Gregoire Fellows Program expansion to further increase diversity in Washington's legal community

November 08, 2019

The unique initiative, which recognizes students for academic and professional achievements, unique experiences, and leadership potential, now includes Seattle U Law.

The Gregoire Fellows Program, a unique initiative founded in 2015 to increase diversity in the legal profession and the law student population, has expanded to include Seattle University School of Law. 

Named in honor of former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, the program recognizes students for academic and professional achievements, unique perspectives and experiences, and leadership potential to diversify the Washington legal profession. 

Dean Annette Clark '89"Diversity has long been a core value at Seattle U Law, and we're thrilled that our students will now have the opportunity to participate in this valuable program," said Dean Annette Clark '89. "It's vital that those of us in the legal industry reflect the population we serve."

The program began at University of Washington School of Law in partnership with Microsoft with an inaugural class of nine fellows. 

"Increased diversity and inclusion are critically important to the health of the legal profession," said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft General Counsel. "The Gregoire Fellows Program is an innovative collaboration of law schools, law firms, and in-house legal departments — currently including 20 organizations — invested in making meaningful progress in this area."

"The program helps talented students from diverse communities to scale entrance barriers to the profession and positions them to thrive as new lawyers," she said. "Given its success, we are delighted that access to the program is expanding to include Seattle University."

UW Law named nine fellows in 2019. Seattle U plans to name two fellows during its inaugural year in fall 2020, depending on sponsorship commitments.

Twenty-five percent of the first class of Gregoire Fellows became judicial law clerks after graduation in 2018. Fifty-eight percent stayed in Western Washington. There have been a total of 47 Gregoire Fellows since the program's founding.

"The Gregoire Fellows Program reflects UW Law's deep commitment to inclusive excellence and helps place students in the best position to have impact within Washington state and beyond," said Mario L. Barnes, UW Law's Toni Rembe Dean and professor of law. "The expansion of this program to include Seattle U will benefit our community for generations to come."

Fellows spend the summer following their first year clerking at both a major corporate law firm and either a Seattle-based corporation or government agency. In addition to summer employment, Gregoire Fellows receive:

  • · Law school scholarship
  • · $20,000 first-year summer stipend
  • · Mentorship from former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and members of the Seattle legal community
  • · $5,000 bar exam study stipend

The Gregoire Fellows Program is made possible thanks to generous support from sponsors, including Amazon, Davis Wright Tremaine, Foster Garvey, K&L Gates, King County Prosecutor's Office, Lane Powell, Littler Mendelson, Microsoft, Nintendo, Orrick, Pacifica Law Group, Perkins Coie, Seattle Genetics, Starbucks, Stoel Rives, Vulcan, Washington State Attorney General's Office, and Weyerhaeuser.

Since the inaugural cohort graduated from the UW in 2018 and entered the workforce, data shows the fellows are admitted to practice and employed at higher rates than their non-fellow peers. Importantly, the inaugural fellow class also secured employment more quickly than their non-fellow peers.

Fellows also leverage 2L summer employment opportunities and generally accept summer offers early in the academic year. All fellows who completed their 2L year worked during the 2L summer, and for the class of 2020, 89% of fellows accepted 2L summer positions by the fall.