Seattle University School of Law
Academics & Programs: “A fairly large school,” the Seattle University School of Law offers an “outstanding,” “very flexible, evening, part-time program” in addition to full-time day enrollment. “Course options are diverse and offered consistently.” No fewer than fourteen specializations include criminal practice, environmental law, and international law. The “tough but very good” legal writing curriculum is far and away the biggest point of pride here. It’s “the class that you will despise while you are in it but will be utterly grateful for when you are through.” “This school has the best legal writing program and advocacy programs in the country,” brags one student. “It is the best and most useful course I’ve ever taken at a school,” adds a 3L. “The legal writing program really does prepare you for the real world and to a level of detail and precision I did not expect.” A throng of externships and clerkships gives students the opportunity to “develop practical skills” “in all different areas of law.”
Seattle U’s location, “less than a mile from downtown Seattle businesses and law firms,” allows students to walk to many courthouses and downtown law firms. Seattle U Law is also a Jesuit institution, and many students note that many organizations “are devoted to social justice.” Other students tell us, “Any mention of the Jesuit influence is off base.” “If asked [about] the Jesuit tradition,” jokes a 2L, many students would ask, “‘Is that a type of mocha latte at Starbucks?’” The biggest gripe among students concerns the need to “reduce the size of the incoming classes” Adding to the challenge, the grading curve has historically been “very tough” at Seattle U, though a new curve went into effect in the fall 2010.
Professors “emphasize the practical side” of law and are “generally extremely capable, intelligent, and knowledgeable.” It’s the “really hit-and-miss” visiting professors whom “you have to watch out for.” Outside of class, some faculty members are “extremely helpful and available.” However, other professors are “very hard to access.” “I wish that the professors were a bit more accessible,” complains a 2L. “They are supposed to have set office hours, but none of the professors are held to that.” Thoughts about the administration are similarly mixed. Some students say that the SU administration “is a distant, bureaucratic entity” that manifests “a seeming sense of apathy toward the individual student.” Others assert that the deans “work hard to eliminate obstacles so that all you have to worry about is learning.” The Center for Professional Development “makes extraordinary efforts to find job placements for students.” Also, “The alumni network is broad and very helpful.” “The top ten percent do great and get into private firms with the snap of a finger.” Some students complain that SU “should be doing more to market students to regional and national employers.” “Seattle University is a regional school,” explains a 2L. “It is hard for students to find jobs outside of the Pacific Northwest.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Depending on which students you talk to, the facilities here are either “bordering on beautiful” or “stark and bleak.” Whatever the case, the law school is in “a new building with wireless technology” throughout and “very high-tech” gadgetry everywhere. “Superhumanly helpful and friendly research librarians” staff the law library, though “the lack of study space is a serious concern.” “You can always get notes when you need them” at Seattle U Law; “However, there is still a healthy amount of competitiveness among students,” who comprise “an interesting mix.” “The right-out-of-undergrad students are obviously more competitive, but much more social too.” Older students are “considerably more laid-back and have a completely different attitude.” Students (and faculty) tend to lean to the left politically, though “the Federalist Society has a strong presence on campus.” Few are particularly religious. “About the most religious this school gets is the Christmas tree and menorah that get put up during the holidays.”
“Anyone with minimal social skills can make lifelong friends here,” claims one student. “Nobody here is pretentious.” “People at the school are tight-knit and supportive of one another.” A host of on-campus events “promotes community interaction.” However, there isn’t much communication between the evening and the day programs. “For the night students who work full-time there aren’t many opportunities to socialize with other students. Any socializing is done within the evening section and rarely are any day students involved.” “The school building itself is located just outside of downtown Seattle” in a lively neighborhood called Capitol Hill. “The school is in paradise,” brags a 2L. “Seattle really is the greatest city in the world,” beams another student. The Emerald City “is a great place to live for a variety of reasons, most notably the climate and the plethora of places to engage in outdoor activities.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.