On November 18, 1994, the Seattle University School of Law and the Seattle University Law Review proudly sponsored A Symposium on the Legal, Medical, Ethical, and Societal Issues Surrounding Physician-Assisted Death. This Symposium was notable not only for its timely subject matter, but also because it was the first of our annual symposia to be held under the auspices of our new parent institution, Seattle University. From the earliest planning stages, the Seattle University administration and academic community exhibited remarkable support and enthusiasm for this endeavor. The Symposium and this issue thus mark the beginning of what promises to be a long and mutually beneficial collaboration between the law school and Seattle University. In the context of our affiliation with a Jesuit institution, the question of whether we as a society should countenance physicianassisted death for the terminally ill presented an ideal subject for indepth discussion, raising as it does complex questions that implicate the overlapping spheres of law, medicine, philosophy, ethics, and religion. Furthermore, the law school setting for the Symposium seemed particularly appropriate given that the societal debate over physician-assisted death appears destined to be played out increasingly within a legal framework. A brief survey of this legal landscape will both illustrate the extent to which the law has taken the leading edge on this question and provide a useful introduction to the Symposium Issue.

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