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University of Washington School of Law

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The University of Washington School of Law is the most highly regarded law school in the Northwest, as well as one of the most reputable public law schools in the nation.  Located in Seattle on the scenic University of Washington campus, the school offers qualified applicants the opportunity to study law in a remarkable setting, while its stellar job placement throughout the Northwest ensures that students are able to reap the fruit of their labor upon graduation.  Especially for Washington state residents, who can take advantage of the school's lower in-state rates, the University of Washington Law School is a great place to pursue a legal education.


The University of Washington School of Law was established in 1885 when the Board of Regents adopted a resolution to establish a law department. The law school opened in downtown Seattle in 1899 and was housed in two rooms of a building known as "Old North." John T. Condon was appointed dean and the only full-time professor. The first class had at least 34 students, including a student of African-American heritage, a Japanese student, and three women.

The University of Washington School of Law is a world-class institution that offers an excellent legal education. The faculty is highly knowledgeable and experienced, and the school has a strong commitment to public service. Additionally, the school is highly respected for its research and innovation.


The University of Washington School of Law is a great place to pursue a legal education. Their faculty are highly respected, and the students are motivated and interested. This creates a stimulating learning environment where students can explore their interests and prepare for a successful career in law. The UW Law community is also supportive, which makes it a welcoming place to learn and grow. They encourage all interested individuals to apply and join us in making a difference in the world.


Admissions Stats
Class of: 2020-2021 2021-2022
25th - 50th - 75th percentile LSAT 157 162 165 160 164 167
25th - 50th - 75th percentile GPA 3.45 3.68 3.81 3.52 3.67 3.79
Acceptance rate 34.5% 25.6%
Applications received 2162 3054
Acceptances 746 781
Matriculants 2462 446

The University of Washington School of Law has a 1L class size of 172. Of the 3,054 people who applied, 781 were offered admission, and 166 were accepted. This means that 21.25% of the people offered admission ended up attending the school. The 1L class at the University of Washington has a median LSAT of 164 and a median GPA of 3.67.

The University of Washington School of Law charges a $60 application fee, which must be paid through the Law School Admission Council.

Personal Statement

The University of Washington School of Law is dedicated to becoming the best public law school in the nation and becoming a respected center for international legal studies. To achieve this, the school admissions committee seeks students who have demonstrated outstanding academic and professional promise and leadership skills. The school also looks for applicants who are committed to public service and ethical advocacy and will contribute to the diversity of the student body. In your statement, please describe how you will contribute to the UW School of Law community. You should limit your response to 700 words. For personal statements and application essays, check out the TLS Guide to Personal Statements.

(Optional) Supplemental Statement

Applicants may supplement their statement by including a response to one (1) of the following optional questions: (a) why are you interested in pursuing a legal education at the University of Washington; (b) what life events or experiences have had the greatest influence in shaping your character and why; or (c) if you were asked to create a nonprofit organization, what would be the organization, its mission, and its purpose? Please limit your response to 500 words.


You need to provide a résumé detailing any significant vocational, non-vocational, extracurricular, or community activities, volunteer work, honors, awards, any service in the Armed Forces, job descriptions, and major areas of responsibility along with dates of employment (mm/yyyy) and the number of hours per week devoted to such activities, publications or other information that you believe the University of Washington School of Law should consider in evaluating your application. Also please include details as to any foreign language proficiencies you possess, including the level of ability with regard to speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing. Your résumé may not exceed three (3) typewritten pages.

Credential Assembly Service Report

The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report will include: (1) the applicant's transcript(s) from each institution of higher education prior to obtaining your bachelor's degree; (2) Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score(s): and (3) any letter(s) of recommendation. The applicant must ensure that LSAC has received all necessary materials to complete the CAS file. You are advised to confirm that your CAS file is complete; LSAC will not send the law school a CAS report until then.

Letters of Recommendation

University of Washington School of Law requires two letters of recommendation. The best recommendations come from professors who know an applicant well and can attest to their academic potential. Professional recommendations are appropriate if you have been out of school for some time. To get some additional advice on obtaining letters of recommendation, click here.

Early Decision Program

The Early Decision Program at the University of Washington School of Law is an option for students who have carefully researched their law school opportunities. This program provides an expeditious evaluation and decision by the Admissions Committee, which enables successful early-decision candidates to pursue their educational, professional, and familial engagements and responsibilities free of the time, expense, and anxiety associated with the typical law school application process.

The Early Decision Program is designed for applicants who have carefully considered their law school options and are confident that the University of Washington School of Law is their first choice. Admission through the Early Decision Program is competitive, as applicants are evaluated under the same criteria as those who apply during the regular admissions cycle.

In choosing the Early Decision Program option, applicants are expected to commit to the University of Washington School of Law, if admitted. They may not apply Early Decision to any other law school in the same admissions cycle. To read a TLS article about making the decision between ED and RD (or Regular Decision), click here.


The University of Washington School of Law allows students who have completed their first year JD curriculum at a member school of the Association of American Law Schools to apply for admission with advanced standing as a JD degree candidate. In addition, LLM students who are currently enrolled in an LLM program at an ABA-accredited law school may apply to transfer as a JD candidate with advanced standing, provided the applicant has met all of the following criteria: (1) the applicant is a graduate of a law school in a country outside the United States; (2) the applicant successfully completed JD degree coursework while enrolled in the LLM program; and (3) the law school that the applicant enrolled at for their LLM degree has a grading system for LLM students in JD courses that is comparable to the grading system for JD degree students in the course. LLM applicants are not required to take the LSAT.

Transfer students are accepted on a space-available basis only. Selection of applicants is based on evidence that: (1) the candidate can produce above-average work at the University of Washington School of Law and (2) the candidate will contribute to the diversity of the student body. To read a fantastic article about transferring, click here.

Tuition and Expenses

The University of Washington School of Law is committed to helping students meet their educational expenses through various options, including scholarships, grants, and federal loans. Every year, the law school and the University’s Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) work together to develop comprehensive financial aid packages that help students achieve their education goals while minimizing student educational debt.

Cost of Attendance

UW Law remains one of the most affordable institutions of higher learning among law schools.

Program Tuition Resident Non-Resident
J.D. — 1L $41,688 $53,454
2022–2023 Estimated Cost of Attendance
Books and supplies $2,319
Room and board $19,950
Personal expenses $2,388
Transportation $1,368
SUBTOTAL $26,025

Financial Aid

The University of Washington School of Law is committed to helping students meet their educational [[ https://www.lawcrossing.com/article/900016745/Various-Helpful-Financial-Facts-Working-During-the-School-Year/%7Cexpenses]] through a variety of options, including scholarships, grants, and federal loans. Every year, the law school and the University’s Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) work together to develop comprehensive financial aid packages that help students achieve their education goals while minimizing student educational debt.

Academics & Curriculum

At UW Law, you will learn in a realistic environment that provides the programs and partnerships necessary for a successful legal career. Your course of study will be tailored to what interests you and ignites your passion. You will leave here with the skills you need to make a difference in Washington and beyond.

The University of Washington School of Law offers many different concentration areas, degree options, and plenty of experiential learning opportunities. This allows students to tailor their education to fit their specific practice interests. Integrated academic and career counseling helps students make the most of their time at law school and choose courses and activities to help them reach their goals.

Clinics and Experiential Learning

At the University of Washington School of Law, all J.D. students can have at least one live-client learning experience through our clinics or an externship. This ensures that students learn not only the law but also how to put a law into action. Through clinics and externships, skills courses, and pro bono opportunities, students gain hands-on experience that draws connections between theory and practice. They learn from exceptional faculty and practitioners and are prepared to bring their practical experience to their future careers.


The University of Washington School of Law provides students with the opportunity to gain real-world legal experience by assisting clients and communities. In the first year, students learn foundational lawyering skills, which allows them to work on real cases, transactions, or projects supervised by experienced faculty members. Clinic students an advocate for clients in litigation, negotiate or mediate disputes, advise entrepreneurs and companies, develop policy by drafting legislation and getting it enacted, comment on regulations or gather information, and write reports for legislative bodies.


The University of Washington School of Law offers many opportunities for externships. Through these externships, students can work in the field and handle real legal work under the supervision of an attorney-mentor. They develop legal skills and substantive knowledge of the law, solve legal problems in real-life situations, learn daily activities of legal practice, and engage in faculty-guided reflection to hone their skills and ability. The school's location in Seattle provides ample opportunities for externships, but the school's reach extends beyond the Puget Sound area. Students can also do externships in other parts of the country or even abroad. A public service externship of two credits or more fulfills the public service graduation requirement for students in the JD program. Additionally, UW Law offers students a wide range of experiential learning opportunities through its Clinical Law Program.

Pro Bono Program

UW Law's Pro Bono Program encourages their law school community to provide high-quality pro bono legal assistance. Their goal is to ensure that future lawyers are prepared and ready to fulfill the promise of equal justice. They believe it is their obligation as legal community members to help reduce barriers to access to justice. To do this, they provide training, support, resources, opportunities, and leadership development to our students. This allows them to serve low-income clients and other under-represented groups better.

Quality of Life

Widely considered to be among the most livable cities in the nation, Seattle offers Washington students various ways to spend their free time. The city is home to a tremendous live-music scene, houses all sorts of bars and nightclubs, and is especially known for its abundance of excellent and exotic restaurants.  The University of Washington campus also offers distractions to law students with its Greek system and weekend party scene, and the law school hosts weekly Thank Goodness It's Thursday get-togethers that allow the student body to meet and mingle. Students also enjoy the state-of-the-art William H. Gates law building, donated by the world's wealthiest man, whose father is a Washington Law School graduate, as well as access to the university's extraordinary fitness center and other amenities.  This high quality of life comes at no small price, however, as life in Seattle comes along with a high cost of living, though not nearly as high as that of New York or the major cities of California.

Employment Prospects & Bar Passage

In recent years, Washington has demonstrated a tremendous ability to place its students into some of the [[ https://www.bcgsearch.com/article/900049509/Top-Law-Firms/%7Ctop law firms]] and judicial clerkship positions of Washington state and the Northwest.

According to the University of Washington School of Law, JD graduates in the private sector typically earn a median salary of $115,000 shortly after graduation. However, if they choose to work in the public sector instead, their median income drops to $68,713. Approximately 58.3% of law graduates from the University of Washington choose to work for law firms directly after graduation, while 11.5% clerk for a judge. Only 11.5% of graduates choose to pursue a career in the public interest. Lastly, 97.1% of the University of Washington law graduates pass the bar on their first try.


The University of Washington Law School has long been considered the finest law school in the Northwest. Its continued access to the region's top law firms and clerkship opportunities perpetuates this reputation.  Especially for applicants hoping to secure employment in Seattle and Washington, UW is a great place to pursue a legal education.

Contact Information

University of Washington School of Law
William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
4293 Memorial Way NE
Seattle, WA 98195
Admissions, JD Program
Phone: (206) 543-4078
Email: lawadm@uw.edu



Established 1899
Location Seattle, WA
Dean Elizabeth Porter
2022 US News Ranking 49th
LSAT Median Score 164
GPA Median Score 3.67
Bar Passage Rate 97% (2022)
Employment Rate 57% (2022)
Cost $68,264
Average Debt $114,464
Application Deadline November 15,2022 (Early Decision)

March 15, 2023 (Regular)

Forum and Discussion

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Interview: with Mathiew Le, Former Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid, University of Washington School of Law
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