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Penn State Law

Penn State Law
Established 1834
Type Public
Parent institution
Pennsylvania State University
President Eric J. Barron
Dean James W. Houck (interim)
Academic staff
Students 573 (unified enrollment with Dickinson Law)
Location University Park, Pennsylvania, United States

Penn State Law is located on the Penn State's University Park campus in State College, Pa., and is one of two separately accredited law schools at Penn State.[1] Penn State Law offers J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees. The school offers a joint J.D./M.B.A. with the Smeal College of Business, as well as other joint degrees with a variety of graduate programs at Penn State.

Penn State Law traces its roots to the founding of The Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa. Penn State and The Dickinson School of Law merged in 2000, and, until fall 2014, Penn State's Dickinson School of Law operated as a single law school with two campuses—one in Carlisle and one on Penn State's University Park campus in State College, Pa. In the summer of 2014, Penn State received approval from the American Bar Association to operate the two campuses as two separate and distinct Penn State law schools,[2] both of which share the history of The Dickinson School of Law: Dickinson Law in Carlisle, Pa., and Penn State Law at University Park, Pa.

U.S. News & World Report, in its 2016 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, ranked Penn State Dickinson (both campuses combined) 71st among the nation's top 218 law schools.


  • Lewis Katz Building 1
  • Curriculum 2
  • Institutes, Centers and Programs 3
    • Center for the Study of Mergers & Acquisitions 3.1
    • Institute for Sports Law, Policy & Research 3.2
    • The Penn State Institute of Arbitration Law and Practice 3.3
    • The Center for Agricultural and Shale Law 3.4
    • Other Penn State Law Programs 3.5
  • Law Journals 4
  • Student organizations 5
  • Employment 6
  • Costs 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Lewis Katz Building

Penn State Law is housed in the The Lewis Katz Building on Penn State's University Park campus. The building opened for classes on January 9, 2009. The $60 million, 114,000-square-foot 114,000-square-foot (10,600 m2) building is the first academic facility to be built on the west side of Park Avenue on the University Park campus. The building is adjacent to the Penn State Arboretum.

The Lewis Katz Building is LEED certified and equipped with advanced high-definition digital audiovisual telecommunications capacity that enables real-time collaborative projects and programs with schools and institutions worldwide. The second floor includes the glass-enclosed library, with a two-story information commons, four group study rooms and 11 offices. Library spaces comprise about 50 percent of the building.

In 2009, Judge D. Brooks Smith used the Lewis Katz Building's courtroom to hear an oral argument to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to the courtroom, the Katz Building includes a 250-seat auditorium, four 75-person classrooms, several seminar rooms, and a "boardroom" facilitating electronic "face-to-face" contact with meeting participants worldwide.


The first-year program consists of required courses that include two semesters of research and writing. During their first year, 1Ls must complete courses in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Criminal Procedure and Torts. Only two courses are required after completion of the first year: Professional Responsibility and a Seminar. Students' remaining credits are to be filled with electives.

Institutes, Centers and Programs

Center for the Study of Mergers & Acquisitions

Headed by Samuel C. Thompson Jr., former director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Mergers and Acquisitions, the center examines corporate, securities, tax, antitrust, and other legal and economic issues that arise in mergers and acquisitions. An important part of the center's mission is to sponsor continuing legal education programs addressing these issues.

Penn State Law and the New York City Bar co-sponsor the Institute on Corporate, Securities, and Related Aspects of Mergers and Acquisitions. The institute, which has been co-chaired by Professor Thompson and H. Rodgin Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP for a number of years, is held at the Bar's facility in New York City. Sessions provide analyses of recent developments in this area.

Institute for Sports Law, Policy & Research

Directed by Professor Stephen Ross, the Penn State Institute for Sports Law Policy & Research is designed to:

  • promote dialogue between students of sport and major industry participants
  • aid scholars in policy-oriented research
  • facilitate the dissemination of this research to policymakers and industry participants, and
  • serve as resource for journalists, lawyers, and others about sports and public policy

The institute is aided by an advisory board of industry leaders, sports scholars, and Penn State faculty and alumni, all dedicated to advancing the study of sports. The institute works closely with the John Curley Center for Sports and Journalism, the Center for Sports Business & Research in the Smeal College of Business, and the Departments of Kinesiology and Statistics.

The Penn State Institute of Arbitration Law and Practice

Directed by Professor Thomas E. Carbonneau, The Penn State Institute of Arbitration Law and Practice promotes and encourages the development of arbitration law and practice.

The Center for Agricultural and Shale Law

Under the direction of Prof. Ross Pifer, the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law provides agricultural and shale law research and information with a specific focus on those issues of importance in Pennsylvania. Through its programs, the Center serves a wide variety of stakeholders including agricultural producers, landowners and royalty owners, business professionals, judges, attorneys, legislators, government officials, community groups, and the general public.

Other Penn State Law Programs

  • Arts, Sports, and Entertainment Law Clinic
  • Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic
  • Civil Rights Appellate Clinic
  • Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic
  • Family Law Clinic
  • Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum
  • International Sustainable Development Projects Clinic
  • Rural Economic Development Clinic
  • Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Clinic
  • International Justice Externship at the Hague, Netherlands
  • Washington, D.C. Semester Program
  • Explore Law Program (for undergraduate students)
  • Study Abroad

Law Journals

Penn State law also features three scholarly journals, including the Penn State Law Review. The Law Review was founded in 1897 as The Forum and published until 2003 as The Dickinson Law Review. In addition, the school also publishes:

  • Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs
  • The Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation

Student organizations

Penn State Law has the following student organizations:

  • ABA/Law Student Division—PBA/Young Lawyers Division
  • Agricultural Law Society
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society
  • Alternative Spring Break Initiative
  • Alumni Relations Committee
  • American Association for Justice
  • American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS)
  • American Law Students Association (APALSA)
  • Arts & Culture Legal Society
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Corpus Juris Society
  • Dickinson Law Democrats
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Fashion and Business Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • International Law Society
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Jewish Legal Society
  • John Reed Inn of Phi Delta Phi
  • Latino/a Law Students Association
  • Law and Education Alliance at Penn State
  • Military Law Caucus
  • Minority Law Students Association
  • Muslim Legal Society
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • OutLaw-LGTB Legal Organization
  • Attending Law School (PALS)
  • The Penn State Law Blue and White Society
  • Penn State International Arbitration Group (PSIAG)
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Project S.T.A.F.F.
  • Public Interest Law Fund
  • Res Ipsa Loquitur
  • Speakers Trust Fund
  • Sports and Entertainment Law Society
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Student Bar Association
  • Student Health Law Association
  • Trial Advocacy Board
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
  • Women's Law Caucus
  • WorkLaw Society

The school also participates in a number of moot court competitions including the Willem C. Vis Moot Commercial Arbitration Moot Court, held each year in Vienna, Austria and the National Environmental Law Moot Court held at Pace University in White Plains, New York.

Students at Penn State Law also participate in intramural sports program. Current intramural sports teams include basketball, bowling, flag football, floor hockey, indoor soccer, and volleyball. Several students are also members of rugby and softball teams. Each spring, the school sends a softball team to participate in the University of Virginia Law School Softball Tournament.


According to Penn State's official 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 65.3% of the class of 2014 from the formerly unified Penn State Dickinson School of Law obtained full-time, long-term, J.D.-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[3] Penn State's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 17%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2014 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[4]

ABA Employment Summary for 2014 Graduates[3]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required
Employed - J.D. Advantage
Employed - Professional Position
Employed - Non-Professional Position
Employed - Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred
Unemployed - Not Seeking
Unemployed - Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 176 Graduates


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition and estimated fees and living expenses) at Penn State Law for the 2014-2015 academic year is $68,096.[5] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $240,101.[6]


  1. ^ "Legal Education at Penn State". Legal Education at Penn State. Penn State. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law receives approval for separate law schools". Penn State News. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "ABA Employment Summary - Class of 2014". 
  4. ^ "Penn State University Profile". 
  5. ^ "Tuition and Related Expenses". 
  6. ^ "Penn State University Profile". 

External links

  • Official website

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