University of Pennsylvania Law School
|University of Pennsylvania|
|Parent school||University of Pennsylvania|
|School type||Private Law School|
|Parent endowment||$13.8 billion (June 30, 2018)|
|Location||3501 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA|
|Bar pass rate||99.61% (2019)|
|ABA profile||Penn Law Profile|
The University of Pennsylvania Law School (commonly known as Penn Law or UPenn Law) is the law school of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is among the most selective and oldest law schools in the United States, and 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.), Master in Law (M.L.), and Doctor of the Science of Law (S.J.D.).
The entering class typically consists of approximately 250 students, and admission is highly competitive.  Penn Law's July 2018 weighted first time bar passage rate was 76.8%. 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. In the class entering in 2018, over half of students were women, over a third identified as persons of color, and 10% of students enrolled with an advanced degree.
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. Students also publish The Regulatory Review, a regulatory news, analysis, and commentary that publishes daily. 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.
Based on student survey responses, ABA, and NALP data, 99.2% of the Class of 2018 obtained full-time employment after graduation, with a median salary of $180,000, as 76% of students joined law firms and 11% obtained judicial clerkships. The law school was ranked # 2 of all law schools nationwide by the National Law Journal in terms of sending the highest percentage of 2018 graduates to the 100 largest law firms in the US (60%).
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 the 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 the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, one of the most-cited law journals in the world.
In 1881 the first woman was admitted to the school, Carrie Burnham Kilgore, and in 1888 the first African American man graduated from the school, Aaron Albert Mossell. 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 Streets. 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 who 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 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, in 1927 the law school graduated with a J.D. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, who was 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; she is now a professor at Harvard Law School. From 1974 to 1978 the Dean of the law school was Louis Pollak, who later became a federal judge.
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 115,000-square-foot (10,700 m2) multi-purpose sports activity area), the Institute of Contemporary Art, a performing arts center, and area shops.
For the class entering in the fall of 2014, 16% out of 5,859 applicants were offered admission, with 250 matriculating. For the class entering in 2018 the 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the entering class were 164 and 171, respectively, with a median of 170. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.49 and 3.95, respectively, with a median of 3.89.
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), in International Business and Law (the Themis Joint Certificate with ESADE Law School, Barcelona, Spain), and in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN). 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:
- University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, one of the top 50 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
- East Asia Law Review, f/k/a Chinese Law and Policy Review
U.S. Supreme Court clerkships
Since 2000, Penn has had seven alumni serve as judicial clerks at the U.S. Supreme Court. This record gives Penn a ranking of 10th among all law schools for supplying such law clerks for the period 2000-2019. 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.
Based on student survey responses, ABA, and NALP data, 99.2% of the Class of 2018 obtained full-time employment after graduation, with a median salary of $180,000, as 76% of students joined law firms and 11% obtained judicial clerkships.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition ($61,608), fees, and living expenses) for the 2018-2019 academic year was $95,400.
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 J. Morse, Paul H. Robinson, David Rudovsky). Some notable Penn Law faculty members include:
- Anita L. Allen, deputy dean and privacy law and contemporary ethics scholar
- Tom Baker, deputy dean and insurance law scholar
- Stephanos Bibas, criminal law scholar, current judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- 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
- Michael Knoll, real estate and tax law
- Curtis R. Reitz, commercial law professor, and Pennsylvania representative to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws
- Dorothy E. Roberts, race, gender, and the law
- Kermit Roosevelt, constitutional law scholar and novelist
- David Rudovsky, civil rights and criminal defense attorney
- Chris William Sanchirico, tax policy, evidence, and tax law scholar
- Anthony Joseph Scirica, current judge, and former chief judge, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Amy Wax, social welfare law and policy scholar
- Tobias Barrington Wolff, civil procedure and constitutional law scholar
- Christopher Yoo, law and technology scholar
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), and Michael Trebilcock (Distinguished University Professor at the University of Toronto).
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, 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 who 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 who 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 and 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 (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 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, such as 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), Lisa Scottoline (author of legal thrillers), and Moe Jaffe (bandleader and songwriter; class of 1926). John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy, graduated from the law school in 1892.
Toll Public Interest Center
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.
Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law
The Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL or Center) is a non-partisan, interdisciplinary research and policy institute at the University of Pennsylvania. CERL focuses on the application of rule of law and ethics to pressing issues of national security, veterans' affairs, armed conflict, and transnational crises. CERL was co-founded in 2012 by Professor Claire Finkelstein, Algernon Biddle Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and by Mr. William Craven, Chairman of Federal Systems and the Center's first Executive Board Chair, principally as a direct response to the interrogation policies and abuses in the post-9/11 era, including at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib Prison.
The central mission of CERL is to protect and promote rule of law values and ethical principles in the face of international challenges such as conflict with violent non-state actors, (seemingly) irrational and dangerous enemies, and transnational security risks. Its primary means of accomplishing this is to foster an exchange of ideas among academics, analysts, and practitioners regarding the interplay of rule of law/ethics and national and international security matters; to share the products of those discussions through published volumes or in open forums to raise public consciousness; and to prepare briefing papers and otherwise disseminate its views to educate policymakers as well as to impact public discussion.
Much of CERL's work to date has revolved around setting up two annual roundtable, interdisciplinary conferences that bring together scholars and practitioners to consult on critical global issues relating to national or international security and the rule of law. Articles authored for the conference are then compiled with other writings into published volumes by Oxford University Press. Other CERL events or activities include public symposia, keynote addresses, off-site oral briefings, a summer internship program, and book discussions.
CERL's event topics have been wide-ranging and include, for example, The Ethics of Autonomous Weapons Systems (November 2014), Preventing and Treating the Invisible Wounds of War: Combat Trauma and Psychological Injury (December 2015), The Ethics of Negotiation in Armed Conflict (April 2016), Using Law to Fight Terror: Legal Approaches to Combating Violent Non-State Actors (September 2016), Preserving Art and Culture in Times of War (April 2017), and Foreign Interference with Democratic Institutions (April 2017). Events are generally held at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, but sometimes at other Philadelphia-area venues, such as the National Constitution Center, the Penn Museum, and the Perry World House.
Notable speakers or participants at these events have included: General James "Hoss" Cartwright (a Four-Star General who served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from August 2007 to August 2011), Dr. Haleh Esfandiari (the Iranian-American Founding Director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Middle East Program), Ambassador Dennis Ross (Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff under President George W. Bush and Special Middle East Coordinator under President Bill Clinton), Ms. Irina Bokova (Bulgarian Director-General of UNESCO from 2009-2017), Mr. David Sanger (Chief White House Correspondent for The New York Times), and General Michael Hayden (former Director of the CIA and Director of the NSA).
CERL publications to date include: Targeted Killings: Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World (OUP, April 2012),Cyberwar: Law and Ethics for Virtual Conflicts (OUP, May 2015), and Weighing Lives in War (OUP, October 2017). Several others are forthcoming based on prior CERL conferences: Sovereignty and the New Executive Authority, Ethical Dilemmas in the Global Defense Industry, The Ethics of Autonomous Weapons Systems, Preventing and Treating the Invisible Wounds of War: Combat Trauma and Psychological Injury, and The Ethics of Negotiation in Armed Conflict. CERL also issued its first policy briefing paper, in January 2017, entitled, "The Intersection of Opioid Usage and Veteran Mental Health Challenges."
CERL's non-fiduciary Executive Board consists of a high-level mix of former U.S. government officials, law professors, philosophy professors, businesspersons, and practicing lawyers. The current Chair of the Executive Board is Paul G. Haaga, Jr., formerly the Chairman of the Board, Capital Research and Management Company and Vice Chair of National Public Radio (NPR). CERL also benefits from advisory input from a roster of experts drawn from the ranks of academia, the military, legal practice, and business, including Vijay Kumar, Dean of the Penn Engineering School; Stuart Diamond, author of a best-selling book on negotiations; and Jeff McMahan, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford.
In March 2017, CERL hired its inaugural Executive Director, David A. Sadoff, who formerly served as Deputy Legal Adviser and Director for Intelligence Reform at the National Security Council (NSC), Assistant General Counsel at the CIA, and General Counsel to the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).
CERL is a not-for-profit that is supported financially by individual donors; corporations; foundations; other centers, institutes, and programs on and off the Penn campus; and by the Penn Law School and the University of Pennsylvania's Office of the Provost.
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