“Smaller classes, smaller community, close-knit school identity.” Much at Gonzaga University, a small Jesuit school in Spokane, Washington, is couched in terms of size, but size does not define the school. With a “very accessible” administration, an “amazing” classroom environment, and “intellectual property professors who are experts in their field,” Gonzaga’s impact on students is larger than its size would suggest. Perhaps that’s because its size affords students a chance to work closely with administrators and instructors alike. “Communication between faculty and students is pretty good,” students note, with leadership that is “very accessible and approachable but respectable.”
Technology and access to information is paramount at Gonzaga. The “top notch” facilities and “incredibly helpful library assistants” make research a breeze. “There is a concerted effort to familiarize students with every online resource that is available (as well as) with information in more traditional formats.” In addition, “the library and staff work very hard to ensure students have access to the most relevant and up to date materials.” This works hand-in-hand with the accolades the legal research and writing program receives. This four-semester program, with an optional fifth semester, gives students “an ability to research better than most and have experience drafting multiple legal memorandums, motions to the court, and appellate briefs.”
The new required skills labs during 1L year “need drastic improvements,” due in part to an inconsistent approach between professors, but this is balanced by the two-year LRW program, “which really helps a student compete for hard to get internships and compete with bigger schools like University of Washington.” The idea is to give students practical, hands-on experience that will allow them to succeed in the real world. The school also has “an excellent mentorship program that they do not force the students to participate in even though it is an excellent opportunity.” In addition, “the clinic and externship requirements are great. They require real world experience so you are practice ready when you graduate.” Overall, the “wonderful facilities, faculty that cares about the students, and very helpful professional development office” make Gonzaga stand taller than its size would seem to allow.
That said, “there is a glaring lack of diversity at the school.” As a Jesuit school, a certain conservative atmosphere comes as no surprise, but some students complain about an “overall sense of intolerance” in some areas. “While I recognize that it is a Jesuit Catholic school,” one student said, “this is counter to the school’s mission of tolerance and respect for all.” Those who do fit into the atmosphere here, though—and most do—find that “students are encouraged to work together and have good relations with each other.” Indeed, “it is easy to standout, get personalized attention, and get involved at Gonzaga Law.” This kind of camaraderie is welcome, since many students complain that Spokane is a “boring” town. Students must often create their own distractions, which tend to focus on outdoor activities like biking, rock climbing, and more. Thankfully, Glacier National Park, Banff, Seattle, Northern Idaho, and lower British Columbia are all within a few hours, making weekend getaways varied and easily accessible.