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Penn Law as the Model for Interdisciplinary Education

Perry Golkin
W'74, WG'74, L'78
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts

In 1974, after earning joint B.S./M.S. degrees summa cum laude through a submatriculation program at the Wharton School, Perry Golkin applied for admission to the Law School. In 1978, the former business student was a member of the team that won the Law School’s Edwin Keedy Cup moot court competition. The transition from business to law was a natural one for him, and he found that the intellectual rigors of legal education stimulated his mind as business studies alone had not.

Today, Golkin has crossed the bridge back to finance again and serves as a Member of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., the famed leveraged-buyout firm in New York. He joined KKR in 1986 from New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett where he was involved in a broad corporate practice including corporate financings, mergers and management buyouts. This Fall he begins a term as an Overseer of the Law School.

“The value of a Penn Law education transcends the standard legal career paths,” says Golkin. “For example, two of the three founding partners of KKR went to law school, and over one-third of the other partners (myself included) received law degrees…This is not to say that law schools should abandon their historical role and train executives for investment firms. However, broadening the law student’s education with more diverse offerings can only make law school more attractive and might in fact lead to wider choices for them in career alternatives.”

The value of a Penn Law education transcends
standard legal career paths.

Perry Golkin’s confidence in the value of a Penn Law degree to the career of a finance professional, in his case, or any professional, is an eloquent statement for why the University of Pennsylvania Law School has committed itself to educating students across the professions. Golkin’s experience at Law School and throughout his career as an entrepreneur and financier has become the standard, indeed, the model, for the 21st century lawyer.

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