Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: AmyJ141414 on April 07, 2008, 02:05:53 PM

Title: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: AmyJ141414 on April 07, 2008, 02:05:53 PM
im torn between the two schools which have similar stats. Does anyone have any thoughts?
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: sunnykate on April 07, 2008, 03:02:56 PM
I'm also torn!  Willamette was originally my first choice, but now that I got into Gonzaga I'm seriously considering it.  Here are my basic pros and cons.

Willamette pros:

closer to family/friends (for me)
not far from Portland
law & government program, close ties with the capitol offices, easy access to government/political externships (I'm interested in politics)

Willamette cons:

lack of national name recognition
writing program is only one year
slightly lower ranked than Gonzaga
cuts the bottom of the class (a very important consideration - if you have a bad semester, you and your tuition money could be gone)
very small school (something like 2,500 total)... this could be good or bad depending on what you want

Gonzaga pros:

bigger, prettier, overall better city than Salem
better weather than Salem (less rain and more sun/bright days)
2 year legal writing program ranked 12th in the nation
national name recognition due to its sports teams
bigger school (around 6,000 total)
huge focus on community (tight-knit school)
only cuts people if they actually fail out... not because they're at the bottom
and... I have a feeling Gonzaga will be moving up in the ranks of law schools (Willamette may not)

Gonzaga cons:

further from family/friends (Spokane is an 8-hour drive as opposed to 2.5 hours for Salem)
not as easy to get government/political law experience because it isn't near the capital

That's about it for me!  I know that everyone has different ideas about what they're looking for, but right now I'm about 65% Gonzaga and 35% Willamette (assuming I get off the waitlist there, which I think I can... eventually).

Let's keep this thread going... there has to be other people torn as well.
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: beaverfuzz on April 07, 2008, 04:22:00 PM
For me, it would come down to a) which was cheap, b) where you want to practice and c) which of "a" or "b" is most important to you.

Willamette and Gonzaga are both regional schools that place well within those geographical areas. I think you give Gonzaga more credit than it deserves as far as "national" recognition.

If you want to practice in Oregon, go for Willamette. Washington? Send in your deposit to Gonzaga. Though, with that said, you can probably find a job in Portland with a 'Zaga degree, and visa versa in Seattle.

And after reading my response, I realize that it probably didn't help at all. Good luck!
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: TraciRai on April 07, 2008, 04:27:35 PM
Just from your list of pros and cons, it seems like you like Gonzaga more.  I also would pick Gonzaga, just as a gut reaction... if you really like eastern WA, I would go for it.  Spokane is the best!
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: AmyJ141414 on April 07, 2008, 07:34:33 PM
ahhhh i just dont know! I lived in Spokane for 1.5 yrs and I thought it was a complete dump. But Ive also heard that Salem isn't so good.....im visiting Willamette this weekend so hopefully i can make my mind up soon!
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: AmyJ141414 on April 07, 2008, 07:37:31 PM
http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php?topic=35622.msg578178

BTW--- i found this thread helpful its also comparing GU to WU
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: TraciRai on April 07, 2008, 07:55:09 PM
ahhhh i just dont know! I lived in Spokane for 1.5 yrs and I thought it was a complete dump. But Ive also heard that Salem isn't so good.....im visiting Willamette this weekend so hopefully i can make my mind up soon!

There's was never a place more boring than Salem, but that is offset by Portland being only an hour away.  Spokane can be a dump, but I'm assuming you'd live close to school, which is a nice area.  I went there for work about once a week for two years, and we always stayed right on the river.
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: willamette on April 07, 2008, 07:59:11 PM
I chose Willamette.  If you click my name you can read recent posts I have made about Willamette.  I have not said much about Gonzaga, but I did visit Gonzaga and Idaho before choosing Willamette.
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: Connery on April 07, 2008, 10:29:30 PM
I am in the same boat. Been living in the Spokane area for a couple years and am not a huge fan of it. I will be at the ASW at Willamette this weekend and hope Salem fits me more than Spokane. Right now I def favor Willamette over GU.

I do know a number of people who graduated last May from Gonzaga Law and they all seemed to have a positive experience and speak highly of the school, however.
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: Clayton on April 07, 2008, 10:33:47 PM
I'm going to be at Willamette's asd on Saturday as well.


Btw- I'm from Texas, I had not heard of Gonzaga or Willamette before starting my search for schools.
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: S2X on April 08, 2008, 01:33:10 AM
I'm also a current Willamette law student, and I'm pretty happy that I chose Willamette for law school.  In a way, I'm actually glad there's not much to do here, mainly because it forces me to hit the books more than if I lived in a bustling city.  I've never been to Spokane, so I couldn't compare it with Salem.

Willamette is now a T3, FWIW.  Picking a higher ranked school was never a big deal to me; it was all about where I'd fit in the most.  I like the fact that the law school has less than 500 total law students (about 160 or so in the entering class).  I like seeing familiar faces in the building, but that's just me.

Yes, Willamette does cut people, but you really have to screw up to do badly.  The middle of the pack is usually around a 2.8 to 2.9, so don't think about getting cut.  Trust me, I've felt like the stupidest person in class so often and I felt many times that I wouldn't make it, but I'm still going strong.  It's not a guarantee that people will be cut...only if your gpa goes below a certain level do you get kicked out.  Again, they do NOT kick out a set number of people at the bottom of the class.

Although I love writing, I really enjoy it now that legal writing classes are over.  To some people, it might seem like one year of legal research and writing (or whatever it's called at other schools) is not enough, but if you go to Willamette, you can sign up to be a student assistant for LRW for the following year.  So you might be able to get a little more exposure that way, not to mention that there will be other writing requirements to graduate.

If you're interested in politics, Willamette does have the capitol building, the DOJ, and the Oregon Supreme Court all nearby.  Lots of state offices around the area.  You should have no troubles if you go to Willamette.

Best of luck in your decision!
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: AmyJ141414 on April 08, 2008, 09:32:10 AM
I will also be at the Willamette admitted student preview this weekend! Hopefully this will help us make our minds up!

As of now I am leaning toward Willamette unless I get a good scholarship from Gonzaga.
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: sunnykate on April 08, 2008, 01:44:48 PM
Thanks for all of this great info everyone!  It's really helpful to get so many viewpoints... even though the decision is still cloudy. :)  Good luck to everyone deciding!
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: upwithmontana on April 08, 2008, 02:00:31 PM
I am in the same boat. Been living in the Spokane area for a couple years and am not a huge fan of it. I will be at the ASW at Willamette this weekend and hope Salem fits me more than Spokane. Right now I def favor Willamette over GU.

I do know a number of people who graduated last May from Gonzaga Law and they all seemed to have a positive experience and speak highly of the school, however.

I've been in Spokane for about four years now, and I can't wait to leave.  I know a few JD/MBAs at GU who are all expressing concern over employment.  Whether they are right or wrong, they say that the OCI firms only talk to the top 10% with very few exceptions.  Still, I think they are all happy with the decision to attend GU.

The area around campus is not all that great.  The area a previous poster speaks about is on the river with hotels and parks, but very few housing opportunities.  Most students I know rent a house just north of campus in the University District (safe, but kinda ugly).

If I were in your shoes, I'd pick Willamete.  But it may only be due to my desire for a change (and my dislike of 40 degree highs from October through March). 
Title: Re: Willamette vs. Gonzaga
Post by: grover on April 09, 2008, 03:10:52 PM
i went to gonzaga undergrad and was accepted there for next fall for law school too.  if you are considering practicing law in eastern washington, it is really the only law school out there so the alumni network is great.  i am assuming willamette people are in pretty heavy competition with the u of o and l & cl people in oregon but i don't really know.

all in all, gonzaga is a great school (with a great new law building) in a somewhat iffy city.  if you don't like spokane, it might not be the best place to study law because i don't imagine zag grads competing very well with the seattle u and u dub people in western washington.  i am originally from california and it took awhile to adjust but eventually i grew to appreciate the changing seasons in spokane.

i don't completely subscribe to the argument that going to a regional school and then trying to practice out of area is impossible but you have to be realistic too.  if you would prefer to practice law further west, willamette might be the degree that affords more opportunity in places like portland and maybe seattle (although neither probably place very well in seattle, if i was to guess).