Pennsylvania State University, The Dickinson School of Law

Motto Making Life Better
Established 1834
Type Public
Dean Philip McConnaughay
Academic staff 50 full time, 30 adjunct, 12 visiting
Students 638
Location University Park and Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Urban
Colors Navy Blue and White
Mascot Nittany Lion
Affiliations Big Ten Conference

Penn State University Dickinson School of Law (also known as Penn State Law or The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University) is the law school of The Pennsylvania State University. Penn State Law, one of the specialized graduate schools of Penn State, operates as a unified two-location operation with facilities in both University Park, Pennsylvania and Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The two campuses function significantly as a single enterprise, with a single identity, single reputation & single stature. The University Park Campus is Penn State's main campus, and it preserves over 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Carlisle, around 80 miles (130 km) southeast of University Park, is the original home of the law school.

The law school was founded by John Reed in 1834, making it the fifth oldest law school in the US and the oldest law school in Pennsylvania. It is home to over 600 law students, most of whom are earning the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Master of Laws (LLM). Penn State Dickinson has a faculty and staff of over 100.
U.S. News and World Report, in its 2010 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, ranked Penn State Dickinson 65th amid the nation's top 218 law schools.
In June 2007 Penn State established the School of International Affairs that is intimately linked with the law school. The School of International Affairs, which presents a professional master's degree in International Affairs with numerous specialty concentrations, is housed managerially within the law school. The two schools share like educational objectives and outstanding faculty counting Randall Robinson.

Dual-Campus System

In 2005 a clash over whether to move the Dickinson School of Law to Penn State's University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania led to a dual-campus proposal. Under this proposal, Penn State plans to invest over $110 million in a law school that will operate out of both locations. The proposal was accepted by the law school's board of trustees before the 2005-2006 academic year.
The law school has now completely merged with Penn State, and has been integrated into the University's system. Opening in the fall of 2006, the law school began offering classes at its University Park location. Ground was broken for the Lewis Katz Building on January 18, 2007. The building opened for classes in January 2009.
In January 2010, students in the Carlisle location began attending classes in the new Lewis Katz Hall and the renovated Trickett Hall. The new facilities are the designs of Polshek Partnership Architects.

Lewis Katz Building

The Lewis Katz Building in University Park, Pennsylvania, opened for classes on January 9, 2009. The $60 million, 114,000-square-ft (10,600 m2) structure is the first academic capability to be built on the west side of Park Avenue, opposite from Penn State's main campus. It is contiguous to the Penn State Arboretum.
The Lewis Katz Building is LEED certified and equipped with sophisticated high definition digital audio-visual telecommunications capacity that facilitates the real-time delivery of classes and programs between the law school's Carlisle and University Park campuses & other joint 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 eleven offices amid the features. Library spaces include about 50% 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 specially designed 75-person classrooms, several seminar rooms, & a extremely advanced "board room" permitting electronic "face-to-face" contact with meeting participants worldwide.

Lewis Katz Hall

The showpiece of the Carlisle building project is the addition of a new, signature Lewis Katz Hall, named in honor of the principal donor to the project, philanthropist & businessman, Lewis Katz, for his $15 million gift to the Law School. finished in January 2010, the transition marks the end of a two-year, $50 million construction project which included the addition of the elegant, new Lewis Katz Hall which is totally interconnected with the University Park campus via the most advanced high-definition, digital audiovisual telecommunications system available.
The project included a wide renovation of historic Trickett Hall, the Law School's home since 1918, which houses the Law School's library, named in honor of H. Laddie Montague, Jr., a famous Philadelphia lawyer and trial attorney who has committed $4 million to the school. As a design companion to the Lewis Katz Building the Carlisle campus is renovated and rebuilt to comply with LEED standards, the facilities characteristic state-of-the-art classrooms, a new courtroom/auditorium, an exterior courtyard, & an environmentally friendly vegetated green roof.


Like many law schools, 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 2 courses are required after completion of the first year: Professional liability and a Seminar. Students' enduring credits are to be filled with electives.
The law school is countrywide recognized for its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program.

Institutes, Centers & 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 penetrating analyses of recent developments in this very dynamic area; speakers at the Institute included some of the world's leading M&A attorneys, investment bankers, and governmental officials.

Institute for Sports Law, Policy & Research

Directed by Professor Stephen Ross, one of the nation's leading sports law scholars, the Penn State Institute for Sports Law Policy and Research is designed to:
promote dialogue between students of sport and major industry participants
aid scholars in policy-oriented research and facilitate the dissemination of this research to policy makers and industry participants, and serve as resource for journalists, lawyers and others connected about sports and public policy
The Institute is aided by an advisory board of prominent industry leaders, sports scholars from around the world, and Penn State faculty and alumni, all dedicated to advancing the study of sports. The Institute works closely with a faculty and staff from another of other disciplines on the Penn State campus, including 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. In addition, the Institute facilitates inter-disciplinary work with a variety of sports-interested faculty on the Penn State campus, sponsoring faculty colloquia and faculty/student reading groups. The Institute intends to feature programs that are of utmost importance to the field, including a speaker series featuring prominent industry leaders, private conferences to explore consensus approaches to difficult sports policy issues, and ongoing lectures to faculty and students.

Institute of Arbitration Law & Practice

The Penn State Institute of Arbitration Law and Practice was established in August 2005 to promote the study and scholarship of arbitration law and practice. Professor Thomas E. Carbonneau, the Samuel P. Orlando Distinguished Professor of Law, serves as faculty director and is widely considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on international and domestic arbitration.
The Institute's publications include the World Arbitration and Mediation Review, the Smit-Carbonneau-Mistelis Guides to International Commercial Arbitration and the student publication Beyond Litigation. The Institute also sponsors student participation in moot court competitions, including the prestigious annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria, and hosts the Montreal Summer Study Program in Arbitration at the McGill University Faculty of Law in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Affiliated Penn State faculty include William E. Butler, John Edward Fowler Professor of Law and member of the Russia International Court of Commercial Arbitration; Tiyanjana Maluwa, H. Laddie and Linda P. Montague Professor of Law; Philip J. McConnaughay, dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law; Panagiotis Takis Tridimas, professor of law and Sir John Lubbock Professor of Banking Law at Queen Mary College, University of London.

Other Penn State Law Programs

Law Journals

The Law School also features four academic journals, including the Penn State Law Review, formerly the Dickinson Law Review. The Law Review was founded in 1897, and is one of the oldest continually published law school journals in the country.
Penn State Law Review
Penn State International Law Review
Penn State Environmental Law Review
The Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation

Student organizations

The school also participates in a number of moot court competitions including the prestigious 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 are active in intramural sports program. Current intramural sports include indoor soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball and bowling.
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.

Notable alumni

Courtesey -

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