Penn State Law traces its roots to the founding in 1834 of The Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa. Penn State and The Dickinson School of Law merged in 2000, and, until recently, Penn State's Dickinson School of Law operated as a single law school with two campuses -- one in Carlisle and one on Penn State’s University Park campus in State College, Pa. In the summer of 2014, Penn State received approval from the ABA to operate the two campuses as two distinct Penn State law schools, both of which share the history and esteemed achievement of The Dickinson School of Law.
Throughout its history, the Law School has trained distinguished graduates who have gone on to become leaders of the bar, of the judiciary, of government, and of business. These alumni include the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Tom Ridge '72), five governors, three U.S. senators, and more than 100 federal, state and county judges and countless prominent lawyers and civic leaders.
- One of the first Native Americans to attend law school graduated in 1909.
- Our first African-American student enrolled in 1911.
- Minnesota's Civil War Governor and four governors of Pennsylvania were our graduates.
- The first U.S. Senator from Oregon was an alumnus, and went on to become Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.
- The Penn State Law Review, formerly The Dickinson Law Review, has been continually published since 1897 and is one of the oldest law reviews in the country.