Seattle University Law School

Seattle University is nestled along the edge of downtown Seattle. A short walk will take you to Chinatown or other areas of downtown. A pretty thorough bus system will get you almost anywhere else. The law school itself is on the edge of the campus facing a road with not surprisingly a Starbucks and a few other stores. Beyond that are small little houses nestled in a residential neighborhood. I don't know what the rents are like, but the houses are really cute and nearby. It was Spring so the cherry trees were in blossom and everything was fresh and beautiful.

The school itself is relatively new, finished in 1999. Typical wood finishes throughout. Nice fully wireless with plenty of power classrooms and a pretty moot court classroom. The clinic is located within the lawschool building, but is accessed through a seperate entrance to give clients a little privacy from the law school bustle. 2Ls and 3Ls who have taken ethics can participate in the clinics which is a really cool opportunity. From my interview with the admissions counselor I found out that Seattle also has a 3 year legal writing program which is part of the GPA. This is unusual and gives the school a reputation for creating excellent legal writers. The 1st two years are manditory, with the 3rd year advanced writing program being optional.

Seattle University Courtyard

Seattle U. 1L Classroom

Interior View of Seattle U.

I asked the student who gave me a tour why she chose to come to Seattle U vs. University of Washington as she is from the Seattle area. She told me that she was an undergrad at UW and when she went in to talk to UW law they weren't very friendly and helpful. Seattle on the otherhand gave her a better vibe from the admissions staff. I have always felt that you can find out a lot about the school by the way the admissions staff treats you. I also had a really great talk with the Seattle U. admissions staff. An actual admissions staff person spoke with me and answered all of my questions for almost 45 minutes. I was very impressed after being basically rushed out of the building at all the other schools that I've been to. The conversation at Seattle U. was easy and unpretentious and it was very nice and conversational. I found out that 2/3 of the Seattle U. law students participate in the summer start program and that both part-time and full-time options of attendence are possible. This is really nice, as I would like to get a job to start getting experience throughout school. My dream scenario would be to pass my patent bar exam this summer, start work in a law firm and have my firm pay for my law school attendance.

The one beef that I have with Seattle U. is that the neighborhood that it is in isn't all that great. There isn't a big cultural enivironment. Restaurants were minimal and it seemed like most students commuted from a long distance. At least they all get nice big lockers.

Seattle itself was not as stressful to navigate as we expected. We brought the GPS with us just in case, but it wasn't completely necessary. We could have found everything without it. Traffic is quite horrible, so it would be nice to find a close apartment or something on a bus route so that I don't have to drive/buy a 2nd car. Seattle is a nice city, although it does have a lot of peeling paint and cramped areas. It is big enough that you'll probably find an area somewhere that you like. Coming from Fairbanks, AK though where everything is less than 15 minutes away, having a commute might be a big ajustment. The average commute in Seattle is something like 50 minutes. Ouch!

Pros of Seattle U:

  • Staff and students were friendly
  • They have an IP focus program
  • They have tons of moot court teams, plenty of clinicals, electives are bountiful
  • Students seem genuinely happy to be there
  • Job prospects in Seattle for IP focus are plentiful and 1Ls at Seattle have about a 2/3 law related employment rate during their 1L summer, excellent
  • Brand new building
  • Part-time is an option
  • Campus was beautiful
  • Good job prospects for both summers and upon graduation-I was told that some Seattle firms throw out non UW and Seattle U. apps aka Gonzaga, *sigh*

Cons of Seattle U:

  • Large incoming class of 300+, UWs is like 180
  • Private so more expensive
  • No real seperation between downtown and campus edge
  • Long commute for many students as housing near downtown is pricy