Pennsylvania State University (Dickinson School of Law)
The Dickinson School of Law was founded by The Honorable John Reed in 1834, making it the oldest law school in Pennsylvania and the fifth oldest in the nation.
The Dickinson School of Law has a long tradition of training remarkably distinguished graduates. Five governors, three U.S. senators, and more than 100 federal, state and county judges proudly list Dickinson as their legal alma mater, as do prominent lawyers and civic leaders too numerous to count.
With the merger of The Dickinson School of Law and Penn State University in 2000, the law school embarked on a new chapter in its history. While we still produce exemplary legal practitioners with a high bar passage rate and the ability to self-confidently take up the reins of legal practice, we have added the global and technological perspectives of a major research university.
Penn State Dickinson embraces the 21st century by preparing students in the new frontiers of law, such as intellectual property and international law, and by offering interdisciplinary programs that combine law with business, public policy, engineering, medicine and environmental studies. In so doing, we educate lawyers not only for successful legal practice but for lifelong engagement with the political and societal issues that confront our nation and the world.
At Penn State Dickinson, you can study civil procedure and trial advocacy with an experienced civil rights litigator who has argued seminal cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (Professor Gary Gildin). You can study human rights and public international law with world-renowned scholars who have served as Chief Counsel to the Organization of African Unity, Legal Counsel to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Legal Director of Amnesty International's worldwide secretariat in London (professors Tiyanjana Maluwa and Stephanie Farrior). You can study environmental law with the winner of the prestigious Francis Déak Prize (Professor John Knox); law and biotechnology with a leading research scientist turned law professor (Professor Eileen Kane); domestic and international arbitration with one of the top arbitration scholars in the world (Professor Tom Carbonneau); gay rights with the author of The Morality of Gay Rights: An Exploration in Political Philosophy (Professor Carlos Ball); immigration law with a national leader in the areas of immigrant and minority rights (Professor Victor Romero); an expert in comparative constitutional and corporate law and the legal system of the EU (Professor Larry Cata Backer); and so on up and down the ranks of our faculty.
Penn State Dickinson is located in the scenic community of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, situated just 20 minutes from the state capital of Harrisburg and within easy driving distance of major metropolitan areas such as Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Founded in 1751, Carlisle is the County Seat of Cumberland County and home to Dickinson College and the United States Army War College. Carlisle's historic district proudly displays buildings dating to the Revolutionary and Civil War era, and its downtown area boasts an eclectic mix of specialty shops and restaurants.
The charm, history and vitality of Carlisle create a relaxed and enriching atmosphere in which to pursue your legal education. When it's time to take a break from your studies, you can enjoy numerous leisure activities afforded through the community and its surrounding areas. Depending upon your interests, you may choose to take weekend trips to D.C. or New York, tour the civil war battlefields of Gettysburg, enjoy an afternoon of roller coasters at Hershey Park, hike the Appalachian Trail, catch a performance at the Carlisle Theater, or spend an evening catching up with classmates at a local pub.
Penn State Dickinson is a leader in the internationalization of legal education. We strive to equip our students with knowledge of different cultures and legal traditions so that you can meet the exploding demand for international legal services. In addition, our merger with Penn State enables us to prepare you for the increasing convergence of law with science and technology.
At the same time, we retain our traditional strengths in advocacy, commercial practice, government relations and public policy. Whether you ultimately choose to practice in areas such as criminal law, environmental law, intellectual property or corporate law, you will have been trained to master the increasingly international and interdisciplinary nature of law practice.
At Penn State Dickinson, you will encounter a dynamic and comprehensive three-year course of study that reinforces in-class instruction with valuable opportunities for hands-on experiences, advanced skills training and international study.
The J.D. curriculum is organized into integrated sequences of required and elective courses designed to develop analytical skills and teach the fundamental body of knowledge required by beginning lawyers. You will build competence in the skills needed for your professional success, whether you choose to pursue a career in the emerging fields of Internet or biotechnology law or in traditional areas of corporate law or trial advocacy. Your Penn State Dickinson education will give you the advantage when embarking on your future.
Candidates for the J.D. degree must complete at least 88 credits during a minimum of six semesters. The first-year curriculum and certain second-year courses are required. Students may then choose from nearly 100 elective courses available to both our J.D. and master of laws (LL.M.) candidates.
Penn State Dickinson will implement a part-time, daytime J.D. program beginning in fall 2006. The program is designed for students who are able to attend classes in the daytime and who are interested in completing law school in four to seven years. Students in the part-time program may take as few as six credits or as many as eleven credits per semester.
Penn State Dickinson offers two European summer abroad programs. The first program travels to the Italian cities of Florence, Rome and Siena, and the second, our Capitals of Europe program visits the European capitals of The Hague, Netherlands; Brussels, Belgium; Strasbourg, France; Vienna, Austria; and Oxford, England. Penn State Dickinson Law Professor Louis Del Duca has been leading these summer programs with a true “insider's touch” for more than twenty years and provides students with a unique experience through his wealth of international comparative law expertise and an extensive network of distinguished overseas colleagues and friends.
Faculty for these programs consists of Penn State Dickinson professors and noted international scholars, practitioners and jurists from major European law schools and international courts and commissions. Recent guest lecturers on the summer programs have included U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O’Conner, Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.
The summer program at the McGill University Faculty of Law in Montréal, Québec, Canada allows students to experience directly the impact of globalization on the practice of law. The students live in a French (albeit bilingual) city and take courses in one of Québec's elite English universities. The program takes place in Chancellor Day Hall on the McGill University campus in the heart of downtown Montréal.
The law school's depth in fields such as business and corporate law; international law; health, science, natural resources and agricultural law; public interest; and alternative dispute resolution and trial advocacy gives Penn State Dickinson graduates the edge when embarking on challenging legal careers.
We offer an inclusive academic program that can help you achieve excellence in a variety of legal specialties in addition to those featured above. By choosing complementary elective courses and pursuing related practical experiences, you can follow a concentrated course of study tailored to the areas of legal practice that interest you most. Faculty members are available to assist you in outlining an educational path conducive to your professional aspirations.
Penn State Dickinson students can pursue specialized academic and practical activities by participating in programs and centers dedicated to specific areas of the law. These opportunities are tailored to incorporate concentrated research, study and practice into the overall academic experience, thereby allowing students to gain advanced knowledge in the fields of study that interest them most.
In order to meet the ever-changing environment and interdisciplinary approach to legal practice, the law school continues to identify and introduce new programs to advance academic opportunities for our students.
In addition to the graduate level programs offered at the law school, we offer qualified Penn State undergraduate students the Summer Law Scholars Program. The six-week session is designed to engage students who are traditionally underrepresented at law schools and are considering careers as attorneys. The coursework is intended to enhance success in related undergraduate studies as well as to introduce participants to the expectations and experiences of law school.
At Penn State Dickinson, students have opportunities to supplement their studies with the representation of actual clients through the Law School’s clinical programs. There are six established public interest legal clinics:
* Disability Law – Provides legal help for area residents with problems related to a disability, such as handicap discrimination, Americans with Disabilities Act claims, special education, and SSI and Social Security claims appeals.
* Elder Law – Provides a full range of services to seniors on issues such as health and long-term care, living wills, consumer protection, Medicare and bankruptcy.
* Family Law – Provides free legal services for qualified area individuals who need legal assistance with issues such as divorce, custody, child support, spousal support, protection from abuse and other domestic matters.
* The Inmate Assistance Clinic – Students engage in problem solving through answering the legal questions of inmates and making referrals when appropriate.
* The Children’s Advocacy Clinic – Students represent the interest of children in a number of settings, including dependency and neglect, custody and contested adoption hearings.
* The Asylum Clinic – Students represent detained immigrants in hearings before an administrative law judge and through appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Public Interest Law
Public interest activities are facilitated by the law school’s Public Interest and Clinical Teaching Fellow and the Director of the Miller Center for Public Interest Advocacy. The goal of the Miller Center is to promote the responsibility of the legal profession to provide representation for those in our society who are unable to afford legal services. Regardless of the path that Penn State Dickinson students choose once they leave the school, it is expected that they will carry with them an appreciation of the broader social responsibilities that come with membership in the legal profession. The Miller Center provides pro bono opportunities for every student at the law school. Opportunities include:
* Pro Bono Projects – Students are teamed with attorneys handling pro bono cases either in surrounding counties or around the state.
* Legal Services – Using funds from Pennsylvania’s Interest on Lawyer’s Trust Accounts, the law school sponsors students to work full-time in legal services offices during the summer.
* Public Interest – Students volunteer at the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Immigrant Resource Center, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania and other public interest organizations.
* Legal Clinics – Students represent individuals who cannot otherwise afford legal services in civil litigation through the Family Law, Disability Law, Elder Law, Asylum and Child Advocacy clinics. Students also assist in the representation of individuals in criminal matters through externships in area public defender offices.
Penn State Dickinson trains real lawyers — the kind of graduates who can walk into a wide range of legal settings with all the requisite skills for success.
Students learn specific legal skills, such as client interviewing, writing and filing preliminary motions, preparing for and conducting a trial, and appellate advocacy, through an assortment of skills training courses. These courses are complemented by our extensive program of in-house and field-placement clinics that allow second-and third-year students to apply their knowledge and engage in representation of real clients.
Penn State Dickinson's moot court teams excel in interscholastic competition. In recent years, our National Trial Team was a regional finalist; the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition Team was voted the Best Brief in the Nation; and the National Appellate Moot Court Team won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition.
Each year, the law school fields as many as ten interscholastic moot court teams. Members are typically selected through the Intraschool Competition in which candidates are required to submit written briefs and present oral arguments.
In addition to the competitions described below, Penn State Dickinson has entered teams in the National Criminal Justice Trial Competition, the Tournament of Champions Trial Competition, the ABA Regional Client Counseling Competition, and seven other competitions involving appeals, client counseling and mediation.
Law school is a time for embarking on a career and building friendships. An extensive assortment of student groups, along with student-sponsored activities and events, give students the opportunity to not only enhance their overall learning experience but to participate in the life of the law school.
Many individuals and groups are active outside the law school and provide valuable services to the local community. Student volunteers serve food at the local soup kitchen, collect supplies for the community food bank, mentor elementary students, organize animal food drives, and collect clothing and toiletry items for families living in shelters.
In addition, area amenities and attractions provide entertainment opportunities catering to a variety of interests.
The Penn State Dickinson School of Law features an array of organizations reflecting the rich diversity of its student body. The dynamic range of social and athletic opportunities available outside the classroom allows students to take on an active role for personal growth and professional enhancement, as well as to cultivate camaraderie.
The Student Bar Association (SBA), the law school's student government organization, is composed of all law students and led by an executive board elected by the student body. As an umbrella organization, the SBA oversees and allocates funding for student organizations and events, and is also the formal means of communication between students, faculty and administration.
Affordable housing is readily available in the vicinity of the Law School. To assist you in your search for housing, the Administrative Services Office maintains a list of off-campus housing available for rent in the Carlisle area. The list is maintained as a courtesy and does not constitute a recommendation of the facilities. In addition to available rental properties, the housing list includes a section for those seeking roommates, as well as information on local realtors and apartment complexes in the area.
The office begins compiling the housing list in March and continues to update the list throughout the spring and summer months, as notices of available properties are received. In addition to being quite affordable, the residential location of the Law School in Carlisle provides ample rental options for accepted students throughout the admission cycle.
School name:Pennsylvania State UniversityDickinson School of Law
Address:150 South College Street
Zip & city:PA 17013 Pennsylvania
Address:150 South College Street
Zip & city:PA 17013 Pennsylvania
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