Seattle University School of Law

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Seattle University School of Law
Seattle University School of Law.png
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 ranking122nd[2]
Bar pass rate75.3% 2015 (WA state average is 79.9%)[3]

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

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 percent held positions for which a J.D. provides an advantage.[6]


Seattle University's 42-acre (170,000 m2) campus is located in the First Hill area of Seattle.

Sullivan Hall[edit]

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 school rankings of Seattle University School of Law include:

  • U.S. News & World Report 2020 - #122 overall among law schools in the United States; #2 among legal writing programs; #21 overall among part-time law school programs; #15 among clinical law programs.[7]
  • preLaw - "The best schools for doing good" (Fall 2018) - A+ among law schools for public interest law.[8]


A feasibility study conducted by University of Puget Sound in 1971 revealed that Western Washington was the largest metropolitan area in the United States served by a single law school (University of Washington School of Law). Consequently, on December 20, 1971, the University of Puget Sound Board of Trustees voted to establish a school of law. Three weeks later, they announced the appointment of Joseph Sinclitico as the School of Law's first dean. Dean Sinclitico arranged to rent facilities in the new Benaroya Business Park on South Tacoma Way and hired Anita Steele to build a 50,000-volume library. He had a brochure printed up, hoping to entice 335 students to enroll for classes in the fall. Less than eight months later, on September 5, 1972, 427 students showed up for the first day of classes. Six months after the opening of classes, the law school made history when it received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association in record time. Judge George Boldt, chairman of the school's first Board of Visitors, summed up the excitement shared by faculty and students alike: "All of us feel that creation of the school has been nothing short of a miracle." [9]

The early years[edit]

In 1974, the first year with three full classes, the school had 730 students, 17 full-time faculty, five professional librarians, and 70,000 volumes in its library. In September 1974, a joint team from the Association of American Law Schools and the American Bar Association gave their final accreditation inspection. By March 1975, both the ABA and the AALS had awarded the school full accreditation. Forty-six students graduated in time to take the February 1975 bar exam. Of those, 42 passed, beating the state's overall rate of 69%.

Also 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 begun.

In 1976, Wallace M. Rudolph, a professor from the University of Nebraska, became the school's second dean. Dean Rudolph solved the problem of providing a permanent home for the school by proposing to locate the law school at the downtown Tacoma site of the former Rhodes Department Store. The idea snowballed into a proposal for a "law center" that would include Division II of the State Court of Appeals as well as various law offices, a proposal that would expand opportunities for Seattle University law students in clinical areas.

The first permanent home[edit]

In September 1980 the $9 million Norton Clapp Law Center was dedicated. The library at that time contained more than 140,000 volumes and an extensive microform collection as well as WESTLAW and LEXIS computers, a COM card catalog, and video terminals for accessing the Washington Library Network database.

This new law center along with the growing reputation of the School of Law helped to draw a class of 466 students—130 more than anticipated—into the entering class of 1980.

Dean Tausend[edit]

Later, in January 1981, prominent Seattle attorney Fredric Tausend, who had served for some years as an adjunct professor at the law school, was named its third dean.

The later Tacoma years[edit]

When Dean Tausend returned to full-time law practice in 1986, James E. Bond, a Wake Forest law professor, became the school's fourth dean.

Increased productivity by the faculty led to their inclusion among the nation's "Top 50" for scholarly publication in the national Law Faculty Scholarship Survey.

For these and other efforts, the school was ranked among "America's Best Law Programs" in a book published by Prentice Hall, Top Law Schools: The Ultimate Guide.

Move to Seattle[edit]

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.

In November 1993, Seattle University and University of Puget Sound announced an agreement to transfer sponsorship of the two-decades-old law school to Seattle University, and move all school facilities to Seattle University campus. In his annual presidential report that year, Father William Sullivan of Seattle University called the event "the most memorable day of my 20-year tenure as Seattle University's president." Just three months later, at 5 o'clock on August 19, 1994, the school officially became Seattle University School of Law.

Jim Bond was invited to return to the post of law school dean in 1995. Dean Kellye Testy was appointed 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.[9][10] In 2009, Testy left Seattle University to be the new dean at University of Washington School of Law. Mark Niles, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at American University School 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.[11]


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 and group study. The law library provides information resources and services to support the instructional, research and scholarship endeavors of the Law School.[12]

Juris Doctor program[edit]


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.[13]

Access Admission Program[edit]

The School of Law admits a limited group of applicants annually through its Access Admission Program. This addresses cases where traditional admission criteria are inadequate predictors of success in law school and in the practice of law. This program is limited to 10% of each entering class and recognizes students from historically disadvantaged and under-represented communities. Access Admission students have demonstrated grit, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to overcome substantial obstacles.

Focus areas[edit]

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:[14]


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.[15] 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.[16]

Costs and financial aid[edit]

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.[17]

The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $235,798.[18]

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

Scholars for Justice[edit]

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.[19]

Alaska Scholarships[edit]

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.[20]

Loan Repayment Assistance[edit]

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.[21]


  • Seattle University Law Review (flagship journal)[22]
  • Seattle Journal for Social Justice
  • Seattle Journal of Environmental Law
  • The American Indian Law Journal

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Retrieved 15 January 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  4. ^ "Seattle University School of Law - Admission - Top Ten Reasons". Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
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  9. ^ a b "Seattle University School of Law - History". Archived from the original on 10 September 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Seattle University School of Law - Faculty Profiles". Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
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  15. ^ "Graduate Employment Data for Seattle University School of Law". Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  16. ^ "Seattle University Profile". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
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  18. ^ "Seattle University Profile, Cost". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
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  27. ^ "Thomas C. Galligan". LSU. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  28. ^ "Ballotpedia Bio". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  29. ^ "Ballotpedia Bio". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  30. ^ "Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson". Washington Courts. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  31. ^ "Ballotpedia Bio". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
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  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2014-02-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2014-02-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ "Lawyer" (PDF). 2007. p. 36. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  36. ^ "Vote Smart Bio". Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  37. ^ "Alaska Governor Sean Parnell". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  38. ^ "Michele Radosevich - Professionals - Davis Wright Tremaine". Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  39. ^ "Lawyer" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  40. ^ admin (2014-07-02). "Walker says he's taking Hickel's advice, running as independent". Homer News. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
  41. ^ "Influential Voices with Rufus Yerxa '76 : Seattle University School of Law : Seattle, Washington". Retrieved 2017-11-06.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°36′35″N 122°19′03″W / 47.60972°N 122.31750°W / 47.60972; -122.31750