University of Pennsylvania Law School

3400 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | Google Map

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Founded 1790 | ABA Accredited 1923

Penn Law is one of the oldest, most prestigious, and most selective law schools in the US. Benjamin Franklin founded the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania in 1740, and Penn Law recognizes a series of law lectures that James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence and framer of the US Constitution, gave on the downtown streets of Philadelphia as the informal beginning of Penn Law. Fast forward to 1850, when Penn formally established a full-time law program, combining law lectures with clinical experience for students as the bedrock of Penn Law’s education. Penn Law also is credited with initiating the three-year curriculum that now serves as the modern template for nearly all US law schools.

Today, Penn Law maintains a perennial top ten law school ranking, justifiably asserting that it is “THE leader in cross-disciplinary legal education.” (Penn Law Website) The cross-disciplinary approach pervades Penn Law, with over 70% of its faculty holding an advanced, non-law degree and one-third holding dual appointments in other UPenn departments, and nearly 20% of Penn Law graduates earn a Certificate of Study in a non-legal discipline while attending the three-year JD program.

One of Penn Law’s main draws is its urban location in the West Philadelphia neighborhood. Long known as a rough part of town, UPenn has made significant efforts to embrace, integrate into, and improve neighborhood quality of life. Today, Penn Law students enjoy a beautiful, quadrangle campus with easy access to a vibrant restaurant scene and world-class museums, theatres, and libraries offering myriad arts, lectures, events, and shopping opportunities.


James Wilson, Signer of the Declaration of Independence; Founder of Penn Law; US Supreme Court Justice Oscar Goodman, Mayor of Las Vegas Sir Ronald Wilson, Justice of the High Court of Australia, Australia's Highest Court Van Toffler, President, MTV Networks Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, First African-American Woman to Receive A Ph.D in the United States; First African-American Woman to Graduate from Penn Law; First African-American Woman to Be Admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar; Civil Rights Activist





About Rankings Data


Renee C. Post


"Academic reputation and career prospects are two vital elements when selecting a law school, but too often applicants overlook school 'fit..." - Renee C. Post Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid
, Penn Law

November 10, 2009 \ This is the seventh installment of our 224 part series, Better Know A Dean. Today we posted our interview with Renee Post, Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at Penn Law -- The Fightin' Penn Law's!

Dean Post has been the Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at the Law School since 2007. Prior to that, she served as both Associate Director and Director of Penn Law's Admissions Office and was a consultant for a national admissions consulting company. Dean Post earned her M.S.Ed. at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education and her B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently is serving on the Finance and Legal Affairs Committee of the Law School Admissions Council. She has been a panelist on countless admissions panels including Access to Higher Education, Financing a Legal Education, and Retention Issues in Higher Education.

AD I know that this is your busy season so I really appreciate you taking the time to answer questions that might be of interest to prospective applicants.
RP I'm happy to do it.
AD Last year, Penn Law awarded grants and scholarships to almost 40% of its 1L class.  What process do students need to go through to receive scholarship/grant consideration?  What factors do you consider when awarding scholarships?
RP Penn offers both need-based grants and merit-based scholarships. Penn Law has a very generous need-based aid program that meets 100% of a student’s identified need. Students who want to be considered for need-based grants must complete the Need Access Application and the FAFSA for Penn to determine eligibility. For merit-based scholarships, we nominate students based on their admissions applications.  Nominees are chosen primarily on their academic credentials, but we also consider non-academic factors such as leadership, community service, extra-curricular involvement, and work experience. Nominees may be asked to submit additional essays.
AD Penn Law describes itself as "THE leader in cross-disciplinary legal education." Can you explain exactly what that means to your students and how your approach may differ from other schools at the top of the first tier?
RP Penn Law recognizes that as the world becomes increasingly complex, the boundaries of traditional legal issues tend to blur. Our students are savvy – they seek out exposure across disciplines because they know that it will prepare them to tackle the difficult and complicated issues they’ll encounter in their careers. For example, many Penn Law students enroll in joint-degree or certificate programs. Students may also choose to take up to four classes toward their JD at other schools in the University. Even within the traditional legal curriculum, students easily gain cross-disciplinary exposure. With 70% of Penn Law faculty holding advanced degrees in fields in addition to law – including 50% with a PhD in that additional field – it’s nearly impossible for Penn students not to learn the law from multiple perspectives.
AD Your school has a reputation of remarkable collegiality among its students.  How does Penn foster a non-competitive environment, especially in these difficult economic times when so much is riding on students' grades?
RP We are very deliberate about making Penn Law a collegial place. The Law School does not class-rank students; we assign interview slots during on-campus recruiting by lottery, not grades; we limit each year’s class size to just 250 students, so professors know their students and students know each other; all faculty, students and staff are located in four buildings whose intersections form an interior courtyard. Equally important, our collegiality is sustained by our students, who self-select to study the law where the support they receive is as great as the challenges they will confront.

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