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Widener University Commonwealth Law School


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Contact Information

3800 Vartan Way
PO Box 69380
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9380

Phone: 717.541.3903
Fax: 717.541.3999
Email: admitcwlaw@widener.edu
Website: commonwealthlaw.widener.edu
ABA Data: commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/why-widener/consumer-information

Introduction

For over 25 years, Widener University Commonwealth Law School, known until recently as the Harrisburg Campus of Widener University School of Law, has established a remarkable story of progress as the only law school in Pennsylvania’s state capital. We offer a practice-ready curriculum with flexible scheduling options, including full- and part-time study in the day or evening, to fit almost any student’s schedule. With small class sizes and concentration programs unmatched in career-nurturing initiatives, all led by a nationally and internationally recognized faculty who count teaching as their top priority, Widener Law Commonwealth students receive a rich and rewarding legal education.

Library and Physical Facilities

The Law Library houses one of the most significant legal collections in the region. The library is also a selective depository for United States government documents. Our dedicated library staff is focused on ensuring that our students have the legal research skills necessary for practice.

The scenic 19-acre campus is located just north of downtown Harrisburg in a quiet suburban setting, but only minutes from the state capital. Recent renovations include collaborative study rooms and an information commons located in the Law Library.

Hands-On Training and Concentration Programs

Widener Law Commonwealth is committed to providing a comprehensive legal education that includes clinical practice, numerous externship opportunities, and practical learning coursework. Our four clinical programs in administrative law, consumer law, elder law, and family justice allow students to represent actual clients before courts and administrative boards, while under the supervision of clinical faculty. A large number of supervised externships permit students to work as lawyers-in-training with state and county government agencies and nonprofit corporations in numerous states throughout the country. An extensive judicial externship program places students with state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels throughout Pennsylvania. Additional public interest service opportunities are also available.

The Public Interest Initiative cultivates pro bono volunteer opportunities for students in public interest agencies and government offices throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; offers counseling and guidance to students who seek careers in public interest law; and recognizes students and faculty for exceptional contributions to public service.

Widener Law Commonwealth offers programs for specialized study in law and government, business advising, advocacy, and environmental law:

  • The Law and Government Institute provides hands-on experience with the operation and structure of government, as well as practice before government agencies. Certificates in administrative law, constitutional law, and legislation are available.
  • The Environmental Law and Sustainability Center is nationally and internationally renowned for its scholarship and advocacy on sustainable development and climate change. Students earn a certificate, offered in conjunction with the Law and Government Institute, allowing them to explore the impact of the legislative process on environmental law.
  • The Business Advising Certificate focuses on the many legal issues, including taxation, financing, and employment management, affecting small and midsize businesses, which employ roughly half of US workers.
  • The Advocacy Certificate offers specialized courses and practice opportunities for students interested in a career in litigation or dispute resolution.

Widener Law Commonwealth also offers a seven-day Intensive Trial Advocacy Program supervised by outstanding local trial lawyers and judges.

In conjunction with Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Widener Law Commonwealth offers a JD/MSLS joint-degree program for aspiring law librarians.

Summer Study-Abroad Opportunities

Students in good standing at Widener Law Commonwealth may participate in a summer-abroad program in Rome, Italy, through an agreement with Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Student Activities

Selected Widener Law Commonwealth students publish the Widener Law Journal and the online Widener Journal of Law, Economics, and Race. Students compete in regional and national interschool moot court and trial competitions. Student organizations provide opportunities for intrascholastic and interscholastic competitions, public service, and association with others who share the same interests and affinities.

Admission

While there are no fixed admission criteria, great weight is given to the applicant’s LSAT score and undergraduate grade-point average. The Enrollment Management Committee carefully considers an applicant’s personal statement. Graduate degrees, writing samples, extracurricular activities, and community and professional service may enhance the application. The law school encourages those with diverse backgrounds to apply. Applications for admission should be received by May 15. Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis, and applicants are encouraged to apply early.

The admission process is paperless. All applications and supporting documents must be submitted electronically via the School of Law website or LSAC.org. All communications to applicants, including admission decisions, are provided electronically through the applicant’s online status check on Widener’s Admissions website.

Each summer, Widener conducts the Trial Admissions Program (TAP) for a small number of carefully selected applicants who show potential for success in law school despite a relatively low score on the LSAT or a lower undergraduate grade-point average. TAP is a conditional admittance program. Participants who successfully complete the six-week program are offered admission to the fall entering class.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office is committed to assisting students throughout the financial aid process. In addition to a competitive merit scholarship program with awards offered to nearly all accepted applicants at the time of admission, Widener Law Commonwealth provides the opportunity to borrow through our low-interest-rate Institutional Loan Program to students who academically excel in their first year of law school. Widener Law Commonwealth participates in all federal financial aid programs, including the Federal Work-Study and Federal Direct Loans programs.

Career Development

The Career Development Office is strongly committed to helping students obtain the positions that best suit their individual needs and ambitions. Widener Law Commonwealth’s employment statistics are evidence of its success in helping graduates find a niche in the contemporary job market. Our alumni have become state, federal, and administrative judges; members of the legislature; partners in major regional law firms; hospital administrators; and legal educators.

Applicant Profile

Prior to 2016, Applicant Profile Grids contained data for fall applicants only. The grids now include applicants who were admitted for all terms in academic year 2016. By comparing your LSAT score and GPA with those of the admitted applicants whose data is reflected on this grid, you can get a general sense of your competitiveness at this school.

Note:

  1. Law schools consider many other factors beyond the LSAT score and GPA.
  2. The data in the grid is from a previous application year and may not reflect fluctuations in applicant volume that affect admission decisions.
  3. The data includes deferrals. Deferrals are defined as “admitted applicants who were granted a postponed enrollment for a subsequent term.”
  GPA    
LSAT
Score
3.75+
Apps
3.75+
Adm
3.50–
3.74 Apps
3.50–
3.74 Adm
3.25–
3.49 Apps
3.25–
3.49 Adm
3.00–
3.24 Apps
3.00–
3.24 Adm
2.75–
2.99 Apps
2.75–
2.99 Adm
2.50–
2.74 Apps
2.50–
2.74 Adm
2.25–
2.49 Apps
2.25–
2.49 Adm
2.00–
2.24 Apps
2.00–
2.24 Adm
Below 2.00
Apps
Below 2.00
Adm
No GPA
Apps
No GPA
Adm
Total
Apps
Total
Adm
175–180 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
170–174 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
165–169 0 0 1 1 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4
160–164 1 1 3 2 1 0 1 1 3 3 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 8
155–159 4 4 8 7 7 6 7 6 8 6 4 4 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 40 35
150–154 17 17 17 16 23 21 22 19 17 16 6 6 4 4 3 1 3 3 1 0 113 103
145–149 11 10 28 27 31 30 46 42 24 22 21 17 10 8 5 2 3 1 2 2 181 161
140–144 7 4 12 9 25 14 22 8 19 4 19 3 6 2 4 0 2 0 6 2 122 46
135–139 0 0 6 1 7 0 7 0 8 0 8 0 6 0 3 0 1 0 1 0 47 1
130–134 0 0 0 0 4 1 5 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 16 1
125–129 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 0
120–124 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Total 40 36 75 63 100 74 111 77 82 51 60 30 29 15 21 5 10 4 11 4 539 359

Apps = Number of Applicants
Adm = Number Admitted
Reflects 99% of the total applicant pool; highest LSAT data reported.

The grid includes applicants admitted based upon successful completion of our Trial Admissions Program, rather than upon their LSAT score and undergraduate grade-point average. Additionally, nonnumerical factors are considered for all applicants.