Villanova University School of Law

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Villanova University School of Law
Vls logo.gif
Established 1953
Type Private
Affiliation Roman Catholic (Augustinian)
Dean John Gotanda
Location Villanova
Radnor Twp
, Pennsylvania, US
Website Villanova Law Website

Villanova University School of Law is the law school of Villanova University, the oldest and largest Catholic University in Pennsylvania. Villanova was founded 150 years ago by the Augustinians, a prominent Roman Catholic teaching order. The University is located 25 minutes from Center City Philadelphia in the Main Line suburb of Villanova.

Opened in 1953, the School of Law is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Approximately 720 students study full-time in the J.D. program which offers more than 100 offerings including foundation courses, specialty offerings, drafting courses, clinical experiences, seminars, simulation courses and externships. The faculty /student ratio is 17:1.[1]

In November 2007, the Villanova School of Law began construction on a new building to house classrooms, offices, and research facilities.[2] The building was completed in August 2009. The new facility was built according to LEED standards and incorporate a park like setting with a walking trail.[3]

Degrees awarded[edit]

Juris Doctor (JD)[edit]

Villanova offers a legal education designed to teach the rules of law and their application; to demonstrate how lawyers analyze legal issues and express arguments and conclusions; to inculcate the skills of the counselor, advocate, and decision maker; and to explore the ethical and moral dimensions of law practice and professional conduct.[citation needed]

Joint JD/MBA program[edit]

The Villanova University School of Law and the Villanova School of Business offer a joint-degree program permitting simultaneous study for the Juris Doctor and the Master of Business Administration degrees. The Villanova School of Business is one of the few business schools in the nation whose Master of Business Administration and Department of Accountancy program have been approved by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.[citation needed] In the program, credit is given for certain courses by both the School of Law and the School of Business. Through this program, degrees may be completed in less time than it would take to obtain them separately.[4]

Graduate Tax Program[edit]

The Graduate Tax Program is an interdisciplinary program led by Leslie M. Book conducted under the auspices of the Villanova University School of Law and Villanova’s School of Business. The program has over 30 courses, which are also available to JD candidates, who are able to enroll in LL.M. courses as well as participate in the joint JD/LL.M. program. [1] Business students participating in the Graduate Tax Program may earn a Master of Science in Taxation (MST) degree.

Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law[edit]

The Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law was created in 2012, and was funded by a $5 million donation from San Diego Padres vice chairman and CEO Jeffrey S. Moorad (a 1981 graduate of the law school). The Center prepares students for careers in sports-related fields. [5] It is one of only a few in the United States dedicated to the study of sports law, and it is run by director Andrew Brandt, a lawyer, former NFL team executive, and ESPN commentator.[6]

Special programs[edit]

Beyond the skills of written and oral expression developed in the first-year writing program and the required upper-level moot court program, drafting, and seminar courses, Villanova University School of Law students acquire the fundamental skills of the practicing lawyer—including counseling, negotiation, advocacy, mediation, dispute resolution, conciliation, and mature judgment.[citation needed] Hands-on clinical opportunities allow students to apply classroom experiences to real-world client representation, often while performing public service. Clinical programs include Federal Tax; Civil Justice; Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services; and Farmworkers Legal Aid.[7]

The school also strives to provide leadership in information technology, law and psychology, taxation, and international law, among other fields.[citation needed]

Rankings and honors[edit]

The 2015 edition of U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools" increased Villanova Law's ranking to 87nd in the country overall.[8] In previous years, U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools" ranked Villanova Law #93 (2014), #101 (2013), #81 (2012), #67 (2011), and #61 (2010).

Class Statistics[edit]

Fall 2012 Entering Class Profile:[9]

  • Total Number Applicants: 2333
  • Total Enrolled: 220
  • In-state: 49%
  • Out-of-state: 51%
  • Students of Color: 17%
  • Undergraduate Schools Represented: 121


  • Median GPA: 3.51
  • 25th Percentile GPA: 3.29
  • 75th Percentile GPA: 3.69


  • Median LSAT: 158
  • 25th Percentile LSAT: 155
  • 75th Percentile LSAT: 161


Students of the Juris Doctor (JD) program are involved in preparing and publishing the Villanova Law Review, as well as other law journals. Members of the law review are selected on the basis of academic rank or through an open writing competition. The Villanova Law Review was first published in 1956.[citation needed]

The law journals are:

The Villanova Environmental Law Journal publishes both student and outside articles dealing with environmental issues.

The Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal contains articles prepared by students, practitioners, and professors that concern both sports and entertainment law.[10]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Student activities[edit]


Each year, second and third-year students practice lawyering skills through the Client Interviewing and Counseling Competition. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Reimels Moot Court Competition once during their time at Villanova, which is where students are required to write an appellate brief and compete in multiple rounds of oral arguments. The competition is run by the Villanova Law Moot Court Board.

Student organizations[edit]

  • Asian-Pacific American Law Students
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Civil Rights Law Society
  • Corporate Law Society
  • Criminal Law Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Family Law Society
  • OUTLaw (Gay-Straight Alliance)
  • Health Law Society
  • Intellectual Property Protection Society
  • International Law Society
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Labor and Employment Law Society
  • Latin American Law Student Association
  • Justinian Society
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Phi Delta Phi
  • Pro Bono Society
  • St. Thomas More Society
  • South Asian Law Students Association
  • Sports and Entertainment Law Society
  • Tax Law Society
  • The Women’s Caucus
  • The Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program

Library and physical facilities[edit]

In the law library, students have access to 130 computer workstations located in a computer lab and throughout the library’s stacks. There are an additional 40 computers dedicated to student usage throughout the remainder of the law school. In addition, all students with laptops can access Villanova University’s high-speed internet connection and all of the technology resources throughout the law school via wired and wireless connections. Finally, the law library contains more than 500,000 volume-equivalents in books and microforms, along with subscriptions to numerous legal databases to which students have ready access.[citation needed]

Career strategy and advancement[edit]

The mission of the Career Strategy and Advancement Office is to provide career planning education, recruitment programs, and individual counseling as the foundation for future career development and satisfaction of the students. The office's features and programs include three attorney-advisors, including a public service/pro bono specialist; an open-door policy, including a daily “on call” advisor for walk-ins and “quick questions”; small group workshops for 1Ls; dozens of career workshops and panel programs on topics ranging from interviews, résumés, and networking, to public interest careers, judicial clerkships, and a multitude of practice specialty areas; “Practice Specialty Expo,” which brings nearly 100 attorneys to the law school for a networking experience; recruitment programs throughout the year, including an array of employers in private practice (large and small firms), government, nonprofits, the judiciary, and corporations; special recruitment programs designed to enhance diversity in the profession; job fairs targeting unique geographic or practice preferences; and job search coaching for new graduates on the job market.[citation needed]


According to Villanova's official 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 70% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[31] According to Temple's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 65% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[32] Temple's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 23.4%, 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.[33]

ABA Employment Summary for 2014 Graduates[34]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
Employed - J.D. Advantage
Employed - Professional Position
Employed - Non-Professional Position
Employed - Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred
Unemployed - Not Seeking
Unemployed - Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 220 Graduates

Pro bono programs[edit]

Pro bono programs, such as the clinics and other projects, provide students with the opportunity to serve the disadvantaged while developing skills and positive relationships with practicing attorneys.[35]

Lawyering Together[edit]

Villanova Law's student body has the opportunity to participate in the "Lawyering Together" program. Through the program, law students are matched with volunteer attorneys who assist clients referred through Philadelphia pro bono organizations.[36] The referring organizations include Senior Law Center, Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program (VIP) and the Support Center for Child Advocates.[37]

Recent Deans[edit]

Mark Sargent[edit]

Sargent graduated magna cum laude in 1973 from Wesleyan, received an M.A. in Medieval Studies in 1975 from Cornell University, and graduated from Cornell Law School in 1978. He began teaching law in 1980, was the Piper & Marbury Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Law & Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Maryland School of Law. He has also previously taught law at American University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Baltimore Schools of Law. [38]

In 2006, Dean Sargent worked with the Pepper Hamilton LLP to launch a diversity initiative that included two full tuition scholarships for minority students and hiring two Villanova Law School minority students each year as first-year summer associates and then as part-time law clerks during their second or third academic years. [39] In July 2009, Villanova Law School Dean Mark Sargent resigned, citing medical and personal reasons.[40] A week later, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Sargent was connected with the solicitation of prostitution, although he was never charged.[41] In February 2011, Villanova's newly appointed dean, John Gotanda, revealed that a Law School committee had determined that the under the leadership of the former Dean Mark Sargent, false data had been reported to the American Bar Association about incoming students for several years before 2010. This resulted in censure by the ABA as well as a 2-year probation by the AALS.[42] Villanova began a comprehensive internal investigation and commissioned an independent audit by Ropes & Gray to determine the nature and scope of the false reporting.[43]

John Gotanda[edit]

Dean John Gotanda became dean at Villanova University School of Law on January 1, 2011 after having previously served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Faculty Research, and Director of the J.D./M.B.A. Program.[44] Dean Gotanda received his J.D. from the William S. Richardson School of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Hawaii Law Review. Before coming to Villanova in 1994 he was a staff attorney with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He also worked as an associate attorney with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., and later with Goodwin, Procter & Hoar in Boston.[45]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Stats and Facts". Fall 2010 Entering Class Profile. Villanova University School of Law. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Official Press Release". Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  3. ^ "Press Release". Villanova Law Brings Home the Gold. Villanova Law School. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "U.S. News and World Report Law School Rankings". Retrieved 2012-03-21. 
  9. ^ Stats and Facts: Villanova Law School [2] VLS website
  10. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Richard Joseph Arcara". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 10 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Kelly Ayotte". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Lewis R. Carluzzo". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "J. Scot Chadwick". wayback machine. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  15. ^ "Mary Little Cooper". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello to run for Jim Gerlachs seat". Times Herald. Retrieved November 4, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Craig Dally". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "Michael J. Fitzgerald". ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "David F. Girard-diCarlo". Notable Names Data Base. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "William J. Green, III". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Joseph Hare". 2013 Zoom Information, Inc. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Matthew F. McHugh". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Jeff Moorad". Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  24. ^ "Ed Rendell". National Governors Association. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  25. ^ "Marjorie Rendell". Notable Names Data Base. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  26. ^ "Matthew J. Ryan". 1997-2013 PG Publishing Co., Inc. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  27. ^ "William H. Ryan, Jr.". 2013 Bradford PA Today. News & Information. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "Donald William Snyder". wayback machine. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  29. ^ "Richard Trumka". Notable Names Data Base. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  30. ^ "Charles Widger". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  31. ^ "Employment Data". 
  32. ^ "Annual Placement Reports" (PDF). 
  33. ^ "Temple University Profile". 
  34. ^ "Employment Summary for 2014 Graduates". 
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ David Lat (7/3/09) Dean Mark Sargent - You Can Call Him John Above the Law. Retrieved 2/5/11.
  41. ^ Jeff Blumenthal (7/7/09) Villanova dean resigned over prostitution Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved 2/5/11.
  42. ^ "2011 ABA Public Censure Documents". Villanova University School of Law. Retrieved 14 December 2012. 
  43. ^ Martha Neil (2/4/11) [3] ABA Journal. Retrieved 2/5/11.
  44. ^
  45. ^

External links[edit]