Growing law school expands to better serve students

(Artist's rendering courtesy of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects)

An expansion at Seattle University School of Law will provide a new home for the law school's thriving clinical and externship programs and needed classrooms and offices. The Law School Annex, located at 1215 E. Columbia St., also will have a multipurpose room for law school events and a larger space for student journals.

From left, Karen Connors from Externship Program, Paralegal Mary Jane Brogan and clinic professors Jane Stoever and Lisa Brodoff look at plans for the new clinic offices.

The space, which is less than a block from the main law school, has been used as a facilities warehouse. It will be transformed into a state-of-the-art academic building in the coming months. Construction will begin Sept. 1, and is scheduled for completion in May 2010. The law school held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday.

"This university is all about transformation," Interim Dean Annette Clark said. "We are transforming this space, our students' lives and legal education. "This is a commitment to educating our students in the complex art and ethos of the practice of law."

With new programs and additional faculty, the School of Law has outgrown Sullivan Hall, which opened 10 years ago and has already been remodeled. The $10 million annex remodel will add more than 20,000 square feet to the law school.

The Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic provides students the opportunity to work on live-client cases through a variety of clinics, including the Youth Advocacy Clinic, Immigration Clinic, International Human Rights Clinic or Domestic Violence Clinic. The Externship Program allows students to work in judicial chambers or other supervised practice settings to gain invaluable work experience before graduation.

From left, SBA President Malou Chavez, Provost Isiaah Crawford and Interim Dean Annette Clark donned hard hats for the ceremonial swinging of the sledge hammer symbolizing the start of construction on the law school annex. Photos by Chris Joseph Taylor.

The annex will have four new classrooms and workspace for the Seattle University Law Review and the Seattle Journal for Social Justice. The current Student Publications space will become a classroom. Law school leaders will determine in the coming months the best way to use the current clinic space.

"This is a sign of the way legal education is changing and being delivered in a new way," University President Steve Sundborg, S.J., said. "It's a sign of the growing status and reputation of this law school."

At Monday's ceremony, President Sundborg, Provost Isiaah Crawford, Clinic Director Bryan Adamson, Dean Clark and Student Bar Association President Malou Chavez started the demolition by swinging sledgehammers.

Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects designed the building, and Sellen Construction is the contractor.

Check out the latest construction updates.