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University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

published February 04, 2008

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( 82 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
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Tracing its origins back to the beginning of American national law, the University of Pennsylvania Law School is one of the nation's most historic and prestigious legal education institutions, emphasizing its long history of cross-disciplinary education and cultural diversity. Established in 1790, the school offers one of the most comprehensive collections of law degrees available at any American law university. This top-tier law school also prides itself on something not often acknowledged by competitive law schools: its environment of congeniality, which in the ''City of Brotherly Love'' is fitting.
University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Penn Law places great emphasis on what it calls "cross-disciplinary studies," a fact revealed through the large number of joint and dual degrees it offers J.D. candidates. This also translates to its faculty, more than 70% of whom hold other advanced degrees in addition to J.D. degrees. A full one-third of the faculty also hold secondary posts in departments other than law at the university.

Says Dean Michael A. Fitts, "Unlike most law schools that remain isolated from their universities, Penn Law has followed the opposite path, nurturing relationships with as fine an array of law-related professional schools as you will find in the country. Students can easily enhance their first-rate legal education through study in many associated disciplines, either through matriculation in a joint degree program or by taking up to four courses in other departments.

The list of formal joint and dual degree programs made available by Penn Law includes the following:
  • J.D./M.Bioethics, Department of Medical Ethics in the School of Medicine
  • J.D./M.B.A., Wharton School
  • J.D./M.C.P., City and Regional Planning, Penn Design
  • J.D./M.A./M.S., Criminology, Department of Criminology
  • J.D./M.A./M.S.Ed., Educational Policy or Higher Education, Graduate School of Education
  • J.D./M.E.S., Institute for Environmental Studies
  • J.D./M.G.A., Fels Institute of Government
  • J.D./A.M., Islamic Studies, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, School of Arts and Sciences
  • J.D./M.A., International Studies, the Lauder Institute (Wharton) and School of Arts and Sciences
  • J.D./M.A., Philosophy, Department of Philosophy
  • J.D./M.P.H., Graduate Program in Public Health Studies, School of Medicine
  • J.D./M.S.W., School of Social Policy and Practice
  • J.D./Ph.D., American Legal History, Department of History
  • J.D./Ph.D., Communication, Annenberg School for Communication
  • J.D./Ph.D., Economics, Department of Economics
  • J.D./Ph.D., Philosophy, Department of Philosophy
  • J.D./D.E.S.S., Global Business Law, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne Law School and the Institut d'Études Politiques
  • J.D./B.A. or B.S., submatriculation programs with the Wharton School, the Nursing School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania
<<Students are also allowed to create their own ad hoc programs which they can coordinate with other departments and schools within the university. These include:
  • J.D./Ed.D., Graduate School of Education
  • J.D./M.C.P., Historic Preservation, Penn Design
  • J.D./M.D., School of Medicine
  • J.D./Ph.D., Communication, Annenberg School for Communication
Students may also enter into certificate programs in which they can earn a Certificate of Study while completing their J.D. degree over a span of three years. The following are common examples:
  • Business and Public Policy, Wharton School
  • Environmental Policy, Environmental Studies Institute
  • Environmental Science, Environmental Studies Institute
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies, Women's Studies/College of Arts and Sciences
Penn Law is also home to a large number of law clinics which provide students firsthand access to the various applications of law and other social practices. Clinics in which students may enroll during their second and third years are:
  • The Civil Practice Clinic
  • The Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic
  • The Mediation Clinic
  • The Legislative Clinic
  • The Inter-Disciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic
  • The Transnational Clinic
  • The Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Lawyering in the Public Interest
<<Clearly, the opportunities to explore any given legal interest at Penn Law are limitless. Admission, however, is highly selective, with just 15.6% of applicants granted admission in 2006. The entering class of 2010 had a median LSAT score of 170 and a corresponding GPA of 3.77.

The gender balance at Penn Law tilts in favor of male students, who make up 54% of the student body. More than one-third of the students are students of color or minority backgrounds. The student-faculty ratio during the 2006-2007 academic year was 12.1:1.

The school has reported an impressive 95.5% bar exam passage rate, though most students opt to take the exam in New York instead of Pennsylvania. Virtually all students (99%) are employed at graduation.

Tuition for the 2007-2008 school year totals $39,250 with additional university and technology fees which raise it to $41,960. The school estimates additional living costs at $17,700, bringing the total cost of one year at Penn Law to $59,660.

Students are eligible to apply for financial aid, and the school offers many scholarships designed to encourage students to study different areas of the law. These scholarships include the Levy Scholars Program, the James Wilson Scholarship, the Silverman-Rodin Scholars Program, the Dean's Scholarship, and the Public Interest Scholars Program.
See Top Law Schools Analyzed and Ranked By America's Top Legal Recruiter Harrison Barnes for more information.

published February 04, 2008

( 82 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.