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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. The week ends with an oral advocacy exercise in which students deliver opening statements and receive feedback from real judges.

Armed with the foundational building blocks of legal reasoning, students will spend the second week exploring current issues in the legal world. The 2016 program featured lectures on privacy issues and the FBI/iPhone hacking case, the Merrick Garland nomination and the Supreme Court confirmation process, gun control and the Second Amendment, and Federalism and the marijuana legalization debate.

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 legal institutions such as the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Capitol Building, the Court of Common Pleas, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and the National Constitution Center.

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 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 the historic Penn Quad for the duration of the program. Residential counselors will reside with the students to provide mentoring and support, while also leading weekend social activities.


2016 Program Schedule* | Virtual Tour of Penn Law

 The 2017 summer program dates, fees, and other information will be announced in October. 



*Sample schedule