World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Article Id: WHEBN0003025742
Reproduction Date:

Title: University of Pittsburgh School of Law  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Barco Law Building, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law, Mary Beth Buchanan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

University of Pittsburgh School of Law

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law (sometimes referred to as Pitt Law) was founded in 1895. It became a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools in 1900. Its primary home facility is the Barco Law Building. The school offers four degrees: Master of Studies in Law, Juris Doctor, Master of Laws for international students, and the Doctor of Juridical Science. The school offers several international legal programs, operates a variety of clinics, and publishes several law journals.

According to University of Pittsburgh School of Law's 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 80% of the Class of 2014 obtained jobs for which either formal bar admission was required or for which a J.D. was an advantage.[1]


The law department was founded in 1843 and is one of 17 schools constituting the University of Pittsburgh.[2][3] The first four law degrees were conferred in 1847.[4] Classes were held in a stone building at Third Street until the building was destroyed in the fire of 1845 and were then held in the university's building on Duquesne Way until that building was burned in 1849. Classes were continued after the second fire in the basement of the Third Presbyterian Church until the universities first law professor, Walter H. Lowrie, was elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1851 and forced him to abandon his teaching at the school.[4] This, along with the fires that destroyed many of the university's facilities and resources, disrupted the development of the School of Law.

Although various attempts were made to reestablish law instruction beginning in 1862, a permanent law school was not established until 1895. The university at that time was named the Western University of Pennsylvania, but despite this, the law school was originally named the Pittsburgh Law School, a name it held until 1918.[5] The Pittsburgh Law School became a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools in 1900.

The first classes in the permanently established school were conducted in the orphans' court rooms in the old Allegheny County courthouse. In 1897, the school moved into the old university building at Ross and Diamond streets that had been sold to the county in 1882. The school moved again in 1919-20 to the tenth floor of the Chamber of Commerce building.[6] In 1936 the School of Law moved in its entirety to the 14-16 floors of the Cathedral of Learning on the main campus of the university located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.[7] The School of Law moved into their own dedicated facility, the Barco Law Building, upon its opening on the university's main campus in 1976.[8]

Today, Pitt's Law School faculty has been ranked 21st in the nation based on a standard objective measure of scholarly impact.[1] Pitt Law is currently ranked 78th out of 184 in U.S. News & World Report's rankings of America's top law schools[9] and is listed among the "Best Law Schools" by The Princeton Review.[10] Pitt Law is also one of 80 law schools with membership in the Order of the Coif.


Barco Law Building, current home of the Law School

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law offers four degrees. The J.D. (Juris Doctor) is the required degree to practice law in most of the United States, thus J.D. students make up most of the school's student body. The following degrees are offered by Pitt Law:

In addition, the School of Law offers joint degrees with several other programs within the university, and the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education.

Academic programs

  • The John P. Gismondi Civil Litigation Certificate Program
  • Environmental Law, Science and Policy
  • Health Law
  • Intellectual Property and Technology Law
  • International and Comparative Law
  • Disability Studies
  • Law and Entrepreneurship
  • Washington, D.C. Externship Program

Pitt Law Center for International Legal Education

Pitt Law offers area studies in the following international legal systems:

  • Asian Studies
  • Global Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Russia and Eastern European Studies
  • Western European Studies

These area studies serve to supplement the study of International Law, in addition to providing Pitt Law students with the opportunity to pursue careers abroad.


Admissions to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law are conducted on a rolling basis, with an acceptance rate of slightly less than 30%. For the entering class of 2013, the median LSAT score was 158 (25th - 154, 75th - 161) and the median GPA was 3.42 (25th - 3.16, 75th - 3.61).[11] There were 174 entering students out of nearly 1,500 applications.

Rankings and Honors

William V. Luneburg, former professor of law at Pitt Law, participating in a Rappaport Center roundtable on "Managing the Bailout."
  • Pitt Law is ranked among the top 30 US law schools and the top 12 public U.S. law schools by QS World University Rankings[12]
  • Pitt Law is ranked 78th out of 184 in U.S. News & World Report's rankings of America's top law schools
  • Pitt's Health Law program is ranked 14th by USN&WR
  • Pitt's Intellectual Property program is ranked 28th by USN&WR
  • Pitt's International Law program is ranked 29th by USN&WR
  • Pitt's faculty is ranked 21st in terms of scholarly impact by The Princeton Review
  • Pitt Law is ranked 63rd by the Law School 100[13]
  • One of only 81 law schools to be a member of Order of the Coif


The overall employment rate of the members of the Pitt Law Class of 2014 was 84%. Among the employed members of the Class of 2014, 94% obtained a job requiring bar passage or for which their JD was deemed to be an advantage. Fully 66% of the employed members of the class obtained jobs requiring admission to the bar; 28% obtained a job for which their JD was deemed to be an advantage. 14.9% of the employed members of the class obtained jobs at either law firms with 100 or more attorneys or in federal clerkships. Over 12% of Pitt Law’s employed graduates of the Class of 2013 accepted judicial clerkships, which is significantly above the national average of 9% of employed members of the Class of 2013.[14]


The estimated cost of attendance (includes tuition, fees, books, and living expenses) at Pitt Law for the 2014-15 academic year is $50,008 for a Pennsylvania resident and $57,492 for a non-resident.[15] The average law school debt for the graduating Class of 2012 was $94,879, well below the national average.[16] Pitt Law was one of only 53 law schools out of over 200 nationally (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) to be ranked as a 2014 Best Value by The National Jurist. The survey took into account multiple factors, with success in job placement weighted most heavily at 35%, followed by tuition (25%), average indebtedness (15%), bar passage rates (15%), and cost of living (10%).[17]

Clinical programs

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law has several clinical programs, which allow law students to gain practical experience as lawyers before graduating from law school. The following clinics are currently offered by the School of Law:

  • Tax Clinic
  • Securities Arbitration Clinic
  • Family Law Clinic
  • Environmental Law Clinic
  • Community and Economic Development Clinic
  • Health Law Clinic
  • Elder Law Clinic
  • Immigration Law Clinic


Pitt Law is home to two law reviews and several student-edited legal journals, including the Pittsburgh Law Review, which is one of the 40 most-cited law reviews in the country, according to Chicago-Kent Law Review's 1996 Faculty Scholarship Survey [2]. The following law reviews are all publications of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law:

The following journals are all publications of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law:


JURIST is the world's only law school-based comprehensive legal news and research service. Its professionally-trained staff of law faculty and law students report and research the latest legal developments in real time for members of the legal community and the public at large. JURIST covers legal news stories based on their substantive importance rather than on their mass-market or commercial appeal.

Student organizations


View of the bench and jury box from the gallery area of the Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom
  • Barco Law Building - Pitt Law School is housed in the six-story Barco Law Building on Forbes Avenue, located on the main campus of the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Barco Law Library - The Law Library is housed on the third, fourth, and fifth floors of the Barco Law Building. The library was renovated in 2004 [3], and the current collection numbers some 450,000 volumes and volume equivalents and has a seating capacity, in both the individual carrels and in private reading areas, of over 400. In addition, located within several blocks of the Law Building are Hillman Library, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and several special libraries of the University, including the business, medical, and public and international affairs libraries.
  • Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom - Located on the ground floor, the moot courtroom, named for the late Benjamin H. Teplitz, includes a seven-seat judges' bench, jury and press boxes, counselors' tables, judges' chambers, and a jury room. It is used primarily by trial tactics classes and by the growing number of moot court programs. It is equipped to handle special sessions of the Commonwealth and Federal Appellate Courts and hearings before various administrative tribunals.
  • Other design features of the Law Building include a pedestrian bridge connecting the School of Law with Litchfield Towers dormitories, Lawrence Hall, and Wesley W. Posvar Hall.

Notable alumni

Dick Thornburgh, 41st Pennsylvania Governor and 76th United States Attorney General

Deans of the Law School

Bronze bust and plaque honoring former Dean Edward Sell's 50th year of teaching at Pitt
  • John Douglass Shafer, 1895–1920
  • Alexander Marshall Thompson, 1920–1940
  • Eugene Allen Gilmore, 1940–1942
  • Judson Adams Crane, 1942–1949
  • Charles Bernard Nutting, 1949–1951
  • Judson Adams Crane (Acting Dean), 1951–1952
  • Brainerd Currie, 1952–1953
  • Arthur Larson (on leave of absence 1954-56), 1953–1956
  • Charles Wilson Taintor II (Acting Dean), 1954–1957
  • Thomas McIntyre Cooley II, 1957–1965
  • William Edward Sell, Chairman, Administrative Committee, 1965–1966; Dean, 1966–1977
  • John E. Murray, Jr., 1977–1984
  • Richard J. Pierce, Jr., 1984–1985
  • Mark A. Nordenberg, 1985-1993 (University Chancellor, 1995-2014)
  • Richard H. Seeburger (Interim Dean), 1993–1994
  • Peter M. Shane, 1994–1998
  • David J. Herring, 1998-2005
  • Mary A. Crossley, 2005-2012
  • William M. Carter Jr., 2012–present


  1. ^
  2. ^ George Thornton Fleming, History of Pittsburgh and Environs, from Prehistoric Days to the Beginning, 1922, American Historical Society, New York, pg 364
  3. ^ Agnes Lynch Starrett, Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh, 1937, University of Pittsburgh Press, pg. 335-36, accessdate=2009-04-05
  4. ^ a b Agnes Lynch Starrett, Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh, 1937, University of Pittsburgh Press, pg. 336-38, accessdate=2009-04-05
  5. ^ Agnes Lynch Starrett, Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh, 1937, University of Pittsburgh Press, pg. 339-343, accessdate=2009-04-05
  6. ^ Agnes Lynch Starrett, Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh, 1937, University of Pittsburgh Press, pg. 347, accessdate=2009-04-05
  7. ^ Agnes Lynch Starrett, Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh, 1937, University of Pittsburgh Press, pg. 352, accessdate=2009-04-05
  8. ^ Robert C. Alberts, Pitt :the story of the University of Pittsburgh, 1787-1987, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986, page 406, accessdate=2009-04-05
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ Dickinson's bio from the Intellectual Property Owners Association
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^

External links

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law official website

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.