Washington State has only three American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools to choose from. Fortunately, the law schools all have distinct advantages that may 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.
Washington Law Schools
Gonzaga University School of Law -- Gonzaga University is a Jesuit affiliated law school that holds a solid reputation in Washington and neighboring states. Gonzaga is listed just outside of the top 100 law schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report in their annual law school rankings. Located in Spokane, the school takes particular pride in the high bar passage rate, which exceeds that of its competitors. Although marginally more expensive than the University of Washington's School of Law, the only Washington law school outside of Seattle allows students to graduate with less debt than attendees of other schools in the state.
Seattle University School of Law -- Seattle University's law school is ranked comparably to Gonzaga University, but offers a very different study environment. As part of the largest independent university in the northwest, and on account of its location in the state's largest city, Seattle University offers a bustling environment for the study of law that some may find stimulating (though others may find themselves lost in the shuffle). Although pricier than Washington's other law schools, Seattle University School of Law offers part-time evening study. There is also an alternate admissions program targeting those belonging to historically disadvantaged, underrepresented, or physically challenged groups whose traditional admission criteria may not allow them to be admitted through the standard application process. Those seeking accommodation for their particular needs may find that Seattle University has greater flexibility than the other schools.
University of Washington School of Law -- The University of Washington's law school is ranked higher than any other Washington law school and also boasts the lowest tuition. As previously noted, however, the school's location in Seattle contributes to the fact that Gonzaga University is generally calculated to be marginally cheaper than the University of Washington overall. This means that competition for admission to the school can be more intense than at the state's other schools. The school offers a broad range of specializations and is particularly known for its law librarianship program, which many consider to be the best in the nation.
More Advice for Law School Success
Choosing the right Washington law school is just the first step in a long series of decisions you'll need to make in order to chart your way through law school and into a successful legal practice. 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. You'll find articles and links to materials to help guide you along your path at every point in law school and beyond in FindLaw's Law Students section.