Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University, main campus at University Park, State College; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1855, opened 1859 as Farmers' High School. It was named the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania in 1862, renamed Pennsylvania State College in 1874, and became a university in 1953. The medical school (1965) is at Hershey. Dickinson School of Law (1834, merged with Penn State 2000) is at Carlisle, and there are large campuses at Harrisburg and Erie. The university maintains numerous other colleges statewide, as well as forestry camps and engineering test stations. Among its extensive laboratory facilities are a nuclear reactor, a seismograph, and research centers for biotechnology, gerontology, and underwater systems.
The Dickinson School of Law (also known as Penn State Dickinson or Penn State Law) is the law school of The Pennsylvania State University. Penn State Dickinson, one of the professional graduate schools of Penn State, operates as a dual-campus system with campuses located in both University Park, Pennsylvania and Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The two campuses operate meaningfully as a single enterprise, with a single identity, single reputation and single stature. The University Park Campus is Penn State's main campus, and it maintains over 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Carlisle, approximately 80 miles 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 United States 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 2009 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools, ranked Penn State Dickinson 77th among 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 will offer a professional master's degree in International Affairs with several specialty concentrations, will be housed administratively within the law school. The two schools will share similar educational objectives.

Randall Robinson was recently appointed as faculty of the School of International Affairs.

Dual-Campus System

In 2005 a dispute 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 approved by the law school's board of trustees before the 2005-2006 academic year.

The law school has now fully merged with Penn State, and has been integrated into the University's system. Starting 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 is scheduled to be completed in January of 2009.

Plans are for the Carlisle location to undergo a renovation. Due to the impending renovations at the Carisle campus, the law school relocated five miles away from Trickett Hall to the Advantica building on Harrisburg Pike in Carlisle. The renovations to the Carlisle campus are expected to be completed by 2010.

The new facilities are the designs of Polshek Partnership Architects.


Like many law schools, the first year program consists of required courses that include two semesters of research and writing. During their first year, juniors must complete courses in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property and Torts. In the second semester, juniors may take one elective course from a list of options. Only two courses are required after completion of the first year: Professional Responsibility and a Seminar. Students' remaining credits are be filled with electives.

The law school is nationally 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.

In October 2007, Penn State Dickinson and the New York City Bar co-sponsored the Fourth Annual Institute on Corporate, Securities, and Related Aspects of Mergers and Acquisitions. The Institute, which was co-chaired by Professor Thompson and H. Rodgin Cohen of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, was held at the Bar's facility in New York City. Sessions provided 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 of 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. Mary Helen Mourra is Executive Director of the Institute for Arbitration Law and Practice.

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 Dickinson Programs

  • Center for Applied Human Rights Research
  • Washington, D.C. Semester Program
  • Miller Center for Public Interest Advocacy
  • Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
  • Uniform Commercial Code Institute
  • In-house Clinics
  • Study Abroad

Law Journals

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

Student organizations

The Law School maintains an extensive roster of student organizations, including:

  • ABA/Law Student Division — PBA/Young Lawyers Division
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society
  • Alumni Relations Committee
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Amnesty International
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
  • Association of Non-Traditional Students (ANTS)
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Books to Prisoners Project (B2PP)
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Corpus Juris Society
  • Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity (Holmes Senate)
  • Dickinson Democrats
  • Dickinson Republican Council
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • First Impression
  • International Law Society
  • Islamic Legal Council (ILC)
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • John Reed Inn of Phi Delta Phi
  • Joint Degree Students Association
  • Latino/a American Law Students Association
  • Law, Economics and Business Society
  • Law & Education Alliance at Penn State — LEAP
  • Law & Philosophy Society
  • Legalese
  • Minority Law Students Association
  • OutLaw (for LGBT students)
  • The Penn State Dickinson Agricultural Law Society
  • The Penn State Dickinson School of Law Blue and White Society
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Phi Delta Phi
  • Project S.T.A.F.F.
  • Public Interest Law Fund
  • Real Estate Law Students Association
  • Res Ipsa Loquitur
  • Rugby Club
  • Saint Thomas More Society
  • South Asian Law Student Association (SALSA)
  • Speakers Trust Fund
  • Sports, Entertainment and Art Law Society
  • Student Bar Association
  • Student Health Law Organization
  • Toastmasters International
  • Trial Moot Court Board
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
  • Women's Law Caucus

The school also participates in the prestigious Willem C. Vis Moot Commercial Arbitration, held each year in Vienna, Austria.

Students at Penn State Dickinson 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


External links

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