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Washington Law Schools

An adult African American man enjoys a bicycle ride on a brisk and sunny autumn day in the Pacific Northwest.   The fall leaves glow in the sunlight. Shot in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Washington State has only three American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools to choose from. Fortunately, they all have distinct advantages that can make each one an attractive place to study, depending on your priorities. The following article provides a brief overview of each Washington law school with some discussion about the aspects of the school that may be appealing or problematic.

Gonzaga University School of Law

Gonzaga is a Jesuit-affiliated law school with a solid reputation in Washington and neighboring states that usually ranks just outside of the top 100 law schools in the nation.

Students in Gonzaga's religious studies undergraduate program or attending one of three other institutions may qualify for the school's 3+3 program — where they can complete their undergraduate and law school degrees in just six years.

With tuition of around $53,000 a year, Gonzaga is marginally more expensive than the University of Washington's School of Law. However, it is also the only Washington law school located outside of Seattle. Lower costs of living in Spokane usually lead Gonzaga students to graduate with less debt than attendees of other schools in the state.

Seattle University School of Law

Seattle University School of Law often ties with Gonzaga University in national rankings but offers a very different study environment. Located in the state's largest city and connected to the largest independent university in the northwest, Seattle University offers a bustling environment for the study of law that some may find stimulating. However, others may find themselves feeling lost in the shuffle.

The school now accepts both LSAT and GRE scores for J.D. applications and offers a hybrid online program that may appeal to working professionals.

Those seeking accommodation for their particular needs may find that Seattle University has greater flexibility than the other schools. The school's Access Admission Program provides a pathway for students belonging to historically disadvantaged or underrepresented groups who might struggle to meet traditional admission criteria. However, admission to this program is highly competitive and capped at 10% of an incoming class.

University of Washington School of Law

The University of Washington's law school ranks higher than any other Washington law school and also boasts the lowest tuition. Therefore, competition for admission can be more intense than at the state's other schools. UW School of Law offers a broad range of specializations and is particularly known for its highly regarded law librarianship program.

UW Law grads have achieved very high bar passage rates in recent years, with 91% of first-time test takers passing the July 2022 bar exam. Tuition for Washington residents is around $41,000 a year, but keep in mind that the cost of living in Seattle is very high. Students should plan for at least another $26,000 a year for housing, books, and other expenses.

More Advice for Law School Success

Choosing the right Washington law school is just the first step in acquiring your legal education and beginning a career in law. Along the way, you'll need to sort out how to study for classes and exams, meet requirements for admission to practice, pass the bar, interview for jobs, and more. Explore FindLaw for Law Students to find tips and advice for every step of your law school journey.

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