Seattle U Law entering JD class makes history

August 24, 2023 · By Nicole Jennings
Students gather around tables set up by student organization members at the 2023 Student Orgs Fair
Students gather around tables set up by student organization members at the 2023 Student Orgs Fair Photo by Nicole Jennings

The incoming class of JD students is the most diverse in Seattle University School of Law’s 51-year history while being the most academically accomplished in nearly 15 years.

Out of 222 students, 45% are BIPOC (up from 37% in last year’s class) and 31% are LGBTQ+ (up from 28% last year). Nearly two-thirds of students are women, 31% are the first in their families to have attended college, and 9% are military veterans.

This year’s incoming class also has the highest academic credentials of any 1L class since 2010. The median LSAT score of the class is 157, and the median GPA is 3.49 — a 13-year high for both figures.

“Seattle U Law is reaching new heights of distinction and strength. We have much to celebrate as we start our new academic year,” said Dean Anthony E. Varona of the diverse new class. “We study the law together at a very important moment in our nation’s history, in which we are grappling with some of the most difficult and consequential questions of law and policy.”

The students who comprise the incoming class arrived here from 107 different colleges and universities, including: Harvard University; Georgetown University; the University of California, Los Angeles; Syracuse University; the University of Utah; the University of Washington; and Seattle University. Some also bring with them significant work experience before deciding to enroll in law school, including in diverse fields from business to health care to political advocacy.

Seattle U Law has not just attracted students from all around the nation, but also from other parts of the world. There are 11 international JD students from Canada, Gambia, Iran, and China (including Hong Kong).

Alexander Tarasenko ’26 hails from British Columbia, Canada, where he completed his undergraduate studies at Simon Fraser University. After completing orientation, he is eagerly anticipating the three years ahead.

“People on campus have been very friendly; they have debunked a lot of worries I had about law school,” Tarasenko said. “They really do uphold the values of this school.”

Tarasenko is interested in pursuing criminal law to help reform Canada’s justice system, focusing on rehabilitation as an alternative to jail for offenders. In working toward that goal, Seattle University’s Jesuit social justice mission resonated with him.

“My Christian faith teaches me to be fully understanding as well as fully merciful and compassionate to ensure that those who have done wrong get the proper assistance that they need,” he said. “I want to be able to uphold and give justice to everyone I can, even if they are underrepresented.”

Giannara Martell ’26 of Bellevue, a graduate of the University of Washington Bothell, enjoyed learning about Seattle U Law’s values during her orientation. She is especially excited for the community service opportunities she can engage in during her time at law school, and intends to take part in the Pro Bono Pledge Program, where JD students spend at least 100 hours on pro bono work over the course of their legal education.

“Being able to have the privilege to go to law school, I want to give back to the community as well and find other ways at law school and in my career to give back to the community,” she said.

Martell hopes to one day practice tort law, family law, or health care law.

“I am excited to meet new people, have difficult conversations in class, and be intellectually stimulated,” she said. “I got a good sense of what my classes will be like, and for me, the class discussions are what I look forward to. Being able to listen to other perspectives in class will be very nice.”

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