University of Washington Law School

One of the UW Libraries
Ah, what a beautiful campus. Nice brick buildings and classically designed architecture. While UW is on the water you can't really see it unless your at the medical school or sports facilities. The law school itself doesn't really fit in with the campus aestetic. It is quite modern and when we were waiting for our appointment hubby noted that it felt like a hospital. After being told to wait for 15 minutes in a reception area for my appointment I was about ready to walk out and reject the school that had rejected me. I'm glad that I waited. After hearing the Seattle University law students comment about UW admissions staff I was ready to write the school off and not feel bad about not being accepted. I found that the opposite was true and that the lady who met with us was VERY helpful and friendly. She talked with me about the school itself, the area, Seattle, and my application. She gave me several great suggestions to improve my application and other insider tips on how to get into UW.

She also suggested that if I get into Seattle U. that I should consider attending, using that year to get good grades and my Washington residency and then applying to transfer. There are a lot of people that say that the only way law schools will accept transfer students is if they have compelling reasons to have to transfer like their family needed them to move to the area to be closer to a sick relative or that they had other serious reasons to move. The UW lady said that this isn't the case there and that they readily accept transfer students. LSAT and UGPA are less important because they don't count towards the schools 25-75% statistics and that those things are really only predictors of 1L success. Your grades in 1L are the real proof of your 1L success so that is what they really look for. That was encouraging. Getting Washington state residency also makes sense as the tuition will go down a lot if I am a resident. The amount of transfers is equal to the number of students necessary to achieve the desired 180 student class size. So say that UW admits 500 students and only 160 of them take the offer, they will take 20 transfer students to fill out their class. But, the flip-side of that coin is that if 200 students take the UW admission there will be no transfers or VERY few and VERY competitive transfers.

The other myth that the admissions counselor dispelled for me is the 70% residency preference. While historically UW has had a 30-70 ratio of out-of-state to resident admissions she said that this is not the result of an actual policy but the fact that most of their applications come from Washington residents and so a disproportionate amount of their admits come from Washington.

The rest of the school was very modern. The lawbrary is in the basement and I was afraid that it wasn't going to have any natural sunlight. This fear turned out to be unfounded. The law school is actually on a hill so one side is full of windows. There are also pyramid shaped skylights which let ground-level light down into the library. The one issue that I had with the library is that it is too small for the amount of books that it has. As a result the shelves are all smashed up together into a solid wall and then individual shelves are accessed by electronically moving the gaps between shelves to be between the shelf that you are interested in.

UW Library Shelves Crammed Together

UW is on Quarters - This is what 1L Finals Studying Looks Like

Library - Outside View

I was really impressed with the UW lockers, they were the biggest and nicest of all of the schools I visited. This was also true of the lawbrary study areas. The students had huge beautiful wooden tables with natural light lamps to work with. This was much better than the typical cubbies.

Nice Lockers!

In the end I had a 45 minute conversation with a very friendly and informative admissions officer. The students were taking midterms as UW is on quarters so I couldn't go in any classrooms as they were all being used by exam-takers. The environment was surprisingly low key for a bunch of students studying for midterms in law school. The downside of the exams was that all of the student ambassadors were busy so a guided tour was out of the question. We ended up wandering around and got a pretty good idea of the school. The main campus is really large, but I doubt I would use it very much as a law student. Still, its quite nice and beautiful. The area has tons of restaurants.

Pros of UW:

  • Nationally recognized Tier 1 school
  • Strong contacts with local IP firms
  • Beautiful campus
  • Big tables and natural light in the lawbrary
  • Lots of faculty
  • Modern and new facility
  • Open to transfer students
  • Students don't receive a GPA or class rank, this supposedly decreases cut-throat competitiveness and provides a more relaxed environment
Cons of UW:
  • Most nearby housing is undergrad party apartments or Greek
  • Rents in the area are supposedly quite obscene so a commute is probably unavoidable
  • I would have to wait a year to reapply and be admitted
  • Not a resident so tuition would be pricey the first year

Bye bye Seattle - Off to Boston