University of Pennsylvania Law School
|University of Pennsylvania Law School|
|Parent endowment||$6.58 billion |
|Dean||Michael A. Fitts|
|Location||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Bar pass rate||94.44%|
|ABA profile||Penn Law School Profile|
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 oldest and most selective law schools in the nation. It is currently ranked 7th overall by U.S. News & World Report, and 1st in terms of career prospects by the Princeton Review, a rank awarded also by the National Law Journal based on placement of graduates in top law firms. 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.).
Penn Law's entering class generally consists of approximately 250 students, and admission is highly competitive. For the class entering in the fall of 2012, 907 out of 5,848 applicants (15.5%) were offered admission, with 243 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2012 entering class were 164 and 171, respectively, with a median of 170. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.55 and 3.94, respectively, with a median of 3.87. Penn Law's July 2012 Pennsylvania Bar Examination passage rate was 96.08%. The Princeton Review ranks Penn Law 6th in admission selectivity. According to ABA data Penn Law's admission and yield rates are generally on par with its peers, and in some cases better relatively to the school's general rank (e.g. NYU and Chicago have higher admission and lower yield rates than Penn Law). Penn Law is also 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.
Penn Law emphasizes cross-disciplinary education, both within the law school and 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 also 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 the school is particularly well known for its corporate and criminal law faculty, it offers a very extensive curriculum and hosts various student groups, research centers and activities. Penn Law students also 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.
The University of Pennsylvania Law School officially 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. Following this early beginning, Penn began offering a full-time program in law in 1850, under the leadership of George Sharswood, an innovator in legal education. Under Sharswood's leadership, Penn Law created what has become the template for modern legal education: a combination of lectures in law with practical experience for students. In 1852 Penn Law 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.
The School entered a new era when William Draper Lewis was named dean in 1896. Lewis aspired to put Penn Law in the first rank of law schools in the country. He convinced the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania that the school needed to move to a new building, and in 1900, the new Law School building (now Silverman Hall) opened in its present site on the Penn campus with its massive Georgian structure of brick and limestone with ornamental details throughout. It was at the time considered the largest structure devoted solely to legal education in the country. Under Lewis' deanship the law school was also 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 completing almost 30 years within the ranks of the law school, Lewis eventually devoted his powers to founding 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. Recent improvements to the surrounding neighborhood include the opening of several restaurants, a large upscale grocery store, and a movie theater on the western edge of 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, which opened in 1993, home to the Biddle Law Library several law journals, administrative offices, and comfortable 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 state-of-the-art classrooms (renovated in 2006) and new and expanded faculty offices. Opposite is the recently finished Golkin Hall, a new building that 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. Golkin Hall is awaiting LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The building project cost approximately $33.5 million, and was completed in early 2012.
A small row of restaurants and shops faces the Law School on Sansom Street. North of Penn Law, on Chestnut Street, is a new deluxe apartment complex with retail outlets. 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 Law has been well known for its collegiality and 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 those aims. More than 50% of the School's courses are interdisciplinary, while the School 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 Penn's current Dean, professor 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.
In terms of student career focus the School 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, Penn Law placed more than 60% of its graduates into the United States' top 250 law firms, maintaining Penn Law'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:
- University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, one of the five major scholarly journals at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and one of the top fifty law journals in the United States based on citations and impact.
- University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, f/k/a Journal of International Economic Law, f/k/a Journal of International Business Law, f/k/a Journal of Comparative Business and Capital Market Law
- University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, f/k/a Journal of Business and Employment Law
- University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, f/k/a Hybrid
- East Asia Law Review, f/k/a Chinese Law and Policy Review 
Penn Law's faculty is selected to match the School's 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 School is particularly 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, David Rudovsky). Some of the notable Penn Law faculty members include:
- Anita L. Allen, deputy dean and expert on privacy law and contemporary ethics
- Tom Baker, deputy dean and insurance law scholar
- Stephanos Bibas, criminal law scholar
- Stephen B. Burbank, civil procedure scholar
- Howard F. Chang, scholar of the economic analysis of law
- Cary Coglianese, scholar of government regulation and regulatory policy
- Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., legal ethics and civil procedure scholar, former Director of the American Law Institute (1984–1999)
- Leo Katz, criminal law theorist
- Jonathan Klick, empirical law and economics scholar
- Jody Kraus, contracts expert
- Curtis R. Reitz, commercial law professor, and Pennsylvania representative to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
- Kermit Roosevelt, constitutional law scholar and novelist
- David Rudovsky, civil rights and criminal defense attorney
- Chris William Sanchirico, expert on tax policy, evidence, tax law
- Anthony Joseph Scirica, current judge, and former chief judge, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Tobias Barrington Wolff, civil procedure and constitutional law scholar
- Christopher Yoo, authority on law and technology
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 Chicago), Myron T. Steele (now at Virginia), and Elizabeth Warren (at Harvard until her election to the United States Senate).
Penn Law 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).
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 Carrie 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).
Penn Law 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.
Toll Public Interest Center
Penn Law 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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- Official website
- Cross-Disciplinary Information
- International Study
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