On September 5, 1972, 427 students and seven full-time faculty members came together to usher in a new era of legal education.
What began as the University of Puget Sound School of Law in a business park on South Tacoma Way has become Seattle University School of Law, the largest and most diverse law school in the Northwest, committed to educating outstanding lawyers who are leaders for a just and humane world.
With the 2012-13 academic year, the law school marks its 40th anniversary by celebrating our alumni and the difference they make in the legal profession and their communities. Though much has changed since our early days, the pride we have in our alumni has never wavered. Our graduates, now numbering more than 10,000, are leaders for change, working in every state and around the world in all areas of the law, business, education, the judiciary and public service.
The law school's first class was made up of 10 percent women and 3 percent minorities. Today, about half the students are women, and 30 percent are people of color. The faculty has grown tenfold, from seven full-time professors to more than 70 nationally recognized legal scholars, practitioners, and teachers.
Seattle University's acquisition of the law school in 1994 strengthened its dual mission of academic excellence and education for justice.
Programs from our early days have become national models, including our No. 1-ranked Legal Writing Program, our acclaimed Access Admission Program and Academic Resource Center, and our clinical courses offered through the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic.
More recent initiatives have bolstered our students' experience, including the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and a first-year curriculum that allows students to take a variety of elective courses in the spring semester. Internship and externships are available at sites ranging from Anchorage, Alaska, to Washington, D.C., and from Cambodia to Costa Rica, and study abroad programs allow students to take summer courses in Madrid and South Africa.
No history of the Seattle University School of Law would be complete without a history of Seattle University. "A History of Excellence" is an interactive look at Seattle University's past. It uses video clips, text, and photos to tell the story of the people and events that shaped our institution. Highlights of the feature include: stories of pride and accomplishment, snapshots of student life through the years, video interviews with faculty and staff, and profiles of famous alumni.
In the long term, we will be educating many of the region’s finest lawyers, women and men who are destined to play significant roles in determining how our society operates”
—Father William Sullivan