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Penn Law Pre-College Summer Academy

Experience Law School at Penn Law

Are you a rising high school junior or senior that is interested in a career as a lawyer? Then consider spending your summer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where you will take courses that mirror the curriculum of a first-year law student with peers from around the world.

The Program

The Penn Law Pre-College Academy will immerse you in both the theory and the practice of law, and you will learn valuable critical thinking, legal reasoning, and writing skills that will serve you well no matter what profession you choose.

The first week of the program features lectures on the American legal system and the judicial process. Penn Law faculty will introduce students to the Socratic Method, and students will learn how to read and brief legal cases. Students will also learn how to conduct legal research including searching Supreme Court databases and shepardizing judicial opinions.

Armed with the foundational building blocks of legal reasoning, students will spend the second week exploring current issues in the legal world. The 2017 program featured lectures on Net Neutrality, the status of refugees in the U.S. and internationally, gun control and the Second Amendment, and Federalism and the marijuana legalization debate. The second week concludes with a trial practice exercise in which students take part in a mock jury trial - presided over by real judges - including delivering opening statements, cross-examining witnesses, and presenting closing arguments.

Professor Kermit Roosevelt lectures on Constitutional LawProfessor Kermit Roosevelt lectures on Constitutional Law

The focus of the final week of the program is real-world client advocacy skills. The students spend much of the final week preparing for the annual Penn Law Pre-College Moot Court Competition, in which they make appellate-level arguments in the face of tough, unscripted questions from judges. Students also learn about the business aspects of law during the annual “Shark Tank Competition,” in which teams of students formulate a business idea, negotiate the complex legal issues involved in starting a business, and present their ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs in an attempt to win financing for their venture.

Field Trips

During the three weeks of the program, students will take a variety of field trips to important cultural and legal institutions such as the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Pre-College students at The Supreme Court of the United StatesPre-College students at The Supreme Court of the United States

The Pre-College Academy also takes students to Dechert LLP, an internationally renowned law firm, where they will learn about the professional practice of law. Students will take part in a negotiations exercise led by a Dechert attorney as they get a taste of practice at a large, international law firm.

Life at Penn

The Penn Law Pre-College Academy is a residential program, and students will reside together in one of UPenn’s state-of-the-art dormitories. Residential counselors will reside with the students to provide mentoring and support, while also leading weekend social activities.


2017 Program Schedule* | Virtual Tour of Penn Law

 Apply Now

The 2018 program will run from 7/1-7/21 and tuition for the residential program, including housing and meals, will be $7,999. There is also a commuter option for local Philadelphia students available for $5,999 that does not include housing and meals. Click the Summer Discovery icon below for the application. 

summer discovery



*Sample schedule