University of Puerto Rico School of Law
|University of Puerto Rico School of Law|
|Dean||Vivian I. Neptune- Rivera|
|Location||Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, USA|
|Bar pass rate||74.86%|
|ABA profile||UPR School of Law Profile|
The University of Puerto Rico School of Law is a law school in Puerto Rico. It is one of the professional graduate schools of University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus and the only law school in the University of Puerto Rico System. It was founded in 1913 at its present site in Río Piedras, which at the time was an independent municipality and is now part of the City of San Juan. The School of Law has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1945 and by the Association of American Law Schools since 1948. It is also accredited by the Council on Higher Education and the Puerto Rico Supreme Court.
The law school provides a unique venue for the study of the civil law tradition and its complex interaction with common law and U.S. federal law, including the controversial application of the U.S. Constitution to Puerto Rico's special political status.
The Law School's academic program aims to increase and diversify the learning and development experiences of its students. Thus, half of its 92 credit/hour study program is elective, with course offerings ranging from theoretical to practical in topics pertaining to civil rights, technology, feminism, business, international relations and comparative law, among others. In addition, students are required to participate in a clinical program. The majority of the courses are taught in Spanish.
The Law School has several programs of study.
- Juris Doctor (JD)
- Dual Juris Doctor and Law Degree Program (Licenciatura en Derecho) with the University of Barcelona, Spain;
- Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration with the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Business Administration;
- Juris Doctor and Doctor of Medicine with the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine;
- Juris Doctor and Master of Public Policy with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota;
- Juris Doctor and Master in Public Administration with the University of Puerto Rico the Roberto Sánchez Vilella School of Public Administration;
- Juris Doctor and Master in Architecture with the University of Puerto Rico School of Architecture; and,
- Juris Doctor and International and European Legal Studies Program with the University of Amberes, Bélgica.
Graduate: LLM for Latin American and Caribbean lawyers.
Special Programs: The School of Law has students exchange programs with the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Vermont Law School, Florida International University, the University of Connecticut School of Law, the University of Palermo in Argentina, Diego Portales University in Chile, the University of Chile Law School, the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law in Canada, the University of Amberes in Belgium and the University of Carlos III in Madrid. Under these programs, students register at their home institution, but will take a full course load at the host institution. The credits and grades earned during a single semester will be awarded by the home institution according to the standard procedure of the home law school. Students also have a chance to participate in a summer law program at the University of Barcelona, Spain.
Also, the school has a winter exchange program with the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law in Canada, through which students can earn four credits studying Law and Technology or Law, Technology, and Feminism for one week in Canada and two weeks in Puerto Rico.
In March 1974, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court approved rules for the local courts to allow students to practice law and participate in judicial proceedings. The US District Court followed suit in 1991. Our curriculum requires that students in their last year of study complete a two-semester clinical program. The clinical program stands as clear testimony of our school's commitment to community service. The Legal Aid Clinic handles over 1,300 cases per year, offering assistance to those in need of legal aid. Our clinic offers our students the opportunity to practice law in a wide range of areas in an environment resembling the facilities of a modern, medium-sized law firm.
- Cyber Law
- Intellectual Property
- Community Economic Development
- Criminal Law (federal and state)
- Gay and Lesbian Rights
- Environmental Law
- Employment Law
- Civil Cases (in general)
- Juvenile Law
- Immigration Law
The School of Law accepts students based on their academic excellence percentile. This percentile is tabulated by combining three basic criteria: the student’s Bachelor’s Degree cumulative G.P.A., as per the calculations of the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS), their LSAT results, and their EXADEP results. The three criteria receive the same weight at the time of calculating the numeric ranking. Admission is offered to the best ranking students.
Also, 15 spaces are offered to the applicants selected by the Admissions Committee recommendations, chosen from a group composed of the 60 applicants following the students admitted. Throughout this process, the Committee evaluates the personal statement and writing sample, and any socioeconomic disadvantages, academic achievement, graduate studies, propensity towards academic progress, publications, extracurricular activities, and other aspects which show student’s aptitude for the study of Law.
Other professors include Chloé S. Georas, Glenda Labadie-Jackson, Santos P. Amadeo, José Julián Álvarez González, Michel Godreau Robles, Érika Fontánez Torres, Vivian Neptune, Ana Cristina Gómez, Hiram Meléndez Juarbe, Ernesto Chiesa Aponte, Olga Resumil Ramírez, Efrén Rivera Ramos, Ivette Ramos Buonomo, Luis Muñiz Argüelles, Ana Matanzo Vicéns, Guillermo Figueroa Prieto, Luis González Correa, Carlos Díaz Olivo, Carmelo Delgado Cintrón, Puerto Rico Supreme Court Associate Justice Liana Fiol Matta , Antonio García Padilla , Luis Aníbal Avilés, Demetrio Fernández, and Roberto Aponte Toro.
Visiting speakers have included United States Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and professors Lawrence Tribe of Harvard Law School, Owen Fiss of Yale Law School and the late Ferdinand Stone of Tulane Law School.
Some of the distinguished scholars who have served as deans, include:
- Manuel Rodríguez Ramos "Dean Emeritus"
- David Helfeld
- Jaime B. Fuster
- Carlos Cadilla
- Antonio García Padilla "Dean Emeritus"
- Dr. Efrén Rivera Ramos
- Dr. Roberto Aponte Toro
The Law School is housed in a building designed by architect Henry Klumb and inaugurated in 1962, replacing a converted tobacco storage facility which housed the Law school for many years. Built during David Helfeld's incumbency as Dean, it was extensively remodeled under Antonio García Padilla's term as the law school dean.