Penn State Dickinson Law

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Dickinson Law
Penn State Dickinson Law logo
MottoPractice Greatness
Parent schoolDickinson College
Pennsylvania State University
Established1834; 189 years ago (1834) (as the Dickinson School of Law)
School typePublic law school
DeanDanielle M. Conway
LocationCarlisle, Pennsylvania, United States
40°11′58″N 77°11′50″W / 40.1994°N 77.1973°W / 40.1994; -77.1973Coordinates: 40°11′58″N 77°11′50″W / 40.1994°N 77.1973°W / 40.1994; -77.1973
USNWR ranking58th (tie-2022)[1]

Penn State Dickinson Law, formerly Dickinson School of Law, is a public law school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It is one of two separately accredited law schools of The Pennsylvania State University. According to Penn State Dickinson Law's 2019 ABA-required disclosures, 95% of the Class of 2019 are employed nine months after graduation in positions that either require them to pass the bar or for which a J.D. degree is an advantage. [2]


Official nameDickinson School of Law
DesignatedOctober 20, 1949[3]
LocationS. College St. near South St. at Law School, Carlisle
Marker TextOldest law school in Pennsylvania; founded in 1834 by the Honorable John Reed, eminent jurist, and author of "Pennsylvania Blackstone." Andrew Curtin, Civil War Governor, was one of earliest graduates.

The Law School offers J.D. and LL.M. degrees in law and hosts visiting scholars. The Law School was opened by Judge John Reed in 1834 as the law department of Dickinson College, named for Founding Father John Dickinson.[4] It received an independent charter in 1890 and ended all affiliation with the college in 1917.[5]

In 2000, Penn State and The Dickinson School of Law completed a merger that began in 1997. From 2006 until 2014, Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law operated as a single law school with two campuses – one in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and one in University Park, Pennsylvania. In the summer of 2014, Penn State received approval from the ABA to operate the two campuses as two distinct law schools (now known as Penn State Law and Dickinson Law), both of which share the history and achievement of The Dickinson School of Law. In November 2022, Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi announced a task force to implement the recommendation that the two schools be merged into a single entity, with the preferred location to be at the Dickinson campus. [6]

Dickinson Law Exterior Night

Lewis Katz Hall[edit]

Lewis Katz Hall is named in honor of philanthropist and businessman Lewis Katz for his $15 million gift to the Law School as the principal donor to the construction and renovation project that began in January 2008. Completed in January 2010, the transition marked the end of a two-year, $52 million construction project which included the addition of the elegant, new Lewis Katz Hall which leverages advanced high-definition, digital audiovisual telecommunications systems to connect Dickinson Law to not only Penn State's University Park campus but to locations around the world.

The project included an extensive renovation of historic Trickett Hall, the Law School's home since 1918, which houses the Law School's library, named in honor of H. Laddie Montague, Jr., a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and trial attorney who has committed $4 million to the school. As a design companion to Penn State Law's Lewis Katz Building, Dickinson Law's Lewis Katz Hall was renovated and rebuilt to comply with LEED Silver standards. The facilities feature state-of-the-art classrooms, a courtroom/auditorium, an exterior courtyard, and an environmentally friendly vegetated green roof.


Dickinson Law's required 1L curriculum begins with the fundamentals of national and transnational law. During their first year, 1Ls must complete courses in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Legal Argument and Factual Persuasion, and Torts. First-year students also take Practicing Law in a Global World: Context and Competencies I, Problem Solving I: The Lawyer and Client, and Problem Solving II: The Lawyer as Writer. Students are required to participate in hands-on training beginning in the first year of the program with simulated client-intake interviews under the supervision of a licensed attorney and culminating in 12 credits of experiential learning upon graduation. This is in addition to required courses that include two semesters of research and writing.

At Dickinson Law, students must earn at least six of 12 required experiential learning credits in a real-world practice setting, such as a certified legal internship within one of the Law School’s in-house legal clinics; an internship with a government, nonprofit or private office; or full immersion in the Semester-in-Practice program; or an international venue. The second and third years at Dickinson Law are distinguished by “The Lawyer As...”: electives and experiential learning opportunities organized by the way lawyers use their training. Required courses after completion of the first year include Problem Solving III: The Lawyer as Persuader and Practicing Law in a Global World: Context and Competencies II.

Students may earn up to six credits towards the J.D. degree from approved graduate-level courses offered by other Penn State departments. Students also may enroll in one of an array of joint degree programs, graduating with both a J.D. from Dickinson Law and a master’s degree from a coordinate department of Penn State. Current joint degree offerings include a J.D./M.B.A., J.D./M.P.A., J.D./M.P.H., J.D./DRPH. Dickinson Law also offers certificate programs in which students may hone their expertise in a specific area by taking a prescribed combination of core and elective courses. Current certificate offerings include Corporate Compliance Certificate, Cyber, Privacy, and Data Security Certificate, Government Affairs, Health Law and Policy, and Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

Dickinson Law Programs[edit]

  • Semester-in-Washington, D.C. Program (federal government)
  • Semester-in-Harrisburg Program (state government)
  • Semester-in-San Francisco/Silicon Valley Program (cyber, technology and intellectual property law)
  • Semester-in-Los Angeles (sports and entertainment law)
  • Semester-in-Texas (energy law)
  • Semester-in-New York City (securities regulation and compliance, or entertainment law)
  • International Justice Program at the Hague, Netherlands (international criminal law)
  • Center for Public Interest Advocacy
  • Children's Advocacy Clinic
  • Community Law Clinic
  • Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic with Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Law journals[edit]

Dickinson Law features three scholarly journals, including the Dickinson Law Review. The Law Review was founded in 1897, and is one of the oldest continually published law school journals in the country. In addition, the school also publishes the Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs, and The Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation.

Student organizations[edit]

Penn State Dickinson Law has the following student organizations:

  • American Constitution Society
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Business Law Society
  • Christian Law Community of Dickinson Law
  • Criminal Law Society (CLS)
  • Dickinson Law Intellectual Property Law Society
  • Federalist Society (Fed Soc)
  • Health Law and Policy Society
  • International Law Society
  • Latinx Law Students Association (LLSA)
  • Middle Eastern Law Students Association (MELSA)
  • Military Law Caucus (MLC)
  • Moot Court Board
  • OutLaw
  • Phi Alpha Delta — Burr Chapter (PAD)
  • Public Interest Law Fund (PILF)
  • Speakers Trust Fund
  • Sports and Entertainment Law Society
  • Student Bar Association (SBA)
  • Women’s Law Caucus (WLC)

Dickinson Law students also participate in a number of moot court competitions and are active in intramural sports leagues, including flag football, basketball, and volleyball. Dickinson Law also sponsors a softball team that competes in a national tournament each spring along with nearly 1,500 law students from across the country. Also, students have coached soccer, lacrosse, track, swimming, and field hockey teams at the nearby Dickinson College and other local youth leagues.


According to Penn State Dickinson Law's official 2019 ABA-required disclosures, 95% of the class of 2019 obtained full-time, long-term, J.D.-required employment nine months after graduation.[7]


The total cost of attendance (including tuition and related expenses) at Dickinson Law to earn a J.D. or LL.M. degree during the 2020-2021 academic year is $67,656.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]


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  2. ^ Penn State Dickinson Law. "ABA Required Disclosures" (PDF). American Bar Association.
  3. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  4. ^ "John Dickinson". Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  5. ^ "The Dickinson Story". The Dickinson Story. Dickinson College.
  6. ^ Thompson, Charles (November 29, 2022). "Penn State wants its 2 law schools 'back together.' Now it has to decide what that means". Retrieved November 30, 2022.
  7. ^ "Employment Data Penn State's Dickinson Law" (PDF). Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  8. ^ "Tuition and Expenses Penn State's Dickinson Law". Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  9. ^ "Air Force Brigadier General gets two step promotion to rank of three star general". Ground Report. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  10. ^ "Federal Courts choose four Penn State Law students for clerkships | Penn State University". Retrieved 2019-03-11.
  11. ^ Congressional Record Vol. 148-Part 11: Proceedings and Debates of the 107th Congress Second Session. Government Printing Office.
  12. ^ "Pennsylvania Governor John Sydney Fine". National Governors Association. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  13. ^ "FITZPATRICK, Michael G., (1963 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "GERLACH, Jim, (1955 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  15. ^ "Biographical Directory of Federal Judges Gibson, Kim R." Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  16. ^ "GLENN, Milton Willits, (1903–1967)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  17. ^ "HAND, Thomas Millet, (1902–1956)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  18. ^ "HEINER, Daniel Brodhead, (1854–1944)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  19. ^ "Pennsylvania Governor Arthur Horace James". National Governors Association. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  20. ^ "KANJORSKI, Paul E., (1937–)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  21. ^ "MARINO, Thomas A., (1952–)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  22. ^ Schackner, Bill (October 31, 2010). "Obituary: John C. Pettit / Former longtime Washington County district attorney". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  23. ^ "RIDGE, Thomas Joseph, (1945 - )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  24. ^ "Andrew Sacks, Attorney Profile". Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  25. ^ "SANTORUM, Richard John (Rick), (1958–)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  26. ^ "SASSCER, Lansdale Ghiselin, (1893–1964)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  27. ^ "Biographical Directory of Federal Judges: Vanaskie, Thomas Ignatius". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved December 26, 2012.

External links[edit]