Significant changes to Seattle University School of Law’s part-time program will provide greater access and make it more feasible for students with work and family commitments to earn a law degree.
Starting in fall of 2021, the school’s highly ranked part-time program will transition to the new Flex JD Program. Courses will be delivered either fully online or in a hybrid format that combines online components with a small number of immersive, campus-based sessions.
“We’re taking this bold step because we think this is the future of part-time legal education,” said Dean Annette E. Clark ’89. “We believe this format will be particularly attractive to busy working professionals who might not otherwise be able to attend law school.”
The structure of the in-person class sessions – concentrated into a few weekends during fall and spring semesters – limits the amount of required travel to campus. This new modality for providing part-time legal education provides greater accessibility to students who live outside the Puget Sound region and even out of the state, yet still enables students to build critically important connections with their fellow students and professors.
Flex JD students will also be able to participate in the school’s clinics, externships, and renowned Legal Writing Program, which features highly personalized coaching and feedback.
“Our commitment to high-quality experiential education will carry over to this innovative format for our longstanding part-time program,” Clark said. “Feedback in legal writing and supervision in clinics will be as frequent and as closely tailored to each student’s needs as it is now and always has been.”
The program will be taught by Seattle U Law’s distinguished legal faculty, who have developed a values-based curriculum integrating social justice concepts, which cultivates future lawyers who are committed to justice, dignity, and equity.
Other opportunities available to students to round out their law school experience include joining one of four student-run law journals; participating in Moot Court or Alternative Dispute Resolution programs; and becoming active in a variety of student organizations, including the Student Bar Association, Public Interest Law Foundation, and the Business and Entrepreneurship Law Association.
The online components of the 3.5-year program will feature two types of learning: asynchronous activities that consist of readings, pre-recorded lectures, discussion threads and other endeavors that students complete on their own; and online synchronous components such as live virtual classes, where students can engage with faculty and fellow students in real time.
This new and innovative version of Seattle U Law’s part-time program has received acquiescence (approval) by the American Bar Association Council, which administers standards for legal education.
“Thanks to an innovative curriculum that we tailored specifically to a hybrid-online format, we believe this program will create a path to a law degree for many more students, including individuals from non-traditional and diverse backgrounds, enabling them to access legal education and advance their careers without disrupting their lives,” Clark said.