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Among those students was Michael Sherman L’03. “I thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of the resources that Wharton could provide and to expand on my legal education and ultimately my career,” he said, just before graduating in May and heading to New York City as an associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. “I think the courses in the certificate program enable law students to think and study in an economic or business realm, which is a unique opportunity.”

Sarah Barringer Gordon, professor of law and history at Penn Law, worked with Gary Clinton, assistant dean of student affairs, to develop the program with Wharton. “We uncovered a really vital interest among our students,” Gordon says, noting that training in a single discipline is quickly becoming a thing of the past. “This interprofessional program allows them (students) to be the flexible intellectuals and the flexible professionals they want to be.”

Elizabeth E. Bailey, the John C. Hower Professor of Business and Public Policy at the Wharton School, says the certificate program is a boon to both Wharton and Law students. “You get a really different perspective when you have law students and MBAs in the class,” says Bailey, who chairs Wharton’s Business and Public Policy Department. “MBAs benefit from understanding the perspective of law students and vice versa.”

Janet Rothenberg Pack, Professor of Business and Public Policy and Real Estate, taught two spring courses — private economic development and cost-benefit analysis — that were peppered with law students. She says she and her students find the program mutually beneficial: “It enriches my experience; it enriches the class’s experience.” While she favors the “cross-fertilization” of knowledge between law and business students, Pack notes that some law students need to stretch to grasp the applied economics prevalent in Wharton courses. Although it may be a struggle, she says, eventually “they get it.”

The number of students beating a path across Walnut Street to Wharton is striking, says Pack. “We just reach our limits,” she says, noting that she has expanded her class size to accommodate more law students. Pack and her colleagues may need to make even more room. Outside Penn, word of the novel certificate program has spread quickly. “I have several friends who applied to the Law School during the three years that I was there,” says Brenda Robinson, “and each cited the opportunity to study at Wharton as one of the factors that influenced their decision.”

Pack promotes the Penn Law-Wharton relationship to prospective students as well. “In general, this kind of association is a good thing,” she says. “It’s something a large university can do and should do. It’s the kind of possibility people come to Penn for. One of the important things that a major university provides is diverse peer group experiences, and a program like this broadens the peer group experience in a substantive way. If we didn’t have a program like this there would be few opportunities for law students and MBAs to interact. They will have to work together as they go out into the world and their jobs. I think this is Penn’s contribution to facilitating that interaction.”

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