Seattle U. gets approval for Alaska campus

It was a GOOD week for ... Alaska, as the last state in the union without a law school got approval for a satellite campus for Seattle University. Third-year law students will be able to study and work in Anchorage in fall 2015, now that the American Bar Association has approved Seattle University School of Law’s satellite campus. “We are eager to bring legal education to Alaska through this program we have worked so long to create,” said Dean Annette Clark. “The satellite campus fills a need for Alaskan students and the Alaska legal community. We are grateful for the tremendous support from so many in Anchorage and throughout the state.” The satellite campus will be located at Alaska Pacific University, which has partnered with the law school to make legal education in Alaska a reality. The Alaska Court System, the Alaska Bar Association, and individual lawyers in Alaska have strongly supported the endeavor. The Court System has granted the law school use of its courtrooms and access to its law library. The all-elective third-year curriculum will be focused on Alaska law, and students will have externship opportunities in a variety of legal settings. Professor Christian Halliburton will be the first Seattle U Law faculty member to teach in the program, which will also rely on the expertise of Alaska practitioners as adjunct faculty. Stephanie Nichols, a 2006 graduate of Seattle University School of Law who grew up in Fairbanks, has overseen the development of the satellite campus and teaches several Alaska-related law courses. “I am thrilled to be a part of something of such great historical significance in my home state,” Nichols said. “It is a privilege to be working in Alaska alongside my fellow Alaskans and to be creating opportunities for the people and state of Alaska.” The satellite campus further solidifies the law school’s strong bond with Alaska. The School of Law has many outreach programs with the state, including the longstanding Alaska summer program, in which law students take a course and gain practical experience though a variety of summer placements in Anchorage. Seattle University School of Law is one of the most diverse law schools in the country with 35 percent of this year’s entering class being students of color. The law school offers a tuition three-year scholarship to an Alaska Native or Native American student. Alaska, the only state in the union without a law school, will soon get a satellite campus, allowing third-year students to study in their home state. Seattle University School of Law recently announced a partnership with Alaska Pacific University that will allow it to offer a full 3L curriculum in fall 2015. The school still needs approval from the American Bar Association, which conducted a site visit at Seattle University in May. "We are so proud to partner with APU, and we look forward to continuing to meet the needs of Alaskan students and the legal community in the state," said Dean Annette Clark. "Seattle University has been committed to Alaska for over 12 years, and housing a satellite law school campus at APU is a natural extension of this commitment." Seattle University has offered summer classes at the University of Alaska, Anchorage for more than a decade. The law school also has strong ties with the Alaska Court System and the Alaska Bar Association. The Alaska Court System will allow the law school to use its law library and courtroom for some evening and weekend classes, and for Moot Court and other competitions.

 Chief Justice Dana Fabe wrote a letter to the ABA expressing support for the program. "We anticipate that the satellite campus will open the door to legal and judicial careers to many more Alaskans and will have a direct impact on increasing diversity in our profession," Fabe said. Students from other ABA-accredited law schools will be allowed to attend the Anchorage program as visiting students, but still earn degrees from the school where they spent their first two years, Clark said.