University of Washington School of Law Profile, Seattle, Washington |

University of Washington School of Law

Rank 30


William H. Gates Hall,

Box 353020,

Seattle, WA 98195-3020









Overview 2

The University of Washington School of Law aspires to be the best public law school in the nation and one of the world’s most respected centers for interdisciplinary legal studies.

Our students are asked to rethink and defend their conceptions of the law and its relation to social problems. First-year students are often surprised to learn that their principal objective is not to "learn the law" but rather to develop the intellectual tools and skills necessary to work as professionals. They gain experience in analyzing cases, statutes, and other legal materials, thereby learning the structure and operation of the legal system.

Despite its status as a state university law school, we offer courses that provide a broad view of the American legal system. Although faculty members may present the Washington view on a particular issue as an illustration for a broad-ranging discussion, graduates of the school are well prepared to practice law anywhere in the United States.

Student-Faculty Ratio 3


Admission Criteria 4

25th-75th Percentile 157-165 3.43-3.8
Median* 163 3.68

The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2016 entering class.

Director of admissions Mathiew Le
Application deadline March 15

Law School Admissions details based on 2016 data.

*Medians have been calculated by averaging the 25th- and 75th-percentile values released by the law schools and have been rounded up to the nearest whole number for LSAT scores and to the nearest one-hundredth for GPAs.

Admission Statistics 5

Approximate number of applications 2517
Number accepted 677
Percentage accepted 26.9%

The above admission details are based on 2016 data.

Law School Cost 6

Estimate of expenses for 2016-2017 for 1L students in the JD Program:

JD Tuition* 2016-2017
Resident students $32,721
Non-resident students $44,112

Estimated Other Budgeted Expenses*

Books and supplies $825
Room and board $14,625
Personal expenses $2,265
Transportation $1,296

Estimated Total Cost of Attendance for JD Students*

Resident students $51,732
Non-resident students $63,123

*These figures are subject to change.

Class Ranking and Grades 7

Anonymous Grading

Anonymous grading shall apply to all examinations and papers. If a professor chooses to use class performance as a component of the overall grade, he or she shall irrevocably report that component for all students to Student Services for factoring in the overall grade before release to the instructor of the examination grades.

The anonymous grading rule is inapplicable to papers written in courses in which students are writing multiple drafts and/or meeting with their instructor to discuss individual paper topics.

Class Rank

Class rank shall be computed at the end of students’ 1L year and at the end of each academic year thereafter. Transfer students will receive a UW ranking after completing one academic year (a minimum of three academic quarters) at UW Law.

The ranking is only for the following purposes:

  • to award academic honors, including graduation awards, prizes, or membership in scholarly societies, including Order of the Coif, legal journals and reviews; or
  • to define percentile bands of 5% and 10% at the conclusion of the first year; and
  • to define percentile bands of 5%, 10%, 20%, and 33 1/3% at the conclusion of the second and third years (after the submission and calculation of Spring quarter grades).

Computation of Grade Point Average

Grades assigned in Law 600, Independent Research, shall not be included in the calculation of a student's grade point average after this academic year.

Law School Grading System

Grades to be assigned to all courses for credit toward the J.D. degree, except courses taken on a Credit/No Credit basis , shall consist of the following: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C, D, and E. (Courses taken in Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory option, available for students to choose, will not count toward a law degree.)

The significance of each grade is as follows:

Grade Numerical equivalent
A 4
A- 3.7
B+ 3.4
B 3
B- 2.7
C 2
D 1
E 0


The Committee's memo to the faculty of May 28, 1975 also reported that as a part of the same University study which led to the change in the withdrawal policy, the University policy on the use of Incompletes was studied. The existing policy permits the grade of I to remain on a transcript indefinitely. The growth of the number of I grades (tripled since 1966) was regarded by the Faculty Council as a further erosion of the reliability of the University's GPA's. The Incomplete was also used as a withdrawal technique after the final date of the quarter. Hence, correction of the withdrawal policy required a change in the policy on Incompletes.

Grade Normalization (Curve)8

Grade Percentage of Class
A At least 5% and less than or equal to 15%.
A- At least 20% minus (% given A) and less than or equal to 40% minus (% given A).
B+ At least 50% minus (% given A or A-) and less than or equal to 75% minus (% given A or A-).
B % Discretionary.*
B- % Discretionary.*
C % Discretionary. C or D grades are capped at a total of 5% for first-year courses.*
D % Discretionary. This grade indicates that the level of performance is below that which on average is required for the award of the degree. C or D grades are capped at a total of 5% for first-year courses.*
E % Discretionary. No credit. This grade indicates unsatisfactory performance and no credit is given for the course.*

*At least 25% (but no more than 50%) B and below, combined.

The significance of each grade is further subject to the following conditions:

These percentage ranges are mandatory for all J.D. courses, subject to the exceptions in (b) or (c) below. There is no discretion outside of these ranges. A faculty member who submits grades for a course subject to the mandatory distribution that fails to comply with the mandatory distribution will have the grades returned to her or him by the Dean, with instructions to re-submit the grades in accordance with the distribution. If the faculty member fails to do so, the faculty member will submit exam scores to the Dean or his designee, and the latter would assign grades at the mid-point of each range (i.e., 10 percent A’s, 20 percent A-’s, 32.5% B+’s, 37.5% B and lower).

The mandatory distribution is not applicable to specialized and individualized courses such as seminars, clinical, experiential, and ‘practice’ offerings, independent study, and workshops, nor to summer quarter courses, courses heavily directed to non-law students, and courses in which most of the enrolled students are candidates for post-J.D. graduate degrees. They would also not have significance for classes of fifteen students or less.

The mandatory distribution is not applicable to designated “mastery” courses. A faculty member may have her or his course designated as a mastery course by submitting the course syllabus and evaluative elements to the Curriculum Committee, and ultimately the faculty, for approval, subject to the following conditions: (a) the course must require significant, periodic written work and feedback during the course, with stated performance standards for achieving specific grades; (b) first-year courses cannot be designated as mastery courses unless all sections of that course are offered on a mastery basis; and (c) mastery courses will be designated as such, in the catalog and course description.

A numerical class rank, based on the numerical equivalencies shown above, shall be computed for the sole purpose of awarding academic honors, including graduation awards, prizes, or membership in scholarly societies, including Order of the Coif, legal journals and reviews. Class rank shall not be disclosed on a student’s transcript or otherwise disclosed except for the purpose of computing eligibility for academic honors.

Effective Spring Quarter 2007, transcripts for law students who began in Autumn Quarter 2005 or later will include a full calculated grade point average, with the following numerical conversions: A(4.0), A-(3.7), B+(3.4), B(3.0), B-(2.7), C(2.0), D(1.0), E(0.0). Students who began earlier than Autumn 2005, will have a transcript that only shows their grade point average in classes taken since Autumn 2005.

Honors 9

Honor Criteria
Order of the Coif The Order of the Coif is a national honorary legal society that encourages scholarship and the advancement of the ethical standards of the legal profession. Students who graduate in the upper 10 percent of each class are invited to join the Washington chapter of the society.
High Honors The top 5 percent of the class
Honors The next 15 percent of the class
Honor Graduate Each year the faculty (shall) designate an Honor Graduate, with an appropriate designation on a plaque in the law school. It is anticipated the Honor Graduate would ordinarily be the student graduating with the highest grade point average, though an affirmative vote of the faculty would be required.

Awards 10

Name of Award Awarded for/to
ABA/Bloomberg BNA Award for Excellence Each year the American Bar Association and Bloomberg BNA invite law schools around the country to participate in the annual ABA/Bloomberg BNA Award for Excellence. The intent of the program is to honor superior academic performance and to encourage student interest in the fields of labor and employment law, intellectual property law, and health law. Bloomberg BNA and the ABA Sections of Labor and Employment Law, Intellectual Property Law, and Health Law are proud to present these awards. The Law School will designate award recipients.
The Carkeek Prize The Vivian Carkeek Prize of $500 is awarded annually "for the best student contribution to the Washington Law Review on a point of Washington law or any point of peculiar interest to Washington attorneys."
Delta Theta Phi Founders Award Award is given to the student with the highest combined first- and second-year grades at the University of Washington; amount of award varies since it is from the annual income earnings of the fund.
Mary Ellen Krug Award Award is made to the student or students who have demonstrated both an interest and proficiency in the fields of labor and employment law and related subjects.
Judge James J. Lawless Award This award of $750 is made annually to the second-year student with the highest grades during the first year. The award is presented by the judges of the King County Superior Court.
Hugh Miracle Award Award is given to the student with the best opening statement made in trial advocacy, trial practice or moot court.
Eugene A. Wright Scholar Award This award of $2000 is made annually to a second- and a third-year student who (a) have produced a paper or article of particular noteworthiness as a Law Review or Journal note or comment, or as an analytical writing project; or (b) have performed exceptionally well in trial or appellate moot court competition, either orally or in brief writing; or (c) have combined an outstanding academic record with a demonstrated and exemplary record of public service and community involvement.
CALI Awards Faculty members have the option when turning in their grades to designate the student with the highest grade as the winner of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award. Awardees receive a printed certificate and a permanent URL Virtual Award that they can link to from their online resumes or biographies.

Journals 11

Washington International Law Journal

Washington International Law Journal was founded in 1990 as an innovative vehicle for the discussion of legal and interdisciplinary policy-oriented issues affecting both Asian and trans-Pacific affairs. The Journal's function is three-fold. First, the Journal provides valuable writing and editing experience to University of Washington law students interested in Washington International Law Journal issues. Second, the Journal, as one of the only two student-edited law journals in the United States devoted to the Pacific Basin, and the only journal featuring translations of East Asian legal scholarship, encourages the debate of issues vital to the Pacific Rim. Third, the Journal enhances the University of Washington School of Law's national and international role as a center for East Asian legal studies. Membership is competitive and based upon first year grades and writing competition scores.

The Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

The Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts publishes concise legal analysis for practicing attorneys. The Journal, which was launched in 2003, publishes in an electronic format and addresses business law and technology issues in a global context. The Journal's concise online format ensures each issue contains cutting-edge analysis of legal of emerging issues in business and technology. The Journal is a partnership between student editors and an Editorial Board comprised of faculty and attorneys who are noted experts in their respective fields. Membership is competitive and based upon first-year grades and performance in a writing competition.

Washington Law Review

WLR is a quarterly journal comprised of student-written pieces and professional articles on a wide range of legal issues. Annual events include a Spring Symposium, community service programs, and social events. Membership is competitive and based upon first year grades and writing competition scores.

The Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy

The Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy publishes legal scholarship on environmental affairs important to the Pacific Northwest region and beyond. By drawing expertise from across the disciplines, the Journal promotes the investigation of current environmental law and proposed solutions for the future.

Moot Court 12-15

University of Washington Moot Court Honor Board

Our primary mission is to assist law students in developing their advocacy skills through practice and competition Over the last academic year, over 250 UW law students have participated in the Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson 1L Appellate Advocacy Competition, the 1L Mock Trial Competition, the Peterson Wampold Rosato Luna Knopp 2L/3L Mock Trial Competition, the Contract Negotiation Competition, and the Judson Falknor Appellate Competition.

Moot Court Honor Board

The primary mission of the University of Washington Moot Court Honor Board is to assist law students in developing advocacy skills through practice and competition. To that end, members of MCHB organize several in-house tournaments every year, and coordinate with the law school to secure funding for national and independent Moot Court and Mock Trial Teams. Use the links below to learn more about various aspects of MCHB. If you are interested in joining one of the National or Independent Moot Court or Mock Trial Teams, please review the pages under the "UW Law Teams" tab at the top of the page.

In House Competitions

  • PWRLK 2L/3L Mock Trial
  • 1L Mock Trial
  • Contract Negotiation
  • Falknor Appellate Advocacy
  • HCMP 1L Appellate Advocacy
National Moot Court

  • Jessup International Moot Court
  • National Moot Court (NY)
  • Pace Environmental Moot Court
  • Thomas Tang Moot Court

Clinical Programs 16

Each year, the UW Clinical Law program offers diverse practice opportunities to UW law students as they prepare to become Leaders for the Global Common Good. Students work on real cases, transactions or projects for academic credit supervised by experienced faculty members.

Clinic students may advocate for clients in litigation, negotiate or mediate disputes, advise entrepreneurs and companies, develop policy by drafting legislation and getting it enacted, commenting on regulations or gathering information and writing reports for legislative bodies, or engage in community education by teaching high school students about the law. Currently between 60 and 70% of our J.D. students graduate having taken at least one clinic.

The law school offers the following clinical programs:

  • Children and Youth Advocacy
  • Entrepreneurial Law
  • Environmental Law and Policy
  • Federal Tax
  • Immigration Law
  • Innocence Project Northwest
  • International Human Rights
  • Legislative Advocacy
  • Mediation
  • Not for Profit
  • Race and Justice
  • Technology Law and Public Policy
  • Tribal Court Public Defense
  • Workers' Rights

Placement Facts 17

Starting Salaries (2015 Graduates Employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $65,000 - $125,000
Median in the private sector $92,800
Median in public service $53,928

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 50.8%
Graduates known to be employed ten months after graduation 77%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates Employed In Percentage
Law Firms 54.3%
Business and Industry 10.4%
Government 18.3%
Judicial Clerkships 11%
Public Interest Organizations 6.1%
Academia 0%
Unknown 0%

Externships/Internships 18-21


Externships are one of the many experiential learning opportunities available at UW Law. Externship placements are available in a wide range of practice settings throughout the country and even abroad. Students learn how to become lawyers through a combination of hands-on experience and faculty-guided reflection.

An externship is an experiential learning course, in which students engage in substantial lawyering activities under the supervision of a licensed judge or attorney at a variety of approved host sites with faculty-guided reflection about the experience.

Externship Program requirements follow ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools.

A public service externship of two credits or more will fulfill the graduation requirement of 60 hours of public service for students in the Juris Doctor program.

UW Law also offers students a wide range of experiential learning opportunities through the Clinical Law Program.

Special Programs

  • Judicial Externship
  • The Laurel Rubin Externship Advocacy Project
  • Olympia Quarter Fellows Program
  • Annual Legislative Externship with U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell & Patty Murray
  • Washington-in-Washington Public Service Program
  • Guidance on International Externships and Study Abroad


Two internships are required. In the summer after their first year, Gates PSL Scholars complete a ten-week summer internship. This internship, supported by a stipend, enables students to integrate the practical experience of full-time work at a government agency or public interest law organization with his or her formal legal training. A second internship is required either during the second or third school year or during the second summer.

Student Organizations 22

  • Advocates for the Arts
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Constitution Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Food Law Society
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Student Health Law Organization
  • Students Organizing For Advocacy
  • Technology Law Society
  • Minority Student Organizations
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Chinese American Law Students Association
  • Disability Law Alliance
  • Japanese American Law Students Association
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Korean American Law Student Association
  • Latino/Latina Law Students Association
  • Law Students Starting Second Careers
  • Minority Law Students' Association
  • Native American Law Student Association
  • Outlaws (LGBT Student Group)
  • Parents Attending Law School
  • South Asian Law Student Association
  • Women's Law Caucus
  • Student Journals & Boards
  • Washington International Law Journal
  • Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy
  • Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts
  • Washington Law Review
  • Student Legal Action Projects
  • Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project
  • Innocence Project Northwest - Student Chapter
  • Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington
  • The Association for Student Defenders and Prosecutors
  • Student Societies, Forums & Clubs
  • Center for Human Rights and Justice
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Education Law and Policy Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • International Law Society
  • Law & Business Association
  • Lawyers for Appropriate Dispute Resolution
  • Military Law Students' Association
  • National Security Law Association
  • Public Interest Law Association
  • Sport/Entertainment Law Association
  • Student Bar Association
  • Students for Labor and Employment Justice
  • The Forum for Evidence-Based Law & Policy (FELP)