The University of Pennsylvania Law School, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the law school of the University of Pennsylvania. A member of the Ivy League, it is among the most prestigious, selective and oldest law schools in the world. It is currently ranked 7th overall by U.S. News & World Report. It offers the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Comparative Laws (LL.C.M.), and Doctor of the Science of Law (S.J.D.).
The entering class typically consists of approximately 250 students, and admission is highly competitive. For the class entering in the fall of 2014, 16% out of 5859 applicants were offered admission, with 250 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2014 entering class were 164 and 170, respectively, with a median of 169. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.52 and 3.95, respectively, with a median of 3.89. Penn Law's July 2012 Pennsylvania Bar Examination passage rate was 96.08%. The Law School is one of the "T14" law schools, that is, schools that have consistently ranked within the top 14 law schools since U.S. News & World Report began publishing rankings.
The Law School emphasizes cross-disciplinary education, through courses, certificates, and joint/dual degree programs with the other graduate and professional schools on the Penn campus, such as the Wharton School. The school prides itself on its collegiality and the importance it places on diversity. Over a third of students identify as persons of color, and 12% of students enrolled with an advanced degree.
Although well known for its corporate and criminal law faculty, the Law School offers an extensive curriculum and hosts various student groups, research centers and activities. Students publish the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the oldest law journal in the country. Among the school's alumni are a US Supreme Court Justice, several state Supreme Court Justices and supreme court justices of foreign countries, as well as several founders of law firms, university presidents and deans, business entrepreneurs, and politicians.
According to Penn's 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 94.24% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners. The law school was ranked # 2 of all law schools nationwide by the National Law Journal in terms of sending the highest percentage of 2015 graduates to the largest 100 law firms in the US (52.2%).
The University of Pennsylvania Law School traces its origins to a series of lectures delivered in 1790 by James Wilson, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution. Penn began offering a full-time program in law in 1850, under the leadership of George Sharswood. In 1852, Penn was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence, then called The American Law Register, which was later renamed to the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, one of the most-cited law journals in the world.
William Draper Lewis was named dean in 1896. In 1900, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania approved a move to the Law School's current location at the intersection of 34th and Chestnut. Under Lewis' deanship, the law school was one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. As legal education became more formalized, the school initiated a three-year curriculum and instituted stringent admissions requirements. While the School continued to accept students that did not hold a bachelor's degree, it warned applicants that "[a] large number of those who study law are college graduates; and those who are not cannot hope, except in rare instances, to compete successfully with the college man."
After 30 years with the law school, Lewis eventually founded the American Law Institute, in 1925, which was seated in the law school and was chaired by Lewis himself. The ALI was later chaired by another of Penn Law's Deans, Herbert Funk Goodrich. Two years before Goodrich was named Dean, the Law School graduated with a J.D. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (in 1927), the first African-American woman to ever receive a Ph.D. in the United States (also from the University of Pennsylvania, in economics). The first woman to join the faculty was Martha Field in 1969, now a professor at Harvard Law School, while the first black woman to join the faculty was Regina Austin (in 1977) who is still teaching at Penn.
The University of Pennsylvania campus covers over 269 acres (~1 km²) in a contiguous area of West Philadelphia's University City district. All of Penn's schools, including the Law School, and most of its research institutes are located on this campus. Much of Penn's architecture was designed by the architecture firm of Cope & Stewardson, whose principal architects combined the Gothic architecture of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge with the local landscape to establish the Collegiate Gothic style.
The Law School consists of four interconnecting buildings around a central courtyard. At the east end of the courtyard is Silverman Hall, built in 1900, housing the Levy Conference Center, classrooms, faculty offices, the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies, and administrative and student offices. Directly opposite is Tanenbaum Hall, home to the Biddle Law Library several law journals, administrative offices, and student spaces. The law library houses 1,053,824 volumes and volume equivalents making it the 4th largest law library in the country. Gittis Hall sits on the north side and has new classrooms (renovated in 2006) and new and expanded faculty offices. Opposite is Golkin Hall, which contains 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) and includes a state-of-the-art court room, 350-seat auditorium, seminar rooms, faculty and administrative offices, a two-story entry hall, and a roof-top garden.
A small row of restaurants and shops faces the Law School on Sansom Street. Nearby are the Penn Bookstore, the Pottruck Center (a new 115,000-square-foot (10,700 m2) multi-purpose sports activity area), the Institute of Contemporary Art, a performing arts center, and area shops.
Throughout its modern history, Penn has been known for its strong focus on inter-disciplinary studies, a character that was shaped early on by Dean William Draper Lewis. Its medium-size student body and the tight integration with the rest of Penn's schools (the "One University Policy") have been instrumental in achieving that aim. More than 50% of the Law School's courses are interdisciplinary, and it offers more than 20 joint and dual degree programs, including a JD/MBA (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania), a JD/PhD in Communication (Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania), and a JD/MD (Perelman School of Medicine). Various certificate programs that can be completed within the 3-year JD program are also available, e.g. in Business and Public Policy (in conjunction with the Wharton School), in Cross-Sector Innovation (with the School of Social Policy & Practice), and in International Business and Law (the Themis Joint Certificate with ESADE Law School, Barcelona, Spain). Nineteen percent of the Class of 2007 earned a Certificate. Penn Law also offers joint degrees with international affiliates such as Sciences Po (France), ESADE (Spain), and the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law. Under the guidance of former Dean Michael A. Fitts, the School has further expanded its international programs with the addition of the International Internship Program, the International Summer Human Rights Program, and the Global Research Seminar, all under the umbrella of the Penn Law Global Initiative. Penn Law takes part in a number of international annual events, such as the Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Oxford.
Penn combines a strong tradition in public service with being one of the top feeders of law students to the most prestigious law firms. Penn Law was the first top-ranked law school to establish a mandatory pro bono requirement, and the first law school to win American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award. Nevertheless, still about 75% of each graduating class enters private practice. In 2012, the Law School placed more than 60% of its graduates into the United States' top 250 law firms, maintaining Penn's rank as the number one law school in the nation for the percentage of students securing employment at these top law firms.
Students at the Law School publish several legal journals. The flagship publication is the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the oldest law review in the United States. Penn Law Review started in 1852 as the American Law Register and was renamed to its current title in 1908. It is one of the most cited law journals in the world, and one of the four journals that are responsible for the Bluebook (along with the Harvard, Yale and Columbia law journals). Penn Law Review articles have captured seminal historical moments in the 19th and 20th century, such as the passage of the 19th Amendment, the lawlessness of the first and second World War, the rise of the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam.
Other law journals include:
Since 2005, Penn has had seven alumni serve as judicial clerks at the U.S. Supreme Court. This record gives Penn a ranking of 13th among all law schools for supplying such law clerks for the period 2005-2017. Penn has placed 48 clerks at the U.S. Supreme Court in its history, ranked 11th among law schools; this group includes Curtis R. Reitz, who is the Algernon Sydney Biddle Professor of Law, Emeritus at Penn.
According to Penn's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 90.7% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners. Penn Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 3.1%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
The law school was ranked # 2 of all law schools nationwide by the National Law Journal in terms of sending the highest percentage of 2015 graduates to the largest 100 law firms in the US (52.2%).
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) for the 2014-2015 academic year is $79,360. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $297,020.
The Law School's faculty is selected to match its inter-disciplinary orientation. Seventy percent of the standing faculty hold advanced degrees beyond the JD, and more than a third hold secondary appointments in other departments at the University. The Law School is well known for its corporate law group, with professors William Bratton, Jill Fisch, Edward Rock, David Skeel, and Michael Wachter being regularly included among the best corporate and securities law scholars in the country. The School has also built a strong reputation for its law and economics group (professors Howard F. Chang, Tom Baker, David S. Abrams) and its criminal law group (professors Stephanos Bibas, Leo Katz, Stephen Morse, Paul Robinson, David Rudovsky). Some of the notable Penn Law faculty members include:
The School's faculty is complemented by renowned international visitors in the frames of the Bok Visiting International Professors Program. Past and present Bok professors include Juan Guzmán Tapia (the first judge who prosecuted former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet), Armin von Bogdandy (Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law), Pratap Bhanu Mehta (President of the Centre for Policy Research in India), Michael Trebilcock (Distinguished University Professor at the University of Toronto), and others.
Some of Penn's former faculty members have continued their careers at other institutions, e.g. Bruce Ackerman (now at Yale), Lani Guinier (now at Harvard), Michael H. Schill (now at Oregon), Myron T. Steele (now at Virginia), and Elizabeth Warren (at Harvard until her election to the United States Senate).
The Law School has produced many distinguished alumni in the judiciary, legal academia, business, government and media. Among them are Owen Roberts (US Supreme Court Justice), James Harry Covington (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia), Daniel John Layton (Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court), Robert Nelson Cornelius Nix, Jr., Horace Stern and George Sharswood (Chief Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court), and Deborah Tobias Poritz (Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court). The School has also educated Supreme Court justices of foreign countries, including Ayala Procaccia (Supreme Court of Israel Justice), Ronald Wilson (High Court of Australia Justice), Yvonne Mokgoro (Constitutional Court of South Africa) and Jasper Yeates Brinton (architect of the Egyptian court system, Justice of the Egyptian Supreme Court and former U.S. Legal Advisor to Egypt). Several U.S. Court of Appeals Judges have also graduated from Penn Law, e.g., Arlin Adams, Max Rosenn, Dolores Sloviter and James Hunter III, and Patty Shwartz (judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Phyllis Kravitch (Senior Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit), and Helene N. White (judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit). Gerard Hogan is a justice of the Court of Appeal of Ireland.
The School has also produced law firm founders, including James Harry Covington (co-founder of Covington & Burling), George Wharton Pepper (Senator from Pennsylvania, and founder of Pepper Hamilton), Russell Duane (co-founder of Duane Morris), and Stephen Cozen, (co-founder of Cozen O'Connor).
Other graduates that distinguished themselves in legal academia and practice are university presidents Mark Yudof (President of the University of California system), John Frederick Zeller III (President of Bucknell University) and Rodney K. Smith (President of Southern Virginia University), Robert Butkin (Dean of the University of Tulsa College of Law), William Schnader (drafter of the Uniform Commercial Code), William Draper Lewis (founder of the American Law Institute and Dean of Penn Law), Henry Martyn Hoyt, Jr. (Solicitor General of the United States), E. Grey Lewis (General Counsel of the U.S. Navy), Anthony Amsterdam (professor at New York University School of Law), Khaled Abou El Fadl (professor of law at UCLA School of Law), and Curtis Reitz, the Algernon Sydney Biddle Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Penn Law's first female graduate was Caroline Burnham Kilgore, in 1883, while Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, who was the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in the U.S., graduated from Penn Law in 1927.
Politicians that have graduated from Penn Law include Joseph Sill Clark (Mayor of Philadelphia, and U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania), Charles Robert Miller (Governor of Delaware), Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. (former Chairman CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and U.S. Ambassador to Sweden), Raul Roco (former presidential candidate and Secretary of Education in the Philippines), Oscar Goodman (Mayor of Las Vegas, Nevada), Harry Arista Mackey (Mayor of Philadelphia), Martin J. Silverstein (U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay) and Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (member of the U.S. House of Representatives and women's rights activist).
Entrepreneur and business executive alumni include Safra Catz (President of Oracle Corporation), David L. Cohen (executive Vice-President of Comcast and former Chief of Staff to Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, Scott Mead, former partner and managing director of Goldman Sachs, Peter Detkin (co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, and former Vice-President and assistant general counsel at Intel), Paul Haaga (Vice Chairman of Capital Research and Management Company, a constituent company of the Capital Group Companies), Sam Hamadeh (founder of Vault.com), Edward Benjamin Shils (professor and founder of the first research center for entrepreneurial studies in the world (at Wharton)), Gigi Sohn (founder of Public Knowledge), and Henry Silverman (CEO of Cendant Corporation).
The Law School has also produced media professionals and artists, like Renee Chenault-Fattah (co-anchor of weekday edition of WCAU NBC 10 News in Philadelphia), Mark Haines (host on CNBC television network), El McMeen (guitarist), Norman Pearlstine (editor-in-chief of Time) and Lisa Scottoline (author of legal thrillers). John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy, graduated from the law school in 1892.
Penn was the first national law school to establish a mandatory pro bono program and the first law school to win the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award. The public interest center was founded in 1989 and was renamed the Toll Public Interest Center in 2006 in acknowledgement of a $10 million gift from Robert Toll (Executive Chairman of the Board of Toll Brothers) and Jane Toll. In 2011 the Tolls donated an additional $2.5 million. The Toll Public Interest Center has supported many students that have won the Skadden Fellowship, called by The Los Angeles Times "a legal Peace Corps."
Students complete 70 hours of pro bono service as a condition of graduation. More than a third of the Class of 2009 substantially exceeded the requirement. Students can create their own placements or select from 1,200 slots in close to 400 public interest organizations in Philadelphia and nationwide.
The law school awards Toll Public Interest Scholarships to accomplished public interest matriculants and has a generous Public Interest Loan Repayment Program for graduates pursuing careers in public interest.
Students interested in public interest work receive funding for summer positions through money from the student-run Equal Justice Foundation or via funding from Penn Law. Additionally, the Law School funds students interested in working internationally through the International Human Rights Fellowship.
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