Gonzaga University School of Law
Academics & Programs: Relatively small Gonzaga University School of Law has quite a lot to offer. The Jesuit influence is notable in Gonzaga’s “great tradition of public service,” and the school offers great respect and support to those pursuing a career in public interest (all students must perform thirty documented public service hours to get a diploma). Another perk is the “fabulous legal research and writing program,” which “provides an excellent understanding of how to effectively and efficiently explain complex legal issues.” “A strong externship program” “provides real-world experience,” and the “on-site” University Legal Assistance Clinic gives students “real-life experience while under the supervision of attorneys.”
Academically, “It really seems that the professors and administration want you to succeed.” The “very driven and dedicated” administration is “open and accessible.” “The administration has been very helpful and friendly to even my most idiotic of questions,” confides a 1L. The “collegial, approachable, [and] enthusiastic” professors maintain “an open-door policy” and “will find time to meet with you if their office hours don’t work.” “It is nice to be at a school where the faculty knows you by name and truly cares about your academic success,” says a 2L. In class, a few professors are “absolutely horrible,” but most are “absolutely incredible.” Professors tend to have “unique backgrounds” and “relevant, real-world experience.” “While the majority of the faculty is relatively young in comparison to other institutions,” Gonzaga’s professors “all have very strong backgrounds in their respective subject areas,” which gives students “an opportunity to learn what the real practice of law is like.”
Gonzaga has “many ties to the local community.” “The lawyers in town are practically all from GU and participate in the events here often,” notes a 2L. One contingent of students says, “Career Services works very hard to help you find work” and “aggressively” offers assistance with resumes, networking, and job opportunities. “Several times a year, Career Services will bring in attorneys from various fields and give students free pizza while the practitioners talk about their particular area of expertise and how to get into it.” The pro–Career Services faction also says that “opportunities to practice in big cities are increasing” for Gonzaga students. “I know plenty of students who are getting into big firms,” declares a 2L. However, another group of students says, “Career Services needs a lot of help” because “too many students are worried about finding jobs in desirable locations.” “If you want to practice in eastern Washington, Gonzaga is a great school,” acknowledges one student.
Campus Life/Facilities: Gonzaga’s “brand-new” facility “sits right next to the Spokane River,” affording “beautiful views.” The building itself “has limited space for students to gather or study” but it’s “almost in the very center of the city,” so “commuting every morning is a breeze.” “Modern technology” is everywhere and “very reliable” wireless Internet access is available “throughout.” The “excellent” library boasts a “helpful staff” and “a large selection of resources.” “Only a few” of the classrooms “are less than ideal, and this is only the case when larger classes are held in those particular rooms.” There isn’t “very much” ethnic diversity here. “See the handful of minority students in admissions brochures and [the] DVD?” asks a 2L. “They’re the only ones.” “The Catholic and Mormon students create a fairly conservative atmosphere,” but there is more than enough political diversity to go around, with both liberals and conservative abounding. “The mandatory curve creates a very competitive environment, particularly among first-year students.” “Students get especially competitive around finals.” “For the most part,” though, “fellow students are more than willing to lend a helping hand when you are lost.” “It’s not nearly as competitive as I expected it to be,” emphasizes a 1L. The Student Bar Association routinely “provides review sessions for each first-year class and for each professor.” During these sessions, “Students can ask questions in an environment that is less intimidating than the classroom.”
“There are tons of opportunities to get involved” in extracurricular activities. Student organizations cover “almost every issue,” and “Their participation in the law school community is prominent.” “Like any smaller school, Gonzaga has its cliques,” but overall, “The sense of community is amazing.” “We go to Gonzaga basketball games, run along the Spokane River, or just get together to watch football,” says a 2L. “Spokane’s small-town nature, the relatively small student body, and the fact that almost all the students are from elsewhere means that there is a tendency for the students to become very close,” explains another student. Far and away, the “boring,” “blue-collar” town of Spokane is the most griped-about aspect of life here. The cost of living is low, but students end most compliments there. “Spokane is one step above purgatory,” reflects one student, “but it is not a very big step.” On the bright side, “Glacier National Park, Banff, Seattle, Northern Idaho, and lower British Columbia are all within a few hours’ drive.” “There are awesome outdoor activities nearby” as well. “There’s rock-climbing and mountain biking” as well as “plenty of smooth asphalt for road cyclists.” “Tons of great ski areas and golf courses” are nearby and “dirt cheap.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.