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Frequently Asked Questions

The Gates Public Service Law Program was created in November 2005 to honor William H. Gates, Sr., a prominent Washington state attorney and public servant who is also a University of Washington School of Law alumnus (Class of 1950). Each year, the program awards full-ride scholarships to five first-year students entering the J.D. program at the University of Washington School of Law.

During the two years since the program’s establishment, potential applicants have frequently asked the questions that follow. We hope that by providing answers to them here, we will facilitate the application and selection processes, as well as assist you in the preparation of your application.

How does the Gates PSL Scholarship selection process work?
The selection process is confidential and has four stages:

  1. The UW Law renders a decision into the J.D. program and identifies the admitted students to move forward with the Gates PSL Scholarship process;
  2. A Review Committee, consisting of UW Law faculty and the Executive Director of the Gates PSL Scholarship Program, reviews the Gates PSL Scholarship applications of those admitted students and selects approximately 50 applicants for the semifinal round. Those files are then sent to the Gates PSL Scholarship Selection Committee;
  3. The Selection Committee, a group of UW Law faculty and members of the public service law community, reviews the applications and selects approximately 25 Gates PSL Scholarship finalists, who are invited to campus for Candidate Selection Weekend.
  4. Finalists attend Candidate Selection Weekend at UW Law in Seattle, where they are interviewed for one of five Interview Panels consisting of UW Law faculty and staff, members of the public service law community, and current Gates Scholars.

Will members of the Review Committee have access to my UW Law J.D. admissions file and will they read it?
Yes. The Review Committee will review your full J.D. admissions file, as well as your Gates PSL Scholarship application materials. During the remaining stages of the selection process, the Selection Committee and Interview Panels will have access only to your Gates PSL Scholarship application materials, the LSAC CAS Report, and personal statement from your J.D. admissions file.

During Candidate Selection Weekend, will finalists be interviewed individually or in a group setting?
Both. Finalists will be interviewed individually and with the Interview panel made up of 3-4 people.

For finalists invited to Candidate Selection Weekend, does the Gates PSL Scholarship Program pay for travel expenses?
Yes. The Gates PSL Scholarship Program works with a travel agency that will make travel arrangements for all finalists, point-to-point. The Gates PSL Scholarship Program also pays for finalists’ lodging, food, and ground transportation expenses to and from the airport.

If I am working or studying abroad and am chosen as a Gates PSL Scholarship finalist, will the Gates PSL Scholarship Program cover my travel expenses?
Yes. The Gates PSL Scholarship Program will pay for round-trip transportation for you. The program works with a travel agency to book flights at the best possible rates.

If I’m local to the Seattle area, will my transportation be covered?
Yes. You will be reimbursed for your round trip-mileage from point-to-point or, if you use public transportation you will be reimbursed for those costs.

Will the Gates PSL Scholarship Program provide lodging, and for how many nights?
Yes. The Gates PSL Scholarship Program provides and pays for a maximum of two nights of lodging. The hotel is within walking distance of the UW Law and also has a shuttle service.

If I’m local to the Seattle area, will I also receive lodging?
Yes, but only if the distance that you’ll be commuting to the UW Law is 45 miles or more.

What is proper attire for Candidate Selection Weekend?
Candidates should wear interview-appropriate attire on Friday and Saturday: sports coat or dress jacket over a business-appropriate shirt or blouse with dress trousers or skirt. There is an informal dinner on Friday night, for which there is no dress code.

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