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Required Materials

As detailed in the application materials, a completed application to any of Penn Law’s Graduate Programs must include the items listed below.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be no more than two typed pages and should address your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree at Penn Law. Your essay may describe how Penn Law would complement earlier studies or prepare you for future professional work; your interest in a particular legal field and its application to existing issues in your country or the world; or more broadly how your study here would serve other goals or interests. We expect applicants to use professional and readable font and spacing.


Your résumé should highlight your relevant educational and professional background, skills (e.g. language facility), and interests. Although we do not have a page limit, one or two pages is usually sufficient.

Letters of Recommendation

A completed graduate application to Penn Law must include two letters of recommendation, ideally from law professors or others who have personal experience instructing and evaluating the candidate. An applicant may, alternatively, submit letters from academic instructors outside of the field of law, from employers, or from others with a personal knowledge of the candidate’s intellectual and other strengths.

We appreciate the burden this requirement places on recommenders.  Such subjective evaluations from knowledgeable references, however, are important factors in weighing the relative merits of international candidates whose objective credentials necessarily reflect many distinct grading systems and national standards for legal education.

Although we accept up to four letters of recommendation, your application will be considered complete and will be reviewed after we receive the first two letters. Please note that many successful applicants submit two letters of recommendation and additional letters of recommendation do not necessarily strengthen your application. 

Application Fee Payment

LLM and LLCM applicants must pay the $80 fee through LSAC.   Applicants granted an extension to apply after December 15 will be required to pay a $110 application fee (regular application fee of $85 plus a $25 late fee, which is automatically assessed by LSAC for all applications submitted after December 15.) Request a deadline extension. 

The application fee may, in exceptional cases, be reduced or waived at the discretion of the Graduate Programs Admissions Committee. Candidates requesting a fee waiver or reduction should do so by submitting a request using our online form.

The SJD application fee is $150 and may not be waived.