Penn State Law, located in University Park, Pennsylvania, is one of two separately accredited law schools of the Pennsylvania State University. Penn State Law offers J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees. The school also offers a joint J.D./M.B.A. with the Smeal College of Business, a joint JD-MIA degree with the School of International Affairs, which is also located in the Lewis Katz Building, as well as joint degrees with other graduate programs at Penn State.
Penn State Law traces its roots to the founding of The Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 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, Pennsylvania. In the summer of 2014, Penn State received approval from the American Bar Association to operate the two campuses as two separate and distinct law schools, both of which share the history of The Dickinson School of Law: Dickinson Law, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Penn State Law, in University Park, Pennsylvania.
Penn State Law is housed in 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 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 Lewis Katz Building is a shared academic space that is used by both the law school and the Graduate School of International Affairs. As such, many professors teach in both capacities.
The J.D. program at Penn State Law is a three-year, six-semester course of study. In the first year, required courses include Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Property, and Torts. In the second or third year, two courses are required: Professional Responsibility and a seminar. Students must also complete required experiential learning credits.
Under the direction of Professor 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.
Headed by Professor 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.
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.
Directed by Professor Stephen Ross, the Penn State Institute for Sports Law Policy & Research is designed to:
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.
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 Law has the following student organizations:
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 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 53.0% of the class of 2015 from the formerly unified Penn State Dickinson School of Law obtained full-time, long-term, J.D.-required employment 10 months after graduation.
The total cost of attendance (including tuition and related expenses) at Penn State Law for the 2016-2017 academic year is $69,950.