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Seattle University


Auspicious Occasion

Written by Claudine Benmar, School of Law
April 8, 2013

Seven full-time faculty members. Four hundred and twenty-seven students. Fifty thousand hastily collected books in the library. Rented classroom space in a Tacoma business park. 

This was how the Seattle University School of Law got its start 40 years ago, when it was first born as the University of Puget Sound School of Law. Seattle University has been the law school's home since 1994. Today, the school has the largest and most diverse law school in the Northwest, with almost 950 current students; upwards of 10,000 graduates; and more than 70 nationally recognized legal scholars, practitioners and teachers on our faculty. 

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.

"This is a wonderful milestone and time to celebrate the impact our School of Law makes in the world," said Provost Isiaah Crawford. "We take immense pride in the law school, the values for which it stands and the contributions it makes to advance the mission of Seattle University." 

The School of Law will celebrate its 40th academic year with an alumni reception at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 in its current home, Sullivan Hall. As part of the festivities, alumni awards will be presented to Justice Charles W. Johnson, '76, Washington Supreme Court; William Marler, '87, Marler Clark LLP PS; Debora Juarez, '87, Williams Kastner PLLC; and David Keenan, '08, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. 

Many of the law school's programs have become national models, including the top-ranked Legal Writing Program, an acclaimed Access Admission Program and Academic Resource Center, and clinical courses offered through the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic. 

More recent initiatives have bolstered the student 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. 

For more information on the law school's anniversary, visit their website or Facebook page, where you'll find a gallery of historical snapshots, 40 Years in 40 Photos.