From The Dean

Photo: Sameer Khan / Fotobuddy
Theodore Ruger, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law
As legal education continues to evolve and grow to best prepare students to enter the practice of law ready to hit the ground running, Penn Carey Law has increased its experiential learning opportunities to offer an extensive array of simulation classes, externships, and intensive bootcamps.

We are readying students for the transition to work in ways I could have scarcely imagined when I went to law school.

Last school year, there were 132 courses in this broad category— the largest number of offerings during my tenure as dean and ostensibly ever. This boom in practical skills training is an extension of our celebrated clinical education program, which is going strong after 46 years.

There has long been a debate about how students should spend the second and third years of law school. More than 20 years ago, the authors of a seminal report on law school training from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching put forth what many were thinking: focus more on practice. And the American Bar Association eventually ran with that recommendation, requiring law students to earn six credits in experiential learning in order to graduate.

As you will read in this issue, numerous students have followed that injunction to good effect, taking the JD/MBA Capstone Course on the life cycle of a company, learning the intricacies of federal agencies through an Administrative Advocacy course, and weaving weekly work in judicial chambers into their curriculum through our new Judicial Externship program.

And all signs point to larger enrollments and more offerings in the near future.

Another welcome change: women are striking out on their own and starting law firms.

Nicole Galli C’89, L’92 has seen if not fomented this evolution. She’s the leader of Women Owned Law, a nonprofit trade association that mentors women with the ambition to run their own shops. Since 2015, the association has attracted 200 members.

We look at 15 alumnae who did just that: started their own law firms. They came from a spectrum of legal careers to go on a great personal journey of discovery and fulfillment, all of them true entrepreneurs who took their training and built something substantial, productive, and personal.

All of them exude joy in their work and in their decision to establish law firms.

They are enriching the profession, and we are proud of them.


A digital signature provided by Theodore Ruger
Theodore Ruger
Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law