“This new certificate will add to the knowledge students gain at the Law School and allow them to broaden their understanding of important legal issues by examining Latin America through a social scientific lens,” noted Professor Emilio A. Parrado, Director of Penn’s Latin American and Latino Studies Program and Chair of the Sociology department.
Three Philadelphians sued the City last week after their personal property – houses, cars and cash — was seized by the District Attorney’s Office as part of criminal investigations. In each of these cases, the plaintiffs were innocent of a crime yet their property has not been returned. The practice, known as civil forfeiture, is used nationwide but is considered by critics to be particularly pervasive in Philadelphia. While law enforcement officials rely on it as a valuable tool in the effort to fight crime, particularly drug-related crimes, some civil rights advocates say the practice often violates the right to due process. Joining us to talk about the laws surrounding civil forfeiture and its effectiveness in prosecuting crime are BETH GROSSMAN of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and University of Pennsylvania professor LOU RULLI.
Hi I'm in incoming freshman in the College at Penn, and I'm looking into law school in the future. What things do you guys look at regarding admissions such as curriculum and extracurricular activities? I'm thinking of double majoring in Health& societies and International Relations as I would like to go into health policy, what are your opinions on that? Also, is it better to take a gap year or head straight into law school?
Hi! The Admissions Committee considers the applicant’s entire academic history, including breadth and rigor of curriculum, grade trends, and advanced coursework if applicable. The Committee also evaluates the applicant’s writing ability based on the personal statements and letters of recommendation. Additionally, we consider work experience, personal background and experiences, service, leadership, overcoming challenges or disadvantages, and any other factors that make an applicant unique and that will somehow positively contribute to the life of the Law School and/or the legal community. The Admissions Committee does not employ the use of matrices or indexes when evaluating applicant files and has no statistical cut-offs for review; each file is read from cover to cover in a very holistic approach to the application evaluation.
There is no pre-law educational requirement or even a specific recommended course of study for admission to Penn Law. Incoming students hold degrees in a variety of academic disciplines, from Political Science to Philosophy to German to Industrial Engineering; there is no one path to legal education. There is no preferred option between applying straight from undergrad or working for a year. Applicants have been admitted with very little or no work experience in the past. As detailed above, work experience is just one of the many factors that can be taken into consideration in the evaluation process!
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday that privately held companies can be exempt because of religious reasons from a federal mandate requiring employers to pay for employees’ contraception. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties objected on religious grounds to the Affordable Care Act’s provision that requires businesses to provide insurance coverage of their female employees’ birth control. Today we dissect the decision and its implications and look at other related rulings. Marty sits down to talk about law, religious liberty, and reproductive rights with TOBIAS BARRINGTON WOLFF, Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School,SARAH BARRINGER GORDON, Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and DAVID S. COHEN, Associate Professor of Law at Drexel University Law School.
The Senate voted 93-0 to confirm Dechert partner Cheryl Krause for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Penn Law Lecturer in Law Cheryl Krause was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on Monday evening and will be sworn in today. Krause was instrumental in establishing Penn Law’s Federal Appellate Litigation Externship.
“[The Hobby Lobby decision] almost suggests that this religious claim is getting preferential treatment compared to the other hypothetical future claims that they’re talking about — and that, of course, is something the Supreme Court is not supposed to do under the free exercise laws. So it presents two sort of equally unpleasant possibilities. One is that they are going to be extremely deferential to free exercise plans in the future, which almost seems to suggest that people can get a pass from federal law just by invoking religion. Or it suggests that they’re treating this claim better, which is troubling because it’s a politically conservative Christian claim, and the Supreme Court should certainly not be more sympathetic to certain religions than others.”—Prof. Roosevelt discusses whether Christians get preferential treatment from the Supreme Court on salon.
Is it possible to buy a mini statue of the Goat anywhere?
Unfortunately, there are no mini Goats available for sale at the moment. However, the Penn Law Alumni store and the Penn Law school store have items featuring the Goat for sale from time to time, so keep an eye out. Additionally, each year there are a number of creative, one-of-a-kind Goat related items up for auction at the Penn Law EJF auction. Finally, members of the Penn Law community are always encouraged to participate in the Flat Goat program!
Why Sara Bodnar wrote on nursing home abuse: ”More than 1.4 million individuals are living in nursing homes, and with the anticipated increase of adults age 65 and older in the U.S., this number will only rapidly grow. I hope that by writing about this topic, I’ll encourage awareness and discourse surrounding not only the issue of nursing home abuse, but also solutions.”
Sara Bodnar’s professional background: ”Since earning my M.P.H. from Yale University in 2010, I’ve spent several years working in health policy as a Regulatory Analyst for the New York City Department of Health. While working in health policy, I’ve developed a strong interest in health law, and will be pursuing a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.”
What do you believe sets Penn Law apart from other law schools?
Thanks for asking! Our students truly own their education experiences, actively contributing to a collegial environment where they learn to solve problems while developing critical professional skills: by taking risks in the classroom, students learn to challenge their thinking. By working effectively with colleagues on- and off-campus, they learn about management, leadership and networking. And by investing in the full life of Penn Law, they discover their strengths and hone their talents.
Who won the Frank H. Gelman memorial prize at graduation this year (2014)?
Hi! Yes, Lynette Downs, Alexander Smorczewski, and Neil Tyler were all nominated to share this award jointly! The Frank H. Gelman Prize is awarded annually to the student who has demonstrated special promise in the subjects of real property and real estate transactions.
On today’s show, UPENN professor Christopher Yoo explains his opposition to that idea by comparing the Internet to the postal service. Sometimes, Yoo says, you should be allowed to pay extra for FedEx or Priority Mail Express, so that your package gets to its destination faster than it would with regular old snail mail.
I wrote here around this same time last year, with the same dilemma—papers still to write, and exams still to study for, and zero worries in the world. Not much has changed, and my life is certainly less stressful now than it ever has been. Pretty much what you’d expect from a 3L. I have a great position lined up at Shearman & Sterling in New York City, and, save from the wonderful adventure of studying for the bar, I am very much looking forward to the summer and my future job.
However, I am going to miss being here so much. I do so many fun and rewarding things at Penn Law that simply can’t be recreated once I leave. I have tried to make the most of my last relaxed year to do some fun things, both recreational and academic. Here are some of the highlights:
These fine looking gentlemen you see here were the representatives from the University of Pennsylvania in the UCLA-Villanova inaugural Sports Case Competition, a moot-court like transactional meet that tested teams’ abilities to handle a real-world sports industry issue through client service and negotiation.
Every team was required to have at least one business student and one law student, and we split our team down the middle. Jarren Ginsburg L’14 recruited Akshay Khanna and Eric Sherman, two first-year MBA students at Wharton, to join us. The University helped to fund our trip to Los Angeles, where we presented a business plan to keep the San Diego Chargers in San Diego while increasing profitability, and negotiated with another school’s team on various lease terms should the Chargers move to Los Angeles instead. While there, we also had the opportunity to chat with important sports executives and personalities, such as Peter Guber, Eric Johnson, Andrew Brandt, Gillian Zucker, Irwin Raij, and many more attorneys and business professionals in the industry.
The best part, besides escaping to sunny Southern California in February, was that our team came in 2nd place! It was a great experience to represent our school and come away as big winners.
These four make up the greatest band you’ve never heard of. I took one last opportunity as a student and played with three undergraduates (Madhavi Muralidharan, Bart Buurman, and Maxwell Presser) in a chamber group, the Penn Saxophone Quartet. I am not sure how much I’ll be able to play when I start working, so I made an effort to continue to do so while I was still in school. I highly recommend keeping your hobbies active while you are in law school; law school is not an all-consuming event where you have to lose yourself! For me, playing saxophone is a huge part of who I am. Also, don’t forget that your education and extracurriculars do not have to be limited to just the law school; the University as a whole is so big, and you can find a group doing something that interests you.
Don’t discount how impressive and fun so many of the undergraduates are! I’ve had a lot of fun playing with these three and I will miss it greatly. Both semesters we have played very challenging classical music, and it has been very rewarding to improve even in my twenties at something that has always been merely a hobby.
This guy, Andrew Morris L’14, is way more impressive than me. He finished the Philadelphia Marathon, along with several other classmates. I decided to cheer him on with some friends and watched him cross the finish line (and then immediately eat a banana). I bring this up because it was one of many instances that I really enjoyed supporting my friends in their various adventures—from running a marathon, to putting on a killer rendition of Rent (no seriously it was awesome).
It is part of the whole Penn Law community we talk so much about—we don’t hole ourselves up in our own activities and call it a day. This community is so much more rewarding when you participate in the things your colleagues are doing as well.
For three years, I have been a part of the esteemed Penn Law Bowling League as part of the spirited “Motion to Strike” squadron (members: Max Blum L’14, yours truly, Alex Batoff L’14, and Devon MacLaughlin L’14, pictured with “The Replacements”: Jarren Ginsburg L’14, Brendan Lane L’14, Dan Janovitz L’14, and Kenneth Simon Jr. L’14). It’s been covered at length at various points, but it definitely is worth bringing up again.
While we never came close to winning a title in any semester (best finish was 5th of 20 fall semester of 1L), it is all handicapped, so every team has a chance at winning. But, the main point is to have fun at a random bowling alley every Wednesday night—escape the class, escape the cold calls, escape the books, and just roll. The memories are countless after 60+ bowling nights. The 1L participation was fantastic this year, and I know they will have the same feelings about the weekly excursions to West Philadelphia after three years of fun.
Don’t forget about celebration the holidays in style! Lambda Law throws a fantastic Halloween party every year, and here I am with my roommate Philip May L’14 dressed as Price is Right contestants (what we lacked in exquisite costumes we made up for in enthusiasm).
From St. Patrick’s Day to Cinco de Mayo, the holidays are another great time to escape the law school and do something fun. I remember hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner for all of us who couldn’t go home during 1L year.
The last event before graduation is the Graduation Gala for 3Ls and LLMs. Taking place in the Penn Museum for Archaeology, it was an amazing time dancing and drinking among the artifacts.
The event certainly made me reflective on all of my three years at Penn Law School. Seeing everyone I had met over these three years—dressed to the nines, of course—certainly brought back of memories of when I first met that person, or a special experience we shared. Graduation will certainly be an emotional time for me, because it will be extremely sad to see people travel in different parts of the world.
I am certainly going to miss being in school at Penn Law. The experiences and events never stop coming, and it forges new bonds while reinforcing old ones. However, I know that I will always be a part of the Penn Law community forever, as evidenced by the alumni I talk to. Everyone is always so willing to reach back and contribute to the current student body, and that has been really valuable to a student such as me.
In college, I was extremely involved outside of the classroom from acting in plays to student government, and I knew that when I came to law school I would want to engage in my school’s community in the same way. For this reason, Penn Law looked like the perfect place for me.
Although I learned about some of the student group and extracurricular activities while researching the school to make my choice (having a musical theatre group was obviously essential to my decision), I did not realize the breadth and depth of the opportunities available until I arrived.
As early as the first week of classes, the law school held a student activities fair, where 1Ls could check out all of the different activities to get involved in. Beyond that, emails went out advertising 1L representative positions available in different affinity and interest groups, as well as general meetings to learn more about membership in these various organizations. From the start, Penn Law made it extremely easy to get involved and satisfy my broad range of interests.
In my first semester I chose three activities/organizations that I wanted to immerse myself in: The Penn Law Women’s Association (PLWA), The Penn Law Post-Acceptance Committee (PAC), and the Penn Law Light Opera Company (basically, a law school musical!). I applied (and auditioned) for various roles within these different groups and soon became a 1L representative for the PLWA, a committee member of PAC, and a performer in the musical, RENT. I was excited to start my rich and rewarding responsibilities outside of the classroom.
As a 1L Rep of the PLWA, I serve as a member of the overall board. I am responsible for advertising events to my 1L classmates and taking part in overall decision for the organization. I have enjoyed getting to help out with the creation, planning, and marketing of events, as well as getting to know the diverse and dedicated group of 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls on the board. Getting so involved with the organization this year has enabled me to secure a leadership role on the board for my 2L year as the Mentorship & Alumni Chair. I am so excited for the opportunity to improve and expand the organization that has so significantly shaped my law school experience thus far!
My experiences with PAC and the law school musical enriched 1L year as well. Participating in both activities, I was able to develop friendships with tons of new people who shared the same interests as me. I got to spend time with other 1Ls outside of my section, as well as with upperclassmen who were always willing to share advice, wisdom, and support about surviving law school and beyond. These activities – especially the musical, which is completely unrelated to law or law school (aside from the super talented future lawyers in the cast and crew, of course) – provided me with a nice reprieve from the daily stresses of 1L life.
Looking back as the school year winds down, although it was oftentimes really hard work to balance my schedule between rehearsals, meetings, and study time, I would not trade my extracurricular experience at Penn Law for anything.
When I was deciding which law school to attend, faculty was the last thing on my mind. I figured I’d be cold-called no matter where I went, so better to focus on aspects that actually distinguish between law schools. Some of the factors I considered were proximity to a major city, employment prospects after graduation, and a sense of community. Of the schools I was considering, Penn Law had the best combination of the three, so I happily sent in my deposit check. Now that I’ve been here for nearly a year, I realize I should’ve considered a fourth factor: faculty. Luckily for me, Penn Law’s faculty is one of its best features.
If you came to Admitted Students Weekend or Preview Day, you’ve heard all about Penn Law’s focus on cross-disciplinary education. True, Penn Law has over 30 joint- and dual-degree and certificate programs, but Penn Law’s cross-disciplinary commitment really starts with its faculty. An astounding 70 percent of our faculty hold advanced degrees in fields other than law and nearly half hold joint appointments at other schools within the University of Pennsylvania. Of my first year professors, two are economists, one is a philosopher, and one is a legal historian. If you’re interested in learning about the economics of crime and punishment, how intellectual property laws can spur or hinder innovation, or the philosophical underpinnings of contract law, Penn Law is the place for you.
Just as importantly, our faculty care about building relationships with students, both inside and outside of the classroom. Each year, Penn Law’s Equal Justice Foundation holds an auction to benefit students pursuing job opportunities in public interest and government. In addition to vacation packages and tickets donated by Penn Law alumni and friends, some of the hottest items up for bid are opportunities to hang out with professors. This year, some of the most popular items were a tour of Professor Morse’s art collection, dinner with Dean Fitts and Dean Clinton, and a night of pizza, beer, and Rock Band with Professor Abrams. While a group of friends and I just missed out on winning the night with Professor Abrams, it was probably for the best as losing to a law professor in Rock Band would’ve done irreparable damage to our self-esteems.
No matter what your interests are, you’ll find someone on the faculty ready and willing to mentor you. As you visit different schools throughout your decision-making process, I encourage you to ask current students for their thoughts on the faculty. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a school with a more well-rounded faculty than ours.
Spring signifies new life, especially in the northeast United States, and in particular this year, where the winter doldrums have been memorably severe. Each spring for the past three years I have had the pleasure to serve as the Chairperson of the Penn Law Post-Acceptance Committee (PAC). As a group our raison d’être is to extend a warm and gracious welcome to those students who have survived a multitude of academic blizzards to be admitted to one of the premiere law schools in the country. The opportunity to open our doors to potential colleagues and their families, as they make what we know from experience is a life-changing decision, is a privilege the entire Penn Law community embraces with an enthusiasm surpassed only by that of our guests.
The admissions cycle is long and arduous, but Admitted Students Weekend (ASW) is in earnest the beginning of the end. ASW is the beginning of a journey unlike any other, one that will feature emotional struggles, academic achievement, difficult decisions, community engagement, and enduring relationships. For many years the members of the Penn Law incoming class have convened on campus for ASW to listen, learn, and decide whether to accept our invitation to begin a lifelong relationship with this remarkable institution. The members of the Penn Law Class of 2017 are no different in this regard, although this year’s class is unique because they will join our community at a time when we begin anew with a change in leadership.
As my Penn Law education has reinforced, there are a variety of perspectives from which you can approach any issue, so this is an appropriate time to acknowledge that while the new is often exciting there is also some measure of uncertainty involved. Fortunately, the Penn Law Class of 2017 is exploring the new at one of the oldest and most consistently successful legal institutions in the country. As sure as night turns to day and winter turns to spring, Penn Law graduates young lawyers to tackle the challenges of the day and welcomes exceptional students to be part of our community and to experience what is so special about this place. #PennLawLife
As a member of the Penn Law Class of 2014, I want to encourage the newest members of our community to explore every opportunity offered at Penn Law because you will enrich your experience exponentially. As the outgoing Chairperson of PAC, I want to say congratulations again for all you have accomplished thus far and wish you many more successes as you begin a new chapter. Finally, as a soon-to-be Penn Law alumnus, I implore you to embrace the network of alumni spread throughout the world who are available to support you, and ask that you continue to foster the culture that makes Penn Law a truly special place.