The Law School Bound program offers Willamette students a direct admissions pathway

Two years ago, the Willamette University College of Law launched a series of direct admissions programs designed fundamentally to increase transparency for prospective students in the law school admissions process. This effort has grown to six partners in total, including the Willamette University College of Arts & Sciences.

Known on and around campus as the “Law School Bound,” the Willamette-specific program is an initiative that provides qualified students in the College of Arts and Sciences with direct access to both solid pre-school counseling and -law and legal training. Launched in January 2021, the program allows undergraduate students to gain admission to Law School Bound upon enrolling in undergraduate college. Then, once admitted, students can pursue either the 3+3 direct admission program or the 4+3 program which is available to both undergraduates and alumni.

Willamette’s 3+3 program allows students to complete their studies more quickly by allowing them to spend three years in the College of Arts & Sciences and three years in the College of Law. Admitted students enter law school before completing their undergraduate degree. After completing the first year of law school, their credits can apply toward a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, the 4+3 Direct Admissions Program allows Willamette undergraduates to be admitted directly to law school based on their academic credentials. This program consists of four years of undergraduate study and three years of law school. Students admitted to the 4+3 program are guaranteed a sustainable scholarship.

Since the launch of Law School Bound, four students have graduated from law school through the program. At present, fourteen students are currently enrolled in the program, with four students enrolling this academic year 2022-2023. When discussing currently enrolled students, Deputy Director of Admissions Jessica Kliewer said the people at Bound Law School are “high performers and generally better prepared for the rigors of a Willamette law school education.” .

The law school readiness of Law School Bound enrollees undoubtedly stems from the collaborative, mentorship-based approach that underpins the program. Indeed, students enrolled in Law School Bound have access to LSAT and GRE test practice, a study materials lending library, and numerous open houses and events throughout their time in the program. Additionally, preparing students for the College of Law is a highly collaborative effort by the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Law and an embodiment of the community culture in Willamette.

A current participant in the 3+3 Direct Admissions Program and the JD/MBA Dual Degree Program, Amy Nelson shared that she “originally chose to attend Willamette primarily because of the 3+3 program.” Nelson will graduate in 2025 with his BA, JD and MBA. One of the highlights of her experience in the program was that she was “able to manage her time effectively and maintain the energy and love for learning that can be lost in full programs”. Nelson hopes her education will allow her to be part of a large company’s in-house legal team, she shared. Reflecting on his experience, Nelson said, “Bound Law School provided me with the most valuable asset: time.”

For his part, Henry Harder is currently a member of the 3+3 program and is also pursuing a JD/MBA. Harder will graduate in 2023 from law school and is currently pursuing a commission in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps. If he receives this commission, he would be a practicing lawyer as well as an officer in the United States Army. Harder said he had been broadly interested in the legal profession for most of his life. Reflecting on his experience, he said, “Law school exposed me to so many wonderful opportunities and challenged me, both personally and academically. I had great experiences working in civil litigation at a firm here in Salem and improved my leadership and public speaking skills by participating in Moot Court. Reflecting on his experience, Harder said, “Bound Law School gave me a good start in a professional career” and that he “wouldn’t have had the same opportunities without the years of study he received at the Willamette University”.

As for the future of the Law School Bound program, Kliewer shared that his hope is to “continue to create accessible paths to law school” and allow students “to have the opportunity to explore different types of right through mock lessons and in-class experiences. The Law School Bound program is part of a larger effort to increase collaboration between the College of Law and the College of Arts & Sciences, Kliewer said, with a focus on ensuring students feel connected early and have the support they need to be successful students and lawyers. .

For more information about the Law School Bound program, contact the College of Law Admissions Team.

Jon J. Epps