Seattle University School of Law Celebrates 35 Years of Standing for Excellence and Reaching for Justice

As Seattle University School of Law nears the end of its 35th academic year and prepares for a spectacular celebration on April 25, it is a wonderful opportunity for the law school to honor its roots, celebrate its achievements look toward the future.

“The law school has changed a lot in 35 years, but our unwavering goal of academic excellence has provided the polestar to navigate our development as one of the nation’s leading law schools,” Dean Kellye Y. Testy said.

Seattle University School of Law graduates are making a difference in their communities and the legal profession throughout King County and Washington, as well as across the country and internationally. Alumni include successful solo practitioners, attorneys in small and large firms, government and public interest lawyers, entrepreneurs and judges.

The foundation for their success was laid decades earlier, when 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.

Seattle University School of Law, the largest and most diverse law school in the Northwest, is dedicated to the twin priorities of academic excellence and education for justice. The School of Law is positioned to become the premier private law school in terms of academic excellence, Jesuit Catholic inspiration and service to society.

“While we’ve accomplished more in our first 35 years than many other schools have in triple that time, I’m convinced that the best is still to come,” Dean Testy said.

Among the law school’s many accomplishments:

  • The Law School’s Legal Writing Program is among the top ranked in the country, known for its innovative, practice-oriented curriculum and use of cutting-edge technology. Employers know graduates of the law school are well-prepared for the workforce. Overall, the Law School is consistently ranked among the nation’s leading law schools.
  • The street front Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic provides students the opportunity to work on real cases with real clients on issues ranging from predatory lending to international human rights violations and contributes thousands of hours of free legal services to those who would otherwise not have representation. Our acclaimed Access to Justice Institute is a hub for social justice-minded students and links our students with service opportunities throughout the state.
  • The Alternative Admission Program and Academic Resource Center admit and support promising law students who don’t meet traditional criteria for admittance but otherwise demonstrate their potential for success. ARC scholars have gone on to great success and are changing the face of the legal community. An anonymous donor who believes strongly in the program has given more than $6 million for a scholarship endowment.
  • The law school’s outstanding faculty members are committed to both scholarship and teaching. Many are recognized as national leaders in their fields, while remaining committed to educating outstanding lawyers to be leaders for a just and humane world. The most cited legal scholar in the United States was hired to join the faculty in the fall, one very tangible example of the growing prominence of the faculty. The faculty is also one of the most diverse in the country.
  • Our growing academic program is becoming more global, with summer programs in South Africa and Brazil, and students placed in externships in places such as Cambodia and Nicaragua and faculty conducting research throughout the world.
  • The School of Law is well connected with the bench and bar in Washington and has more than 9,000 alumni working in all fields and throughout the country and the world.
  • The School of Law has leading centers and institutes, including ones in Global Justice; Corporations, Law & Society; and the Institute for Indian Estate Planning and Probate.
  • The law school offers the only part-time in the state, allowing professionals to receive a degree while continuing to work.

The law school will commemorate its 35th anniversary at a gala celebration Friday, April 25, at Benaroya Hall. The Seattle Symphony will give a special performance of Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” with guest narrator Anna Deavere Smith.

Justice Statue