A Message from the Dean
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Penn Law Center and National Constitution Center Form Perfect Union
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To the Penn Law Community:

Over the summer I had the good fortune to attend the annual meeting of the Penn Law European Society in Strasbourg, France. I looked forward to the trip because it gave me a rare chance to meet or reacquaint myself with international alumni and to see firsthand the growing international reach of Penn Law. As our LL.M. program continues to expand, more and more European alumni have been gathering to take the same opportunity to make new friends, renew acquaintances and exchange information. In the last twenty years the group has evolved from a loose confederation to an organized body, much as individual nations have joined forces in the European Union to promote a common agenda.

I bring this up because much has changed as well in the legal landscape. What was once a provincial profession has become an increasingly global one, as international travel, trade and political reforms combine to make the world smaller. You can see the effect of this change in the number of major law firms with international offices, in the growing number of students who want to start their careers overseas and, not coincidentally, in the strong international program at Penn Law.

As you will read in the current issue, person for person, Penn Law has as a fine a faculty in comparative and transnational law as you will find in the country, an impressive range of international law courses, and a burgeoning exchange program that began with Bucerius Law School in Germany and will soon expand to include Waseda, a top-rank school in Japan. All of these developments ensure that Penn Law will soon be known as much for international as it is for interdisciplinary studies.

Of course, we continue to deepen and expand our interdisciplinary studies as well. For example, this issue also describes a unique program we have established with the Wharton School which allows our students to take classes there and earn certificates in Business and Public Policy. While pursuing a law degree, students are thus able to gain management skills for whatever type of career they wish to pursue – and burnish their credentials at the same time. This issue also outlines the Law School’s deepening relationship with another “cross campus” institution – the National Constitution Center, which has just been dedicated on Independence Hall. All of these changes underscore one fundamental development: the premier law schools of the 21st century will increasingly be teaching students to integrate their legal training with other disciplines and cultures. Penn Law is at the forefront of this transformation.

Finally, we recap Reunion Weekend. This wonderful event reminded me how fortunate we are to have such a devoted group of alumni in this country. I hope to see some of you next year, but you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to visit. My door is always open. Best wishes for continued success in the New Year.

- Michael A. Fitts, Dean