clarsen wrote: I'm going to try to monitor this board a little bit, so feel free to throw out any questions and I will do what I can to answer them.
Probably not the question you want to answer but since you offered...What would you suggest to someone choosing between UW and SU? I haven't actually gotten in to UW (second review) but I keep considering the possibility in my head. I love SU's social justice focus, diversity, campus feel (vs competitive feel at uw) and scholarship $$ but in your opinion is an SU degree less academically challenging or competitive job-wise?
I can't say much about UW because I obviously don't go there, but you are certainly correct regarding the atmosphere at SU. Social Justice is a big focus for the University. While not all the professors buy into it (and they make it known), the school as a whole offers plenty of opportunities and seminars regarding public policy and social justice. It is definitely the place to go if that is something you are interested in. The school is also extremely diverse, and I think a lot of that is due to the ARC program, part-time program, and due to the focus on social justice. Regarding competitiveness, it has actually been a very pleasant surprise. We all hear of the horror stories that occur in law school (hiding books, gunners, etc.) and I haven't experienced anything even remotely close to that. My section has been very supportive, and it is more like a family atmosphere than a cut-throat competition.
I don't think it is any less academically challenging, but I don't have anything to compare it to. I can say that I have never worked harder at anything in my life. Most days I spend 6-8 hours studying, so it is my full-time job. I know there were some comments about the legal writing program, and while nationally it might make no difference that it is a top ranked program, locally it holds some weight. We have heard countless stories about firms commending the program and how much further ahead SU students are when it comes to legal writing. Keep in mind, almost all jobs held during school and after graduation will be mostly writing and the skills learned at SU will go a long way to jump start your career.
Lastly, SU and UW will be pretty similarly competitive in the Seattle area, but UW will be much more competitive elsewhere. As the largest Seattle law school (much larger than UW), there is a huge alumni base. SU grads like to hire SU grads (so we are told), so that will help make up some of the ground that UW has in the rankings. Just remember, the job market is still pretty poor, so what you have when you graduate will be largely based on what experience you get while in school. Grades are obviously important, but networking and experience will be even more important. If you want to live in Seattle, SU and UW are both good schools and I don't think you can go wrong with either choice. You mentioned scholarship money, which I won't discuss, but one thing many at SU do complain about is the price. UW is significantly cheaper, but if you have $$ for SU, that will make up some of the disparity.