Innovative Legal Education
Legal education for a changing society
Penn State Law is focused on providing students with a legal education that will prepare them for success in the legal jobs of tomorrow.
No matter what area of law you specialize in, technology is constantly evolving in legal practice. At Penn State Law in University Park, we prepare our students to lead. Technology and globalization, and the need for cutting-edge technology, are foundationally changing the practice of law. For example, if you choose to practice criminal law, it looks radically different than it did 20 years ago—even discovery looks different. Now, the global pandemic has accelerated this transition and even the way people have learned to practice law online.
About Penn State Law
Penn State Law, located on Penn State’s University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania, offers all of the resources of a world-class, public research institution together with challenging and innovative classroom study and ample opportunities for learning by doing. A Penn State Law legal education comprises:
- Traditional doctrinal law courses as well as innovative courses that reflect the changing legal landscape
- The ability to participate in one of the school’s ten innovative law clinics and practicum
- Interdisciplinary study opportunities on the campus of one of the world’s leading research universities
- Comprehensive mentoring that begins as soon as you choose Penn State Law - Alumni Career Services
- Personalized career support to help students identify their goals and accomplish them
- Exposure to emerging technologies in the legal field and the legal questions posed by new technology
- The opportunity to complete an externship in practically any location around the world
- Membership in a built-in professional network of more than 725,000 Penn State alumni worldwide
What We Do
Interdisciplinary and collaborative partnerships are a core strategy in our mission of providing students with an innovative legal education at Penn State Law in University Park. Through our Legal-Tech Virtual Lab, we partner with leading legal technology companies to offer workshops to train Penn State Law students in groundbreaking technologies being implemented in today’s legal practice.
The Law, Policy, and Engineering (LPE) initiative, launched in 2019, takes a comprehensive approach to solving major societal challenges. A joint initiative between Penn State Law in University Park, the College of Engineering, and the School of International Affairs, LPE proposes an innovative and ambitious set of new degrees, certificates and courses, and interdisciplinary research and scholarly collaborations. Students and professors in the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic and Family Law Clinic have collaborated in LPE courses where law students and engineering students work together to create technology to close the access to justice gap. Recent LPE symposia and guest speakers have focused on topics including election security, next-gen biodevices, aerospace engineering, law, and policy, and the interdisciplinary impact of COVID-19.
In 2020, in partnership with LegalSifter and Penn State’s Office of Sponsored Programs, we announced a strategic pilot project to explore a “combined intelligence” solution for the negotiation of sponsored-research contracts. The goal: to help the University’s negotiators review contracts more quickly and confidently, while in compliance with best practices.
INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATION AND RESEARCH
Penn State Law provides opportunities to develop cross-cutting knowledge needed to solve problems and partners across the university to impact the world, including:
- Leadership roles in Center for Energy Law and Policy and Center for Security Research and Education;
- Law, Policy, and Engineering Initiative that includes innovative research and education needed to address issues like election security, biotechnology, and autonomous vehicles;
- Medical-Legal Partnership with the College of Medicine, Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic collaboration with the College of Nursing, and new partnerships with the College of Health and Human Development;
- Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic collaboration with the College of Medicine to provide JD and LLM students with monthly online interprofessional training opportunities and to work with medical students who are veterans or interested in assisting the clinic with veteran’s disability claims
- Entrepreneur Assistance and IP Clinics that are embedded in Penn State’s incubators as part of its Invent Penn State entrepreneurship initiative;
- Individualized joint degree program that allows students to pair a J.D. with any master’s degree at Penn State; and
- Accelerated Bachelor’s/J.D. Program that allows Penn State students in any major on any campus to apply to law school early.