Willamette Law launches degree pathway with University of Alaska Southeast

by Willamette University College of Law,

New 4+3 Direct Admission Program allows undergraduate University of Alaska Southeast students and alumni to be admitted to Willamette Law based on certain academic credentials.

  • Whale and Egan Library, image courtesy of the University of Alaska Southeast
    Whale and Egan Library (image courtesy of the University of Alaska Southeast)

Willamette Law is pleased to announce an admissions program benefiting students from the University of Alaska Southeast. The new 4+3 Direct Admission Program allows undergraduate UAS students and alumni to be admitted to Willamette Law based on certain academic credentials.

The 4+3 Direct Admission Program includes four years of study at UAS and three at Willamette Law. Students admitted to the program are guaranteed a $10,000 scholarship, renewable each year they are enrolled at Willamette Law and remain in good standing.

Bruce Botelho, Willamette Law alumnus (BA’ 71, JD’76), former mayor of Juneau and UAS community advisor, made introductions between the two schools that facilitated forming the degree pathway.

“Willamette University College of Law has trained generations of attorneys who have served Alaska with distinction,” Botelho says. “Cementing this long-term relationship between WUCL and Alaska through the Direct Admission Program at UAS will ensure the continuing development of legal professionals with deep ties to our region.”

There is no Alaskan law school, so Willamette Law has long filled the gap for students in the 49th state. Many prominent Alaskan attorneys and politicians, including U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Judge Joshua M. Kindred of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, Mayor Botelho, and others, earned their law degrees from Willamette.

Dean Brian Gallini, who joined Willamette Law this summer, echoed Botelho’s enthusiasm about the accelerated admissions program. “We look forward to welcoming many future law students through this unique partnership,” he says. “The 4+3 Direct Admission program will help expand access to a legal education while providing a transparent path to admission that builds on our historic legacy of educating Alaskan attorneys.”

UAS Chancellor Karen Carey says the school is excited about the agreement and has already received a lot of interest in the program. “I think that this is just going to be great for our campus and Willamette Law,” she says.

The agreement between the two institutions also named Willamette Law Assistant Dean of Recruitment Leah Straley as the pre-law advisor for UAS students. In that role, she’ll offer guidance to UAS students interested in legal education.

“This program offers us an excellent opportunity to feature the College of Law's robust curriculum alongside its 1:1 student-mentorship approach — an approach premised on helping students mature into problem-solving leaders committed to making an impact in their communities,” Straley says.

A one-hour information session with Straley will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. (Alaska time) Wednesday, Oct. 14. UAS students and alumni can register to attend. Willamette Law offers accelerated admissions programs with four other universities, including the University of Alaska, Anchorage. 

Continuing the Tradition


Willamette University College of Law was the first law school to open in the Pacific Northwest. Building on deep historic roots, we focus with pride on educating the next generation of problem-solving lawyers and leaders. Our location in Salem, Oregon, directly across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and Supreme Court, cannot be matched in the region. Our thought-leading scholars advance and promote our shared responsibility to make a difference in society, placing justice, fairness, and equality at the heart of everything we do.

The College of Law produces the best problem solvers, community leaders, legal dealmakers, and changemakers in the most innovative region of the country. We have had several years of remarkable growth in academic achievement, as our bar passage rates and employment outcomes reflect. We also consistently have the highest graduate employment rates among all Oregon law schools, and are among the best on the entire West Coast.

We are a dynamic force within our university’s vision of an “Only at Willamette” education and have worked to develop one of the most forward-thinking and creative legal education programs in the country. Our student-centric approach manifests in the robust experiential learning opportunities we provide alongside curricular strengths in public service, business law, advocacy, international law, and health law.  


The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) is a regional university serving all of Southeast Alaska through campuses in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka. The first priority at UAS is student learning and success. UAS is one of three separately-accredited universities that make up the University of Alaska (UA) system. With no community college system in Alaska, UAS has a broad purpose — providing ‘community college,’ baccalaureate and graduate programs within a single institution.

UAS has long been recognized for offering programs of distinction in teacher education and educational leadership, biology and marine biology, environmental science, liberal arts, business and public administration, health information management, mine training, and fisheries technology, among others. UAS programs take full advantage of the majesty of beautiful Southeast Alaska, which includes the famed Inside Passage — a majestic array of islands, channels and fjords abutting coastal mountains, icefields and glaciers. UAS prides itself on offering programs of high academic quality that meet the needs of students and the communities it serves.

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