A Message from the Dean
Building Bridges Between the Professions
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In 1997 the University of Pennsylvania Law School unveiled a Strategic Plan that established a course for the Law School at the dawn of the 21st century. When Michael A. Fitts was named Dean of the Law School in 2000 his first objective was to assess the progress made toward achieving the goals of the Strategic Plan. Next, he determined what needed to be done to complete the stated goals. The numerous achievements so far, and a strategy for how the Law School will accomplish the remainder of the objectives in the plan, are highlighted in the pages that follow.

Dean Michael A. Fitts and
Tobey Oxholm III,
Penn Law Honorary Fellow

What is immediately apparent is that Penn Law has created a new model for legal education by placing a premium on interdisciplinary studies. This model builds on the Law School’s strengths because of the unparalleled alliances that exist between the superior schools and centers that comprise the University of Pennsylvania.

Penn Law students who pursue opportunities to augment their legal education with classes in other fields will possess an advantage in an evolving legal marketplace that demands that the best practitioners be knowledgeable in areas outside the law.

Penn Law has created a new model for legal education by placing a premium on interdisciplinary studies.

“For lawyers in the so-called traditional practice of law, increasingly they must be familiar with the underlying substantive areas in which they are operating,” explains Dean Fitts. “At the same time, many attorneys are literally moving over to ‘practice’ or work in the business or non-profit world in which their traditional practice took them. When they make such changes, they find that conventional legal training offers incredible insight and comparative advantage, but that they also need to understand the substantive area in which they are now operating.”

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