UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Law in University Park has been accepted into the Order of the Coif, an honor society founded in 1902 to recognize “excellence in legal education.” The honor will be awarded to Penn State Law juris doctor graduates who finish in the top 10 percent of their class and will include a notation on their official transcript marking their lifelong membership in the society.
The distinction will be given to eligible members of the Class of 2022 as well as retroactively applied to eligible graduates in the classes of 2020 and 2021.
The Order of the Coif is legal education’s national honorary society. The purpose of the Order of the Coif is to encourage excellence in legal education by fostering a spirit of careful study, recognizing those who as law students attained a high grade of scholarship, and honoring those who as lawyers, judges, and teachers attained high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments. Chapters are established at those law schools that demonstrate that their programs serve these objectives.
“Penn State Law is privileged and excited to commence our chapter of the Order of the Coif, one of the oldest and most renowned legal honor societies in the United States,” said James W. Houck, interim dean of Penn State Law in University Park and the School of International Affairs. “Being admitted into the Order of the Coif as a member school is an impressive distinction, especially for such a young law school, and really speaks to the scholarly accomplishments of our faculty and students.”
Penn State Law joins a contingent of older Big Ten law schools with Coif chapters, including University of Michigan Law School and Northwestern Law.
Law schools are only admitted if they meet eleven criteria, including a stimulating intellectual environment for students, faculty who are productive scholars and dedicated teachers, a broad curriculum, and a student body with excellent academic credentials.
“The Order of the Coif is an indication of legal academic excellence and, in particular, signifies the quality and quantity of legal scholarship that our faculty are producing each and every year,” said Dara Purvis, associate dean for research and partnerships, professor of law, and president of Penn State Law's Order of the Coif chapter.