna of the law school to serve as its dean. She earned her J.D. in 1989 and served as a member of the faculty for many years. Her areas of expertise include civil procedure, medical liability, bioethics, and legal education.[10]

Location, Institutes, and Centers


Seattle University's 42-acre (17 ha) campus is located in the First Hill area of Seattle.

Sullivan Hall

Sullivan Hall, home to the School of Law, is a five-story building housing the law school and law library on the eastern boundary of Seattle University campus. It features a street-front law clinic, media-equipped classrooms, law library, full courtroom, and activity areas. The court room is used for class, mock trials and actual court proceedings administrated by local judges.

Law Library

The Seattle University School of Law Library was founded in 1972 . Located in Sullivan Hall, the library occupies four floors with ample spaces for either individual or group study. The law library provides information resources and services to support the instructional, research and scholarship endeavors of the Law School.[11]

Access to Justice Institute

The Access to Justice Institute (ATJI) is home to the law school's pro bono, public interest, and social justice activities.[12] The ATJI is also home to the Incubator Program, which trains and provides resources to lawyers that want to start their own law firms that serve moderate-income clients.[13]

The Adolf A. Berle Jr. Center on Corporations, Law and Society

The Center promotes and hosts legal research, education, and events on the role of the rule of law to govern and mediate the relationship between governments, corporations, individuals, and society.[14]

Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality

The center is the civil rights arm of the law school and it aims to advance justice and equality through research, advocacy, and education. According to their website, the Center seeks to combat discrimination, train the next generation of social justice advocates, and helps underrepresented communities learn to advocate for themselves. The center is named after dissident Fred T. Korematsu, who was incarcerated by the U.S. government during the Japanese internment camps of World War II.[15]

Rankings


Law school rankings of Seattle University School of Law include:

  • U.S. News & World Report 2021 – #126 overall among law schools in the United States; #7 among legal writing programs; #26 overall among part-time law school programs; #15 among clinical law programs.[16]
  • preLaw – "The best schools for doing good" (Fall 2018) – A+ among law schools for public interest law.[17]
  • The National Jurist – A for "business, corporate, and banking."[18]

Juris Doctor program


Admissions

Admission to the law school is competitive with an acceptance rate of 59%. In admission decisions, the law school places equal emphasis on three factors: (1) LSAT performance; (2) the undergraduate academic record; and (3) personal achievements. Admission is made to either the full-time day or part-time evening program. The mean LSAT score for admitted students is 154, and the median undergraduate GPA is 3.24.

Students admitted to the full-time program can choose to begin classes in June to reduce their first semester course-load in August. All part-time students begin in June.

2018 matriculating students were 63% women, 4% veterans, 32% students of color, 19% identify as LGBTQ, and average age of 27.[19]

Focus areas

Seattle University School of Law offers "pathways" as one way for students to decide which courses to take, though choosing a pathway is not required. These pathways demonstrate sequences within and connections across the curriculum. Current pathways include:[20]

Employment


According to the school's official 2017 ABA-required disclosures, 76.5% of the class of 2017 obtained bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation.[6] Seattle University School of Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 22.8%, indicating the percentage of the class of 2017 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[21]

Costs and financial aid


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of full-time tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Seattle University School of Law for the academic year is $70,564.[22]

The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $235,798.[23]

The law school offers more than a dozen types of scholarships. The median scholarship award is $17,000 annually.

Scholars for Justice

One to two students in each entering class are chosen on the basis of a separate application as Scholars for Justice. These students are given a full-tuition scholarship based on a commitment to public interest law, prior history of public service or social justice work, and academic achievement.[24]

Alaska Scholarships

Alaska Scholarships are awarded to Alaskan resident law students who demonstrate exceptional aptitude for the study of law, coupled with a strong history of service and/or commitment to issues relevant to the Alaskan community. The scholarship is renewable, with conditions, for three years of legal study. The annual award amount is $6,000. The Alaska scholarships were created by George and Mary Sundborg, parents of Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., president of Seattle University.[25]

Loan Repayment Assistance

Consistent with the school's mission of preparing students who are committed to contributing to the common good by shaping an equitable legal system, Seattle University School of Law established a Loan Repayment Assistance Program. The program assists graduates who choose full-time public interest legal careers and are licensed attorneys. Employment be (a) law related and (b) public interest in spirit and content.[26]

Publications


Notable alumni


Notable Faculty


References


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