J.D. Program

Frequently Asked Questions


Where is the University of Washington School of Law located?

The UW School of Law is located in William H. Gates Hall on the University of Washington Seattle campus. For directions to the law school and parking information, click here.

What is the UW School of Law's mission and vision?

Our mission is to serve and educate our students to be leaders for the global common good. Our vision is to shape and define just and sustainable laws and policies through scholarly discovery, ethical advocacy, inspired teaching, and generous public service.

Is the UW School of Law committed to diversity?

The UW School of Law’s longstanding commitment to diversity is an extension of our commitment to excellence. On the day the law school broke ground over a century ago, the 34 students in the incoming class included three women, an African-American man, and a Japanese man – individually and collectively a rarity in 1899. From this foundation, the UW School of Law never lost sight of its roots.

At the UW School of Law, we believe the best legal education must include an integration of legal theory, doctrine and practice that must be delivered by a diverse faculty to a diverse student body. This is evident in the number of alumni who are prominent in the legal profession, many breaking through the barriers of gender, race, and ethnicity along the way.

With the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, and mentor programs of peer, faculty, and alumni mentors, the law school promotes and encourages diversity by creating an open, inclusive academic climate that is welcoming to and supportive of all students of color, LGBTQI students, and students with disabilities.

In a nutshell, why should I study at the UW School of Law?

We offer:

Are you on the semester system or the quarter system?

We are on the quarter system. Students on the quarter system register for classes in three, ten-week sessions each year- Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. Classes begin later in the fall (usually in late September) and classes end later in the year (usually mid June).

What is the size of the 1L class?

The 1L class is typically between 180-190 students.

Do you have a part-time/evening program?

No. The J.D. program is a full-time, day program only.

Do you offer special tracks or specializations?

Yes, the J.D. program currently offers 8 concentration tracks in:

Is there a clinical program?

Yes, over a dozen clinics are offered through the Clinical Law Program. See the current clinics list.

Are there concurrent or joint degree programs?

Yes.  As the UW School of Law is part of a leading research institution, students can take full advantage of the opportunity to develop an academic program leading to a J.D. and a master's degree in any of 100 disciplines of the UW Graduate School.  Among the most popular concurrent degrees are law and public affairs at the Evans School of Public Affairs, law and business at the Foster School of Business, and law and international studies at the Jackson School of International Studies. For more information, visit the Concurrent Degree program page.

What LL.M. degree/Ph.D. programs are offered?

For information on LL.M. or Ph.D. degrees offered at the University of Washington School of Law, please see the following program websites:

What are the latest employment statistics?

Employment statistics are available in the fall for the previous year’s graduating class.

The UW School of Law's Center for Professional and Leadership Development not only prepares our students for a career in the law, but also trains our students to be professionals and leaders in their communities. The Center for Professional and Leadership Development accomplishes its goals by providing students advising and counseling, professional development coaching, recruiting opportunities, electronic job-search tools, mentoring, On-Campus Interview programs, participation in national and regional career fairs, resume, cover letter and interview skills training, judicial clerkship placement, and last but not least, networking resources and opportunities to create and promote new relationships among attorneys, alumni, and UW School of Law students.

What is the Gates Public Service Law Program?

The William H. Gates Public Service Law Program (Gates PSL) at the UW School of Law was created in honor of William H. Gates Sr., a prominent Washington state attorney and public servant. This program awards five scholarships on an annual basis to first year students entering the UW School of Law J.D. program. Each Gates PSL scholarship award will cover tuition, books, other normal fees imposed for University and UW School of Law enrollment, costs of room and board and incidental expenses. Acceptance of a Gates PSL scholarship represents a commitment on the part of each recipient to work in public service for five years following graduation. The presence of this program at the UW School of Law cements our institution’s commitment to public service and enhances the experience of the entire law school and university community. For more information, visit the Gates Public Service Law Program’s website.

Do I have to apply for the Gates Public Service Law Scholarship separately from the J.D. application?

Yes. The Gates PSL Scholarship has a separate application from the J.D. application. Applicants interested in applying for the Gates PSL Scholarship must apply separately for both by submitting the J.D. application and the Gates PSL Scholarship application. Please NOTE: to be considered for the Gates PSL Scholarship, both the above-mentioned applications must be submitted by January 15. Accordingly, all J.D. applicants intending to apply for the Gates PSL Scholarship must have their J.D. application completed and submitted by January 15 rather than the February 15 deadline. For more information, visit the Gates Public Service Law Program’s website.

Can I visit the law school, tour the building, and/or observe a class?

Yes, we welcome your visit. Visit our website here to plan your visit. The law school building is open to the public during regular business hours (Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm). Guided tours of Gates Hall are available by appointment only and self-guided tour booklets are available at the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid during regular business hours.  There are also pre-approved first-year classes designated for visitors if you are interested in observing a class. Though walk-ins are available, please arrange your visit in advance by filling out a Visit Request Form. There, you can indicate whether you wish to take a tour of the law school, observe a class, and/or meet with an admissions representative. Click here for directions to William H. Gates Hall.

Where do law students live?

Most of our students live off-campus in the surrounding neighborhoods. The University of Washington offers graduate and professional students on-campus housing in single student, apartment, and family housing options. To learn more about on-campus housing, visit Housing and Food Services. For those who wish to live off-campus, there are plenty of options around Seattle.  To learn more about off-campus housing, visit the Off-Campus Housing Affairs Office.

Does the University of Washington offer student health insurance?

UW no longer offers an insurance plan for students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. If you need health insurance, we encourage you to review the options and resources provided on UW's Student Health Insurance Medicaid & Healthcare Exchanges page. If you are an international student, you are required to purchase insurance through the University of Washington. Visit the International Student Health Insurance website for further information.

How do students get around the city?

Seattle has a great public transit system. Students receive a bus pass (U-PASS) with their enrollment. The U-PASS gets you rides on most of the transit systems in the Puget Sound area, including Metro, Sound, Community, Pierce, Kitsap, and Everett Transit. More importantly for students, many bus routes come to the U-District, and drop off right near William H. Gates Hall, making public transit the convenient, green, and cost-effective option in commuting to campus. For additional information about transit options, please visit the Student U-PASS Website.

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