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Penn Law's Urban Agenda
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Few universities are better placed than Penn to contribute to the rigorous study of urban issues. Given the explosive growth of cities internationally, the accompanying rise in urban poverty and, at least in this country, the devolution of federal involvement, these issues will be major global public policy questions for years to come. Mobilizing Pennís broad intellectual resources could lead to new models for urban revival.
University of Pennsylvaniaís
The University of Pennsylvania Law School was honored in 2000 with the American Bar Associationís Pro Bono Publico Award. This honor was particularly noteworthy because it was the first time in the history of the award that it had been given to a Law School. Traditionally, the ABA recognizes law firms and individuals that have performed extraordinary volunteer service to their communities.
The ABAís endorsement comes at a time when the Public Service Program, under the direction of Susan Feathers, enters its 13th academic year of providing legal services to the Philadelphia community. The future of the Public Service Program involves a natural evolution that would connect the service performed to emerging scholarship in the field of public interest law.
The Public Service Program was started in 1989 under Dean Colin S. Diver and Professor Howard Lesnick in collaboration with its first director, Judith Bernstein-Baker. This team established one of the first law school programs in the nation that made mandatory the performance of public service in order to graduate. Since its founding, the Penn Law model has been copied by law schools throughout the country.
In their second and third years Penn Law students must provide a total of 70 hours of public service law-related work. Since 1989, more than 2,400 students have performed more than 200,000 hours of pro bono service for low income clients, who otherwise might not have had access to legal representation. More than 80 percent of the programís graduates continue to actively participate in pro bono work after graduation.
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