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School Broadens Intellectual Scope, But Retains Trademark Warmth 1 - 2 - 3 - 4- 5- 6

By Larry Teitelbaum

As prophecy goes, former Penn Law Dean Robert Mundheim hit the mark pretty well. In a 1982 interview, the newly appointed dean specified the need to increase faculty size, improve facilities, and strengthen the curriculum to reflect students’ diverse interests.
Consider it done.
In the intervening years, Penn Law has not only grown physically but in reputation, thanks to a remarkable evolution during which the school has recruited a cadre of top-rank faculty, built a firstrate library, and devised a second-to-none curriculum that establishes new frontiers in interdisciplinary learning.
Today the growth spurt continues, as Dean Michael A. Fitts picks up where his predecessors left off, without sacrificing Penn Law’s era-spanning hominess.

Henry Steele Commager
American Historian and Educator

David Albert L'03
The Goat, an enduring symbol at Penn Law, makes David Albert feel right a home.

David Albert L’03 had an inkling about going to law school, but he delayed that decision. Instead, he took a circuitous route. It’s as if he traveled the Silk Road, a fabled Oriental trade route, to get to Penn. After college, Albert worked in Hong Kong for an Asian manufacturer of power tools. Tired of widgets, he studied International Affairs at Columbia University and later joined Henry Kissinger in an effort to improve U.S.-China relations.

Ten years after earning his undergraduate degree, and more the wiser, the prodigal son had come full circle to Penn Law. “I’ve had strong interests in business but also interests in politics and law and society,” says the 35-year-old Albert, a third-year law student who grew up in a suburb near Philadelphia. “I think the law school touches on all of those things.”

“We have students who began their careers internationally,” Jo-Ann Verrier says. “Never heard of that even five years ago.”

Albert's round-the-world trip parallels the journey Penn Law School has taken into a new era. Like Albert, many students are older. They're more mobile. They're more diverse - in gender and race. More career-driven. And they have more choices - not to mention obligations - than they did twenty years ago. In the early 1980s, there were no Public Service requirements. No Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies. And Intellectual Property courses were still developing.

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