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School of Law

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In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and M.S.L. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in bioethics), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.P.H. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Public Health), J.D./M.P.I.A. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Public and International Affairs), J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Science in law and public management), and J.D./M.S.W. (Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work).

The School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, family law, intellectual property law, international law, labor law, litigation, tax law, torts and insurance, and health law. In addition, clinical offerings consist of the Tax Clinic, Family Law Clinic, Community Economic Development Clinic, Environmental Law Clinic, and Civil Practice Clinic. Second- and third-year students may receive 2 credits for a variety of seminars, which can satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. Externship opportunities are available with 62 federal and state judges, 34 other judges throughout Pennsylvania, and 34 judges in other states. Students are also placed in 91 Pennsylvania and federal agencies and out-of-state agencies; including Legal Aid Societies, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, U.S. Attorneys, neighborhood legal services, public defenders, the National Labor Relations Board, hospitals, and housing authorities. The Colloquium Committee sponsors the Caplan Lecture, the Mellon Lecture, a Faculty Colloquium series, and the Martin Luther King Lecture annually. The Law School sponsors a lecture in honor of Black History Month and on Constitution Day. The University of Brussels and University of Augsburg provide both faculty and student exchange; however, the Center for International Legal Education will work individually with students interested in studying abroad at any location. A Law at Sea program, in which each student is required to take 7 credits of law school courses, is also available. The Law School invites minority and other students to participate in the Mellon Legal Writing Program, which is designed to provide additional academic and social support for students confronting special challenges. The Law School has been co-sponsor of the CLEO (The Council for Legal Educational Opportunity) Institute. The Law School hosted the Institute in 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2007. Student organizations sponsor programs reflecting the interests of the group, such as Sports and Entertainment Law, International Law, Environmental Law, Health Law, Business Law, and Family Law. The most widely taken electives are Federal Income Tax, Corporations, and Evidence.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 88 total credits, of which 34 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Legal Analysis and Writing, Legal Process and Civil Procedure, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of an upper-level writing requirement and Legal Profession. The required orientation program for first-year students is conducted over a 2-day period including a formal program, diversity training, discussion groups, family and friends orientation, lunch, and a student activities fair.

In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and a Legal Profession Ethics course.


In the fall 2007 first-year class, 2096 applied, 774 were accepted, and 243 enrolled. Five transfers enrolled. The median GPA of the most recent first-year class was 3.4. The highest LSAT percentile was 99.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include LSAT results, GPA, and academic achievement. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.

The application deadline for fall entry is March 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a nonrefundable application fee of $55, and 3 suggested letters of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.

Financial Aid

About 85% of current law students receive some form of aid. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 1. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students are available through scholarships provided by the school and the university. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.


About 45% of the student body are women; 16%, minorities; 7%, African American; 5%, Asian American; and 1%, Hispanic. The majority of students come from Pennsylvania (60%). The average age of entering students is 24; age range is 20 to 59. About 40% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 10% have a graduate degree, and 15% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 2% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 95% remain to receive a law degree.

Students edit the University of Pittsburgh Law Review, University of Pittsburgh Journal of Law and Commerce, Pittsburgh Journal of Technology, and Law and Policy. Moot court competitions include the Murray S. Love Trial Moot Court Competition, the National Health Law Moot Court Competition, and the BMI/Cardoza Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition. Law student organizations include Black Law Students Association, Environmental Law Association, Women’s Association, The Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation, Hispanic Law Society, and Pitt Law Moms and Dads. There are local chapters of the Student Bar Association, International Law Society, and Phi Alpha Delta.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 3 years. For part-time students (flex-time students) courses are offered days only and (flex-time students) and must be completed within 5 years. New full- and part-time students are admitted in the fall. There is no summer session. Transferable summer courses are not offered.

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