20 Things You Didn’t Know About UPenn Law School


The UPenn Law School is a separate entity that remains a part of the University of Pennsylvania. It is called the Carey Law School. The institution has a long and rich history. It is one of the oldest and most desirable schools in Pennsylvania. Like any law school, it has its pros and cons, but most of the information about the school is positive. Those considering applying to the school should know a few things about UPenn Law School. Here are twenty things you probably didn’t know about UPenn Law School to help you determine if it’s the right choice.

1. UPenn Law School is part of an Ivy League school

Wikipedia reports that the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League institution. UPenn Law School is a part of the institution and ranks with the same prestigious status. It is one of the most desirable schools for students seeking leadership positions in law practice. Although competition is fierce for admission, those lucky enough to secure their place in its halls of knowledge have a leg up on carving a significant niche in their professions.

2. UPenn Law School is one of the oldest law schools in the nation

UPenn Law School’s origins go back to the year 1790 in a series of Lectures on Law given by James Wilson. He is among the six men who signed the Declaration of Independence for the United States and the US Constitution. He and James Madison get credit for drafting the constitution. Its roots go back to the College of Philadelphia, established in 1740, chartered before the Declaration of independence. UPenn Law School officially launched in 1850 as a full-time college. In previous years notable professors taught courses on the law. John Adams (Vice President), George Washington (President), and Thomas Jefferson all lectured at Penn Law. James Wilson, the first Penn full-time law professor. It was he who set up the first full-time law program at UPenn.

3. UPenn Law School published the first law journal

The first law journal published in the United States came from UPenn. The title of the publication was The American Law Register. The oldest surviving law journal in the nation is Penn’s University of Pennsylvania Law Review. It is also one of the most cited law journals on the planet. The first leader under the new full-time law program was George Sharswood.

4. Penn Law recognized women’s rights to education

UPenn Law School was among the first schools to admit women to their law programs. Carrie Burnham Kilgore became its first female student admitted in 1881. Kilgore’s admission was the beginning of a positive trend in inclusiveness. The first African American to graduate from UPenn Law School was Aaron Albert Mossell in 1888. His daughter received her Ph.D. in economics at UPenn, earning the Frances Sergeant Pepper Fellowship in 1921. She graduated from Penn Law School in 1929. She was also the first African American woman to become a Penn Law graduate and to practice law in Pennsylvania. UPenn Law has a rich history of protecting equal rights for its students before other schools came aboard.

5. The law school moved in 1900

The present location of the UPenn Law School is not where it originated. The campus moved to 34th and Chestnut Streets in 1900. The school needed a larger facility to accommodate the number of students clamoring for admission to its law program. The dean at the time placed the request to relocate along with other notable administrators, and they said yes to the request. 1900 was a pivotal year for the school as it was the first academic year for full-time professors for its legal courses versus practitioners without academic credentials.

6. William Draper Lewis helped formalize the UPenn Law School

Before William Draper Lewis’s deanship, law education lacked formal organization. Under his leadership, the curriculum became established under a three-year program. Lewis also founded the American Law Institute in 1925 after 30 years of service to the school he chaired the program. Lewis made significant changes to the law program that remain in use today.

7. The University of Penn Law School protects gay rights

UPenn Law school maintains its integrity by protecting the rights of all students. It welcomes people from all walks of life without bias regarding religion, gender, race, sexual preference, or disability status. The school enacted a policy for prohibiting military recruiters on the camps when the military refused to accept gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. The policy protected the rights of gay students by disallowing organizations that discriminated against them from coming into their space.

8. UPenn Law also supports the armed forces

The ban on recruiters only existed until the military lifted its ban on gay recruitment. The school established the Harold Cramer Memorial Scholarship Program earmarked for all veterans at Penn Law in 2021. UPenn Law School has a longstanding history of military support with only one period where they withdrew their affiliation in support of gay rights and equal rights for all students.

9. The first female faculty at UPenn Law joined in 1969

Times changed slowly for equal rights for men and women in academe. UPenn Law School hired its first female faculty member in 1969. Martha Field became a member of the law school faculty. She has since secured a job as a professor at Harvard Law School. She was the first of many notable female law professors. The list includes Anita L. Allen, Lani Guinier, and Elizabeth Warren.

10. UPenn hired many notable deans

UPenn is an Ivy League Law School with a prestigious reputation. Only the cream of the crop oversaw its operation and taught in its halls. Louis Pollak serves as the law school dean from 1974 through 1978, continuing his career as a federal judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Other distinguished deans of the UPenn Law School include Michael Fitts, Tulane University President, Colin Diver, former Reed College President, and former Dartmouth College President James O. Freedman.

11. UPenn Law School has many names

The Ivy League UPenn Law School has several names. It is commonly called Penn Law, Carey Law, UPenn, and The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Any that you choose is correct and conveys the proper meaning. It’s one of the oldest law schools in the nation and the most well-known.

12. UPenn Law School is highly selective

It’s not easy to gain admission to the University of Pennsylvania Law School. US News & World Report lists UPenn Law as the sixth-best law school in the United States. Competition is stiff. Just 250 students get admitted into the entering classes.

13. UPenn Law School is a professional graduate school

UPenn Law School offers various graduate levels degrees. The programs include Master of Laws, Master of Comparative Laws, Master in Law, Doctor of the Science of Law, and Juris Doctor. Students may choose from various specializations under these degree categories. The curriculum is extensive. It contains multiple research centers, student groups, and activities to enhance the overall learning experience. Certificates for specializations in Gender and Sexuality Studies or East Asian Studies and other fields are available to enhance the degrees offered.

14. The bar passage rate for UPenn Law School is high

The high bar passage rate is another statistic of the school that makes it an attractive choice. Data collected for 2020 shows that 98.5 percent of graduates taking the bar exam for the first time passed to gain professional certification and admission to the American Bar Association. These high pass rates show that investment in an education at this institution fully prepares students for the bar and beyond. UPenn attracts serious students with strong academic backgrounds and the ability to think creatively and critically.

15. The UPenn Law School campus is diverse

The UPenn Law School admits a diverse group of students to its law programs. It values diversity. The 2024 class is already selected and will include diversified demographics consisting of 49 percent women, 40 percent students of color, and 12 percent students entering with an advanced degree. The National Law Journal ranked UPenn Law school as number two for producing the highest percentage of graduates in the largest US law firms for 2019. These diverse groups of students go out into the world each year make a difference in public policy development. They serve in the business sector and carry on the traditions of US law. UPenn Law school is doing its part to ensure that the numbers are not discriminatory against any groups of students, to give everyone an even playing field for success in the legal profession.

16. Post-graduation employment rates are high

Statistics also show that students who graduate from UPenn Law School gain full-time employment at a rate of 99.6 percent after graduation. the median salary of graduates is $190,000 per year, for those joining law firms or employment as judicial clerks. Graduates with degrees from UPenn open more doors with prestigious firms that recognize the significance of the experience. They graduate with a minimum of seventy hours of pro bono service as a requirement for graduation. UPenn Law School provides classroom and hands-on experience in real-world situations for its students.

17. UPenn Law School has graduated notable professionals

Alumni of UPenn Law School includes many persons who achieved celebrity status in their respective professions. One Supreme Court Justice and dozens of judges, including nine justices of state supreme courts graduated from the school. Three supreme court judges for foreign countries are alumni. The list of notable graduates goes on with business entrepreneurs, government officials, numerous Olympians, prestigious law firm founders, University deans and presidents, and public sector leaders. Many congressmen and women graduated from UPenn Law School. The list could continue with many historical figures associated with the school since its early beginnings when history was being made in a young and emerging country.

18. There are a few drawbacks associated with UPenn Law School

Every law school in the nation has its pros and cons. UPenn Law School is no exception. One of the drawbacks is the low acceptance rate. It is one of the most selective schools in the nation. The acceptance rate is just 14.6 percent of all applicants. Another drawback is the high tuition. When compared with all other law schools, it ranks as number three for the highest tuition rate for full-time law students at $65,804 for residents. Out-of-state students pay double the tuition fees as residents of the state. These are facts about UPenn Law School that will prohibit some from gaining entry. Those who are granted admission have a GPA of 3.89 at the graduate level, ranking number four in the highest requirement. They rank 6 for Median LSats Score requirements of 170. Reading comprehension, logical reasoning and analytical reasoning must be high for consideration for admission.

19. UPenn Law School has the seventh-largest library

A benefit of attending UPenn Law School is the massive library. It is ranked as the seventh-largest in the nation. The library contains 1,224,184 volumes and equivalents for students to supplement their study materials and gain a deeper understanding of the law from past to present.

20. The student to faculty ratio is low at UPenn Law School

UPenn Law School provides high-quality educational experiences for its students. It boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 4:9:1. Although this is low compared to most other law schools it is only ranked as number 15 in this aspect. Some of the other Ivy League schools do a little better, but it’s not bad. Faculty often spend time outside of the classroom with students and offer mentorship. Students may also participate in various clinics for further enrichment in their chosen specializations.

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