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Seattle University School of Law

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.

Seattle University School of Law
Seattle University School of Law.png
Established 1972
School type Private, Jesuit
Parent endowment $215 Million[1]
Dean Annette Clark
Location Seattle, Washington, United States
Enrollment 781 full-time, 201 part-time
Faculty 64 full-time, 134 adjunct
USNWR ranking 113 (tied)
Bar pass rate 81.9% (WA state average is 82%)[2]

The School is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Students who have pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.). Alumni of Seattle University School of Law practice in all 50 U.S. states and 18 foreign countries.[3]

According to Seattle University School of Law's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 41.5% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[4]



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

Sullivan HallEdit

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.


According to the law professor blog, The Faculty Lounge, based on 2012 ABA data, only 47.1% of graduates obtained full-time, long term, bar admission required positions (i.e., jobs as lawyers), 9 months after graduation, ranking 147th out of 197 law schools.[5][6]

Law school rankings of Seattle University School of Law include:

  • U.S. News & World Report 2016 - #113 (tie) overall among law schools in the United States; #1 among legal writing programs; #23 (tie) overall among part-time law school programs in the United States.[7]
  • U.S. News & World Report 2015 - #87 overall among law schools in the United States; #1 among legal writing programs; #25 overall among part-time law school programs in the United States; #50 for diversity among law schools.
  • National Jurist - "Top Public Interest Law Schools" (November 2008) - #16 overall among law schools for public interest law.


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." [8]

The early yearsEdit

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 homeEdit

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 TausendEdit

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.

Dean Tausend led efforts to increase diversity in the student body, expand clinical programs, and develop a first-rate legal writing program that today enjoys a national reputation. Under Dean Tausend's leadership, the school established its first alumni relations program, published its first alumni magazine, launched its first annual fund drive, offered its first comprehensive-achievement scholarship program, stabilized first-year enrollment at 360 students, and developed a highly sophisticated job placement operation.

The later Tacoma yearsEdit

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. During his tenure the school dramatically improved the statistical profile of its entering classes moving from an average student in the 61st percentile of new law students to the 79th, and the school's admission policies moved the target entering class from 360 to 300. Dean Bond also helped to expand the clinical curriculum to include immigration law, trusts and estates, and personal responsibility.

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 SeattleEdit

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. Dean Testy, a summa cum laude graduate of Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington, is a leading scholar in corporate governance. During her tenure at Seattle University 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] An email was sent to students May 13, 2009, stating that Dean Testy would be leaving Seattle University to be the new dean at University of Washington School of Law. On December 22, 2009, Mark Niles, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at American University School of Law in Washington, D.C., was named Dean of the School of Law, effective July 1, 2010.


The Seattle University School of Law Library was founded in 1972. As of 2011 it contained 162,316 books. It is a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program.[10]

Juris Doctor programEdit


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 3.28.

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.

2006 matriculating students were 51% women, 29% racial minorities, and an average age of 27.

Alternate admissions programEdit

The School of Law also admits a limited group of applicants annually through its Alternate Admissions program. This Program addresses those cases where traditional admission criteria are inadequate predictors of success in law school and in the practice of law. Members of historically disadvantaged, underrepresented, or physically challenged groups are among those individuals considered for this program which is limited to accepting 10% of each entering class. Students may apply for the Alternate Admissions Program rather than applying for regular admission at their own discretion.

Focus areasEdit

In 1999, the Seattle University School of Law reorganized upper-division curriculum into focus areas. Each focus area consists of groups of related substantive and skills courses; students who wish to complete a focus area take from 15 to 25 credits in their chosen area, which includes prerequisite, foundational, skills, and elective courses. This program was designed to provide an integrated educational experience in a particular area of the law. Current Focus Areas include:[11]


According to the school's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 41.5% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[4] Seattle University School of Law ranked 161st among ABA-approved law schools in terms of the percentage of 2013 graduates with non-school-funded, full-time, long-term, bar passage required jobs nine months after graduation.[12]

Seattle University School of Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 28.9%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[13] 73.3% of the Class of 2013 was employed in some capacity while 3.9% were pursuing graduate degrees and 17% were unemployed nine months graduation.[4]

Costs and financial aidEdit

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Seattle University School of Law for the 2014-2015 academic year is $64,533.[14]

The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $235,798.[15]

The law school’s Scholarship Program awards over $3 million per year to approximately 350 students including merit based scholarships, and loan forgiveness for alumni. The median grant amount is $7,000 for full-time and $5,500 for part-time annually. Almost all financial aid goes to the top twenty five percent of the applicant pool.

Scholars for JusticeEdit

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 in exchange for a commitment to spend their law career in traditionally lower paying public service jobs.

Public Interest Law FoundationEdit

The Seattle University Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) was established in 1993. In its early years, PILF helped create the Loan Repayment Assistance Program for students pursuing careers in public interest law, as well as a successful summer grant program. While both are now administered by the School of Law, the grants program retains the PILF name. Grants are given to students working in unpaid public interest legal jobs throughout the United States and internationally. In 2012, PILF launched a program to assist students interested in attending public interest law related conferences.[16]


  • Seattle University Law Review
  • Seattle Journal for Social Justice
  • Seattle Journal of Environmental Law

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "2007 Market Value of Institution Endowment Assets" (PDF). Retrieved 6 November 2017.  (2.8 MB)
  2. ^ "2017 Law School Rankings - Bar Exam Pass Rate (High to Low) (101-150)". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  3. ^ "Seattle University School of Law - Admission - Top Ten Reasons". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "Section of Legal Education, Employment Summary Report". American Bar Association. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Faculty Lounge: Full Rankings: Bar Admission Required, Full-Time, Long Term". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  6. ^ "Home". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  7. ^ "Best Colleges Rankings". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Seattle University School of Law - History". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  9. ^ "Seattle University School of Law - Faculty Profiles". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  10. ^ American Library Directory. 2 (64th ed.). Information Today, Inc. 2011–2012. pp. 2568–2576. ISBN 978-1-57387-411-3. 
  11. ^ "Seattle University School of Law - Academics - Focus Areas". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  12. ^ Leichter, Matt. "Class of 2013 Employment Report". The Law School Tuition Bubble. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Seattle University Profile". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "2014-2015 Cost of Attendance" (PDF). Seattle University School of Law. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  15. ^ "Seattle University Profile, Cost". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "CHIEF JUDGE RALPH R. BEISTLINE'S BIOGRAPHY". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Thomas C. Galligan". LSU. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  19. ^ Lattman, Peter (2007-05-16). "All in the Family: Father-Daughter Supreme Court Clerks". Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  20. ^ "Gay Gellhorn Lawyer Profile on". Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  21. ^ "Gay Gellhorn at University of the District of Columbia (UDC) | Uloop". Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  22. ^ "Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson". Washington Courts. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  23. ^ [2][dead link]
  24. ^ [3][dead link]
  25. ^ "Lawyer" (PDF). 2007. p. 36. Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  26. ^ "Alaska Governor Sean Parnell". National Governors Association. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Michele Radosevich - Professionals - Davis Wright Tremaine". Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  28. ^ "Lawyer" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2017. 
  29. ^ admin (2014-07-02). "Walker says he's taking Hickel's advice, running as independent". Homer News. Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  30. ^ "Influential Voices with Rufus Yerxa '76 : Seattle University School of Law : Seattle, Washington". Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  31. ^ "OHCHR : Mr. Baskut Tuncak". Retrieved 6 November 2017. 

External linksEdit