Home » Law Schools » 3rd and 4th Tier Profiles »

Gonzaga University School of Law

From TLS wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Gonzaga University School of Law

Gonzaga University School of Law was established in 1912 and is located in Spokane, WA. Though Gonzaga is the least selective school in Washington state, Gonzaga graduates tend to do much better than incoming LSAT and GPA scores would predict on bar examinations and in getting jobs after graduation.

On the July 2013 Washington state bar examination, 91% of Gonzaga Law candidates passed the exam, compared with 84.8% of all candidates. According to the American Bar Association report, nine months after graduation, the class of 2013 reported 88.19% employment, with 82% in positions that are bar passage required or "JD Advantage".

Admissions

Gonzaga admits students only on a full-time basis, however, it is possible to finish the program in four or even five years with permission from the dean as to accommodate non-traditional students.

In the fall of 2013, students entering classes at Gonzaga Law had a median LSAT of 154, and a median undergraduate GPA of 3.26. There were 886 applicants, 62% of which were admitted.

The application process is a combination of LSAT score, GPA, resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation. Applicants to the 2 year / 24 month Accelerated J.D. program may also be selected for a personal interview either in-person or via videochat. International students are also required to submit a TOEFL score and financial declaration form.

The application deadline for the Accelerated J.D. program is several months earlier than the traditional 3-year program.

Tuition and fees

Gonzaga Law's annual tuition is well below the median cost for private law schools. Annual tuition in 2013 was reported as $36,360 per year based on 30 credits.

Living expenses in Spokane are lower than both national average and Washington state averages. The estimated student budget, which includes tuition, fees, books, housing, food, transportation, personal expenses, and loan fees was $53,049 per year in 2013.

According to USNews 2014 rankings, average debt of the 89% of students that graduated with debt from Gonzaga Law was $111,297.

While the Accelerated J.D. has lower living expenses due to a reduced year in classes, tuition costs are the same. Prospective students will also need to consider that the Accelerated program requires a full class load over the summer, when traditional program students might work paid jobs or internships.

More than two-thirds of students receive some kind of financial aid. The school also has a GPA requirement of 2.75 for most scholarships, with some requiring a 2.2 that students must maintain in order to keep their scholarship money from year to year. One former student remarked:

First I would like to address scholarships. The amounts given to prospective students vary and I don't know if every student receives one (a lot do but my guess is not everyone does). To maintain most of the scholarships you need to have a 2.75 GPA at the end of the first year, and the first year curve is between 2.6 and 2.9. For my class the rough midpoint of the class was 2.80, which means after the first year approximately half the class was no longer eligible for the scholarships they received as incoming students. While it is mathematically possible for everyone in the class to retain their scholarship (even with the curve) the odds of this happening are not good.

For the 2012-2013 school year, of the 118 students entering with conditional scholarships, 24 had those scholarships reduced or eliminated at the end of the year.

Many schools at Gonzaga's level hold similar practices to these. If students do receive scholarships, they must make sure to stay above median, as receiving a few bad grades will mean the end of your financial aid. One interesting scholarship program at the school is the Thomas More Program. Former Dean Earl Martin had the following to say about the program:

Thomas More Scholarship students are awarded a full-tuition scholarship so that they may pursue careers in public service without the burden of substantial law school debt. The program, however, is much more than a scholarship. Thomas More Scholars benefit from a community of fellow students and faculty dedicated to serving the public interest through law. One of the primary goals of this community is to help scholars build the skills and experience they need to meet their career goals. For example, Thomas More Scholars strengthen their leadership skills through planning and executing public service activities, such as the Street Law outreach program for local high school students initiated by Thomas More Scholars this year. Scholars also meet regularly with their faculty advisor, Thomas More alumni and other public service lawyers in the community to learn about internship opportunities, career paths in public service law, and the reality of public service lawyering.

Students who enroll in this program have to maintain the same 2.75 GPA required for other scholarships. For graduates that elect to pursue careers in public service without the Thomas More scholarship, Gonzaga Law offers two different Loan Repayment Assistance Programs, one that focuses on alumni that work in the Spokane area and one available to all alumni working in public service.

The numbers

Most applicants should not have a great deal of trouble getting into Gonzaga. The chart below compares Gonzaga to the other two law schools in Washington (the University of Washington and Seattle University) according to US News' 2015 rankings.

School 25th Percentile LSAT - 75th Percentile LSAT 25th Percentile UGPA - 75th Percentile UGPA Acceptance Rate
U Washington (24) 161 - 165 3.46 - 3.80 26%
Seattle U (87) 153 - 158 3.03 - 3.55 58%
Gonzaga (107) 152 - 156 3.01 - 3.50 62%

The University of Washington is clearly the front-runner here, with a much higher ranking and more competitive statistics than the other two schools. We can see that someone who is applying to Gonzaga might not have the raw numbers to obtain an acceptance to the University of Washington. However, the numerical differences between Seattle University and Gonzaga are much less pronounced. Although Seattle's student body boasts slightly higher UGPAs and LSAT scores, it is not clear whether the school is a better bargain. Seattle's tuition and cost of living are noticeably higher ($40,410 / $21,552 versus Gonzaga's $36,360 / $14,429), and Seattle's bar passage rate in the state of Washington is generally lower than Gonzaga's. According to the latest ABA data (for the class of 2013), 73% of Seattle alumni were employed in all kinds of positions, while just over 88% of Gonzaga alumni were employed in all kinds of positions.

The application fee for Gonzaga is $50 unless one obtains a fee waiver.

Beyond the numbers

Dr. Susan Lee, Director of Admissions at Gonzaga University School of Law, writes about the school's admissions process:

Our admissions process is holistic; we look at the entire candidate. To us, the personal statement is more important than the raw numbers; we want to know something about a prospective student's personal values and why they want to go to law school. We use a five-part evaluation process that includes the personal statement, undergraduate achievement (GPA), LSAT results, resume, and two letters of recommendation.

That being said, applicants should still be within the LSAT and UGPA ranges given above if they want a decent chance of being accepted. Applicants will also be pleased to know that the school does take into account grade deflation and the varying difficulties of different undergraduate degrees:

We do consider grade deflation and we understand that some undergraduate degrees are more rigorous than others. We take those factors into consideration, then we step back and look at the big picture; i.e., is this person a good fit for us and are we a good fit for them?

The school also looks positively upon high grades in graduate school, "especially when a student did not excel in his or her undergraduate work." Finally, the school is not terribly interested in the prestige of one's undergraduate institution; while Gonzaga does "consider the undergraduate institution," it is "ultimately the student's academic achievement" that matters more. Dr. Lee sums up what Gonzaga is looking for in its students:

We look for students who are academically inclined. From among the best-qualified candidates, we try to identify those who will flourish here. Specifically, we want to attract those students who have a history of involvement in extra-curricular activities, including, but not limited to, public service. In the end, we want to know if this person is authentic, if they are who they say they are. We are a small school and believe each of our students has something important to contribute to the school, the community and his or her classmates.

Gonzaga requires that applicants submit a resume with their application. Your resume is a good way of sharing those factors that make you different in a concise and accessible way. To read some advice about creating a professional law school resume, click here.

Personal statements

Gonzaga's personal statement prompt is broad; applicants are told that their statements should "provide the Admissions Committee with some insight into your desire to attend law school." Personal statements should be no more than two double-spaced pages. The school gives the following additional advice about writing one's personal statement: "Don't treat your personal statement as a narrative version of your resume or academic background," and "Information relating to public service and cultural and/or ethnic diversity may be included in your personal statement or in an addendum." If you're interested in improving your personal statement or even just looking for ideas to write about, Ken DeLeon, the creator of Top-Law-Schools.com, wrote a fantastic guide to personal statements which can be found here for free. In addition, for more information about writing addenda, click here.

When to apply

Prospective students applying to Gonzaga should send in their applications sooner rather than later. Dr. Lee confirms that applicants benefit from turning in their applications early. The school's submission deadline for the traditional 3-year program is April 15th, and the submission deadline for the Accelerated J.D. program is February 15th, but as Dr. Lee says, applying earlier than that is best.

Letters of recommendation

Gonzaga's letter of recommendation requirements are similar to most other schools'. Applicants must send in at least two letters of recommendation with their application. The school requests that at least one letter be "written by a college professor or instructor who is familiar with your classroom performance, your writing level, and your analytical and critical thinking skills." Furthermore, if one has been out of the classroom for several years, "letters from employers and others which effectively assess your abilities, skills, motivation, and sense of responsibility are also helpful." To get some additional advice on obtaining letters of recommendation, click here.

Transfer students

Students who wish to transfer to Gonzaga have an admissions process very similar to first-year students. Transfer students must also submit a letter of good standing from their current school, an official transcript, and two letters of academic recommendation sent directly from their current law school.

Diversity and Underrepresented Minorities (URM)

Gonzaga Law has made efforts in recent years to include higher numbers of URM students in their student body. For the Fall 2013 class, 23% of the class qualified as URM. In June of 2013, Gonzaga was one of the ten schools to receive the Law School Admissions Council's Diversity Matters Award, that recognizes diversity outreach.

Because of their disadvantaged histories in the United States, certain minorities enjoy a significant boost in the application process. To read more about this boost and to see whether you classify as an URM, click here. In addition, there are many pre-law programs specifically created to help URM applicants get accepted to top schools. To read more about some of these programs, click here.

Law school culture

The social atmosphere in Spokane is one that many students report enjoying. Although the city could be slightly more exciting, it offers a relaxing and reasonably stimulating environment for students. One former student remarks, "Spokane isn't everyone's dream city, and I understand that. However, it has the things most of us require (some good restaurants, bars, movie theaters, etc.)." Another student made the decision to attend after visiting the school's campus; he writes, "I think what finally pushed me over the edge on deciding Gonzaga over some higher ranked schools was a campus visit. The campus really is incredible and the town had a nice, laid-back feel to it." Yet another student elaborates:

First and foremost, Spokane is a beautiful place. It has numerous parks and outdoor activities to participate in. From floating the rivers and boating in the lakes, to mountain hikes and rolling hills, Spokane is a destination for the outdoor-types. It is not a big city by any stretch of the imagination, which comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. It has limitations as far as shopping variety goes, but as a "starving-student", that's not such a huge concern for me. As far as going outside the city for entertainment, Seattle is the closest big city (about 4 hours away) and is easily accessible on the weekends.

There are plenty of different options for those looking to have fun in Spokane. For instance, there are a number of museums and theaters in town; some of the former include the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and Armed Forces & Aerospace Museum. As mentioned above, there are also plenty of restaurants from which to choose; places such as Sante, Central Food, and Clover are all farm-to-table eateries. Coffee shops abound, and there are numerous bars as well as cheap and mid-priced places to eat, especially in the downtown and Gonzaga campus areas.

Finally, if you're looking for a more active venture, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails around Spokane, and one can enjoy the beautiful outdoors at parks like Mount Spokane State Park and Riverside State Park. Gonzaga always has an exciting basketball team to watch when NCAA Tournament time rolls around, and Spokane also hosts a hockey team (Chiefs), minor league baseball team (Indians) and arena football team (Shock).

Transportation

As stated above, Spokane is not a large city. However, one cannot always rely on walking to different locations, as one Gonzaga student explains:

Most things are within reasonable walking distance. Safeway is five minutes from campus, and the downtown mall and cinema are a pleasant 20-minute walk away. However, Spokane also dishes out some downright filthy weather, making walks of any distance seem like profoundly bad ideas.

The same student also says:

Although there are several bus stops right next to campus, Gonzaga students tend to avoid public transportation like the plague. And for good reason—the busses are sporadic and somewhat sleazy and often don't run close to desired destinations. Since they are intermittent, and there is not much of a student discount, there's really very little incentive to ride.

Finally, the same student believes that the only real solution is having access to a car. So, if you own a car, you should most likely bring it to school with you! The law school has a designated parking lot, so parking on campus should not be too much of an issue.

Gonzaga also recently became a ZipCar station and Gonzaga students (including Law students) receive a reduced-cost membership to the ZipCar service.

Housing

The school does not seem to help much with housing for law students. One current student explains that, "Gonzaga doesn't do much to help students find housing. Most people live within 10-15 minutes of campus, but the housing in the immediate vicinity is usually snatched up by the undergrads." A number of useful websites can be found here, but students will be mostly left on their own to find housing in the area.

It's possible to find housing on campus, but the costs are significantly higher than living off campus. The average monthly room/board on canmpus runs around $750 while it's quite easy to find a studio for $300 and a 1BR for $450 in town, or even a 2BR for around $600.

Student body

The school gave the following breakdown for its entering class in the fall of 2013:

Underrepresented Minorities 23%
Percentage of Matriculants from the State of Washington 47%
Number of Undergraduate Colleges/Universities Represented 61
Number of States Represented 14
Average Age 25
Women 36%

In addition, a current student remarks that the school's student body is both friendly and quite diverse:

I find the majority of my peers very friendly. We frequently have social events and get-togethers outside of school. It's a great social environment with a great mix of people. Gonzaga has certainly made a concentrated effort to increase the diversity of the student body.

Thus, although the statistics above imply that the school is not terribly diverse, some students think Gonzaga is doing just fine. Another important aspect of the student body is its Jesuit leanings. The school is proud of its Jesuit history and feels that it helps students become more selfless and giving toward others. Dr. Lee explains:

Our mission reflects the Jesuit, Catholic and humanistic traditions. We are committed to the principle of serving others through the practice of law. It's the concept of selfless, servant leadership, the idea that the individual can help make the world a better place. Our student body is very public-service oriented and we look for those qualities in our entering students.

However, it should be noted that this aspect of the school is aimed towards people of all faiths. Former Dean Martin further explains:

Gonzaga law school's Jesuit ethos is best exemplified by the school's commitment to public service, social justice, and the common good. This ethos demands that the Gonzaga experience include the exploration of ideas, questions, and professional identity that go beyond the simple transfer of knowledge to an individual. These practices exemplify the Jesuit mission of educating the "whole person" and enhance the development of leadership qualities that advance the career objectives of students, regardless of their chosen field of law, while also enabling them to make constructive contributions to their communities. It is this attention to the development of every student, regardless of religion or faith tradition, that defines the culture at Gonzaga.

So, those of any faith should feel comfortable with the atmosphere at Gonzaga.

Facilities

The quality of Gonzaga's facilities seems to be top notch. The building was constructed in 2000, and as one former student explains:

Gonzaga's building is gorgeous. It was recently built and the facilities couldn't be better. I toured many other law school campuses and none compared in the quality of Gonzaga's law school. The library offers one of the absolute best views a library could possibly offer (it overlooks the Spokane river and is so relaxing). The classrooms are very tech friendly and offer excellent interaction and communication between students and professors. We are also right next to the baseball field so when there is a game on, a group of us could go over, grab a hot dog and enjoy the game for a nice break.

In addition, those looking for a gym on campus will be delighted to know that the Kermit Rudolf Fitness Center has state of the art equipment and even an indoor track. The school's website elaborates:

The new fitness gym has a 13,000 ft2 power floor, 12,000 ft2 cardio/Hammer Strength floor, a mat area, and the incorporation of the existing 2 fitness rooms, 3 racquetball courts, 18,000 ft2 fieldhouse, 1/11 mile indoor track, men's and women's locker rooms, and a 25 yd pool.

So, applicants looking for up-to-date facilities will be happy to know that Gonzaga delivers.

Extracurriculars

Like at most law schools, students at Gonzaga Law can choose from a considerable number (31) of different student organizations. Clubs range from being focused on different countries and ethnicities, such as the Asian Pacific Islander Law Caucus, Native American Law Caucus, Gonzaga Hispanic Law Caucus; to exploring different areas of the law such as the Gonzaga Intellectual Property Law Association, International Law Society, and Tax Law Society. There are also a number of activity-based clubs, such as the Student Organization for Victim Advocacy, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and the Rod & Gun (Hunting & Fishing) club. Overall, students should be able to find something to get involved in while at Gonzaga.

Academics

The curriculum at Gonzaga Law is substantially similar for students in both the traditional and Accelerated J.D. programs. A full load of classes are offered for three terms each year; fall, spring, and summer.

1Ls at Gonzaga follow a prescribed path similar to that of 1Ls just about anywhere. The fall semester includes Civil Procedure, Torts, Perspectives on the Law, Legal Research and Writing, and a Litigation Skills and Professionalism Lab. In the spring semester, 1Ls take Contracts, Property, Criminal Law, Legal Research and Writing II, and a Transactional Skills and Professionalism Lab.

The skills labs mentioned above are a recent change (in 2009) to Gonzaga's curriculum. They were created to "challenge students to struggle with professionalism issues while learning both litigation and transactional practice skills." The school feels that many law students graduate with a wealth of knowledge about legal research and writing, but little to no experience with dealing with clients and the more practical aspects of the law. Former Dean Martin explains:

During the fall semester of the first year Gonzaga students now take a two credit Skills and Professionalism Lab that uses the rules of Civil Procedure and the substantive law of Torts to teach the students the skills they need to be litigators. During the spring semester, the students will take a two credit Skills and Professionalism Lab that will use the substantive law of Contracts and Property to teach the students the skills they need to be transactional lawyers. Each of these labs will be small sections of no more than thirty students and will be taught by a full-time or adjunct faculty member. The labs will work from a common curriculum that has been developed in direct coordination with the content that is covered in their associated doctrinal courses. In this way, the labs can both affirm and supplement the subject matter coverage that takes place in those courses.

Gonzaga prides itself on its legal research and writing program, which has been ranked 12th nationwide in previous years. While specialty rankings are usually not of much importance to employers, it is safe to say that these skills are important to the career of any lawyer. Apart from the required courses mentioned above, students at Gonzaga can choose from many different courses on nearly every legal subject imaginable. Whether you're interested in intellectual property, real estate transactions, or federal Indian law, you'll be able to find a related class at Gonzaga. To see what particular courses one might take for different areas of law, click here. One student believes that Gonzaga's curriculum and academic focus are largely correct, but could use a little bit of tweaking in one area:

Thus far, I have completely bought into the Gonzaga experience, both socially and most importantly, academically. I believe GU has a lot to offer students and the legal community. I feel that GU offers a great opportunity to provide a great substantive education as well as a practical one too. I hope the school decides to focus significantly more on providing substantive courses (Torts, Property, etc.) while limiting the practical courses (i.e. Dispute Resolution, Litigation Skills, Transaction Lab).

Experiential Learning

Students at Gonzaga are required to take between 6 and 12 credits of experiential learning. This Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR) has been in place since 2009, and in 2014 was doubled from 3 credits to 6 for traditional 3-year track students. Accelerated J.D. program students are required to take 12 credits. All students are allowed to take up to 15 credits (1 full semester) of ELR credits.

ELR credits may be fulfilled either in the Clinic or the Externship program at Gonzaga Law. The Clinic is housed at Gonzaga Law, while Externships may be completed in Spokane or as distance externships around the country.

Accelerated J.D. Program

Announced in October of 2013, the Accelerated J.D. Program at Gonzaga is a year-round option for students to get a full J.D. degree in 24 calendar months. The program follows the same curriculum design as the traditional 3-year program, with students taking a full load of classes in the summer months. This allows the 90 credits required for graduation to be earned in 24 months. Students in the Accelerated J.D. program graduate in May of their 2nd year, which allows for taking the bar examination in July.

Students must be specially admitted to the Accelerated J.D. program. However, students in the traditional 3-year program have the option of taking summer classes and completing their degree in 2.5 years, graduating in December of their 3rd year and taking the February bar examination. This option is similar to University of Washington's Accelerated J.D. Schedule.

J.D. with Advanced Standing

International students with a law degree from a non-U.S. law school may be admitted as transfer students, in accordance with the American Bar Association's Advanced Standing allowance. With transcripts, students may be granted up to 30 transfer credits from their international degree, which allows for completion of a U.S. J.D. from Gonzaga in 4 terms of classes.

Joint degrees

The school also has three different dual degrees: JD / MSW, JD / MBA, and JD / MAcc. The latter two degrees are offered in "conjunction with the Gonzaga University Graduate School of Business." The JD / MSW is reported by the school to be "highly selective," with only four students each year participating in the program. To read more about joint degrees and why one might pursue one, click here and here. One student remarked on the usefulness of the JD / MBA program:

Gonzaga offers several joint degree programs and I know several people utilize them. However, I fail to see the advantage of attaining a joint JD/MBA program given the downturn in the business & finance market. Several attorneys and hiring managers have told me that it matters very little whether a potential associate has an MBA as the JD program is a significantly stronger program at most schools that offer joint degrees. They advised me that it would not be in my best interest to spend an additional $30K to attain a degree that would not increase my earning potential by any significant amount, if at all.

This student is largely correct; a JD / MBA (and most other joint degrees) is a specialized degree that should only be obtained in special circumstances. As stated above, the amount of money and time invested in pursuing such a degree could be better spent elsewhere in most situations.

Professors

Applicants should be glad to know that professors at Gonzaga have a wide variety of different viewpoints. One student remarks:

Unlike some of the other schools I've attended, I think there is a fair balance amongst the professors, but I think that is to be expected at a Jesuit university. There is certainly a strong contingency of liberal professors as well as conservative professors, but for the most part it is not a consistent theme in any particular class. Like any school, some professors are more approachable than others, it just takes some time in figuring it out.

So, whether you're liberal or conservative, you should be able to find a professor with similar views and interests.

Public interest and clinics

As mentioned above, Gonzaga is very interested in providing legal aid to the public. The school's Jesuit principles are shown through its 30 hour public service requirement for graduation. Former Dean Martin explains the type of work that students can pursue for this requirement:

For purposes of the graduation requirement the term "public service" is broadly interpreted and encompasses both traditional pro bono legal work and a broad range of volunteer charitable and community work. Students have traditionally fulfilled this requirement by working with legal service providers, environmental organizations, religious charities, and a wide variety of other organizations. Many student groups at Gonzaga organize public service activities.

There is a Center for Law in Public Service, staffed by a full-time attorney at Gonzaga Law that houses a number of programs and opportunities for public service. These include the Moderate Means Program, pro bono graduation distinction, FLASH family law training program, and more.

A current student confirms that public interest is a focus for quite a few students at Gonzaga; he writes, "There is a significant group of students who are interested in public interest law. This is probably one of the biggest draws of Gonzaga. The popularity of the clinic evidences this." In addition, the Thomas More scholarship mentioned above is for students looking to enter public interest work. In fact, students in the program must work at least three years of full-time public service work within the five years after graduation. The school also has a program called University Legal Assistance, which is the source of all of the clinical programs at Gonzaga. Different Clinics offered include a General Practice Clinic, Business Law Clinic, Elder Law Clinic, Environmental Law Clinic, Federal Tax Law Clinic, Indian Law Clinic, and Mortgage Mediation Clinic.

Just as an example, the Federal Tax Clinic allows students to "represent low-income clients in IRS examination and collection matters, including audits, offers in compromise, penalty abatements, innocent spouse claims, appeals, Tax Court cases, etc." In addition, "Students also provide community outreach and education regarding tax obligations and benefits to persons with limited English proficiency, especially during tax season each year." As another example, the General Practice Clinic covers a larger variety of cases, ranging from family law to housing to prisoners' rights. Students learn to "interview and counsel clients, research the legal basis for clients' claims," and "investigate the factual basis for clients' claims." Suffice it to say, students will get plenty of real-world experience in the clinics offered at Gonzaga.

Journals

Gonzaga Law has two different journals in which students can participate: the Gonzaga Law Review and the Gonzaga Journal of International Law. Former Dean Martin explains the process behind applying:

The selection process for both the Gonzaga Law Review and the Gonzaga Journal of International Law are competitions. Any student meeting the minimum GPA requirement is eligible to complete an application and prepare a submission to be scored by the editorial board of the relevant publication.

The minimum GPA requirement for both journals is 2.70; students must maintain a GPA above this for the entirety of their participation on either journal or they will be put on probation and eventually dismissed. It is stated that applicants to the Law Review must receive a "minimum average score of 70 out of 100 in the comment competition as outlined by the editorial board in accordance with the Gonzaga Law Review bylaws." The requirements are slightly murkier for the Journal of International Law; it is simply stated that, "election of new GJIL members shall be limited to a number that the Executive Editorial Board feels is necessary for the optimum operation of the Journal." One should note that the Journal of International Law is an online journal published here. Interestingly, one student remarks that the majority of students don't seem very interested in the journals at Gonzaga. He explains further:

There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of interest amongst the students in getting involved with the two journals. The top "A-type" personalities all vie for the journals, but it seems by and large most people are indifferent to them. More people seem interested in the clubs and other activities involved with Gonzaga.

That being said, if one wants a better chance of finding a job, working on one of the journals is never a bad idea.

Employment prospects

First, according to Gonzaga's most recent ABA data, the school's bar passage rate in Washington (91%) is significantly higher than the state average of 84.80%. Furthermore, the school actually has a higher passage rate in Washington than the higher-ranked Seattle University; the latter only had a passage rate of 82.7%. Even the much higher-ranked University of Washington only has a slightly higher passage rate (93.8%).

Gonzaga's employment prospects are similarly high, especially when compared to incoming statistics and the higher-ranked Washington schools.

Type of Job Percentage of Employed Students
Private Practice 51%
Other Professional Positions 12%
Government 12%
Judicial Clerkship 6%
Public Interest 4%
Academic 1%
Non-Professional Positions 3%
Seeking Work 6%
In LL.M. Programs 4%
Not Seeking 1%

These numbers are based on 100% of graduates of the class of 2013 reporting their employment status.

When discussing job prospects, one former student (2009) emphasizes that students need to put a great deal of effort into their job search. He suggests that Gonzaga students start looking as early as possible in order to give themselves the best possible chance of finding a decent job:

The school needs to better help students know what to do once they get that foot in. The jobs are there, but students need to be more proactive and utilize the career services office as well as know that they are their own best job-finder. I was fortunate enough to find a paying job my first semester. I attribute this to having got my applications and resumes out early, making networking connections, and being persistent and showing my sincere interest in working. The story I've heard from several students who have graduated but did not find employment seem to have not realized the importance of starting early in law school at trying to find a job. Many didn't make any serious attempts at finding a job until their last semester of their third year. Fortunately for me, I realized the importance of getting on the ball early. I have two offers for employment once I graduate because I got myself out there and made the initiative to find work.

It is important to note that law school students are limited to working no more than 20 hours a week, according to ABA rules, while taking law school classes.

One father of a Gonzaga Law graduate writes that his daughter had "several job prospects with a starting salary far above 42k per year", and another graduate writes:

The name "Gonzaga" is widely recognized, and any student with a decent GPA and/or work history is going to be in great shape coming out of school. The alumni network is extremely active, and relish the chance to help a fellow Zag get a leg up. Washington's former Governor and 3 of her Supreme Court Justices are Gonzaga Law School alums, as well as Professor Peterson who was just appointed [in 2009] as a Federal District Court Judge by President Obama.

All of that being said, a graduate counters the above comments by writing, "These people are quite accomplished, however, overall they represent a tiny fraction of alumni and in my personal opinion their personal accomplishments should not be taken to represent the career track of everyone who has attended GU." Overall, applicants should do their own research into Gonzaga. Ask current students and recent graduates about their job prospects, and then make a decision. One student has an interesting perspective on how the school's basketball team can help open doors for law graduates:

Gonzaga offers a unique "Ace up the sleeve" that neither Seattle U or U Washington offers. Regionally and even nationally, professionals and non-professionals alike know the small school from Spokane because of the prominence of the Gonzaga basketball team. This is a great way to get a foot in the door in a lot of places that might otherwise be closed.

Gonzaga's Center for Professional Development got a new director in 2012, and both current students and alumni have expressed appreciation for the career assistance.

Some former law students have comment that the Center for Professional Development / Career Services Office can be "limited":

The career services office is useful, but is limited. There are only two or three of them, and 400+ students. The reality is that the students need to take the initiative to find employers and utilize the CSO when needed to get things started, but not to rely on them to find the jobs for them.

While another 2011 graduate confirms that the CPD provides services for current students as well as alumni:

Law school career offices are notorious for ignoring alumni and limiting their services to enrolled students. Ms. Powers and Ms. Creed have demonstrated that Gonzaga Law is far superior to other law schools in this regard. Their assistance in my time of need has immeasurably benefited me and my family and I am all-the-more proud to be a part of the Gonzaga Law alumni community.


Contact information

Gonzaga Law School
PO Box 3528
721 N Cincinnati St Spokane, WA 99220-3528
509.313.5532
admissions@lawschool.gonzaga.edu
http://www.law.gonzaga.edu/admissions/

Quick reference

U.S. News Ranking: 107
Median GPA: 3.26
Median LSAT: 154
Tuition: $1,212 per credit hour ($36,360 for a typical academic year)
Entering Class Size: 108
Application Deadline: February 15th / April 15th
Application fee: $50
Average school bar passage rate: 91%
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 88.19% (with 100% reporting)