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University of Pennsylvania Law School


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Contact Information

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: 215.898.7400
Fax: 215.898.9606
Email: contactadmissions@law.upenn.edu
Website: www.law.upenn.edu
ABA Data: www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/ABA.php

Introduction

The hallmarks of the Penn Law experience are a cross-disciplinary, globally focused legal education and a vibrant and collegial community. This pedagogical focus prepares graduates to navigate an increasingly complex world as leaders and influential decision makers. As one of the nation’s leading law schools, Penn Law is part of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the world’s preeminent research universities. Our faculty collaborate with renowned scholars across Penn and throughout the world. Students enrich their legal educations with study in other disciplines via courses and clinics, certificate programs, joint-degree programs, and public interest projects.

As part of the rigors of legal studies at Penn Law and unique among top law schools, our students truly own their educational experiences, actively contributing to a collaborative and supportive environment where they learn to solve problems while developing critical professional skills. By taking risks in the classroom, students learn to challenge their thinking. Working effectively with colleagues on and off campus, they learn about management, leadership, and networking. And by investing in the full life of Penn Law, they discover their strengths and hone their talents.

Faculty

Penn Law faculty are distinctive in the depth and breadth of their intellectual interests, the quality of their scholarship, and their teaching excellence. Close to 70 percent of faculty members hold advanced degrees in fields other than law, and approximately 50 percent hold secondary appointments or an affiliation with another school in the university. Research institutes, centers, and programs foster innovation and attract leading scholars and practitioners from around the globe to address critical legal questions and problems affecting society in such areas as business, environment, international and comparative studies, health, intellectual property, regulation, and technology.

The Law School enjoys a low student-to-faculty ratio, and faculty employ an open-door policy and encourage students to join in their research endeavors.

Physical Facilities and Library

Penn Law occupies the finest urban law school campus in the country. Our four fully connected buildings around a courtyard are designed to encourage collaboration among students, faculty, and staff. State-of-the art facilities include Gold LEED-certified Golkin Hall, a preeminent library, high-tech classrooms, student lounges, clinics, institutes, a courtroom, an auditorium, and a conference center. Close proximity to other schools and departments within Penn’s campus enhances the cross-disciplinary program.

Biddle Library is a modern complex with expansive areas, group study rooms, computer labs, and places for quiet study. Librarians teach legal research courses and work closely with students and faculty.

Curriculum

Penn Law’s cross-disciplinary curriculum is unrivaled among the leading law schools, providing future lawyers with insights and skills in the various fields in which their clients operate. Students may take classes and earn more than 35 certificates or joint/dual degrees throughout Penn. The 1L curriculum includes foundational courses, two electives, and legal practice skills instruction taught individually and in small-group courses. Upper-level students choose electives ranging from standards, such as corporations and evidence, to introductory courses in specialized areas of the law and seminars in emerging fields. As part of their JD degree, students may supplement their legal education with four courses at Penn’s esteemed graduate and professional schools.

We also offer the Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Comparative Law (LLCM), Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD), and Master in Law (ML).

Joint-Degree, Certificate, and Clinical Programs

Penn’s three-year Francis J. & Wm. Polk Carey JD/MBA Program (Wharton) is the country’s first fully integrated, three-year program offered on one campus by elite law and business schools. A first-of-its-kind Wharton Certificate in Management is also available to all students upon completion of a three-semester-hour course offered at Wharton. The Law and Technology program allows students to earn a JD/MSE (Master of Science in Engineering) or JD/MCIT (Master of Computing and Information Technology) in partnership with the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Penn offers accelerated, three-year JD/master’s degrees in Education, Social Policy, Bioethics, Criminology, International Studies, and Islamic Studies. Other degree programs include City and Regional Planning, Environmental Studies, Public Administration, Public Health, and Social Work. Additionally, Penn offers joint JD/PhD degrees in American Legal History, Philosophy, and Psychology. We also offer dual master’s degrees in Finance and Law with Sciences Po in Paris and a JD/LLM with Hong Kong University.

Students can also earn certificates in Neuroscience, Business Economics and Public Policy, Environmental Policy or Science, Energy Management and Policy, Nonprofit Leadership, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Global Human Rights, East Asian Studies, Middle East and Islamic Studies, Nonprofit Administration, Latin American and Latino Studies, and other individually designed programs.

Our clinical programs are designed to help students build strong relationships with a diverse array of actual clients and develop essential lawyering skills in a real-world professional setting. Penn Law’s nine live-client clinics include opportunities in litigation; business transactions; entrepreneurship; child advocacy; mediation; legislation; international, appellate, and Supreme Court advocacy; and intellectual property and technology law. The Law School also offers extensive externship opportunities in law firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations throughout the Northeast Corridor, from New York to Washington, DC.

International Engagement

Penn Law’s curriculum is infused with a global perspective at all levels. Through our extensive international law offerings, students have access to world-class faculty and globally recognized visiting scholars; joint degrees and certificates; overseas fellowship and internship opportunities; the Transnational Legal Clinic; partnerships with UN agencies; and the Global Research Seminar, an intensive international course where students and faculty investigate contemporary legal challenges, culminating in meetings with experts and stakeholders during an overseas research trip.

The study-abroad program offers opportunities in Tokyo, Beijing, Barcelona, Paris, and Hong Kong. This wide array of opportunities allows students to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world settings abroad.

Public Service

Penn Law has a long-standing commitment to public service. All students participate in our ABA award-winning pro bono program to gain practical experience and professional skills while implementing solutions to complex societal problems that benefit underserved causes, communities, and government agencies. The Toll Public Interest Center is dedicated to ensuring that all students graduate with valuable pro bono experience and a commitment to service wherever their legal careers take them. The center offers strong mentoring to public interest students and oversees two dozen student initiatives as well as the Toll Public Interest Scholars Program.

We are at the forefront of support for public service careers, with scholarships, guaranteed summer funding, fellowships for postgraduate work, and a loan repayment assistance program that leads the country, permitting graduates to have significant debt eliminated.

Student Body Profile and Activities

Our JD students are drawn from 41 states; Washington, DC; 13 foreign countries; and over 223 undergraduate institutions, creating one of the nation’s most diverse student bodies. About 7 percent of students hold advanced degrees and, on average, two-thirds of the student body have taken time off before law school. The diversity of the community, including more than 100 LLMs from around the globe, creates a dynamic and engaging classroom environment. Over 90 student groups provide countless opportunities for students to work and socialize together. Activities cover a wide spectrum of academic interest areas, identity groups, political affiliations, sports, journals, moot court and mock trial programs, and service organizations.

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review is the nation’s oldest law review and among the most distinguished. Penn Law's tradition of exceptional journal scholarship also includes the Journal of Business Law, Journal of Constitutional Law, Asian Law Review, Journal of International Law, and Journal of Law and Social Change.

Penn Law’s nationally recognized moot court program is sustained by great student interest in appellate advocacy. Our many mock trial teams travel and compete successfully throughout the country and overseas in many different competitions.

Admission

The demand for a Penn Law education has risen dramatically. In 2016–2017, over 5,500 applicants sought admission to the JD program.

The Law School evaluates each application holistically. While academic excellence is of primary importance, we take all factors into consideration and do not apply numeric LSAT or GPA cutoffs. Instead, each file is read by members of the Admissions Committee. Letters of recommendation, examples of written expression, and a résumé are also considered to develop a full picture of each applicant.

We begin processing applications on September 1. Round 1 early decision applications received by November 15 and completed by December 1 will be considered for our early decision (binding) program; these applicants receive a decision by the end of December. Round 2 early decision applications received by January 7 and completed by January 15 will receive a decision by January 31. The regular admission deadline is March 1. Our program is limited to fall semester, full-time students.

First-year students who have achieved excellent records in a full-time AALS and ABA law school program may apply as transfer students by June 15 following their first year. Transfer decisions are made on a rolling basis, beginning in mid-June.

Housing

Students enjoy a green university campus combined with an exciting and affordable urban experience minutes from downtown Philadelphia, one of the nation’s most historic and liveliest cities. Students select from a wide range of on- and off-campus living arrangements.

Expenses and Financial Aid

Penn Law is committed to making the benefits of a legal education accessible and affordable for all students. We maintain a substantial need-based grant and loan aid program, offering over half of the student body financial assistance. Penn Law guarantees summer funding for public service-related work and offers generous loan forgiveness and repayment programs for graduates who pursue public interest careers. We also consider all admitted students for merit-based scholarships.

Career Services

Our Career Planning and Professionalism office provides students with a competitive advantage throughout their careers. Students have access to a vast array of legal employers, nationally and internationally, as well as to Penn alumni worldwide. A wealth of resources and programs assist students in determining their professional goals and preparing for rewarding careers.

Penn Law’s Center on Professionalism offers students programming to develop critical executive, management, and leadership skills and expand students’ knowledge of the competencies needed for success in the profession.

Penn Law graduates enjoy fulfilling and rewarding careers in every arena of practice, business, and advocacy. In recent years, graduates began their careers in private practice, judicial clerkships, government and public interest organizations, business and industry, and academia.

Applicant Profile

Penn Law has chosen not to include an applicant profile because LSAT and GPA figures alone do not capture the qualities that make our students so dynamic. We value our students’ diverse backgrounds, rich life experiences, leadership, community service, professional accomplishments, advanced degrees and coursework, motivation, initiative, and exemplary writing skills. While admission to Penn Law requires an excellent academic record, the Admissions Committee approaches each application holistically and takes all of these factors into consideration.