Founded in 1850, Penn Law is one of the country’s most outstanding law schools, boasting a “stellar” academic reputation and a cross-disciplinary program nearly unrivalled by other schools. The school “has a lot of resources and ensures that it remains a place of cutting edge legal thinking and teaching,” and the environment is one that fosters “academic success and personal friendships at the same time.” Overall, the school is “the perfect mix of academic rigor, opportunity, and collegial environment,” according to a 2L.
The professors are “incredible,” comprising a faculty of “nothing but pure geniuses.” They “genuinely care about the students and take the time to mentor them,” and many seem “to genuinely enjoy working through legal issues or discussing legal scholarship with their students.” Faculty members are “interesting people who’ve had extraordinary careers,” and most feel that “it’s an honor to learn from them.” Students are also able to take classes outside of the law school in their second and third years in order to broaden their horizons. Beginning in Fall 2013 the legal practice skills program renamed and expanded the 1L legal writing curriculum. The appellate advocacy courses and moot court opportunities “are strong and can accommodate most if not all students who wish to participate.” Clinics are “great...if you can get into one,” as they tend to be small, meaning many students ultimately may not be able to capitalize on the school’s strong clinical programming.
The “extremely visible” administration garners similar enthusiasm, delivering “excellence with a smile.” They “consistently put in extra effort to improve your learning experience, to bring a speaker to the law school, or to implement a concern or suggestion you have to improve the law school.” As examples, a student cites the staff member in the registrar’s office who “emailed me a syllabus for a course I hoped to register for, so I could be current on the readings,” and the times that “the library researchers will hold an impromptu meeting to help find a tricky resource.” “It would be easy for Student Affairs to hear out student complaints or suggestions and never act on them. Our administrators, however, really seem invested in making this a positive experience for the students and respond with action a majority of the time.”
There are “lots of pro bono opportunities” that provide practical experience, but a few students do wish that more practical opportunities were available, “particularly ones geared toward transactional, legal practice.” Fortunately, professors are “very willing to help with clerkships, externships, and outside research.” The lack of practical opportunities is the only resource complaint that Penn students have, yet many agree that the professors “make sure we have what we need and that we know how to use this stuff.” Registering for classes can be “a hassle” though, and students gripe about the “archaic process” of having to go to the office and write your name on a waitlist, which is a slightly tedious process.
Penn alumni are very involved, returning to Penn Law to teach elective courses and to offer their support in the recruiting process; it is because of the alumni’s solid reputation that “employers look at a résumé that has ‘Penn Law’ on it.”
The facilities at Penn are “visually pleasing and practical,” and classroom facilities are “mostly very high-tech and new, especially with the addition of our new building.” There are always “good places to study, socialize, eat, hold events, and whatever else you want to do.” The school is small, and the way it is laid out “really makes it feel friendly and like a community. You run into everyone all the time, professors and students.” “Penn is as good as everyone says, and better,” says a pleased student. “Law school’s a tough three years. Given a choice to do it all over again, I can’t imagine wanting to go anywhere else.”